How Would You Like That Collected?

After several months I am now healthy enough to take on the task of moving my comics around in my apartment. The longboxes are of course already in the storage room, but now I have to tackle my mess of collected editions. In looking at my shelves I am quite surprised by the wide variety of collected editions I have. I got plenty of black and white reprint collections. I have Absolutes. I have Omnibi. I have regular color trades. I have color hardcovers. I have it all. It is truly a magical time to buy things and not look at them for a long time. 

My favorite format is the black and white phonebook reprints. I know that a chorus of you just screamed, "THAT'S NOT HOW THEY WERE INTENDED TO BE SEEN!" I would scream back, "NO COMIC EVER COMES OUT THE WAY IT WAS INTENDED!" The nature of collaboration means that every portion of the process is someone injecting their individuality into the book. That is an element that is hard to bend to any intentions. You could gather a penciller, an inker, a colorist, and a letterer with the hopes of creating a certain feel for a book. That is no guarantee that it will actually come out with that feel. For certain collections I feel the lack of color actually makes the line art look better. I have seen old Jonah Hex issues in color, and I prefer the black and white. This isn't to rag on the colorists, there were certain limitations to what they could do.
My least favorite format is the Absolute Editions with the Omnibi just a step behind. I think part of it is that I resent having these fickle collections around. If I want to read them I have to find a special spot to sit down so I can enjoy the book. I can't put it in my bag and read it on the train or in the park. While they are beautiful I can't help but feel that they have destroyed an essential part of what makes comics fun for me. I love the portability. These books have become too precious. I have often joked that the next step up is going to be double bound editions. That way you never have to worry about actually opening the book and reading it.

So have at it. Why am I wrong? What is your favorite and least favorite formats? Let me know so I can mark them down as evidence when the tribunals begin.

Tom Katers has ink on his hands.


  1. I’m not keen on black and white budget editions of books that were meant to be in colour – I feel like I’m being shortchanged.

    Deluxe hardcovers, every time – they just look so nice on the shelf.

  2. Single issue. You can open them all the way. They don’t need a book shelf, just a box. They cost less cashflow-wise. They come out first. And they potentially increase in value.

  3. Personally I’m diggin the string of ultimate trade paperback collections Marvel have been putting out. they collect about twelve issues of a series and thats around what some omnibus’s do. So far I have Nextwave, Alias, and Cable and Deadpool which are really good reads in a longer format. The only one I ever had a problem with was the Captain America Winter Soldier book which had a couple of weird printing errors.

    I’m also begining to really enjoy the Marvel Essentials and DC showcases. a great way to experiance some cool old comics woithout breaking your bank account.

    Least favorites are probably the giant Omnibus’s. If the omnibius is, lets say, Starman size thats fine. But anything larger than that and I have a problem, to me there to unwieldy for actual reading. 

  4. I keep Absolutes and Omnibis to a minimum.  I’ve got New Frontier, I’m going to get All Star Superman and Aaron’s Ghost Rider.  They’re big and unruly and annoying to read.  Sure the art looks amazing and I like the special features but I can’t just sit on the couch and read them. 

    I’ve got that giant Calvin and Hobbes collection and it looks gorgeous but I find I prefer grabbing my old smaller editions because of all those reasons.



  5. Nah, opening up a bunch of bagged comics is tedious and annoying.  Give me a collected edition any day.

  6. @selfstyler See that "Looks good on a shelf" reason is absolutely the LAST reason I buy a book.  I want an easy to read volume at a decent price.  The biggest I’m going is the Walking Dead HCs.  I love those old reprints, it’s how I read the first Savage Dragon Archives and loved it.

  7. I love hardcovers! I’ve been collecting Preacher and Y: The Last Man in Deluxe Hardcover format and I locve the way they are put together.  I have a few Absolutes and Omnibi and I love them and yet I don’t.  Tom is right about finding a special comfortable place to read these bigger editions.  That said, I do think that some story look and read better in the oversized Absolute edition. For example Batman: The Long Halloween is such a story. There is something about Tim Sale’s art that look even better in an Absolute.

    I agree with Tom about the black and white for certain books as well. I bouth the first Showcase of Jonah Hex and I think the black and white format works well for the older comics. Plus, as a manga reader it’s a format I’m used to reading.

    I’m not big on standard TPBs.  I pick one up from time to time if I want to check out a story or if I’m missing a few issues in a run.

  8. I really don’t care how it looks on the shelf, as long as it ‘is’ on the shelf.  I just love reading comics.  Not aesthetics or the potential for a picture showing up in a magazine.

  9. I like comics, regardless of the format. Once I buy a book in a series, I must continue buying in that format, however. Which kind of sucks when I get books cheaply in an otherwise expensive format.

  10. I never buy the omniuses or absolutes for that very reason, too bloomin’ hefty! I love the essentials and showcases, but most of all I like old digests and 100-page super-spectaculars – grab bags of fun miscellany that while perfect bound, were still comics.

  11. It depends on the series, and I mostly agree about Absolutes, though I think the Starman Omnibus’ are the perfect size. Fables is pretty perfect in Trades. The only format I hate is the Premiere HC. Trade is 5 or 8 issues(depending on story size), HC  should be 8-12 issues. But I like having things on shelf and really starting to hate Boxes.

    Only Absolute I own is Kingdom Come, it was an unsolicited gift, and possibly the only one of the only books that needs an Absolute…maybe Justice as well. 

  12. I do a lot of my comic reading while on break at work, the phonebook format is perfect for this and I love it.  A normal, six issue trade of modern style comics, I finish it in one or two days at work.  Marvel Essentials usually last me a couple weeks.  I love giant, oversized hardcovers, but I don’t take them to work so I usually don’t get around to reading them as quickly as cheaper collections that I’m not worried about messing up while lugging them around in a backpack and reading them on the filthy tables in the break room.

  13. I always loved the meaty 12-issue trade. Its a shame that they’re so few and far between.  After that, I love the digest sized readers a la Scott Pilgrim and Runaways. But very few artists seem to want to draw in way suited for smaller editions.

    I have one Absolute. That was The New Frontier. I had no idea what it was but the cover look so awesome, plus when i looked at the regular trades i found they split it into 2 volumes. I mean, I understand trades that thin when it represents a complete story. . .but such is not the case for The New Frontier. But I digress, I first read the book in Absolute and it still re-read it in Absolute. But I don’t know any other Absolute it really need to have. . .

  14. My only problem with trades larger than 6 comics is the spine tends to give out sooner.  Anything over 6-8 collected books, I tend to get hard covers for longevity.

  15. I think you can tell my favorite way to collect by this picture.

  16. I prefer the regular trades

    Take up tiny amount of space, cheap, good size for a bus trip

    Im really annoyed that Marvel and DC put out the harcovers first

  17. @Vada: What if they are not bagged? Just wondering…

  18. I prefer standard trade format. Whether it’s hardcover or soft usually only depends on how old it is. I do fantasize about being rich someday and collecting all the Absolutes and Omnibi. But that will most likely never happen. I tinker with the idea of re-purchasing things like Preacher and Morrison’s JLA in the condensed hardcover format, but it’s difficult for me to justify buying something I’ve already had in two formats for years.

    I’m gonna take this opportunity to voice my disappointment about the way Blackest Night is being formatted. I simply cannot understand why they wouldn’t just format it the way they did Sinestro Corps War. I can fathom containing Blackest Night proper in one hardcover, because it can be read in one sitting without confusion. But doing so renders the GL and Corps tie-in trades completely useless. Why would anyone buy the GL and Corps BN trades when they’ll be virtually incomprehensible as stand-alone reads? I’ve collected Johns entire GL run in hardcover, but for Blackest Night, I think I’ll wait until DC comes to their senses and re-releases them chronologically in three big hardcovers.

  19. I really like the black and white reprints. My only problem, and I know this is your bread and butter Tom, but I have trouble reading some of the older 60s and early 70s comics. I wish they would reprint some more recent ones from the mid-to-late 70s and early 80s. That’s why I love the X-Men Essentials, even if I don’t really care for the X-Men as much as say Batman or Green Lantern, they have a large chunk of their stories that go all the way up to the late 80s when the storytelling began to be more and more like it is today. It makes it difficult to read a lot of the Marvel Essentials, because they feel like they’re all written by Stan Lee, who I think is fabulous for coming up with these concepts, but whose writing I can never really get into. It’s why I completely skipped ovr the reprints of his X-Men Run. If there were black and white reprints of the late 70s Green Lantern, Flash, or Batman in black and white, I’d rush out and buy them in a second.

  20. Standard trades all the way: easy portability, nice page feel, shelf storage without dominating the shelves, not too precious to read and reread, and no waiting six months to see how the arc resolves.

    A Guardians of the Galaxy TPB is the very essence of happiness.

  21. @jj Won’t happen.  I’m too anal to have comics without being protected.  But, I wouldn’t care to read comics if I didn’t have to take them all out.

  22. I am a single issue devotee. I love finding pieces of old series and reading an issue, even out of context of the larger story. 

    The oversized hardcover editions do look really nice. And that’s how I was getting all of Invincible, until I caved in and started buying issues last year. Also I got the Powers HC a few months ago and it was great, but there were a few spots where there was dialog or art that was lost in the gutter.

    The Omnibi and Absolutes are great for building muscle. Or forts.

  23. I still prefer single issues. Unless your issues are stored somewhere, away from your house, I really don’t understand why people don’t go back through their boxes and reread issues. What’s so hard about opening a bag and pulling out a comic book? 

    Speaking of black and white reprints, I would love a monthly Marvel Essential magazine. Fill it with stories that have some bearing on what’s happening in current continuity. Make it big, like the old Savage Sword magazine. This would make me very happy.

  24. …also, you’ve got to understand.  I fucking hate clutter.  To me, 8 boxes is clutter. 4 is acceptable.  5-6 is pushing it, but tolerable.  But I’ve been in the middle of a campaign of replacing a majority of my comics with trades.  My dealer sells all the trades he gets in for half off, so I trade the comics for the collected version.  It’s worked out pretty well, and books on a shelf just look better to me than white long-boxes.  Personal preference.

  25. blulew I’m talking about reading runs of comics.  It just irritates me to have to open up that many comic bags when I could simply reach for a trade and read away.

  26. I agree with Tom that the Hardcover Omnibi are just too darn ungangly. If I can’t shove it in a backpack or purse, or rest it comfortably on my lap I get annoyed. Single issues are super, the 2 page spreads are easy to absorb, the cost isn’t so shocking and there’s that brag worthy "how many boxes do you have?" factor. BUT like some shows that are just fun on a weekly basis (Big Bang Theory, Glee, Good Eats) there are some shows that I want to watch in their storyline entirety (like Fringe, Lost, Bleach), there are some comics I just want to sit and absorb in their full glorious state. If I had started Y from issue one I think I would have freaked out half way through from anticipation and frustration. Plus I always feel like issues are precious, breakable things. I can’t take a whole herd of them with me to school to read before class. There’d be no room for my school books and I know something awful might get spilled on them. 

    The TPB seem to give me the best bang for my buck. They’re pretty affordable, portable and I feel like I can be a little harder on them- although when I had to replace 3 of my Fables books b/c the binding melted or something I almost cried- and I get one story arch. I can throw 3 Preacher volumes in my packback for a vacation and not loose too much room. For books like Hellboy and Constantine I can pick one volume up, read it, shelve it and then wait a while before picking up the other.  Heck, continuity is only kind of sort of important for those series so it’s even more convient. I do hate that the glorious and fashionable 2 page spread is harmed in this format because the binding is so inflexible I can’t combine the two pages into one huge picture. Conversely I just finished Mice Templar Vol 1 on hardcover that had like a four page centerfold that was both beautiful and epic, so it can be done.  Course for me this is a moot point since I have no money for comics and must rely on the kindness of the library system to feed my hunger for comics, for now. 

  27. Give me digital comics at $0.99 an issue and I will buy all the back issues I want. If I want to read every issue of Starman, I will simply buy them individually as I read. I don’t need to buy six $30 Omniboo.

    If a book was meant to be published in graphic novel format (Afrodisiac, for example) sell me the whole book digitally for $8.

    I’m ready for the future. Why isn’t it ready for me? 

  28. I agree about the Marvel Omnibus.  That 1st volume of Amazing, which was bigger than most editions to include the entire Ditko run, is just  ridiculously heavy.  

  29. @stuclach: It’s your kids stuclach, your kids!!!

  30. I love tpb’s there just thicker and more durable comics

  31. I prefer standard softback Trades. They’re the best value, least precious and most accessible to take a risk on an unknown series or character. Plus I like that I can put them on a shelf. Hardcover trades are ok and i’ll only pick em up if they are cheap or on sale. Usually Hardcover trades are a bad value since they are the same exact book at the softcover, with a cheaply attached binding and casewrap. They’re not real hardcover books and won’t last as long as people expect them too. The industry makes a killing on those charging a premium but they’re some of the cheapest quality books in the publishing industry. 

    The Absolute’s are cool and are printed and bound to last forever, but they are a beast to try and deal with. I read HUSH for the first time in Absolute form and was fatiguing. I like the Omni’s because like the Absolutes their printed and bound to real book standards but the price on them is so high, I can’t afford as many as them as i’d like. 

  32. @wally: All of the Absolutes or Omnibi I bought I got way cheaper than the listed price. is great for buying larger editions at discounted prices.  I also got the one from the great Amazon glitch of 2010.

  33. I think they all have their pros/cons single issues are great but eventually they take up too much room so I can understand switching those singles to trades or hardcovers for your favourite runs.  But if I had to pick one I think it would be TPB’s they are generally the cheapest way to go and sometimes some stories aren’t good in single issue but when you have the whole run in front of you they are great. 

  34. Here’s a great suggestion, read them in whatever format you want!  Its up to the publishers to make comics as available as possible.

  35. I really like Marvel’s oversized hardcovers as they’re normally good value, have high production values and collect a decent number of comics without becoming too ungainly. Otherwise, the odd deluxe HC aside, I generally like conventional trades a lot. I don’t have any Absolutes or Omnibi as they’re too expensive and, Strangers in Paradise aside, I don’t really like the black and white "phonebook" collections, especially when they’re reprinting colour material.

  36. @jesTr – thats how i usually get them. I only buy them discounted usually through Amazon, etc.  but there is just so much out there, that i love going through discount bins/shelves and picking up things i wasn’t aware of. 

    also the biggest benefit of any collected edition over floppies…. NO ADS =) Current ads just don’t have the same kitsch value of the old stuff.  

  37. @JesTr – Good one.

  38. The biggest problem I’ve run into with the larger Omnibi (like Morrison’s New X-Men, or the Millar/Hitch Ultimates), is that after awhile on the shelf, the pages towards the middle of the book sag and pull the top center of the spine inward. I’ve had to flip them upside down every month or so to keep that from happening. Fortunately, since the New X-Men title logo is so brilliantly designed, it doesn’t matter which way it’s oriented. Bigger Absolutes (Watchmen) suffer from the same fault, and I think that the slipcase is totally unneccessary unless it’s muliple volumes contained therein, a la Lost Girls or Sin City HC’s. Breaking a bigger volume into multiples would also be helpful in avoiding the sagging issue, and that’s why I’ve been collecting the JLI, Runaways, Fables, Preacher, Swamp Thing, and Y: the Last Man Deluxe Ed HC’s.

    Still though, the Omnibi and Absolutes do look fantastic on my shelf.

    @stuclach – Afrodisiac thrives on paper. To "publish" that digitally would be pointless.

  39. I really like these cheap, $20 to $25, hardcovers that are comic size. They’re easy to carry around, tend to collect entire arcs, and have a durability to them. I’m not afraid to go back and reread them like I am w/ the turn of the century Marvel trades I own, whose spines are falling apart at the seams.


  40. You know what else I love? Digest size books.  Loved the new Digest size Escapists and really have been enjoying the format for Strangers in Paradise.

  41. I guess I’m in the minority of folks who love the omni and oversized HCs.  Omnis look fantastic and I don’t mind backpacking them around (hey, need a workout somehow).  I also like the new avengers/mighty avengers HCs along with the invincible iron man HC run.  However, I will go with trades over HCs any day if they contatin the same number of issues.

  42. What I love about collected editions the most is the variety. From the huge to the small, I like it all. The Absolutes and Marvel Omnibus are simply fantastic for multiple reasons. They clear out my longboxes of runs. The extras are great. No ads is something I’d pay extra for. The issue covers are beautiful to look at without the logos, barcodes and printing (and you usually get the variant covers too!). The concerns about weight and portability are really non factors, unless you’re a little girl. But yes, of course, saying you want to buy Absolutes and Omnibus to take on trips is just wrong. It goes without saying. You wouldn’t read comics in the shower… unless your name is Kramer (rinsing a salad in the shower with you is so beyond wrong).

    Sitting on the sofa with a kid on each side of me as we dive into Absolute DC the New Frontier is pure magic. Turning a big page over to reveal a big suprise is a lot of fun. "Big" has its kicks in our house. Its like going to the Imax. I wouldn’t want everything in this size, but I sure do love it.

    Looking forward to the Wednesday Comics HC (11×17! next week) and Absolute All Star Superman.

  43. @ActualButt – I finished reading (and enjoying) my very own copy of Afrodisiac yesterday.  My daughter then proceeded to spill apple juice all over it.  It is VERY ruined.  I (respectfully) don’t agree that "publishing" it digitally would be pointless.  If it can be produced beautifully for print (and Afrodisiac was), it can be produced just as beautifully in a digital format.

    I am not opposed to print.  I LOVE print.  BUT I want it available digitally, too.  That way those that want/need to transition to digital (like me) can do so, while those that don’t want to, don’t have to. 

  44. I’m madly in love with the deluxe edition format. It’s got the (Marvel) Omnibus-sized page without the Omnibus heft, collects roughly 2 trades, and looks grand on the shelf. So, for quite a bit lower a price, I basically have Astonishing X-Men in Omnibus since I have the 2 hardcovers. Maybe I’m missing some extras, but I have the awesome Cassaday art in oversized format and the 2 books are easier to read and hold.

  45. I don’t really care, as long as they don’t fall apart in my hands on the first read, like my Torso trade did. Cost is the main thing I look at; if I find a harcover for really cheap I’ll get it, but mostly I just get paperback trades.

  46. Because many of my friends also read comics, and because they are cheap, and not very careful with what they borrow, I prefer the trades. 

  47. I like Essentials for older material. There is an X-Men Essential (5? 6?) with the Asgardian Wars material in it that has Terry Austin inks on Neal Adams or John Byrne pencils, and it is gorgeous without color. However, once you get into more recent material (mid 90’s on), single issues and regular trades. I saw a Wolverine Essential from this period, and it didn’t transfer to black and white well at all. This was after Marvel started using the Malibu color method, so the colors are an indelible part of the art – it turns into various gray tones.

  48. @wally: Don’t even get me started on ads.  Most of the ads in a single are just solicits for a comic made by the publsiher and think that is why issue prices increased. Well that and the fact we are willing to pay more for them.  I think it was Paul who put up an article about old ads in comics and you just don’t see third parties advertising in comics anymore.

  49. I love hardcovers and after my first absolute, I couldn’t find a reason not to own it in that format if it’s available. I tend to get tradepaper backs of more straight up superhero fair (Superman, The Initiative, Secret Six, and Incredible Herc) and get the hardcovers of the literary adaptions (dark tower, enders game, the stand). For events I go the single issue route.


    I actually have found "looks great on the shelf" to be a solid factor for me because it adds to the decor of my room. I don’t have posters in my walls anymore so the harcovers let me geek out in the classiest way possible.

  50. I like palin ol tpb’s. But am looking forward to the digital revolution of comics. The day when you’llbe able to show of a whole run off on your laptop or ipad is gonna be sweet.

  51. I dig the DC deluxe hardcover.  It’s hardcover enough to feel special, especially as it’s slightly oversized.  Could do with a few more extras, which DC is notoriously stingy with.  I like the meatiness of those Marvel ultimate trades, plenty of substance there.  I do like the complete runs you get in omniboo and absolutes, but it’s true they’re too damn unwieldy.  They may be to blame for my current back problems…can I sue DC comics?

  52. I like TPB in the 12 issue size.  Smaller seems like you’re getting gyped.  I’d like to have all of the Hellboy hardcovers, but that seems silly since I have them mostly in trade.

  53. For hardbacks, i like DC’s omnibi format. For trades, i like the size thats a little bigger then digest but smaller than the average floppy with a fairly big page count. and high quality paper is a most.  

  54. I’m a fan of paperbacks.  I do believe that the more issues collected the better, so I’m enjoying the new "ultimate edition" trades that Marvel and even DC have been putting out, collecting runs that were intended to be in one volume rather than two, or collecting a large run in a few of them.  I also enjoy the Essentials and Showcase, however I find the 80’s stuff lacking in that department, as usually those get collected in colour with fewer issues and get charged a premium, such as Marvel’s "Classic" line.  I’m not a huge fan of the 60’s and 70’s stuff because of the writing.  It sucks that DC pulled the Suicide Squad Showcase for some other format to come in 2011.  I’m guessing some kind of coloured hardcover that will charge you $5-10 more for about half the issues.  I like the phone book volumes because you get a lot, and hopefully they collect the entire run of something.  Not a fan of the Absolutes and Omnibi.  In fact, a few months ago I sold most of mine as all they did was sit on the shelf, and I found I’d pick up my trades to read those stories as you need to sit on the couch or in a lounger to read those massive volumes.  They look good on the shelf, but that’s about it, and frankly, they should do more than that for the price you’re paying, even with an Amazon discount.  I also like the digest size trades such as the Sin City trades and the Queen and Country Definitive Editions.  They look awesome and they’re nice and compact.  I wish DC and Marvel would put out books like this.

  55. I second Tom  I love buying a Showcase or Essential volume, knowing that I’ll be provided several weeks worth of reading.

  56. @Vada all the way up there: Singles doesn’t equal longboxes. I use a filing cabinet. There are alternatives.

  57. The oversized Marvel HCs (not the Omnibii) like The Punisher Max and Runaways ones are my favorite. I try to get those before they inevitably go out of print.

    I’m a big fan of the digest as well. I’m very happy keeping my Runways in digest form alongside Scott Pilgrim.

    I don’t think I’ll ever buy a Absolute. I’ve wanted to, but I realize I’d likely never read it. 

  58. It’s weird, if I *really* love a comic then I’ll get the HC because they’re just… nicer. I’ll also be drawn to the HC if it has extra material. But 9 times out of 10 I will buy the ordinary trade. I have one absolute and it’s Watchmen. I’ve never read it.

  59. For me it’s all about the most bang for my buck these days, so the Showcases and Essentials are perfect for that. I have the Unknown Soldier Showcase in my stack right now (based on Tom’s recommendation, no less) and it comforts me to know that I have plenty of comics reading material to last me at least through mid-June.

  60. The thing is, I don’t understand how singles take up more room than trades? Isn’t it the same amount of paper? I guess you take the ads out? But that’s usually replaced by extras. Plus the cover is a bit thiscker… It’s only if you bag them that it takes up too much room. You can double bag ’em which I do, so you use one bag and one board for two comic books.

    I can see if you buy a lot it would expand too quick. I don’t buy that many comic books so…

  61. I forgot to mention: Another reason I like collections (HCs in particular) is getting sketches done in them. My #1 favorite thing to do at cons. This is as close as I’ll ever come to buying original art. Sometimes I’ll tip an artist to spend 5-10 minutes (more than the average 2-3 minutes) to get this done.

  62. I cannot stand the Absolute books (of course, it took me buying 3 or 4 of them to realize this).  I cannot fit them on my bookshelves, and they are the least portable books possible.  The Marvel Omnibus books are better–still a bit too heavy and a bit too much packed into them, but they at least fit in a bookshelf and are slightly more portable.  But by far the best format is the Starman Omnibus.  Does DC have any other books collected like that?  It’s such a perfect way to collect a lot of book in a nice package without being over-the-top crazy.

    @JumpingJupiter I’m no physicist or book publisher, but I assume that the tightness of a book binding as opposed to a staple through the center is what makes trades so much more compact than single issues. 

  63. I feel the love of the ‘Phone book’ editions.  Inexpensive way to get tons of issues/stories and let’s one appreciate the drawing/linework of the comics no matter how good or bad they may be.  Intended, Inschmended I say.  Just a different context.

  64. My favorite is the regular HC’s. Easy to read.

  65. im a huge fan of the deluxe HC that dc has been putting out ex machina in. its the perfect amount of reading material.

  66. vadamowens – If you like trades, you like trades. That’s cool. It just seems to me that issues can be as accessible as trades. Drawer boxes help with the clutter, but they are ugly. I guess what I’m getting at is, I hear a lot of people complaining about having to get into a box and open a bag. It just doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, all things considered. It’s not like we have to carry a pail down to the river to get water for the day or cut down a tree so we can stay warm. 

  67. For me it really depends on the work, and how i feel about it. For older work, pre digital color/offset printing, i like the format of the kirby omnibuses. When they recreate the old color palleteb on glossy or bright white paper, it looks horrible. In the Kirby omnibuses and the Chronicles series the colors look great. 

    Im a big fan of Absolute editions. especially when there is bonus material. Im not overly concerned about size weight issues as anything i own in that format is something ive likely read several times. Im not really going to read these as much as looks at them, peruse them, remind myself of them. The bigger size, nicer paper and great production allow me to delve into the art. Jim Lee, Alex Ross, J K WIlliams are made all the ,more exquisite. and the bonus material provides a glimpse into the process, something i am a fan of.

    Im a graphic designer so the actual publication design is very important to me. Again the Absolutes do an astounding job of this. One of my pet peeves is a trade that is Just the cover of one of the issues. I am glad Marvel started the practice on many of their trades and hardcovers where they pull a character shot from one of the covers and isolate it on a black background. Simple to be sure and not particularly expensive to do (like a brand new cover) but at least its giving you a new take on a piece of art when you cant get a new piece of art. 

  68. @Gobo: I totally agree about the Strangers in Paradise digests. That might be my favorite format right there.


  69. I like trade paperbacks.  They’re affordable, don’t have all the ads and can be stored on the shelf.  But I mostly buy issues since I need to read the story right when it comes out.  Also, I like the letters pages in the issues.

  70. Actually now that I remember, the Oni Press Definitives (Q+C and Whiteout) are the best. Oni Press are gods of collected editions. Gods I say!

  71. I have just one question for those of who have purchased Absolutes or Omnibi’s & dislike them for their size, lack of portability, etc.

    Just what the heck did you think you were getting? 

    I love each edition of each collection I’ve bought and knew what I was getting into prior to smacking my hard earned $ down on the counter. Besides older collections getting new face lifts, (such as V for Vendetta getting Absolute(d), etc.) we all have the choice when purchasing a collected piece of material…..

    I say, buyer beware – and forever hold your piece. Especially when you plunk down $75 for a yellow pages style hardcover. C’mon! You ain’t takin’ that on the train or bus. You should know this already.

    Btw, I love my absolutes. Wish more of ’em would come out. I do agree tho, Vertigo’s dlx editions rule. Perfect size all around.  

  72. @jj I don’t know what to tell you brother.  I like trades better.  Sorry:(

  73. I love singles mainly becuase I enjoy the episodic feel that they have. However, Trade paperbacks and hardcovers do look nice on a bookshelf. My wife in paticular wishes I would switch to getting all trades becuase after a while singles do start to take up a lot of room.  Sure trades take up room as well BUT they are actually attractive on a bookshelf. I can’t imagine putting singles on a book shelf. All you’d have is a mass of plastic and white. Also when I go on work trips the trades are a lot more durable then a single. If a Trade gets smashed in my suitcase somehow then I am sad but i’ll fix it. If a SINGLE gets smashed in my suitcase then I am pissed and devastated.

  74. I love whatever gets the story in my hands the easiest way. Bang for my buck as it were. I love the Essentials, Showcase, Archive b and w stuff. I’m a big story junkie and consider how much comes in those volumes, I’m a fool to say no. I also enjoy the DVD-ROMs that have whole collections on them. Yeah you can’t read as many issues in a row because the screen eventually gets to your eyes. But again, I can read these stories, even if it’s not in paper form. That’s what it’s about for me. I buy comics to read them and consume the story. I do have a few absolutes and omnibuses but that’s mostly because they are stories I love (or because they were on super sale, again, bang for buck). I don’t really care how a story is collected as long as its available, I can get my hand so it and understand what’s going on. Color, no color, large size, small size, ads, no ads, whatever, as long as you have a good story and a ton of material. I’m in. 

  75. Nice blog post, Tom. I know you take great care in your monthly comics and collected editions.

    You know me – I’m a CE junkie and I think certain runs are better for certain formats. You mention Jonah Hex and I agree the Showcases is great. So are the horror comics in black and white softcover format. The Absolutes and Omnibus are good but some of them are way too big like Amazing Spider-Man. Sure it has all of the Ditko/Lee run but I really don’t want it crushing me below the belt when I read it. 

    Mentioned above are the Starman, and Vertigo hardcovers – perfect size and feel. They should all be like this. My son on the other hand perfers the Marvel Adventures Digests compared to the monthly’s – good size for his hands, are able to take a beating in the cars rides to Chicago and he gets a lot of comic for the buck.

  76. @Vada:

    Didn’t mean to sound like I was judging you. SOrry 🙂

  77. Tom, you already knew this probably but when it comes to collected editions we’re on opposite ends of the spectrum. I savor high end hardcovers like no other. For example, the Strangers in Paradise Omnibus? Heaven. Whereas I have absolutely no love for Essentials and Showcases.

    To each his own! 

  78. @Wood: To each his own what? 😛

  79. @Wood Don’t you find those giant editions hard to read though?  That SIP Omnibus is a BEAST

  80. @abstract geek-I’ve got the OMAC Kirby collection and I was most pleased with the quality.  Fourth Worlds Vol. 1 is on its way and I cant wait.

  81. I’m a big Absolute fan but I wish DC would be a bit more selective about what books to give "the treatment". For me , it just curls my toes to see great comics being accorded the kind of publishing love I think they deserve.

  82. I like the phone book b&w type books like the Noble Causes Archives.  As stated, Omnis are just too big to read comfortably so I only have a few of those.  My favorite style is the hardcovers like Invincible.  They are light enough to read and take around comfortably, but the extra page space is a nice luxury as well.