Screw Trades, I’m Going Hardcover

In a series of events most similar to the iFanboy Heroclix obsession of July 2001, we here at iFanboy have become obsessed with the new/latest trend of hardcover “special” editions. A few months back, on a whim I picked up DC Comics’ Absolute Watchmen and fell in love with the high quality printing, the oversized pages and the pages and pages of extra bonus material. Then today, I received the wonderful gift of the Alias Omnibus from Marvel. More oversized pages, more bonus material.

This could prove to be an expensive habit, but with Absolute Crisis on Infinite Earths, The Uncanny X-Men Omnibus, Absolute Kingdom Come and Absolute Dark Knight coming out soon, I may need a new bookcase. Oh, I can’t forget how Invincible from Image has gotten in the act too…

Hardcovers, they’re the new heroin.

Now this isn’t the first time I’ve dabbled in hardcovers, I do have a few including Volume 1 of Ultimate Spider-Man, but with this renewed focus on extra material and the classy job the publishers have been doing with these, it makes me want to toss my trades and deck out my entire library in hardcovers.

The funny angle though is very Lucas-ian, if I get the Kingdom Come book, then I will have bought Kingdom Come in single issues, trade paperback and now hardcover. It’s like the comic companies have learned something from Lucasfilm’s marketing department.

One complaint directed towards Marvel though about The Uncanny X-Men Omnibus, Vol. 1: the book begins with Claremont’s run. Which is great, but for Volume 1, why not start at issue #1 with Lee & Kirby and reprint the entire run? IF they go back and do that, my hardcovers are going to be all out of order in continuity and its going to drive me crazy.


  1. This weekend I picked up the hardcover of Astonishing X-men despite the fact that I own the entire series. I want that absoulte watchmen but I’m going to wait until my shop has a 50% off sale. Instead of buying the X-men omnibus I think I’ll just buy the DVDs. Its half the price and all the issues.

    But atleast I now know that I’m not the only hooked on the hard stuff.

  2. Man that Alias Omnibus is GREAT!! I also really want the Walking Dead hardcover but I have never seen it at any of my local stores. I hate to spend the extra money for books I already own but they are just so nice.

  3. In the last month I have bought the Alias Omnibus, the Walking Dead (signed) HC and the Powers vol 1 HC

    It isnt actually that expensive – for example the Powers HC costs $30, whereas the first two trades cost $20 dollars each, so the HC is actually cheaper.

    Next on my list is the Invincible one, as you have mentioned. i have the trades and issues already, but i do love Invincible…

  4. I’ve been kicking around the idea of getting the Alias Omnibus. It’s worth it huh? I’ve never read it at all, just really like Bendis’s stuff.

    Speaking of Hardcovers, I wish that Barnes and Noble would reprint that huge Ultimate Spiderman Hardcover. I waited too long to get it the first time.

  5. I just got the Ultimates Vol 1 Hardcover and am very much satisfied with it. I have been going back and forth over whether I want to get the Alias Omnibus or not. I read some of the series and liked it, but its a slippery slope with these hardcovers. I don’t want to start replacing the trades that I already have with hardcovers unless its really worth it.

    Now if only I could find a podcast that had a review of the Alias hardcover. A review that could tell me what it includes, what is good about it and was schooled enough in Bendis to compare it with his other work. Hmmmmmm. Where could I find that?

  6. I’ve gotten on the hardcover bandwagon recently myself after years of resistance. I just got my hands on one of those Barnes & Noble exclusive Ultimate Spider-Man hardcovers, the one that collects the first 40 issues and weighs in at 125 pounds. Lift with the legs, true believer!

    I almost envy someone who’s never read Alias, because you get to read it all at once in oversized Omnibus form. It was my favorite gift this year, both because I loved the book and because I loved not paying for it.

    I also just bought the Astonishing hardcover, and I don’t regret the purchase… but I’m slowly realizing that I keep buying book versions of comics I already own. I can’t decide whether or not that’s a special kind of stupid. I justify it by telling myself books are easier to loan out for converts and that one day soon I really will sell those individual issues. Somewhere. (Anybody want a semi-complete run of Alias in, ohhh, let’s say “Very Good” condition?)

  7. I love hardcovers; I always have. They look nicer on a bookshelf and they feel good in my (gentle yet firm) hands. I even prefer hardcover books over paperbacks even though they are much harder to read while keeping your balance on the subway. I just like ’em.

    The current iFanboy obsession goes beyond your standard hardcover. These ABSOLUTE/OMNIBUS editions are ridiculous. Oversized hardcovers with DVD-like extras? Why not just punch me in the stomach, take my wallet and date my sister? When I saw Absolute Watchmen at Ron’s place last week it was like a light shone down from on high and angels began to sing.

  8. Well, I’ll have to get Alias then. I’ll see how much it is from In Stock Trades. The only Hard cover that I’m considering overlapping with the trades that I already have is Runaways.

    Where did you find a copy of the Ultimate Spider-Man hardcover?

  9. You know, the B&N Ultimate Spider-Man hardcover was not nearly as hard to find as I thought. I looked around to buy it online, and the B&N web site sadly informed me it was out of print. I skimmed eBay long enough to be depressed by the asking prices. Then I had a crazy idea: I would go to a Barnes & Noble store. Like… physically. The first one I went to had 4700 copies of it.

  10. I just bought Top Ten: The 49ers (which was so great I had to stop reading halfway through to take a break and bask in it’s greatness) and the Invincible Vol 1 HC. It’s even easier nowadays to get the HC’s because you can usually get them cheaper than the SC used on Amazon.

  11. Just reading those two words, “Absolute Watchmen” (especially in bold) makes me want to run out and buy it.

    Wait…… you guys had an obsession with Heroclix?

  12. Wait…… you guys had an obsession with Heroclix?

    Yeah… for about 72 hours at the San Diego Con one year. We’re not proud of it.

  13. I have a vast collection of Marvel and DC Overpower cards in my closet at home. My friends and I never understood the rules, but we sure did buy a lot of those cards.

  14. Didn’t they release Lee/Kirby X-Men in a Marvel Masterworks hardcover? I guess it’s not oversized but it’s the beautiful paper and all that.

    Here’s the one I’m waiting for: Y: The Last Man hardcover. But they’re taking forever so I broke down and started buying the trades.

    The other hardcovers that might be worth getting are the first two volumes of The Best of Spider-Man. You get all of JMS’ run while it was good and some good stuff from Jenkins. The best part is that they’re usually around $18 on Marketplace after they’ve been out a year.

  15. I think it is safe to say I am addicted to HCs as well. In the past year I have bought Absolute Watchmen, Absolute Crisis on Infinite Earths, Absolute League of EG Vol 2, Absolute Planetary Vol 1, Invincible HC Vol 1, Runaways HC Vol 1, Ultimates HC Vol 1, New X-Men HC Vol 1 (Grant Morrison), Supreme Power HC Vol 1, Rising Stars Complete Series HC.

    I also have Absolute Kingdom Come and Absolute Dark Knight on order. I plan on getting all of the Absolute Sandman volumes as well.

    I am spending too much damn money on these things, but they are pretty awesome. I never pay full price though. Usually I order through DCBS, which is where I get all of my monthlies from as well. The Absolutes are almost always 40-50% off the cover price, and the Marvel HCs are that low sometimes as well. That discount is only available the first month though, then they go back to their normal 35% off. Amazon always them at around 30-35% off too. I never, never, never buy trades or HCs in a regular comic shop anymore, and very few monthlies. I feel a little bit bad about not supporting the shops more, but the online discounts are just too good to pass up.

  16. Damn.

  17. Holy Crap…that’s alot of Hardcovers.

    I only have two hardcovers: Ultimate Spider-Man HC Vol. 1 and New Avengers: Breakout HC. I got USM becuase it was big and had alot of issues (little did I know it costed ass loads more than a trade) and I got New Avengers because I wanted to read it, but all the old back issues were sold out, and I really wanted to read it.

    To me, Hardcovers would be nice ONLY for display purposes. Hell, even when I display my books now, they look really nice, despite being trades. Sure, a huge ass covers and extras is nice, but it better be more than a few extra sketches to grab my 30 extra dollars.

    (Although Absolute Watchmen/Kingdom Come/Infinite Crisis (It’s coming soon, apparently) do catch my eye…they look damned good.)

  18. Man that is a lot isn’t it. I think that is the first time I ever thought about them all at once like that. I think for a while I was too obsessed with the Absolutes. I was getting one every couple of months. But now I think I have all of the ones that are out that I want (except LOEG Vol 1 – I can’t find that one for some reason).

    Spidermav – you may be right. I like looking at them on my shelf – they are awesome to display. But I probably don’t need them – most of them I have either in trade or monthly already. I look back at how much money I’ve spent on HCs and…well, I prefer not to think about that…

  19. Yeah, but they’ll last forever, and if nothing else, Watchmen, and Dark Knight Returns deserve the special treatment.

  20. don’t know if you guys heard, but darwyn cooke’s New Frontier is getting the Absolute treatment. I cannot wait.

    I’ve been a big fan of the Absolutes since i was able to pick up both volumes of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen for half price. F’ing beautiful. I’ve got my Absolute Kingdom Come on order and i’m just giddy about that. Now hows about those Absolute Sandman’s already!!!

  21. Man, I wish I was of age to be employed freely…I need some mad cash for all of this. Dark Knight, Watchmen, Kingdom Come, Infinite Crisis, Superman: For Tommorow (eventually), and Hush? That’s just beautiful to display. Hell, they’ve even Absoluted some Newspaper strips, such as Calvin and Hobbes and The Farside. My mom has the farside one, and it’s really a beautiful.

    I think that Marvel should step up with Hardcovers. They’ve been doing it with the Ultimate Spider-Man and X-men story arcs…but not much else. There’s small hardcovers (such as New Avengers) but if they ‘Absoluted’ arcs such as The Galactus arc from the Fantastic Four, House of M, the first 12 or so issues of The Avengers, maybe even the story arc from Spider-Man (The Night Gwen Stacy Died) or maybe even entire runs, such as Smith’s or Bendis’ Daredevil Vol. 2, all of the current New Avengers prior to any Civil War tie-ins.

    My god. Imagine a hardcover volume of Civil War, with all relating books put into it. That would be insane.

    HOWEVER, with all these Hardcovers…what will I have for bathroom reading :O :O :O :O

  22. Man, I wish I was of age to be employed freely…

    No, you don’t.

  23. don’t know if you guys heard, but darwyn cooke’s New Frontier is getting the Absolute treatment. I cannot wait.


  24. Spidermav – I forgot to say I also have that complete Calvin & Hobbes. It is a 3 volume huge HC in a huge slipcover case. It is even better than the Absolutes. I didn’t pay for that though – my in-laws got it for me for Christmas. It rocks.

    Marvel has quite a few oversized HCs actually. Smith’s and Bendis’ Daredevil runs are all in oversized HC. I am not sure about the FF run you mentioned, but I would think House of M and New Avengers will get the oversized HC eventually. I am sure Civil War will also get the oversized HC treatment eventually. Marvel actually does a lot more of the oversized HCs than DC does. The only ones DC does usually are the Absolutes. And while they are pretty much the best books you can buy, they only do a handful of them each year.

    And believe me, being of age to be employed freely is not all it’s cracked up to be.

    Masterwerk – Where did you get LEOG Vol 1? I can’t find it anywhere. And yes, I will probably be getting the Absolute New Frontier. God I am a sucker for the Absolutes…

  25. Well, see, Marvel may have more HARDCOVERS, but DC really makes them shine, and gives us the beautiful absolutes.

    And yes, that Calvin and Hobbes HC is a really beautiful thing. Truly one of the best way to preserve one of the best comics ever.


    As for working age, you guys, I know it’s SERIOUSLY not cracked up…but it’s kinda hard to afford all my hobbies (Comics, Video Games, Computer pimpage, Girls, and potential Musician) 🙁

  26. As for working age, you guys, I know it’s SERIOUSLY not cracked up…but it’s kinda hard to afford all my hobbies (Comics, Video Games, Computer pimpage, Girls, and potential Musician) 🙁

    That doesn’t change with a job. Hobbies just get more expensive. 😉

    I feel like I should reiterate that what Ron is talking about (the new iFanboy obsession) is not just the standard “hardcover”, but the special edition Omnibus (Marvel) and Absolute (DC) special edition oversized hardcovers with the DVD-like extras.

  27. I want that Calvin and Hobbes book bad. Does anyone know if it’s a limited edition?

  28. You might also try looking at your local Costco for the Calvin & Hobbes. That’s where my in-laws got it and I think they payed about $80-$90 for it there (a little bit less than Amazon).

  29. You have to wonder what it costs to get the Calvin and Hobbes thing shipped though 🙂

    Spidermav: I think it turns out that the USM hadcovers are the better deal than the TPB’s. The TPB’s are $15 and the hardcovers are usually two of the TPB’s. So, technically they’re the same price really, but you get more “bonus features” with the TPB’s. Unfortunately, after the first volume they really started skimping on how many extras they included. I have the first 5 and I’m tempted to get the 6th since I let people borrow them so often but the 6th one is really thin, haven’t figured that out yet.

  30. Free shipping with Amazon Prime no matter how heavy it is!

    (I swear I don’t work for Amazon.)

  31. I love Amazon Prime, I just can’t afford it.
    I’m pretty sure that when you don’t have free shipping anything that costs over $25 is free shpping.

  32. Amazon Prime = Free Two Day Shipping!

  33. Strangley enough, The Calvin and Hobbes Collection is down to 34% off. Must have been some strange one day supersale.

  34. I bought a new phone through Amazon like 2 weeks before christmas, so they offered me a 2 month free trial of Prime. So all my christmas shipping was free and everything through February. It was awesome. I really took advantage of it too.

  35. Just got back from the comic shop and a guy asked the owner if he had any Absolute books, and he said, he could maybe get the Jim Lee Batman one, but other than that, they’re gone. Not to be reprinted.

    I haven’t checked the facts on that.

  36. We here at iFanboy like to be accountable for what we say and correct ourselves when we’re wrong.

    Full accountability:

    Apparently, the free shipping provision of Amazon Prime membership does not apply to “oversized” or “heavier” items, contrary to what I stated a few posts up.

    I found this out the hard way after reading Josh’s post about the rumor that Absolute books are becoming rare and going “Eep!” in my head and rushing over to Amazon to order Absolute Watchmen and Absolute Crisis on Infinite Earths. Oh, well. At least I’ll have the books in a week’s time.

  37. That’s crazy that your shop owner told you they were all out-of-print. That is true for some of them (most notably Absolute Authority Vol. 1, Planetary and apparently LOEG Vol. 1), but most of them are still easily attainable for cover price or less. Just look in the DC backorder section of Previews and you will see Absolute Hush, Watchmen, Crisis, Authority Vol. 2, LEOG Vol. 2, Danger Girl and The World’s Greatest Super Heroes. (Are there any I am forgetting?) The shops can still order those directly from DC. Also, online stores still have those in stock – try Amazon, instocktrades, etc… If that fails, you can find most of them on ebay or for under face value.

  38. That sounds about right. My store has a ton of them.

    Damn my poor self-control!

  39. I wrote RIGHT THERE that I hadn’t checked on that. Apparently, I can get Conor to spend hundreds of dollars based on simple hearsay.

    I wield an awesome and terrible power. You shall kneel before it!

  40. Today I ordered Absolute Watchmen.

  41. I have a problem … I am absolutely addicted to Hardcovers … I have All the Absolutes (Including World’s Greatest Super-Hero’s and JLA/Avengers, neither of which are officially Absolutes … but really they are), all 10 Sandmans (which will be replaced with Absolutes), All the Ultimate Spider-man’s, Ultimate X-men’s, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Captain America Winter Solder: Vol 1 & 2, Alias (soon to be replaced with Alias Omnibus), Fantastic Four and X-men Omnibus, Walking Dead Slipcase Hardcover (almost same format as Absolutes), Give me Liberity, Powers, Goldfish, all of the Best of Spider-man’s, Spider-man: The Others, All the Bone hardcovers, Long Halloween, Dark Victory, Superman of Tomorrow, Batman/Superman (all three), two Catwoman HC’s, Deadman slipcase HC, Green Lantern/Green Arrow slipcase HC, Green Lantern: Rebirth & No Fear, Green Arrow (all three of them), Maus, V for Vendetta, Invincible, Runaways, Dark Night Returns, Dreadstar, Young Gods, Freebooters, Wolverine: Enemy of the State (1&2), all three New X-men’s, Astonishing X-men, New Avengers, Young Avengers, Avengers Assemble, Avengers: Earth’s Mightest Hero’s, Earth X, All the Astro City’s, Marvels (10th Aniversary and Oversized) … and that’s all I can remember off the top of my head right now … I am positive there’s a bunch I have that I can’t remember right now … I have so many I need to buy a new bookcase because the 6-7 shelf one I have at home is FULL. That being said, I probably have around 20-30 books on pre-order right now … yep, I have a problem.

  42. You’re not married are you?

    Or you’re very successful.

    Or you have a credit card problem.

  43. Not married, but on the other hand I don’t buy individual issues … Successful is a relative term … so what I consider successful you may think is nothing, or vice versa … but I have passed a benchmark I set for myself. Credit Card problem??? Yeah, gotta admit to that one … but still, I’d rather look at my bookcase full of hardcovers then my credit card bill, so I don’t worry about it too much.

  44. I was just teasing. That’s a lot of nice books. No judgement implied. 😉

  45. No Worries, no offence taken … just had a look and saw that I forgot to mention my Daredevils, Superman: for all Ages and True Brit, the Farside Complete collection and of course Calvin and Hobbes.

  46. This has nothing to do with comics but it’s in the same spirit as ‘going hardcover.’
    My Criterion Edition Dazed and Confused came in today and it’s almost too beautiful to behold. Click the Amazon link at the top and look for it. In the words of Borat: “wawaweewah.”

  47. Is the Criterion Edition of Dazed and Confused worth it, I mean aside of Wooderson which makes it worth it…I just saw that it came out in EW and was trying to decide if it was worth the purchase

  48. Dazed & Confused – Criterion Collection (1993)

  49. It is if you’re the kind of guy that buys old Grateful Dead and Phil Ochs cds instead of downloading them for the sake of reading the liner notes.
    There’s a ton of stuff in there, including essays from among others, Chuck Klosterman.
    That’s not counting the deleted scenes, making of docs, commentary, and audition footage.

  50. Speaking of Amazon, I just recieved an email from them letting me know that the Fountain OGN that I ordered from them in JANUARY will never become available through them. They cancelled my order.

  51. well, I still buy all my CDs because I want the art and the liner notes, so I guess that it would be a good purchase for me…

    Sucks about your Fountain OGN order -I just had the same thing happen to me with an CDEP I order like back in March. Can’t blame Amazon though, its more the fault of the distributor or content provider I guess…

  52. Grant Morrison X-Men Omnibus?!

    Probably the best way to read that run… except for the $99(!) part.

  53. The $99 sounds steep, but the individual HCs on that run are out of print and going for $100 each or more on ebay. Plus you know Amazon will have a 35% discount and some of the other services will have up to 50% off if you pre-order it. I know I’ll be getting it, hopefully for around $50.

  54. Correction on my last post – HCs #2 and 3 are out of print. #1 is still available. Regardless, buying all the HCs will set you back $200-300 in total, quite a bit more than the omnibus.

  55. One month later- Yes, the Dazed and Confused set was worth it. Definitely.