DC Relaunch: You Want Paperback!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In my far-from-comprehensive and unscientific poll that ran here over the past week, half of respondents said they'd like to see DC release collections of the New 52 relaunch books solely in paperback.

Gosh, I think you people are going to be disappointed.

Given that all of DC's major releases prior to the post-Flashpoint relaunch have been hardcover -- Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, Justice League, the latest Wonder Woman and Green Arrow books, and so on -- I cannot imagine that DC would release their new big name titles in paperback.

If anything, I wouldn't be surprised if all fifty-two titles emerge first in hardcover -- Action Comics, definitely, but also All-Star Western and Voodoo -- such to show consistency across the whole line and, of course, maximize profits.

Just as DC began collecting nearly every "One Year Later" title after Infinite Crisis (for one volume, at least), I wouldn't be surprised by a similar "step up" for the New 52. That is, DC used "One Year Later" to begin collecting all of their titles in paperback, even ones that weren't being collected before, and now that they're collecting nearly everything, I wouldn't be surprised if the New 52 titles represented another step up -- to DC now collecting all their titles in first run hardcover.

I just can't believe DC is going to release the New 52 collections inconsistently, given the push for new reader accessibility -- that we would see some paperback and some hardcover, or some hardcover and some deluxe hardcover. At the same time, commenter abu george makes a good point that not collecting some of these books deluxe -- David Finch's second take on The Dark Knight to go along with the deluxe first collection, for instance, or Batwoman -- would be a disappointment.

It probably doesn't make sense for DC to collect Voodoo deluxe (though I did like Sami Basri's art on Power Girl, this review of Voodoo notwithstanding), but it wouldn't be a shock if we saw some deluxe volumes either preceeding or following the main release -- and that's if DC doesn't adopt some sort of routine of collecting six issue blocks separately, and then combining two six-issue trades into twelve-issue omnibuses, for instance.

Twenty-three percent of poll respondents, by the way, wanted DC to release a mix of hardcovers and paperbacks as a title warranted (by whether it's a better-known title like Superman or a lesser-known title like Resurrection Man, I meant); 13% wanted deluxe hardcovers entirely; and just 5% wanted all hardcovers. I'm in those latter two categories.

Right now we're expecting the first DC New 52 collections in May 2012, but otherwise there's not much more information at the moment. Let's open this to the floor -- how do you hope DC collects the New 52?
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  1. I voted Hardcover and Paperback mixed. In a perfect world I would like books like Action and Justice league in hardcover (after all these are essentially the flagship titles for the new 52) and lesser known books like i, vampire and voodoo to come out in paperback.

    But I have a feeling they'll take a look at the sales before deciding to put all in hardback...for example if blackhawks #3 sells only 18,000 and it's a similar number for #4 I can see them thinking "well this book isn't as popular so lets not risk losing money by wacking out a hardback and a year down the line a paperback, lets just send it out in paperback first."...i mean thats how i would look at it anyway.

    But like I said, some titles i would like in hardback...but i would be unwilling to buy each of the titles i'm interested in in hardback.

  2. My bet is there's a sizable wait-for-trade audience with as much pent-up interest as the periodical readers have, who would grab up some of not all the new titles in hardcover, just to have 'em right away once they're available.

    I'm not about to buy All-Star Western (no offense, heard it's good) in hardcover when it comes out, just don't have the interest, but I'd be surprised if DC doesn't think there's some population out there excited enough to make hardcovers worth their while.

    But we'll see. Maybe the collections aspect of DC's New 52 will turn collections on its head; maybe it'll be the same as before.

  3. Not only that, i wouldn't be surprised if certain titles (Action/JLA) are collected in deluxe editions.

  4. I would like a mix (HC on titles that sell well... TPB's for one's that don't so well. That seems to be how it goes, right?) It will be interesting to see what DC does with this though, being the relaunch. I could see them doing HC's for all the books at first.

    Personally, I really hope to see some Deluxe HC's for things like JLA, Action, Batman, Swamp Thing, etc. I'd snatch them right up.

  5. I voted paperback, for purely selfish reasons, as that's my preferred format and I'm very annoyed at having to wait over a year after the hardcover comes out. I understand the reasons for it (and realize that the mainstream book industry does this as well), but if a Blu-ray and DVD of a movie can be released on the same day, why not hardcover and softcover?

  6. I would have voted Paperback only (didn't know about the poll!), but I can live with a paperback and HC mix... IF TPB releases came later in a timely manner (and while we can debate about what "timely" means, I assure DC ain't being "timely").
    Look, the latest HC of GREEN LANTERN CORPS just came out- seven months after the storyline ended. If DC sticks to their slothlike release patterns, we won't see a TPB until Sept 2012 at the earliest. Gee, can't wait...
    (Incidentally, I expressed such sentiments in the Nielsen poll currently online)

  7. I'll just echo what D. Mark Simms and sdcinerama said. I like to buy a lot of trades, and the small difference between hardcover and paperback makes a big difference when spread out over a large number of books. For that reason alone I'll go paperback every time. The only hardcover that I have is The Killing Joke, because can you even find that in paperback?

  8. How do I hope DC collects the New 52?


    Is how I want DC to collect their books into paperback or hardcover. HC/TPB's not an issue. Timing's the issue. DC's always so very SLOW at getting floppy comics into collected editions!

    Why cannot they match Marvel's turnaround? Mavel's got a HC out right after the final floppy is printed and paperback just a couple months after the HC.

    With DC it's closer to a year's length turnaround. I hope with this new start they get the collected editions to hit the press faster.

  9. "The only hardcover that I have is The Killing Joke, because can you even find that in paperback?"

    Yes, it is collected in the 'DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore' trade paperback. However, that version not recolored like the hardback book.

  10. I'm sure they'll release the whole first wave in HC/deluxe, and even if I don't agree and won't buy 'em like that (I own very few hardcovers, and most of them are presents), I understand why they'll do it.

    I'll buy the softcovers once they're available. However, I wish they published the SC's first to measure fan interest (I had to wait almost two years to get the whole "Planetary" series in softcover!), and then decided if HC's are worth.

    Two things:

    1) DC: I don't care how you launch the first TPB/HC wave (but again, I wish you started with SCs), just make sure you keep it consistent. A bunch of people was pissed when you guys discontinued the JLI HCs and kept going SC only. Also, make sure both HC and SC have the same content; I've heard (read) of people that aren't exactly happy with their "JLA Deluxe" HCs having LESS content than the soon-to-be-released SC editions. You have a lot of time to plan your collected editions, so act accordingly.

    2) PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, print more than 6 freaking issues per volume. 144 pages is too little for either a HC or a SC, and with the new page count, it seems that they'll be even smaller. Either make longer arcs (6-8 issues, or put together a 4-5 with a 2-3 arc for each volume). I understant if you want to keep all the nifty extras for the deluxe/absolute editions, but make your SCs and HCs worth buying, too.

  11. I would LOVE for DC to take this as an opportunity to overhaul the way they do collected editions entirely. I wish they'd do more like Marvel where in most cases each collected edition is named the same as the monthly book.

    Don't just name every Batman book "Batman: subtitle", let me know WHICH Batman book it came from without opening it up and squinting at the fine print.

    Also, can we get volume numbers on the spines??

  12. All great suggestions. What you're getting at is how disparate the DC collections have been especially with the top-level characters -- surely it's difficult for someone who doesn't obsess over these details (like me!) to know the difference between Batman: Long Shadows from Batman: Lift After Death and Batman: Eye of the Beholder, and a lot of this has to do with rapidly shifting creative teams.

    Hopefully if some, at least, of the New 52 teams remain constant, we can see Action Comics Vol. 1, Action Comics Vol. 2, and so on. Maybe DC would want to shy away from naming something Action Comics Vol. 32, such not to intimidate readers wanting to start from the beginning, but at least their path would be clear.

  13. I might be a lone voice here, but I'd like them to bring back the shrink wrap. I can't count how many time I've put a hardcover back because the dust cover was dinged or ruined during shipping.

  14. Not alone. I'd love to see them bring back the shrink wrap. Same as you, I see many more dinged books browsing the shelves.