DC Comics Retroactive Collections Coming 2012

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

While we're talking continuity, I'll close out the day mentioning how pleased I am to see DC soliciting collections of the Superman Retroactive and Wonder Woman Retroactive specials, with Batman, Green Lantern, Justice League, and Flash collections certainly on the way.

Given that each main story in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s specials was only 26 pages, we can guess that these books will include more than just the three specials themselves, but also the backup stories. That would put each trade at about 168 pages, or about the size of an ordinary paperback trade. If we could get some of the digital-only back-up stories as well, interviews with the creators from those eras, or sketchbook or other bonus material, that'd just be icing on the cake.

I had only grabbed the ones of these whose eras I enjoyed the most and hoped I could find the rest in a back-issue bin some time, figuring the disparate specials of this type probably wouldn't see trade. I'm quite pleased to have been incorrect in this instance, and even better -- if these volumes do contain the backup reprints, it's going to be a blast getting them situated on the DC Universe Trade Paperback Timeline.

Will you be grabbing all the volumes, or picking and choosing? What was your favorite Retroactive?

UPDATE: You can still see where these were solicited online, but it does not look at this point like DC will be releasing them. Oh, well -- would've been fun!
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  1. I LOVED the Flash ones, and I picked up the Superman Man of Steel one just to get my dose of Bogdovane Superman again. Should have snagged Breyfogle doing Detective but I dunno, the art was only so-so. Love these books, some of the best reads for my money in a long while.

  2. Wait...there were digital-only backup stories?

  3. Not really, Kelson. DC released digital versions of some additional issues from those eras for 99 cents apiece. (For example, as a companion to the 80's JLA book they released JLoA # 233-236.)

  4. Oh, I see. That sort of makes sense.

  5. Talking of the DC Universe Trade Paperback Timeline - what are you going to do with the new 52, add to it refit the current timeline as we learn what is and isn't in continuity or start a new page?

  6. Aand if you add a new section for the New 52, will you finally be moving the Pre-Crisis stuff up to the top? ;-)

  7. Aww, I was kinda hoping these would be collected in 3 paperbacks each featuring the decade the stories were set in. So I guess I will be picking and choosing here.

  8. Adding the DC New 52 relaunch books to the DCU Trade Paperback Timeline is going to be a lot of fun.

    They'll just go at the bottom of the list -- so there's Blackest Night, then Brightest Day/Flashpoint, then the New 52, and then Pre-Crisis after that.

    I could try to integrate the books into the existing timeline -- JLA: Year One out, Geoff Johns and Jim Lee's Justice League in -- but my timeline has always been a "reading order" as well as a timeline, and integrating the new DC Universe just wouldn't hold up. If you're reading Legends, you'll want to have read Superman: Man of Steel before it, but if you're reading Superman: New Krypton, you want to have read Superman: Secret Origin. Despite that DC calls this a relaunch or a reboot, essentially all of their stories are just linear even though they sometimes double-back on themselves, and that's how we'll treat this, too.

    (Another example, one of my favorites, is that Robin: Year One is in continuity because it ties in to Nightwing: On the Razor's Edge, but also Batman: Long Hallowee/Dark Victory, which contradicts Robin: Year One, are in continuity because they tie in to Batman: Face the Face and Batman: Life After Death. The explanation isn't complicated -- these were two "Year One-era" stories published at two different times, both popular, and one writer chose to pick up on one and one chose to pick up on another. We don't jettison one or the other from the timeline or even try to arbitrarily retroactively place them in the beginning -- it's simply that they're contradictory stories and one goes with this and one goes with that. Same with the new DCU.)

    Probably it's going to go something like this ... ACTION COMICS, then JUSTICE LEAGUE ... SUPERMAN, then STORMWATCH and DEMON KNIGHTS (or vice versa) ... the BATMAN titles before SUPERBOY and TEEN TITANS; also BATMAN before I, VAMPIRE ... FLASH, then CAPTAIN ATOM ... FRANKENSTEIN and OMAC together ... and so on. So much fun! I could do this all day.

    Sorry Mark -- still Pre-Crisis down at the bottom. I maintain that when someone's visiting the timeline, they're looking right off the bat for the more solid reading order just after Crisis on Infinite Earths, not the more piecemeal pre-Crisis material. It's there for the consulting, but the real "one after the other after the other" meat of the timeline begins with Man of Steel.

    Cheers all!

  9. Awesome! Thanks for explaining your method CE, I hadn't picked up on it before, well justified and I share your enthusiasm :D