New Teen Titans Omnibus - Death of the DC Archive editions?

Monday, December 06, 2010

With the announcement of a New Teen Titans Omnibus series coming next year from DC Comics, this blogger wonders if it means the death knell of the DC Archives program?

From 1999-2008, DC released the four volume New Teen Titans Archives, collecting a little over the first twenty-five issues of the 1980s Marv Wolfman/George Perez series, plus various one-shots. These were some of the first "modern era" DC Archives collections, and the stories collected were among the latest material that appeared in DC Archives. The series ended just before the stories collected in the paperbacks New Teen Titans: Terra Incognito and The Judas Contract.

All four of those volumes are out of print now, and I think it's significant -- super-significant -- that DC is re-releasing this material in a series of hardcover omnibus editions. Early reports has the first omnibus volume reprinting New Teen Titans #1-16, which is also what was in the first two volumes of the archives. This must mean DC has no plans to reprint the New Teen Titans Archives, such that the Archives format is no longer the format to read these old New Teen Titans storylines any more. The DC Archives program, in essence, is shrinking.

Now, I don't want to overstate. October saw the release of Superman Archives Vol. 8, and there have been Robin and Wonder Woman volumes this year, too, so Archives isn't dead dead. But in my opinion (with no offense meant to Archives fans), the Archives volumes have for a long time looked a bit dated, jacket design-wise, to the point that I hesitate to put them out next to my Jack Kirby Fourth World or other omnibus volumes; and this New Teen Titans Ommibus release follows similar announcements of older material -- Firestorm, Infinity, Inc., and the Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby/Green Arrow books -- that one might have otherwise at one time expected to see in Archives format.

All of that leads this fan to wonder, if DC is replacing the New Teen Titans Archives with the New Teen Titans Omnibus series, might similar replacements be on the way?

(Second, all of that leads this fan to wonder, will the New Teen Titans Omnibus series go so far as to include the later material, achieving the first-ever hardcover edition of Judas Contract? Here's hoping!)
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12 comments:

  1. Just seems like a colossal waste to stop printing Archives editions. Even if its just New Teen Titans...Why can't Archives serve the same purpose as softcover trades? They aren't as expensive as Omnibus, and will feature less content. I can't believe that they are losing that much money on the format if they've been printing so many stories with it.

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  2. I'm glad to see this collection announced, although my heart does go out to Archives fans. The DC Archives line has essentially become the "sick old man" of modern collected editions, with such pitiful offerings over the last few years that it's hard not to wonder what on Earth DC is thinking. In 2010, DC released four Archive editions (collecting 1940s comics starring Batman, Robin, Superman, and Wonder Woman). Only one Archive has been announced for 2011 (a seventh T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agent volume).

    By comparison, Marvel has been releasing at least one (but usually two) Masterworks editions per month since 2003, and now only two Masterworks remain (one each for Hulk and Nick Fury) before Marvel will have collected the ENTIRETY of its Silver Age superhero catalog. To compare DC and Marvel again, there have been an embarrassing two Archives each collecting Silver Age Batman and Superman.

    I really hope these new Omnibus collections represent a renewed effort on DC's part to release older material in nicely put together editions. Teen Titans isn't the first instance of an Archive series being superseded by an Omnibus; the just-released Green Lantern Omnibus takes the place of the first three Green Lantern Archives. And while that's unfortunate for people who have been buying the Archives for all these years, I'd rather see this material collected in some format than not at all.

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  3. Hey Marc, good to see ya.

    I just hunted these down over the last half a year, so I have some strange mixed feelings, haha.

    But really, I think this is great. It's a really important set of comics and this is a fitting format (and two books is great instead of 4 hard to find out of print ones, or more if they decide to keep collecting past crisis [PLEASE])

    Personally, the Archive covers are really dated and I could see that alone being in the way. It's tough for them to cater to old fans who want to match their collections in that format WHILE trying to get stuff looking good on the shelf of a store.

    Brandon mentions that Archives aren't as expensive, but most of them were 50 and a fair amount were 75 (at least a couple.) So it's a similar price point - especially if this is going to be something like the Starman editions.

    As for those of us who have been buying the Archives... it's not entirely unfortunate. Just means that some of us obsessives will have to decide if we want two pre-crisis hardcover sets in our collection versus just one. ;)

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  4. Not sure how I feel about this. These omnibuses almost never hit paperback and I've never been a hardcover guy. At least they're finally getting around to collecting this series again, I guess. Hopefully it goes much further this time.

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  5. I've been holding back on picking up the trades for this series and I'm glad that I waited. I don't own any archive's but I understand a little what you archive-heads are going through; I picked up the four hardcovers of JLI and I am a little disappointed that vol. 5 & 6 are in paperback. That's not going to look nice on my shelf.

    But from a business standpoint, I understand that if something is not selling you begin to lose money if you continue to make it. Sometimes I think it would just be better if publishers (of all books) just printed one version of a title, either hardback or paperback. And if it goes out of print, you can print a little more to see if there's enough of a demand to print more. It seems like a waste to print multiple versions of a book.

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  6. In the choice between paperback and hardcover (cost aside), I'd go with the hardcover; I like the perceived permanence and formality of the hardcover. And certainly more is more (of course); for instance, I have the Gotham Central paperbacks, but I'd like to trade them in for the hardcovers one day because the hardcovers collect issues that the paperbacks don't.

    With New Teen Titans Archives, it's a tougher decision. I own all four New Teen Titans Archives, like them, and the move to the omnibus books is hardcover to hardcover; no gain. The big question for me will be whether the omnibus books collect more issues (farther down the line) than the Archives; if so, then I'll probably start buying the omnibuses either from the point where the Archives end, or from the beginning.

    Indeed what I wonder is if this is part of a line-wide conversion, following the Green Lantern Omnibus as Marc mentioned. Archives go out of print, and Omnibuses come in to take their place. I have some nostalgia for the Archives line, in that it preserves the old DC logo, and there's a part of me that has great respect for the consistent trade dress across all the Archives volumes; one could have shelves and shelves of consistent-looking books.

    But the omnibus editions that DC's been releasing recently -- JLA, Starman -- look like art books, modern if not timeless, and that's very attractive to me right now. To an extent I think this only helps DC's staid image; the JLA Omnibus books would look silly as Archives, for instance, and project the image that Golden Age Green Lantern or 1980s New Teen Titans are "hip" enough to stand next to JLA or Starman is good for DC overall.

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  7. I can understand your reasoning, CE. I've just never really bought any hardcovers. My shelf is all paperback. The price factor is a large part of why I put up with the downsides of paperback - like the nearly year wait from the last issue collected to the paperback release - but other reasons include shelf uniformity - which part of me is just anal retentive enough to want to keep - and space. The trouble with hardcovers is that a fair bit of the time lately, the collections have had less pages per volume, which leave the covers taking up a fair bit of the width of a given collection.

    I may have to start making an occasional exception. I just recently tried Fables for the first time by way of the 1001 Nights of Snowfall GN and loved it. Something about it seems to tell me "hey, dingus, you should get this in those deluxe hardcovers, not the paperbacks". Not to mention this omnibus, which may well end up being the chief way this series is collected. DC's otherwise never collected the New Teen Titans in comprehensive trades and I've been getting frustrated about it.

    I don't know.

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  8. Drat !
    Mixed feelings again. After I picked up vol 1 of the archives, I got interested again just to see if I'm still as excited as I was when I got the single issues. Looking thru my singles, when I failed to find a complete set of THE JUDAS CONTRACT, I immediately placed an order for it. When I saw all 5 issues of THE TERROR OF TRIGON, I still placed an order as that was something I wanted in a collectible format.
    I'll say this much, I'm happy that I saved my time looking for the vols 2-4 archives, and my money on the WHO IS DONNA TROY? & TERRA INCOGNITO trades. I think I'll junk the Archive & the trades when I get the corresponding Omnibuses.
    Just for the record, vol 3 (in the omnibuses) would cover maybe TERRA INCOGNITO & THE JUDAS CONTRACT, while further volumes, after that should go into the further trades. What I'm more ecstatic for isn't whether the stuff that's in trades is collected in the archives to the end, but whether the stuff that's not collected at all makes it or not- I saw a nice blurb years ago...Starfire is getting married & it isn't to NIGHTWING...and also more in the Eduardo Barretto & J.B. Jones issues with Wolfman...also whether the ancillary titles from the era by the same writer will be reprinted or not is a question...like TEEN TITANS SPOTLIGHT ON..., I also remember a RAVEN mini,TEAM TITANS etc.- as in whether this is a THE NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS or a TEEN TITANS by MARV WOLFMAN &/or GEORGE PEREZ OMNIBUS or what. If they go by STARMAN standards, yes, the ancillary stuff will be collected, but IO believe there is too much of ancillary stuff here...I remember the annuals too, and the NEW TEEN TITANS ANNUAL of the ARMAGEDDON 2001 crossover leads into the TEAM TITANS (I think). Will be a lotta fun if all those issues see print. I'd even vote for a reprint of the Dan Jurgens/George Perez infamous TEEN TITANS (1996) and more WW reprints by Perez.

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  9. Seems it will be the USA edition of this Spanish omnibus published by Planeta DeAgostini last september, right?

    http://www.planetadeagostinicomics.com/Vistas/detalle_comic.aspx?CPadre=&Tipo=Atra&Cat=&id=22574

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  10. I've been a HC guy for years, but recently have been moving toward softocver editions. I'm finding that, while HCs look nicer on a shelf, the thin HCs that Marvel and DC love so much are not great for re-reading.

    If I am going to buy HCs, increasingly I want longer ones, like the NTT Omnibus. The Starman and Seven Soldiers books are great. The Marvel Omnis are great-looking, but like DC's Absolutes I find them a bit unwieldy to read.

    I guess it remains to be seen whether there eventually will be softcover editions of the DC Omnis. The Gotham Central HCs are getting SC releases next year but so far no Starman SCs. DC needs something similar to the Marvel "Ultimate Collections", where they do fat (12-15 issues) SC trades - this keeps key runs in print in an affordable format, with relatively few ISBNs to maintain.

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  11. @ Matches - I agree that DC should get a "ultimate collections" collection going for popular and long runs. I am making my way through the Bendis's Daredevil and it's been pretty good so far. Plus, like you said, they're a great and affordable way to keep stories in print.

    When I started reading comics I was a softcover-only buyer. But as I began to catch up to storylines I couldn't wait anymore for the softcover releases. Also, I feel that most HC seem to be better for re-reading and put together better.

    The biggest trade I have is the Captain America omni and that's a beast. It is a burden to read; I'm glad the Death of CA and CA Lives omnis are smaller. I do plan on picking up the Thor omni by Simonson and that's even bigger than the CA one.

    http://ramiscomics.blogspot.com/

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  12. Does anybody knows about the page count for this book?. It used to be 464 but now Amazon have it like 672 pages.

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