CASE IN POINT: WARLOCK

I'm going to paraphrase Jack Kirby from the '80s documentary "Masters of the Comic Book Art" (available on You Tube): "The way I understand it, the editorial cartoon came first. You add a couple of panels to that, and you've got a comic strip. Add a couple of pages to that, and you've got a comic book. What can we add to the comic book? That's something we may have to think about." I've got my answer: SIZE. "Size" as in omnibus editions and gallery editions and MONSTER-SIZE editions. I love those!

When I was a kid, I was aware of the Thomas/Kane "Jesus Christ - Superhero" version of Adam Warlock from his appearances in Hulk, but I hadn't read the series. Then, in 1982, I bought the six-issue Warlock Special Edition and it wasn't what I expected at all. It reprinted the Starlin version, of which I had been completely unaware of at the time. when I was in college, I picked up all of the original backissues. In 1992 I bought the six-issue Warlock reprint series, which was identical to Warlock Special Edition, but it was printed on different paper stock and I wanted to file it in the same box with the then-current new Warlock series. A couple of years later, I bought the two volumes of MMW Warlock, the first of which comprised the Thomas/Kane era, the second Starlin.

Then, in 2019, Marvel released what I considered at the time to be the ultimate Starlin/Captain Marvel/Warlock edition ("ultimate" in that I would never need to buy another): The Thanos Wars: Infinity Origin omnibus, reprinting all of Starlin's Captain Marvel and Warlock stories, plus The Death of Captain Marvel graphic novel in a single edition. Perfect!

But now Marvel has solicited the Warlock by Jim Starlin "Gallery Edition" for December release, and it's even bigger than the omnibus edition! But do I really need it at this point? Will I ever read it? I guess I will whenever I am in the mood to read just Warlock, but what if I want to read the whole "Thanos Saga" from Captain Marvel to Warlock to The Death of Captain Marvel? Won't I then want to read it in a consistent format? [NOTE: I'm not really wild about the title "That Thanos Wars: Infinity Origins" as opposed to a title which would emphasize the heroes, but...] So here's my dilemma..

Strange Tales/Warlock originals - check

Warlock Special Edition - check

Warlock (1992 reprint series) - check

MMW Warlock - check

The Thanos War: Infinity Origin omnibus - check

Warlock by Jim Starlin gallery edition - ??? 

I will never read the originals or the Special Edition or the 1992 series again. I would possibly read MMW Captain Marvel if reading from that POV (as I did for a discussion just last year), but probably not MMW Warlock. Whereas I would definitely read the Captain Marvel bits of the omnibus from a Thanos (or a Starlin) POV, what about if I were in the mood to read just Warlock? Or when I get to the Warlock issues of the omnibus? The gallery edition is bigger, after all. 

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Is there such a  thing as Comics Completists Anonymous?  'Cause I feel like there should be.

I skimmed the original Warlock series on the spinner racks as a teen, then go the Essential Warlock. Like a lot of 1970s material, I'm glad I have it but not sorry I didn't buy the originals (I had way less money then). But B&W is good enough for that material.

"Is there such a thing as Comics Completists Anonymous? 'Cause I feel like there should be."

I don't know if that would help in this case, but the Germans probably have a word for ir.

"B&W is good enough for that material."

Speaking of German words (schadenfreude), I was a big fan of Howard Chaykin's American Flagg! back in the '80s. I remember one letter from a guy who opined, in comparison to American Flagg! (paraphrasing), "I used to think Jim Starlin's 'Warlock' was the height comics could reach." I was then and am now a fan of both. I guess "that's what makes horseraces." 

I struggle with this a bit. Mostly, I try not to double up collected editions (trades, Epic, MMW, Omnibus).

I was getting the MMW's but stop when they were getting to expensive (for me). I am getting some Omni's, but for things I want, not just because it is a continuation of the MMW. 

I still have all all my floppies, but am making plans to get rid of them (sell, donate...). I just don't have the space for all I have now. 

I don't think I have any advice for you. I don't recall ever intentionally buying a collection of something I already had complete, in another format.

That sure sounds like a collection that you won't regret waiting to see if you can find it cheap at a convention. 

And: SELL some of the old versions! 

Yes, I have learned to start culling things from my shelves. I generally offer such things here first (you bought two Flash Archives from me a while ago, IIRC), and I have about $40 left of $1000 in trade credit from my last two culls ($600 and $400). By the time I use that last $40, I'll have another box of dupes to sell. 

Off the top of my head (if anyone's interested), I already have MMW FF v6-9 for sale, and I will add v10-12 when FF OMNI v4 ships. (I never liquidates the dupes until the replacements are in my hands.) 

The only things I cull are my B&W Showcase or Marvel Essentials (bought when I had less cash) when I upgrade to color. I just give them away.

I have no qualms about not having matching sets so I don't have problems with a mix of Archives and Omnibuses, for example

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Yes, I have learned to start culling things from my shelves. I generally offer such things here first (you bought two Flash Archives from me a while ago, IIRC), and I have about $40 left of $1000 in trade credit from my last two culls ($600 and $400). By the time I use that last $40, I'll have another box of dupes to sell. 

Off the top of my head (if anyone's interested), I already have MMW FF v6-9 for sale, and I will add v10-12 when FF OMNI v4 ships. (I never liquidates the dupes until the replacements are in my hands.) 

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

I don't recall ever intentionally buying a collection of something I already had complete, in another format.

I try not to, man. but the comic book field is not like traditional book publishing in which you can rely on the publisher to release the most expensive format (i.e, hardcover) first, before releasing the paperback later. I am currently enjoying the Ka-Zar the Savage omnibus, but a couple of years ago, Marvel released a cheap ($15) tpb edition of the first six issues. I don't know what that was about. To gauge rerader interest? They were already in the midst of a Masterworks series at the time, and that's the format I wanted it. Now that there's an omnibus I no longer do, and I'm glad I passed on the tpb edition (which was not continued, BTW). 

JACK KIRBY'S ETERNALS: I thought the omnibus edition, which contained the entire series plus the annual,  was the ultimate format. But then Marvel released a MONSTER edition, and of course I had to have that. Sometimes I think the best edition is the one that is the least convenient to read.

EC COMICS: Dark Horse has recently finished the entire run of classic "New Trend" titles, but that doesn't stop me from buying Fantagraphics' smaller b&w editions grouped by artist. 

For that matter, I have an entire longbox full of EC periodical issues (reprints), and I have a few of those Russ Cochran slipcases as well. (I wish I would have bought more of those; they were quite a bargain.)

So what does the Monster edition have extra?

And how did they resist calling it the Deviant edition?

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

I don't recall ever intentionally buying a collection of something I already had complete, in another format.

I try not to, man. but the comic book field is not like traditional book publishing in which you can rely on the publisher to release the most expensive format (i.e, hardcover) first, before releasing the paperback later. I am currently enjoying the Ka-Zar the Savage omnibus, but a couple of years ago, Marvel released a cheap ($15) tpb edition of the first six issues. I don't know what that was about. To gauge rerader interest? They were already in the midst of a Masterworks series at the time, and that's the format I wanted it. Now that there's an omnibus I no longer do, and I'm glad I passed on the tpb edition (which was not continued, BTW). 

JACK KIRBY'S ETERNALS: I thought the omnibus edition, which contained the entire series plus the annual,  was the ultimate format. But then Marvel released a MONSTER edition, and of course I had to have that. Sometimes I think the best edition is the one that is the least convenient to read.

EC COMICS: Dark Horse has recently finished the entire run of classic "New Trend" titles, but that doesn't stop me from buying Fantagraphics' smaller b&w editions grouped by artist. 

"So what does the Monster edition have extra?"

SIZE. It's 21 1/2 x 14 inches.

"And how did they resist calling it the Deviant edition?"

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