Collected Editions State of the Trade 2006

Friday, December 29, 2006

Unfortunately, December's unexpected technical difficulties still has Collected Editions derailed just a tad -- we're getting back up to speed, but we're not completely fixed yet (not the least of which is that NaNoWriMo icon on the lower left, which should soon change to "winner"). One result is that this will unfortunately pre-empt this year's Collected Editions 2007 Trade Predicitions List.

But, at the same time, do we really need it? The latest press releases from DC have touted 10 and 11 "One Year Later" trades respectively. As Collected Editions predicted back in 2005, nearly every "One Year Later" title has received a trade or (without exact figures in hand), will be receiving one soon. Which makes a predictions list almost unnecessary; if your favorite title participated in "One Year Later," eventually it'll get a trade.

The "completist" half of my brain thinks this is great. As compared to almost two years ago when Collected Editions started, it's now easier and safer for a comics fan to "wait-for-trade" than it's ever been before. But, the "good of the industry" half of my brain does have to wonder. Already, some of the "One Year Later" stories have been so panned by fans that the books' entire creative teams have been changed, but still we see Nightwing: Brothers in Blood and Flash: The Fastest Man Alive coming down the pike. Do we sacrifice quality for quantity here? Should some things not be preserved for posterity?

I also notice that while many of the new trades retain volume numbers on their spines, we still don't see this on the Superman or Batman trades -- and the back-and-forth between softcover and hardcover on the Superman trades will only serve to confuse casual readers. I know why DC does this -- you don't want to cut off existing Superman or Batman trades by starting a new numbering system -- but I think it makes it very difficult for a less dedicated fan to know where to start and where to go, and I think "One Year Later" was probably DC's best chance for a while to do anything about this.

Not, though, to see the glass completely half-empty, especially surrounded by all these riches. As I've mentioned before, the advent of second Fallen Angel and Manhunter trades, Huntress: Darknight Daughter and the classic "All-Star" Justice Society, and titles like New Teen Titans: Terra Incognito, all portend very well for the depth and breadth of DC's growing trade industry. No doubt in 2007, in addition to all the regulars, we'll see likely hardcovers of Justice League and Justice Society of America, the Donner/Johns Action Comics run, more Absolute editions, and, of course, a four-volume hardcover set of 52. So I'm eager to see what the field looks like at the end of 2007, but cautiously eager -- here's hoping a trade boom isn't followed by a trade bust.

Happy new year to all!
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6 comments:

  1. How long until the 2007 Trade Predictions List is ready?

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  2. The idea is that, on one hand--admittedly--Collected Editions has run out of time for a 2007 Trade Predictions list; on the other hand, the "One Year Later" trade boom has made a predictions list almost unnecessary--you'll get your Superman, your Batman, your Justice League of America and Justice Society, Teen Titans, Outsiders, Legion, Green Lantern, and so on, without question.

    And addendum--given the choice between, say, a trade of Nightwing: Brothers in Blood or not a trade of Nightwing: Brothers in Blood, I'd certainly choose the former. So make no mistake, even as I worry about this trade boom phase, I'm certainly riding the wave myself.

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  3. True. But there are still huge gaps in titles pre OYL that haven't been traded - Catwoman comes to mind here.

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  4. My guess is that the missing Catwoman issues--and Firestorm, and Aquaman, and Nightwing, and Flash, and Hawkman (can anyone think of others?)--will not be collected in trades anytime soon. It looks like DC's starting fresh at "One Year Later"--so unless a title's trades are already caught up to "One Year Later," I think you can write off those missing issues as a wash.

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  5. Interesting comments as always. As you rightly say it looks like practically everything after "One Year Later" will be collected. I wonder whether it is worth keeping a record of isues not collected, such as the following?
    1. There was a stray issue of Detective (825) not written by Dini which may not appear in the TP.
    2. Will we see the Ostrander/Mandrake arc on Batman (659-662)collected? - I do hope so.
    3. It is doubtful whether everything from JLA/JSA Classified will be collected, particularly the recent 2 parters.
    4. There are a couple of stray Bilson/DeMeo Flash issues (7 & 8) not in collection - will they be included in the next collection?
    5. How about the "Tales of the Unexpected back-ups?
    I suspect we will still see some gaps what is otherwise exhaustive collections.
    Keep up the good work!

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  6. Yeah, I wondered about those Bilson/DeMeo Flash issues, too--hopefully they will put them in the next volume, especially since I think they tie in to an upcoming DC crossover. And I noted the missing Tales of the Unexpected back-ups (and presumably, Mystery in Space will have the same problem. Ditto the 52 back-ups). Maybe they'll get their own trade?

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