Types Of Books
Comic Books, like people, come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Below is a master list of all of the different formats available for comic collecting.
The standard release of a comic book. When you think of buying a comic book off of the rack, this is what you are picturing.
Example: The Fantastic Four #1
A yearly release outside of the monthly release schedule of a particular series, generally featuring a different creative team than the monthly title.
Example: The Avengers Annual #10
Popularized by Marvel Comics in the 70s, these issues are similar to Annuals, in which they were a yearly release outside of the monthly schedule, however, as the name implies, these books would include more pages than the standard monthly comic.
Example: Giant-Size X-Men #1
A general term for Trade Paperbacks, Hardcovers, Omnibus, etc. that collect more than one issue of a comic run.
A softcover collection of single issues, normally collecting an entire series or mini-series. Generally, the same trim size as single issue comics. Occasionally containing bonus material, but normally a lesser amount than a Hardcover, Deluxe or Omnibus edition.
Example: Watchmen TPB
An oversized hardcover collection containing a large portion of a particular series. While often collecting a consecutive run or storyline, creator centric editions also exist. In this instance, oversized not only refers to the thickness and contents, but more-so the trim size, which is larger than the average Single Issue or Trade Paperback. Generally contains an excessive amount of bonus material that can include: Original art pages, creator interviews and, occasionally, original letters pages. These are currently considered the most popular and sought after Collected Edition.
Example: The Incredible Hulk By Peter David Omnibus Volume 1
Oversized hardcovers matching the Omnibus in terms of trim size, but not content or width. Generally contains a much smaller portion of a series run, or a much smaller series, than an Omnibus would necessitate.Generally contains bonus material.
Example: Batman The Long Halloween Deluxe Hardcover
Popularized by IDW Publishing, these Oversized Hardcovers collect scans of original artwork and are presented on high quality paper. These books are an incredible way to gain a new appreciation and understanding for the work that goes into creating comic art.
Example: Jim Lee’s X-Men Artist’s Edition
Essentially, the same exact collection as an Artists Edition.
Example: Bill Sienkiewicz: Mutants And Moon Knights…And Assassins Artifact Edition…
A paperback version of an Artist/Artifact Edition.
Example: John Buscema’s Silver Surfer Artisan Edition
Popularized by Image Comics, these softcovers collect larger portions of a run than a standard trade paperback but generally lack any sort of bonus material and tend to lend themselves to being easily damaged, just by the nature of the spine being so thick. Think about how an old Yellow Pages would collapse inward on the spine and leave a large crease…don’t know what the Yellow Pages are? Look it up in the Encyclopedia Britannica. Don’t know what the Encyclopedia Britannica is? Are you sure you should even be here?
Example: Spawn Compendium Volume 1
Exclusive to DC Comics and presented, beautifully, in an exclusive slipcase, these editions generally contain a singular storyline or mini-series, on thick glossy paper (matte, in some particular instances) and contain bonus material. These editions should be considered top of the line when it comes to DC Comics Collected Editions.
Example: Absolute Dark Knight By Frank Miller
Exclusive to Marvel Comics, these standard sized hardcovers present Marvel Comics entire history (beginning with Fantastic Four #1) on glossy paper, after going through a full-blown restoration process. These volumes, and their content, can serve as a roadmap for future Omnibus releases. Although these editions do contain Bonus Material, it is generally less than the Omnibus equivalent and they do not include Letters Pages. As far as quality and presentation, these should be considered top of the line when it comes to Marvel Comics Collected Editions.
Example: Marvel Masterworks The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 1
Marvel Epic Collection
An all-inclusive Trade Paperback collection collecting a particular character or series’ run in their entirety, including all appearances and essential reading material. As far as a reading order, the mapping for the Epic Collections is, bar none, the best tool to utilize. These volumes are released out of chronological order as a way of serving as gap fillers for the Omnibus and Marvel Masterworks runs. Generally contain some level of bonus material, but not normally on the same level as the Hardcover equivalents.
Example: The Punisher Epic Collection Volume 2: Circle Of Blood