A couple weeks ago, DC Comics's Source blog made their official upcoming Spring 2011 Collected Editions announcement. A number of these hardcover and paperback early 2011 trade paperback solicitations we've already discussed (and you can also follow the comics solicitations channel), but I want to look again at some highlights now that we have a list of the contents.
Hardcovers to paperback
One of the most controversial items that I saw on the list was DC changing the format of the new Justice League International collections from hardcover to paperback; after four hardcover releases, the fifth volume seems to be paperback only.
This is not necessarily unheard of -- Gail Simone's Wonder Woman collections started in hardcover and then went to paperback, as did the Booster Gold series after Geoff Johns left. Green Lantern Corps jumped from paperback to hardcover before Blackest Night, much to my chagrin.
What's causing the most consternation, I think, is that the thick Justice League International books better resembled high-end omnibus volumes like the Starman volumes than "regular" series collections. Maybe DC would argue that the sales weren't there for a fifth Justice League International hardcover, but I do believe the readers who began collecting JLI had a reasonable expectation that they were buying a hardcover "set," how ever many volumes, and now that seems not the case.
The other possibility is that since this is a Justice League Europe-centered collection, maybe JLE will be collected in paperback (not as JLI Vol. 5, then) and JLI will continue to be collected in hardcover.
JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL VOL. 5 TP
Writers: Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis
Artists: Bill Willingham, Joe Rubinstein, Bart Sears, Pablo Marcos, Mike McKone, Tim Gula and others
Collects: JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL #2-3 and JUSTICE LEAGUE EUROPE #1-6
$19.99 US, 240 pages
Meanwhile, after nine hardcover collections, Superman/Batman is about to switch to first-run paperback with Worship. Again, this is slightly more understandable for monthly series, though I'd rather DC stayed consistent. Worship completely skips the much maligned Joe Casey issues that were supposed to, but didn't really, tie in to Our Worlds at War, and picks up with the Paul Levitz stories.
SUPERMAN/BATMAN: WORSHIP TP
Writer: Paul Levitz
Artists: Renato Guedes, José Wilson Magalhães and Jerry Ordway
Collects: SUPERMAN/BATMAN #72-75 and SUPERMAN/BATMAN ANNUAL #4
$17.99 US, 160 pages
Whether all of this suggests a DC Comics hardcover implosion (the Brightest Day solicitation below notwithstanding) is something to consider.
Bi-monthly? Semi-monthly? Expensive!
The other bit of controversy on the list is not just that the twenty-six issue Brightest Day will be released in hardcover (see the results of our Brightest Day poll), but that the hardcover will only collect eight issues. Now, no doubt some of these issues are extra-sized, but it does suggest we're looking at three volumes for collecting Brightest Day, when DC's collected its weekly fifty-two-issue series in four paperback volumes; I think many expected Brightest Day to be collected in just two books.
BRIGHTEST DAY VOL. 1 HC
Writers: Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi
Artists: Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Ardian Syaf, Scott Clark and Joe Prado
Collects: BRIGHTEST DAY #0-7
$29.99 US, 256 pages
In addition, Justice League: Generation Lost will also be first-run hardcover, but that initial volume collects twelve issues, suggesting Generation Lost will only be two volumes. This makes it seem all the more lopsided -- dare I say, a little financially motivated -- for DC to put Brightest Day in three volumes.
JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST VOL. 1 HC
Writers: Keith Giffen and Judd Winick
Artists: Fernando Dagnino, Aaron Lopresti and Joe Bennett
Collects: JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST #1-12
$39.99 US, 320 pages
Stop me if you've heard this one before ...
Possibly the single weirdest item on the new list is the deluxe Batman: Hush Unwrapped. We at Collected Editions theorized this was another printing of Hush this time deluxe-sized; what we didn't get was that it's going to be pencils only. Now, Jim Lee draws a very pretty picture, but this seems a remarkably esoteric product, the kind of thing mainly meant for aspiring artists. Jeph Loeb is listed as the writer, of course, but will this have word balloons, I wonder, or just the pencils?
BATMAN: HUSH UNWRAPPED DELUXE EDITION HC
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Jim Lee
Collects: BATMAN #608-619 in pencil form
$39.99 US, 320 pages
Another item that'll seem familiar to solicitation-watchers is the Suicide Squad collection, which has gone through a number of Showcase Presents and other iterations before finally (hopefully), we see a collection of the first eight issues. This volume stops just before the Suicide Squad/Doom Patrol crossover, which maybe we'll see in another volume.
SUICIDE SQUAD: TRIAL BY FIRE TP
Writer: John Ostrander
Artists: Luke McDonnell, Dave Hunt, Bob Lewis and Karl Kesel
Collects: SUICIDE SQUAD #1-8 and SECRET ORIGINS #14
$19.99 US, 232 pages
Various and assorted
As excited as I am for the collected volume of Greg Rucka's new Question stories, I note this collection stops a couple issues from the end of Rucka's Question run. Maybe we'll see those final stories and the final Batwoman tale, "Cutter," all collected together?
THE QUESTION: PIPELINE TP
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artists: Cully Hamner
Collects: Stories from DETECTIVE COMICS #854-863
$14.99 US, 128 pages
Here's the last Gotham Central omnibus release, including the uncollected issue #32. Related in some way to the Justice League International controversy, we also see the start of DC releasing the Gotham Central omnibuses in paperback; whereas I might not have thought these books were viable in paper, DC seems to think otherwise, and I wonder if Starman and others are coming behind.
GOTHAM CENTRAL BOOK FOUR: CORRIGAN HC
Writers: Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker
Artists: Steve Leiber, Kano and Stefano Gaudiano
Collects: GOTHAM CENTRAL #32-40
$29.99 US, 224 pages
GOTHAM CENTRAL BOOK ONE: IN THE LINE OF DUTY TP
Writers: Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker
Artist: Michael Lark
Collects: GOTHAM CENTRAL #1-10
$19.99 US, 240 pages
The next Grant Morrison Batman collection after The Return of Bruce Wayne had been called Era of the Batman and Time and the Batman (which I enjoyed for its unusual phrasing); it's now apparently settled at Batman: Time of the Batman.
BATMAN: TIME OF THE BATMAN HC
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: David Finch, Tony Daniel, Andy Kubert and Frank Quitely
Collects: BATMAN #700-703
$19.99 US, 128 pages
Apparently DC has run dry of the rich tapestry of Starman tie-in material out there; this one goes straight from Grand Guignol to Sons of the Father with no interruptions -- except, you'll notice, it seems DC will indeed include the final Blackest Night issue, too.
THE STARMAN OMNIBUS VOL. 6 HC
Writer: James Robinson
Artists: Peter Snejbjerg, Russ Heath, Paul Smith, Fernando Dagnino and Bill Sienkiewicz
Collects: STARMAN #61-81
$49.99 US, 544 pages
The fifth Showcase Presents: Green Lantern volume collects the famous Green Lantern/Green Arrow "Hard-Traveling Heroes" storyline, and I'm surprised DC doesn't have that right in the title.
There's also an upcoming Green Lantern Omnibus that collects the very early 1960s Green Lantern issues. I wonder if that's for fans of the new movie, though I imagine the older stories won't be quite to casual comics fans' tastes; this is the first time we've seen an omnibus of such older material that's not an Archives collection, and I wonder if DC is testing the waters with this format toward more of the same.
SHOWCASE PRESENTS: GREEN LANTERN VOL. 5 TP
Writers: Dennis O’Neil and Elliot S. Maggin
Artists: Neal Adams, Frank Giacioa, Dan Adkins, Dick Giordano, Mike Peppe, Bernie Wrightson, Mike Grell, Bob Smith, Terry Austin, Vince Colletta and Alex Saviuk
Collects: GREEN LANTERN #76-100
$19.99 US, 544 pages
So, what were your favorites from DC's list? What do you have to have, and what will you leave on the shelf? Sound off and jump in!