With the recent announcement of DC's provisional collection schedule to December, I thought it would be timely to take a look back over the last few years and see what seems unlikely to be collected. In recent years a higher percentage of DC comics are being collected and since One Year Later the collection plans have been fairly comprehensive, but not entirely so.
The aim of this list is not to criticize DC for not collecting everything, but rather so that people who (like myself) generally prefer to read in collections know what is not included and can source the original comics if they think they are missing out. I am also not addressing the whole "hardcover and paperback" issue -- Paul Levitz has recently touched on this in his Newsarama column, intimating that DC are looking to move to shorter gaps between HC and TP editions, as is standard practice in the book trade. So this list refers to comics which do not seem to be in a collection of any nature.
I've used December 2005 as the starting point, as this is when One Year Later started. I've restricted myself to DC Universe books only -- Vertigo, Wildstorm, Johnny DC etc may be an interesting exercise for another day. I've left off all recent books which look that they will be collected in due course. And I have split the list into five categories, as follows:
- Omega Men 1-6 (Gabrych and Flint)
- OMAC 1-8 (Jones & Guedes)
- The Next 1-5 (Williams & Smith)
- Rush City 1-6 (Dixon & Green)
- Man-Bat 1-5 (Jones & Huddleston)
- Batman: Journey Into Knight 1-12 (Helfer & Huat)
- Batman/Lobo: Deadly Serious 1-2 (Keith)
- JLA/Hitman 1-2 (Ennis/McCrea)
2. Odds and Ends
- JLA: New Frontier Special - A difficult one, as Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier has been through the publishing schedule, with paperbacks and an Absolute edition available. If another edition is then soon issued including this and no other new material, cries of "rip off!" would heard with some justification. Perhaps there is more New Frontier material due down the line? (There is also a King Faraday story by Cooke and set in the same continuity in Solo 5)
- 52 Back-Ups - The back ups are the only parts of 52 not yet collected, and a collection would have been expected but there is no immediate sign of it on the horizon.
- Countdown to Mystery (Eclipso back-ups)
- Countdown to Adventure (Forerunner back-ups) - Previous back up series such as Dr 13 and the Weird have been collected or included in collections, but these back-ups have not been scheduled with the lead material.
- DC Infinite Holiday Special (CE note - we see some of these in Supergirl, Flash, and elsewhere)
- DC Infinite Halloween Special (CE note - we see one of these in Batman: Private Casebook)
- Secret Files and Origins - There is no expectation that any of these would be collected together in their entirety, although individual stories from all of these have been included in various collections as appropriate.
3. Cancelled Series
- Firestorm 28-34 - There was one post-OYL collection, but no sign of a collection for the rest (including a McDuffie three parter).
- Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis 46-57 - Despite Busiek taking over scripting at OYL, this series never really took of and only attracted one collection. Perhaps the common link between Firestorm and Aquaman was an unfamiliar lead character?
- Blood of the Demon 13-17 - This book was already destined for cancellation at OYL, despite John Byrne being in charge.
- JLA Classified 32-36, 42-49 - Only parts of this would ever be collected. 37-41 was Milligan's "Kid Amazo," and 50-54 was Stern & Byrne on "Now and Then."
- JSA Classified 10-20, 23, 24, 26-31, 34-39 - As with JLA Classified. Hawkgirl: Hawkman Returns collects 21 and 22, and the other stories not on the list will be included in the upcoming JSA Presents: Green Lantern collection.
- Atom 19 - This was a fill-in issue written by Keith Champagne. A previous fill in -- issue 16 by Roger Stern -- was included in The Hunt for Ray Palmer collection.
- Birds of Prey 110-112 - The Dead of Winter collection cuts off at 108, and the next collection Metropolis or Bust starts from 113. Issue 109 is included in the Green Arrow/Black Canary - Road to the Altar collection, and the missing issues 110 to 112 are written by Tony Bedard. He is back on the book with 118, and it is therefore possible these issues may be included in the next collection.
- Catwoman 79-82 - Catwoman has now been announced as cancelled with issue 82, but the forthcoming Crime Pays collection cuts of at 78. Now the book is cancelled, it is possible this collection may be extended to cover all 9 issues to the end of the series.
- Teen Titans 48, 49 - This was a two-part Amazons Attack crossover, and this may be these issues do not seem to be collected despite being written by (short-term) regular writer Adam Beechen.
To start with a general comment - you would have thought that to maximize sales for periodicals and collections for their "jewels in the crown" DC would be looking to hire experienced and reliable creative teams to produce consistent and sequential storylines to a regular schedule (Superman in the late '80s and '90s is a shining example). Guests from other media or with a history of late delivery could then be hired for miniseries and specials, rather than providing sporadic and inconsistent work for the mainline titles as has recently been the case, which surely will have an impact on revenue. Hopefully recent changes may have gone some way to turning things around.
a. Batman 659-662; Detective 835-837; Legends of Dark Knight 201-214
- In fairness, there has been less of an issue with Batman than the other two. Batman 659-662 is the "Grotesk" storyline by Ostrander and Mandrake, and may possibly be collected in some form once the Morrison run is over. The Dini collection Death and the City cuts off at 834; 838-39 are Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul crossovers, and the next Dini collection Private Casebook runs from 840. Of the three missing issues, 835 and 836 are a two parter by Rozum, whilst regular writer Dini pens 837. Batman Confidential is already scheduled be collected to 12, and later solicitations are also for multipart stories which could be independently collected. We are unlikely to see collections of the later Legends of Dark Knight stories.
- b. Wonder Woman 5, 11-13
- Back on track now with Gail Simone writing, but fitting in around their star guest writers meant fill-ins for issue 5 (Pfeifer) and 11-13 (J.Torres, crossing over with Amazons Attack -- a possible collection with Teen Titans 48 & 49?) (CE note - One of my fears is that Amazons Attack did so poorly that DC might not reprint the companion issues. This would be a shame.)
- c. Superman 660, 661, 676; Action 850 & Annual 10; Superman Confidential 6-10, 12-14
- Superman 660, 661 were fill ins in the middle of the much delayed "Camelot Falls" storyline, by regular scripter Kurt Busiek. Superman 676 is a standalone story prior to James Robinson coming on board as writer -- it was to be by Keith Champagne and about the chap in the corner of the front of Action 1 with his head in his hands (CE note - really?!), but is now a story by Vito Delasante originally scheduled for Superman Confidential 9 -- perhaps because the Siegel family now have the rights to Action 1 following the recent legal judgement? Parts of Action 850 are collected in the forthcoming Supergirl - Beyond Good and Evil, which seems odd as it a one single story, unlike Action Annual 10, which is styled as an old fashioned annual with five stories, all by Geoff Johns.
- Superman Confidential is cancelled at 14, with the delayed "Kryptonite" collection compiling 1 to 5 and 11. Issues 6 and 7 are a two parter by Palmiotti and Gray, 8-10 by Abnett and Lanning, and 12-14 by Clay Moore and Phil Hester.
- d. Superman/Batman 26, 34-36, 43, Annual 1 and 2
- Issue 26 was the special issue by Jeph Loeb's late son Sam, and 27 was included in the Supergirl: Candor collection. 34-36 was a three parter by Mark Verheiden, Marc Guggenheim and Pat Lee, and 43 is an Abnett/Lanning fill-in. Both annuals are standalone stories by Joe Kelly -- it should be noted that Annual 1 is collected in Superman/Batman - The Greatest Stories vol 1, which otherwise contains older material. Add 34-36 to 43, the annuals and the previously uncollected issue 7, and that would make a nice book.