Dan DiDio: Not all DC Villains Month titles to be collected

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Thanks to reader Adam Martin for pointing out this exchange on Dan DiDio's Twitter feed:
At a troubled time for DC's Villains Month event, here's my reactions to this:

Wait and See

No offense to Mr. DiDio, but he has previously referred these kinds of questions to DC's collections department; see, for instance, the controversy about the New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 3, in which he had to go back to them for answers. There's other times I can recall, anecdotally, where DiDio has indicated he's not all that involved with collections decisions. Now, maybe that's wrong, and for all I know DiDio consulted the collections department before he replied, if he needed to -- but in all I wouldn't be too concerned until we actually see which issues will or won't be collected based on the solicitations. Which brings me to my next reaction ...

I'm Not All That Concerned

Retailer Brian Hibbs points out in one of a fine couple of articles about Villains Month (which I recommend you read) that a number of the Villains Month issues are actually "vignettes"-- flashbacks or otherwise less-than-immediate stories of the villains (Hibbs's example: "The Joker has FOREVER been the face of EVIL in the DC Universe... but what led him on this devious path of treachery? Andy Kubert pens this early adventure showcasing the maniacal exploits of the Crown Prince of Gotham -- The JOKER!").

As Dan DiDio said, only the Villains Month issues that tie into an ongoing series will be collected (aside from the DC Comics Villains Month Omnibus), which means there are Villains Month issues that don't tie in to ongoing series. Those may not be collected, but at the same time, did I really want to read them anyway? I feel no compunction to be a "completist" in terms of collecting all of the Villains Month issues, and if there's really one that isn't collected that I feel strongly about reading, a digital copy is certainly in easy reach (same for Aquaman #0, the only issue of the Aquaman Vol. 3 collection that's not also found in the Justice League Vol. 3 collection).

So ...

Whenever periodical comics aren't collected, I consider that a bad thing -- I like reading collected comics and I don't like feeling like I'm missing out on what periodical readers are getting. In this case, however, it feels like DC is doing the hard work for me (if letting go of some profit) by identifying for me which Villains Month issues are "worth" reading or not. Thanks, I guess.

Anyone picking up every Villains Month title? How did you decide what to read this September?

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  1. I think the covers look sweet & ordered the entire 53 book set from DCBS for collectibility. I will pick up "readers" from my LCS, looking forward to Joker, Black Adam, Sinestro, Bane, Bizzaro, Black Manta, Killer Frost & Ocean Master.

  2. I'm really unhappy about this "event." This only adds to that feeling. I chose titles based on what looked relevant to titles I am collecting, but now it seems that even some of those (e.g., your example of the Joker) aren't REALLY all that relevant. Right now I'm wishing I'd just not preordered ANY of them and saved the money, deciding later when there's more real information about what's TRULY relevant and grabbing back issues or digital. This whole thing seems like a clusterfrak to me - another in a series of bad decisions DC's making of late. DC early 2010s seems a whole lot like Marvel late 1990s.

  3. As this was just gimmick in the first place, is won't buy any of the individual comics. I don't care for the 3d covers and as most of the titles aren't written (or drawn) by the regular artists I really don't think I'll miss much.

    And like you said, everything that might be of interest for ongoing storylines will be collected anyway.

  4. I don't care about the mediocre ones that aren't important. But what about the great ones, that aren't relevant to the bigger picture? Let's hope DC will squeeze them in somewhere (if there are any)!

    1. Exactly, Matt Kindt is writing more titles in September for DC than ever...I'll be picking up every one of those that has his name attached.

  5. If my LCS has a deal like in the past where you can pick up every issue as a pre-order for a buck a piece and IF I have 52 dollars available, then I would pick up all the issues. I have done this for the original 52 and on a smaller scale the second wave release.

  6. It doesn't surprise me, as DC (much more than Marvel) has significant form in not reprinting material. Some think this is no longer the case in the "New 52" world, but we are unlikely to see the following collected:
    Human Bomb 1-4
    National Comics (4 issues)
    My Greatest Adventure 1-6
    Night Force 1-7
    Phantom Lady 1-4
    Ray 1-4
    THUNDER Agents 1-6
    Young Romance Special
    I'll add the "uncollected villains" to this list in due course.
    There may also be uncollected back-ups - does anyone have information on this?

    1. I don't disagree with your overall point; however, just so you know, at least some of the Young Romance stories are rumored to be appearing in those books' individual trades (Superman, Catwoman, Stormwatch, etc.); whether they will finally show up there or not remains to be seen.

      I have long since decided in most cases that if DC doesn't see fit to collect a title, I probably didn't miss much in skipping it.

    2. You are right about the Young Romance stories, although it is unlikely that the entire content will be collected.

      I'd actually disagree that the uncollected issues won't be missed, as there are some single issue gems by guest writers and artists. The Superman/Batman series is a good example - I would generally rate the uncollected issues (7, 26, 34-36, 43, 76, 77, 85-87 and the first three annuals) as better in many cases that the collected series - they avoid the decompression of the multi-issue storyline.

    3. Sure, I see what you're saying; I guess it depends on what you're looking for. I was sorry at one point not to see those Superman/Batman issues collected, but ultimately I never read them and it has affected my general understanding of the DC Universe not one iota, so I don't feel I need to go back and track them down now.

      Of course what "matters" isn't always what's "good" and vice-versa; I just personally see it as that I have so much to read that if DC doesn't see fit to collect an issue, I was probably better off reading something else (put another way, if they don't care about the story, why should I?). I'm not sorry, for instance, that DC never collected Ostrander and Mandrake's Batman story "Grotesk"; it was a one-off fill-in story, perhaps it was interesting to monthly Batman readers (and certainly that's a quality creative team), but it wasn't a story that "mattered" and so for me as a trade reader, I can say "OK, well, that's time I can spend reading something else."

      And nowadays, of course, anything that you really want is available digital (including all of those Superman/Batman issues), so again, that's what makes me more sanguine about the Villains Month issues not all being collected.

      My two cents. Certainly see where you're coming from. And there are series that aren't collected that I'd like to see -- Ostrander's Suicide Squad, for one -- though I think there's a difference between old series, uncollected, and single issues "skipped" in the modern everything-is-collected era.

    4. In addition to Ostrander's Suicide Squad, I'm still waiting for them to collect Joe Casey's Adventures of Superman run.

      I agree with you CE, I'd much rather see some of the older stuff collected before the newer one-shots.

    5. I'm a fan of Casey's Adventures of Superman run, but I really, really, really super-doubt we'll ever see a collection. I didn't think we'd see a Dark Knight Over Metropolis collection and we're going to get one (maybe), but that's at least notable as a Superman/Batman story. Casey's Superman stories are quality (Superman never throws a punch), but I'm not sure what would motivate DC to collect them.