DC Comics Solicits Spring 2011 Trade Paperbacks


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.

Writers: Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis
Artists: Bill Willingham, Joe Rubinstein, Bart Sears, Pablo Marcos, Mike McKone, Tim Gula and others
$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.

Writer: Paul Levitz
Artists: Renato Guedes, José Wilson Magalhães and Jerry Ordway
$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.

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.

Writers: Keith Giffen and Judd Winick
Artists: Fernando Dagnino, Aaron Lopresti and Joe Bennett
$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?

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.

Writer: John Ostrander
Artists: Luke McDonnell, Dave Hunt, Bob Lewis and Karl Kesel
$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?

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.

Writers: Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker
Artists: Steve Leiber, Kano and Stefano Gaudiano
Collects: GOTHAM CENTRAL #32-40
$29.99 US, 224 pages

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.

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.

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.

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!

Comments ( 27 )

  1. I'm really excited for the Green Lantern Omnibus. I've been waiting for DC to release its older material in this format for years, and I'm glad they finally seem to be getting aboard. At $75, the price is surprisingly reasonable too. Hopefully this will pave the way for Omnibus collection of other Silver Age and maybe even Golden Age titles.

  2. Indeed that's $150 worth of Green Lantern Archives volumes for $75, so a bargain. There's long been talk that the Archives program might be "dead," and so maybe new modern-looking omnibuses will take their place. I'd like big collections of late pre- or early-post Crisis on Infinite Earths materials, a la the New Titans Archives.

  3. Looking forward to some of these titles. The bad thing is it's not for another year. But I have plenty of trades to keep me occupied in the mean time.

    I agree about the JLI editions. I collected them in HC and now that it looks like it might be softcover, is a little upsetting. But like you pointed out, it collects JLE, so it might not be as bad.

    What I am upset over is the looonnng wait for the NK ending. War of the Supermen finished 2 months ago, and DC is waiting till January to release it? At least release the Last Stand of Krypton stuff to keep us busy.

  4. The five-issue/$25 hardcover issue aside, DC did well releasing the New Krypton collections monthly for a while -- it gave me the feeling I was reading a monthly comic, even, and not waiting for the trade. Then, as you said, we get to the end and ... crickets. I loved New Krypton, but part of me is glad that JMS's arc isn't so sweeping.

  5. AnonymousJuly 29, 2010

    As far as the hardcover to paperback discussion goes, I'd also prefer if DC stayed consistent. I don't get the JLI hardcovers, but I have the Superman/Batman ones and I probably won't get this latest one. I imagine it's even more frustrating for the JLI fans because they at least had expectations for the series to continue as hardcovers. Now DC's alienated at least a portion of those buyers and I don't see many new fans hopping at Volume 5, unless they're hardcore Justice League Europe fans.

    I think Brightest Day will probably be four hardcovers, since #13 is the midway point. The last issue will most likely be double-sized, so counting #0 there will be 28 total, perfect for four collections of seven issues each.

    The Hush: Unwrapped I found odd as well, but now I'm considering buying it since I love Jim Lee's art and I already have the absolute version so I wouldn't have bought a regular deluxe version. I would've guessed a regular version would have a lot more demand since the absolute is out of print, but who knows. It seems DC's collected editions department tries too hard to please everyone with too many formats but instead just ends up very inconsistent and sometimes appears arbitrary. Like you mentioned, it'll be interesting to see if there's any word balloons. On one hand, I hope there is so I can actually read the book instead of just flipping through it, but word balloons would also diminish the effect, since it'll basically be an art book.

  6. You noted it seems like the DC collected editions department is trying to please everyone; at times I think we're seeing the result of ongoing experimentation. The JLA Deluxe and Starman Omnibuses seem popular, and now we see a Silver Age Green Lantern Omnibus; something off the wall like the large-size Wednesday Comics collection was popular, and now we see a collection of Jim Lee's pencils.

    I'm all for experimentation, and really like the look of these omnibus/many-issue high-end collections, but perhaps what's lacking is consistency. We used to know that the Archives were this and the Absolutes were that, and some of that is falling away now.

    You said you're going to skip Superman/Batman: Worship since it's in paperback -- does that mean you're done with Superman/Batman now? I wonder if occasions like switching JLI from hardcover to paperback will have a negative effect going forward; maybe the next time readers will be unlikely to start collecting a high-end hardcover series until they know how all the volumes will come out.

    (Alternatively -- I had heard at one point that JLI Vol. 4 was the last volume of that series. I wonder if DC has simultaneously found JLI to be more popular than they planned -- able to support more than four volumes -- but just not popular enough for another hardcover past the original plan, if indeed the "original plan" had been four volumes.)

  7. I definitely can see what you mean by DC experimenting. Especially with older material, it seems they keep trying out different formats to see which works the best. They were releasing the DC Classics Library for a bit but those seem to be abandoned now (just my guess since the Legion: Great Darkness Saga wasn't in that format and it seems it would have been a perfect fit). I like that they're willing to try new things such Wednesday Comics and this Hush pencils only version, but agree that consistency is also important. DC tends to try so many different types of book sizes, paper stock, random recoloring, it's pretty much impossible to know what to expect, especially when it comes to older material.

    In contrast, Marvel is pretty much the opposite in their collected editions department. They have their set formats and within each you pretty much know what to expect. I'm not saying which is definitively better, but from a consistency standpoint you'd have to think Marvel is doing a better job. And if you don't like a particular Marvel line, at least you know just to avoid those, since they're not going to be changing anytime soon.

    I probably will be done with Superman/Batman if it continues in softcover, which seems likely. I'll probably just pick up the issues I really want, since I have a few other loose issues of that series that never got collected. I do think if this happens more often, readers might start to wait until the entire series comes out in a certain format before committing to the first volume. This could be similar to miniseries with notoriously unreliable creators where readers will wait until the whole series is finished to commit to anything. I don't want to sound overly negative since as a whole I think DC is doing a pretty good job, but wouldn't mind if they just settled on a few formats and went with those 95% of the time, besides things like the Wednesday Comics HC.

  8. DC Classics Library is another good example; indeed this seems to be all but abandoned in favor of larger, higher-end books like the complete Great Darkness Saga; I think that's a similar situation to Green Lantern Archives giving way to Green Lantern Omnibus, or a Showcase Presents Suicide Squad becoming Suicide Squad trades instead.

    No doubt, when DC produces books like the Starman Omnibuses, they look darn good, and I do like experimenting with the genre -- only, I imagine most would prefer they don't experiment in the middle of a series!

  9. Interesting that DC is putting out an omnibus edition from the Green Lantern era when Thomas Kalmaku's depiction was patronizing at best so soon after it emerged that the golden-age Captain Marvel "Monster Society of Evil" collection was canceled because of racist content.

  10. I have a few Marvel trades and I like what they do, and they're consistent. But I only have a few, so I can't really say too much. I do like how they are coming out now with these "ultimate collections" though. great idea.

    I've been hearing good things about bendis' daredevil run and those trades are tough to come by; but now they're re-releasing in those 400+ ultimate collection trades.

    sometime though, I just would like comic companies to come out with just one edition. either softcover or harcover. and then maybe 10years down the line they can re-release it. unless it's a popular story then they can keep in in print.

    another thing is why companies just re-release stopries that don't need to be. monetary reasons aside, there was no reason to re-release gl: rebirth. instead, why not collect final night, or some other hal jordan as spectre stories?

    I've been getting into green arrow and I wish they would release grell's series again and the arc before quiver, where he dies. I just picked up green arrow/black canry: for better or worse and that just has a few pages from certain issues. it's so all over the place and just tough to follow.

    and with the new flash series, I don't see why they haven't released some more barry allen stuff other than the chronicles.

  11. AnonymousJuly 29, 2010

    I'm both irritated and intrigued that DC decided not to collect all of the entire Question run in 'Tec with "Pipeline." I was always planning to buy it (even though I had the entire run in floppies) but hearing that it stops two issues short of the conclusion would have probably deterred me (because I already hated the art as much as I loved the Helena/Renee friendship) had I not seen Renee's appearance in Green Lantern #56 today. Leaving off those two issues from the collection would make a certain amount of sense now if they have plans for Renee that differed from Rucka's. Still would leave it as a cliffhanger of sorts, though. I'm still hacked (no pun intended) that the "Cutter" arc will be in collected limbo, just because it's a damn good arc with some ingenious storytelling, but I completely understand why it was inappropriate to collect it in "Elegy," which is about the tightest, cohesive collection I've read in ages. This DC reader sorely misses Mr. Rucka.

  12. I second a collection both of the Mike Grell Green Arrow series, and also Green Arrow's "death." After the complete Dennis O'Neil Question collections, Grell's Green Arrow seems a good companion collection.

    It does seem there's a gap to be filled in regards to the end of Greg Rucka's Detective run; maybe we'll see Cutter and the final Question stories collected together (DC not collecting them at all would just be too cruel). I'll be curious to see what Renee's doing in Green Lantern; that seems an unlikely combination.

    @Hilker -- The cynic in me wonders if maybe the dollar signs DC sees from Green Lantern's popularity trumps their embarrassment greater than with Captain Marvel? I'd as soon see them re-publish difficult material with an introduction offering some context than potentially sweep that material under the rug.

  13. Whoever wrote the solicit for The Question: Pipeline must have made a mistake. Leaving the last 2 chapters out of it wouldn't make any sense, since chapter 11 ends on a cliffhanger just like the previous ones. All 13 chapters would fit just right in a 128-page collection, but I'm surprised that DC didn't make it thicker by including The Question #37 (the Blackest Night tie-in).

    On the other hand, I'm glad that the last Starman omnibus will include issue #81. It may be a Blackest Night tie-in set years after issue #80, but it works really well as a coda to the series.

    Just a correction, though: it was Joe Casey who wrote that forgettable OWaW non-tie-in in Superman/Batman, not Joe Kelly. And I don't think anyone was clamoring for it to be collected anyway.

  14. I'm most excited by the Suicide Squad collection even though I have all the issues. Glad to see it coming in color as that's the way I most wanted to see it. Maybe it will actually come out this time.

    We've seen that these early lists are often subject to change, usually in a good way - the Prometheus issue in CfJ etc, so I would stress too much about the missing Question chapters.

    The big question is when is the Captain Atom co-feature getting collected?

  15. wouldn't stress. I meant to say.

    And hey, I want the story where Green Arrow dies too. Zero chance of seeing it, I reckon.

    More Chuck Dixon Birds of Prey would be nice too.

  16. I'm excited for the Suicide Squad trade too - finally! I just wonder what they're going to do with some of the crossovers, like the JLI issue and the whole Janus Directive.

    And since I'm not much of a hardcover guy, I'm excited to see the Gotham Central collections come out in paperback. I wish they had just published all the issues in the original TPB's, and not skipped a few issues they didn't feel fit in.

  17. If a book comes out in hardcover it's only a matter of time before a TPB version comes out as well, right? Probably a stupid question but I'm just getting into the game and trying to figure out what format to collect each series in. Hell, I might go digital, I still don't really know.

  18. AnonymousJuly 31, 2010

    I already have a place on my bookcase for the final volume in the Gotham Central collection. I'm usually a TPB sort, but GC is my favorite book and the HCs are so absolutely beautiful. Such an improvement over the original trades, which as Steve mentioned above, just sort of skipped the stand-alone "character" issues (like the one about Stacy's daydreams and the one about the corrupt cop and Poinson Ivy).

    @DJ... I dunno about anybody else, but usually the format I go with depends on how much I like the particular series. For me, the GC hardcovers were essential, as was Batwoman: Elegy (and I'm still kicking myself that I didn't get "Crime Bible" in HC). I generally wait for TPB for everything else-- which means I just read "Final Crisis" a couple of months ago (although I had read FC: Revelations-- the Rucka/Renee combo again) and I haven't even begun "Blackest Night." Lord only knows when I'll get to read "Brightest Day."

    One thing you do have to keep in mind though (and this was the subject of a really good column on this site) is that sometimes individual volumes of TPB in a series go out of print. I just found out that Vol 1 of O'Neil's Question run is now out of print, as are volumes 3 & 4 of "No Man's Land" and Vol 4 of the relatively recent "Countdown to Final Crisis." So beware if you get into a series and then want to go back and pick up some earlier (or even not-so-earlier) collections.

  19. This has been mentioned on this site before, but since DJ asked...while most hardcovers make it to paperback, not all of them do. I was waiting a long time for Flash: Wild Wests to come out in paperback, as it was the last collection of the Wally West series, but it never did, and I don't think it ever will (at least not in the near future) as they're focusing on Barry as the Flash now. I did manage to track down the singles to read it though.

    I bought Countdown to Final Crisis Vol 4 before any of the other volumes because I found out it was out of print. As I was buying the other volumes, the guy at my local comic store said he may not bother to re-order the other volumes since he can't get volume 4 anymore, and presumably anyone buying would want to get the whole series.

    That reminds me though, I've got to pick up the rest of the O'Neil Question books before they end up out of print as well!

  20. PrometheusAugust 01, 2010

    I don't know why they didn't collect the Batwoman issues pencilled by Jock in Elegy. They were just three issues, the last ones written by Rucka... I would prefer to have all the Batwoman issues from Detective Comics collected in one volume.

  21. Simms, I just asked my comic shop to see if they could order the first vol. of the Question. It's a bummer that it's already out of print. I got introduced to the Question with 52 and liked the character and really enjoyed what Rucka did with Montoya. Got an itch for the original to see where he came from.

  22. My guess on the Batwoman: Elegy collection is that at the time they collected the book, both Rucka and Williams were attached to the (still *sigh*) forthcoming "Batwoman" monthly. And too, it makes sense thematically because those seven issues work together as a "unit" in a way that the Cutter arc is more "just another case" doesn't fit. They would have worked perfectly in the next trade, especially given the coda to the arc itself. That splash page at the end is not the page editorially I would want ending my first Batwoman collection (trying not to spoil the people who haven't read the singles). And with Rucka departing, it now makes even more sense to keep the Williams issues separate because he now becomes "the name" on the book that carries over to the new series.

    Just my thinking on th subject.

  23. PrometheusAugust 02, 2010

    Yes, I can see that explanation for collecting only the Williams Batwoman issues, but now those three Jock issues are, so to speak, orphan.

    In a TPB they don't fit since they are just 3 regular issues. Maybe they'll add bonus material to that possible TPB (something I'm not to comfortable with). As Rucka only stayed for 3 more issues, I would have liked to have those 3 Jock issues treated as a bonus feature in the Elegy book, making it complete. And after that, we can begin with Williams Batwoman series in their own TPBs.

  24. Just wondering, has DC ever included extra issues in a softcover that it didn't include in the hardcover? That would certainly be annoying for someone who bought the more expensive hardcover version!

    Abu George, The Question by Denny O'Neil really didn't delve into his origins much; that is, issue #1 starts with him already established as The Question and as reporter Vic Sage. You could potentially start with Volume 2 and continue from there (I've read the first 3 volumes) and not be lost; you'll figure out the supporting cast soon enough. While there's kind of an overall story (i.e. fighting against corruption in Hub City) for the most part a lot of the stories are "done in one" or close enough to it to not feel like it's constantly referencing what happened before.

  25. I know of a paperback that had new material excluded from the hardcover. This may seem slight, but there was a missing page in the Superman/Batman: Public Enemies hardcover that DC included in the paperback. Not so much as a whole issue, but if you're wondering if DC ever "fixes mistakes" between the hardcover and paperback, the answer is yes (though maybe not so much any more).

    It troubles me, too, that those Question collections are out of print; inasmuch as Greg Rucka was faithful in 52 to the characters and dialogue from the Dennis O'Neil Question series, I'm interested to read the originals. I'll have to see if I can find them around, too.

    You can find the original Collected Editions conversation about out-of-print trades, The Trade You Want is Out of Print, at the link.

    Second the call for a Captain Atom co-feature collection; I think the absence of those stories leaves a tiny but noticeable hole in the New Krypton books.

    @shagmu, quite right that the recent Superman/Batman story was by Joe Casey, not Joe Kelly; I've fixed it.

    (As an aside, I'm overdue to re-read Superman runs by both those writers -- Joe Kelly wrote, toward the end of his Superman run, a multi-part story that had a powerless Superman and Lex Luthor imprisoned by a foreign dictator called General Zod, who received the name from the spirit of the Pocket Universe Zod that Superman executed pre-Infinite Crisis; the dark story had distinctive art by Duncan Rouleau and presented Zod as a convincing physical challenge for Superman. Joe Casey, on the other hand, wrote a string of done-in-one issues after the Superman story Ending Battle in which Superman never hit anyone, but rather used his smarts and powers to work his way out of situations; Casey's "no violence" run was a fascinating exercise that bears further study.)

    Reading these comments, I feel better about the Renee Montoya Question issues (I agree, probably the solicitation is a misprint and they'll be included) but I have some concerns about the missing Batwoman issues -- "orphan issues," indeed, and I hope they find a home. I'm thinking I might have to go hunt the back issue bins for these, just in case.

  26. Sandor CleganeAugust 05, 2010

    hilker wrote - "Interesting that DC is putting out an omnibus edition from the Green Lantern era when Thomas Kalmaku's depiction was patronizing at best so soon after it emerged that the golden-age Captain Marvel "Monster Society of Evil" collection was canceled because of racist content."

    Way, wayy off base - these two situations aren't remotely comparable. Tom simply had an unfortunate nickname. Setting that uncomfortable reality aside, Tom was still a very positively-portrayed character. He was actually Hal Jordan's best friend, confidant and even has his own heroic moments spread throughout those stories.

    Tom eventually falls in love, gets married and lives a pretty fulfilling life - unusually so for a supporting cast member from a superhero comic of the 1960s. A non-caucasian supporting character, at that.

  27. Separate but related, it's strange we don't see much of Tom in the current Green Lantern series; it seems that Hal's brother is in more of the Jimmy Olsen/human sidekick-type role than Tom is, contrary to DC's current general "back to basics" approach. If I remember correctly, wasn't Tom even up for Green Lantern-ship in Green Lantern: Legacy?


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