Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Heavy Lifting: DC Comics — The New 52 Omnibus

Getting back to DC's New 52, there's an interesting event element to the relaunch that is exemplified by the omnibus edition of DC Comics: The New 52.

This is a massive book — thicker than any comics collection I can think of. Even Dave Sim's Cerebus collections of Church and State, which was told in 60 or so issues, took two super-thick paperback volumes to tell. According to, which is selling the book for $89.99, it weighs 7.7 pounds! Dimensions are 11.3 x 7.4 x 2.8 inches, and 1,216 pages. Compare that to Cerebus: Church & State Vol. 2 at 630 pages and 1.8 pounds, and Marvel's The Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus Vol. 1 at 1,088 page and a whopping 8.8 pounds! 

This obviously indicates some advances in publishing technology, as it was only about 12 or so years ago that DC released a slipcased, hardcover edition of Crisis on Infinite Earths and said publicly that it was unlikely to be reprinted in that format because it was so difficult to manufacture so thick a volume. Of course, since then, there have been several reprintings of the series in different formats, including an Absolute edition.

I think this is a title that will not stay in print for a long time, because it's such a strange collection. There's no complete story here. It is simply a snapshot of this crucial month in which DC relaunched all its titles. That may make this in time a particularly pricey collector's item, though at $150 new it's already pretty pricey. 

The presentation on this book is nice, though it is so thick that copy and panels near the spine can be hard to read. I recall no double-page spreads in these issues, but this format would make such pages difficult to read at best. The design of the dust jacket is terrific, with a great spine design and a Jim Lee-drawn Justice League spread printed onto the actual hardcover underneath. 

And I can't help but wonder if it would be at all feasible to do a volume two, and possibly make the entire DC Universe line available to die-hard fans in a single monthly book like this. That would be pretty cool if highly unlikely.

Next: More comments on The New 52, the anthology series Dark Horse Presents and a look at X-Men: Regenesis.

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