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New Books And How They Could Have Been Better

Taking advantage of an online discount, I snagged several volumes recently that I was really quite interested in…if not entirely "justified" in ordering.

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I’m at least the previous volume behind in reading on The Walking Dead. But I really did not want to let myself get away from "keeping up with" the series in collected volume format…and I can definitely see sitting down and binge-reading several in one go, my periodic binge rather than slogging through issue by issue.

I’d heard really good things about Titans Hunt, and rather than track down 7 or 8 issues at $3+ apiece, I waited a couple extra months for the collected volume. While I certainly do NOT disapprove of it also containing an issue of New 52 Justice League along with the Titans: Rebirth issue…it kinda makes the Lois and Clark volume look a little light by comparison.

I thoroughly enjoyed Superman: Lois and Clark as a series before I had any inkling of a Rebirth or this Superman (the closest to "my" Superman I see in modern comics) "taking over," and was quite thrilled that "even though" the series was retroactively a "mini-series," it was leading into the character taking over the main books.

But honestly…if Titans Hunt can include two additional issues beyond its core-titled run…why the heck did this Superman volume not contain Convergence: Superman #s 1-2?!? The inclusion of just those two issues would have pretty much made the volume as perfect a collected volume as I could imagine.

I have no desire to buy one of a bunch of other TPBs "just" to have those two issues on my bookshelf. I might have to just bag the Convergence issues and slip ’em in between this and whatever’s on the shelf next to it.

Crisis 30th Anniversary Edition: Acquired

When I first got into comics, it was via Grandpa’s old Silver Age stuff. When Mom bought me my first few brand-new comics, I knew there was a LOT of stuff between Grandpa’s comics and what I had in-hand (if only the 3-400-some difference in issue numbers!). It would be several years before I learned of the existence of the major story that “split” the continuities…for much of my time as a comics person, DC could be referenced as “Pre” and “Post” Crisis.

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It was at least another decade before I ever actually READ the story myself, getting it first-hand…and that came sometime after reading Wolfman‘s novelization of the thing.

I think it was another couple years before I finally acquired a copy of my own…of course, I was happy at the time with the edition I got–with the Perez/Ross cover.

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Then, just last week I happened across a 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition. I recal seeing something about it, so its existence was not a surprise…but seeing it for myself, it was just this beautiful volume, and though I’d intended to hold off at least a couple weeks, I opted not to put off ordering it (justifying it as a birthday present to myself).

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This new edition is an oversized hardcover, and dwarfs its earlier paperback edition…length, width, thickness.

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The physical size is accounted for with the price…this weighs in at a hefty $49.99 cover price (to the paperback’s $29.99 most of a decade ago).  This certainly makes the paperback the better value solely for the story…but I am quite happy with my purchase (I was able to order the volume for 45%-off that cover price).

This is a volume that definitely illustrates where I feel DC is by FAR Marvel‘s superior when it comes to pricing stuff. Where DC‘s far physically-smaller paperback is a whopping $20 (60%) cheaper than its massive, oversized hardcover counterpart…I can’t help but remember my shock at seeing the similarly-paired editions of the Planet Hulk volumes. The hardcover was $39.99…while the paperback was a mere $5 cheaper at $34.99. If $5–barely more than a SINGLE-ISSUE COMIC–is all the difference, then for me it’s a no-brainer: I’ll pay that slight bit more for the superior edition. (While generally speaking, such a $20 difference would certainly prompt me to stick with paperback).

I suppose the next thing is for DC to publish several oversized hardcovers collecting the Crisis on Multiple Earths series…which would certainly have my interest!

Monday Blasts From the Past

Quite a few years ago now, I picked up–finally–a collected volume of the Man of Steel. It was a new edition as a first volume in a series collecting in order the ’80s “reboot” of the Superman franchise.

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However, it’s only just in the last couple weeks that I’ve finally acquired a copy of the older edition of the book. It’s not in great shape, unfortunately…but for $2.60ish (less than the price of a rare $2.99 single-issue!) it was a purchase I couldn’t quite bring myself to pass up. I’d talked myself out of it a week or so earlier, but since it was still there, I took is as a sign that the volume was destined for my collection, if only temporarily.

I’d picked up an anniversary edition of Dark Knight Returns at some point, though it was not the edition I’d remembered originally reading a copy of from a local library. And then when DK2 was put out and a similarly-trade-dressed edition of DKR released, I picked up both.

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Somewhere along the way in the last few years, I’d found this copy of the older DKR volume and bought it for about $7, in surprisingly good condition given its age and that I found it at a used books store.

In this modern day ‘n age where it’s virtually a “given” that every arc will get its own volume…it’s interesting to me to look at these two “classic” editions of “classic” stories from a bygone era where such volumes were relatively extremely rare and truly special, and not just the latest collected edition of the latest renumbering/reboot of the latest iteration of a character or run.

The Rest of the Stack: Rise of the simultaneous dual format release


November 3, 2009

Based on this week’s shipping list, the Rise of the Olympian arc from Wonder Woman is being released tomorrow in collected-volume format. While this in and of itself is NOT odd…what’s odd is the fact that it is being released SIMULTANEOUSLY in both Hardcover AND Softcover.

JUL090244 WONDER WOMAN RISE OF THE OLYMPIAN HC $24.99
JUL090245 WONDER WOMAN RISE OF THE OLYMPIAN TP $14.99

Now, I’m curious as to why such a difference in price. Seems that lately, the price difference between a hardcover and softcover is only $5-6. A $20 hardcover becomes a $15 paperback. The $25 or $30 hardcover becomes $20 or $25, respectively. Here it’s a whopping $10.

If I recall correctly, the original arc was 8 issues, at $2.99/issue…which puts the hardcover at a mere $1 above cover price of those single issues. And the softcover is priced such that you’re getting the contents of each single issue for about $1.88, $1.11 cheaper per-issue than the singles which had ads breaking up the story and with a month’s wait between chapters.

While this is frustrating–particularly for having given the title a chance with that arc, and then not being engaged ENOUGH to stick around for the single issues (in part for seeing both collected volumes solicited several months back). Had I simply waited, I’d get a nice, huge story at an EXTREMELY reasonable price! (I suspect some of my feelings might have more merit if one places Spider-Man: Noir vol. 1 TPB on the shelf next to Rise of the Olympian TPB, both at the same retail price).

Despite the frustration mentioned, and having zero real clue about the reasoning of the price points and both versions being put out together (and not having noticed ANYthing like this in books thus far solicited down the road)…the prices are how I’d like to see more collected volumes.

1. I’d rather have stuff in paperback, so it all goes together on the shelf; the old and new material. Not waiting during an extra long gap to buy a paperback because of the hardback having to have its turn on the shelf first.

2. Either way, the paperback should be significantly cheaper. Especially on the bigger books (I’m thinking of Planet Hulk and the Marvel: Noir books in particular), if I’m going to actually buy the book, I’d gladly pay the “mere” $5 to “upgrade” to the hardcover. If I’m already going to spend $30, $35 isn’t all that bad for a book so much larger physically. Same goes for the digest-size Noir paperbacks compared to the full-size hardcover counterparts.

But this Wonder Woman book…for the $10 difference, and the paperback being like getting almost 3 issues’ content “free” compared to the single issues’ cover price…I’d absolutely be all over buying the paperback just to get the story!

If books were REGULARLY released this way, it would allow for more choice in “collecting format.” Buy the singles as that’s the traditional format. Buy the collected (hardcover) for about the same price, perhaps slightly more, to have a nice hardcover for the bookshelf. Or go the cheapest route, and get a likely lower-quality of paper, but get to read the story without constant ads interrupting the flow, and getting the contents of comics for effectively the price of comics a decade ago. (Yeah, this doesn’t consider the stuff from the publisher side or the actual production costs and all that stuff.)

Despite all this…I’m a sucker. That $15 for the expected size of this book is rather appealing, especially for the ability to read everything in one volume. And add Wonder Woman to the shelf, s I’ve somehow never wound up with a Wonder Woman collected volume despite my 20+ years as a comics reader.

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