Monday, 22 July 2013

Over in the Marvel Omnibus editions

Having previously briefly looked at the Marvel Masterworks, it's time to turn to Marvel's other major ongoing series of collected editions - the Marvel Omnibus editions. These can be huge with the largest so far containing 1260 pages. Printed in full colour on glossy pages, and including letterspages, these hardcover books are at the top end of the collected editions market and cover a wide range of Marvel's output from the Golden Age to the Marvel Now! era.

Naturally Spider-Man's been in a few of these, but few of them contain material that the Essentials have so far skipped. However here's a listing of the various ones which reprint issues from the Spider-Man titles:

Spider-Man title specific Omnibuses

Amazing Spider-Man volume 1

Contains: Amazing Fantasy #15, Amazing Spider-Man #1-38 & Annual #1-2 and material from Strange Tales Annual #2 and Fantastic Four Annual #1

This collects the complete Steve Ditko run, including two prominent guest appearances inked by him. The Amazing Fantasy and Amazing Spider-Man issues are collected in Essential Spider-Man volume 1 and volume 2, the Strange Tales annual in Essential Human Torch volume 1 and the Fantastic Four annual in Essential Fantastic Four volume 1 (and both are also covered in Some non-essential Spider-Man Essentials). It's nice to see a collected edition that includes them in the overall run.

Amazing Spider-Man volume 2

Contains: Amazing Spider-Man #39-67 & Annual #3-5, Spectacular Spider-Man magazine #1-2 and material from Not Brand Ecch #2, #6 & #11

Moving into the early part of the Romita era, the Spider-Man issues here are available in various editions of Essential Spider-Man volume 2, volume 3 and volume 4 (though be warned to get everything you need the latest editions of volumes 3 & 4 as the magazines weren't in the earlier editions). Not Brand Ecch hasn't been collected in the Essentials yet; it was a satirical comic parodying Marvel's own work (as well as some of its competitors).

Amazing Spider-Man by David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane

Contains: Amazing Spider-Man #296-329 and selected material from Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #10

Some Omnibuses are based around particular creators more explicitly than others. Here we get the work of one of the key team from the late 1980s. None of these issues have yet been reached by the Essentials - we'll have to wait for Essential Spider-Man to get up to about volume 15 before we really get into this run - though Essential Web of Spider-Man volume 2 has come very close to this period, finishing with the same month as Amazing Spider-Man #294.

Untold Tales of Spider-Man

Contains: Amazing Fantasy #16-18, Untold Tales of Spider-Man #1-25, -1 & Annual #'96 & '97, Strange Encounter, and material from Amazing Spider-Man Annual #37

Untold Tales of Spider-Man was the first ongoing retroactive Spider-Man series, telling new stories within the continuity of his earliest days. The same concept was used for a special limited series set immediately after Amazing Fantasy #15 and carrying the numbering forward. After the Untold Tales series ended there was a special one-shot called Strange Encounter, containing another team-up with Doctor Strange. Again none of this material has so far been touched by the Essentials.

Ultimate Spider-Man

Contains: Ultimate Spider-Man #1-39 & 1/2

The Ultimate Marvel line is a reimagining of the Marvel universe for the twenty-first century, aimed at newer readers unfamiliar with decades of continuity and bringing modern sensibilities to the origins and other stories. Some of the new elements have made it into recent movies and at least one cartoon series. This version of Spider-Man has been the backbone of the Ultimate universe and here are his first few years. Yet again this is not yet Essentialised.


Secret Wars II

Contains (Spider-Man issues): Web of Spider-Man #6, Amazing Spider-Man #268, #273-274 and Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #111

Also contains: Secret Wars II #1-9, New Mutants #30 & #36-37, Captain America #308, Uncanny X-Men #196 & #202-203, Iron Man #197, Fantastic Four #282, #285, #288 & #316-319, Daredevil #223, Incredible Hulk #312, Avengers #260-261 & #265-266, Dazzler #40, Alpha Flight #28, The Thing #30, Doctor Strange #74, Cloak and Dagger #4, Power Pack #18, Thor #363, Power Man and Iron Fist #121, New Defenders #152, Quasar #8 and part of Deadpool Team-Up #1

The follow-up to the original Secret Wars series (covered in Secret Wars II), this was the first mega crossover from Marvel with the story crossing over into nearly every other Marvel title at the time, and also generating a few follow-up stories or spoofs of peripheral crossovers. Of the Spider-Man issues, Web of Spider-Man #6 and Amazing Spider-Man #268 are also collected in Essential Web of Spider-Man volume 1, Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #111 is collected in Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man volume 5 and Amazing Spider-Man #274 is collected in Essential Ghost Rider volume 4 (also covered in A few Essential previews). So far Amazing Spider-Man #273 has been neither reached in the regular Essential Spider-Man nor reprinted as a tie-in issue elsewhere.

The Evolutionary War

Contains (Spider-Man issues): Amazing Spider-Man Annual #22, Web of Spider-Man Annual #4 and Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #8

Also contains: X-Factor Annual #3, Punisher Annual #1, Silver Surfer Annual #1, New Mutants Annual #4, Fantastic Four Annual #21, Uncanny X-Men Annual #12, West Coast Avengers Annual #3 and Avengers Annual #17

Note that in all cases it just collects the Evolutionary War stories, including the history of the High Evolutionary, which is normally excluded when any of the annuals are collected in the Essentials.

Marvel experimented with a huge crossover engulfing all of the eleven annuals it published in 1988. From this point onwards none of the Spider-Man issues in crossover volumes have yet been reached by the Essentials.

The Spectacular Spider-Man annual started a chain of confusion about clones that saw the return of Gwen Stacey's duplicate and would subsequently lead to the creation of a new Carrion.

Inferno Crossovers

(Although not actually released as part of the Omnibus line; this one effectively follows the same format and I'm including it here because of the similarity to Acts of Vengeance below.)

Contains (Spider-Man issues): Amazing Spider-Man #311-313, Spectacular Spider-Man #146-148 and Web of Spider-Man #47-48

Also contains: Power Pack #40 & #42-44, Avengers #298-300, Fantastic Four #322-324, Daredevil #262-263 & 265, Excalibur #6-7 and Cloak & Dagger #4

Inferno was another mega crossover running through so many different Marvel titles that it has to be collected in two separate volumes. The core of the story was focused on the X-Men and is contained in the main Inferno volume, with this volume carrying the issues more peripheral to that story as heroes struggle with a changed New York. The Spider-Man issues include some major developments in the history of both the Green Goblin and the Hobgoblin. It's nice to see Amazing Spider-Man #312's cover used (with modern colouring) for the volume as a whole.

Atlantis Attacks

Contains (Spider-Man issues): Amazing Spider-Man Annual #23, Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #9 and Web of Spider-Man Annual #5.

Also contains: Silver Surfer Annual #2, Iron Man Annual #10, Marvel Comics Presents #26, Uncanny X-Men Annual #13, Punisher Annual #2, Daredevil Annual #4 or #5 (see below), Avengers Annual #18, New Mutants #76 & Annual #5, X-Factor Annual #4, Avengers West Coast #56 & Annual #4, Thor Annual #14 and Fantastic Four Annual #22

Note that once more this Omnibus contains just the Atlantis Attacks stories, including the history of the Serpent Crown. Note also that this was the second Daredevil annual to be #4. The following year's was number #6 so some listings have renumbered this one #5 but technically that number is the Pope John XX of Daredevil annuals.

This was another giant crossover running across even more annuals this time, with a few events spilling over into the regular series.

Acts of Vengeance

Contains (Spider-Man issues): Amazing Spider-Man #326-329, Spectacular Spider-Man #158-160 and Web of Spider-Man #59-61

Also contains: Avengers #311-313 & Annual #19, Avengers Spotlight #26-29, Avengers West Coast #53-55, Captain America #365-367, Iron Man #251-252, Quasar #5-7, Thor #411-413 and Cloak & Dagger #9

Just in case anybody in the late 1980s had collected all of The Evolutionary War, Inferno and Atlantis Attacks and had money left over, here was another mega crossover to set new records for the number of issues involved. Like Inferno, this is again split into separate volumes covering the core and tie-in issues. (Because of this split it's hard to find a good order to read the whole thing, but I reproduced one in this past post.) The Spider-Man issues see him acquire some interesting new powers.

Acts of Vengeance crossovers

Contains (Spider-Man issues): Web of Spider-Man #64-65

Also contains: Fantastic Four #334-336, Wolverine #19-20, Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #11-13, Incredible Hulk #363, Punisher #28-29, Punisher War Journal #12-13, Marc Spector: Moon Knight #8-10, Daredevil #275-276, Power Pack #53, Alpha Flight #79-80, New Mutants #84-86, Uncanny X-Men #256-258, X-Factor #49-50 and Damage Control #1-4

Whilst Spider-Man's involvement in the main crossover fell into the core of events, two issues of Web of Spider-Man fall into the aftermath. Otherwise some of his most famous foes took on different heroes, such as the Vulture fighting the New Mutants, the Hobgoblin versus Doctor Strange or the Scorpion amongst a team taking on Alpha Flight.

Guest appearances in the Spider-Man titles

Women of Marvel: Celebrating Seven Decades

Contains (Spider-Man issues): Marvel Team-Up #8

Also contains: Tales to Astonish #51-58, X-Men #57, Night Nurse #1-4, The Cat #1-4, Giant-Size Creatures #1, Marvel Premiere #42, Shanna the She-Devil #1-5, Ka-Zar: Lord of the Hidden Jungle #2, Daredevil #108-112, Marvel Two-in-One #3, Marvel Graphic Novel #12, #16 & #18, Firestar #1-4, Sensational She-Hulk: Ceremony #1-2, Captain Marvel (1989 one-shot) #1, Captain Marvel (1994 one-shot) #1, Millie the Model #100, Patsy and Hedy Annual #1, Solo Avengers #9, Marvel Comics Presents #36 and Marvel Fanfare #59

Collecting many of Marvel's female heroes, although mainly the ones who didn't have titles of any length, and some non-superhero titles together, this volume spans the ages. Spider-Man teamed up with the Cat in Marvel Team-Up #8, which is also collected in Essential Marvel Team-Up volume 1.

Man-Thing Omnibus

Contains (Spider-Man issues): Marvel Team-Up #68

Also contains: Savage Tales #1, Astonishing Tales #12-13, Fear #10-19, Man-Thing (1974) #1-22, Giant-Size Man-Thing (yes there really was a comic with that title) #1-5, Monsters Unleashed #5 & #8-9, Incredible Hulk #197-198, Rampaging Hulk #7, Marvel Two-in-One #43, Man-Thing (1979) #1-11 and Doctor Strange #41

This collects the classic era of the character, including his encounter with Spider-Man in Marvel Team-Up #68, also collected in Essential Marvel Team-Up volume 3 and in Essential Man-Thing volume 2.

Daredevil by Frank Miller companion

Contains (Spider-Man issues): Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #27-28

Also contains: Daredevil #219 & #226-233, Daredevil: The Man Without Fear #1-5 and Daredevil: Love and War

A companion to the main volume that contains Miller's original run on Daredevil, this volume contains his other work on the character whom he first drew in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #27-28, also collected in Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man volume 1.

Howard the Duck

Contains (Spider-Man issues): Marvel Team-Up #96

Also contains: Adventure into Fear #19, Man-Thing #1, Giant-Size Man-Thing #4-5, Howard the Duck #1-33 & Annual #1 and Marvel Treasury Edition #12

Another volume focusing upon a single character in his classic years, this goes a little further than Essential Howard the Duck volume 1 and collects some of his post-Steve Gerber appearances, including Marvel Team-Up #96 which is also collected in Essential Marvel Team-Up volume 4.

Wolverine volume 1

Contains (Spider-Man issues): Spider-Man vs. Wolverine #1

Also contains: Wolverine #1-4, Wolverine (volume 2) #1-10, Marvel Comics Presents #1-10 & #72-84, Incredible Hulk #180-182 & #340, Marvel Treasury Edition #26, The Best of Marvel Comics, Kitty Pryde and Wolverine #1-6, Marvel Age Annual #4, Punisher War Journal #6-7, Captain America Annual #8 and Uncanny X-Men #172-173

This brings together many of the character's solo appearances from before and during the early years of his ongoing title. Amongst them is the 1986 one-shot Spider-Man vs. Wolverine, in which major developments hit one of the supporting cast. It hasn't yet been collected in the Essentials.


Amazing Fantasy

Contains: Amazing Adventures #1-6, Amazing Adult Fantasy #7-14 and Amazing Fantasy #15

A collection of the complete series (under its several different titles) where Spider-Man first appeared, this shows what came before him and alongside him. It's such an obvious idea that I'm amazed that it hasn't happened before. The Spider-Man story from Amazing Fantasy #15 is also collected in Essential Spider-Man volume 1 (and in many, many other places - I think it's the single most reprinted Marvel story of all time).

Marvel Now!

Contains (Spider-Man issues): Superior Spider-Man #1

Also contains: Uncanny Avengers #1, Marvel Now! Point One #1, A+X #1, Deadpool #1, Iron Man #1, All-New X-Men #1, Fantastic Four #1, Thor: God of Thunder #1, X-Men Legacy #1, Captain America #1, Indestructible Hulk #1, FF #1, Avengers #1, T-Bolts #1, Avengers Arena #1, Cable/X-Force #1, New Avengers #1, Savage Wolverine #1, Young Avengers #1, Uncanny X-Men #1, Secret Avengers #1, Nova #1, Guardians of the Galaxy #1, Red She-Hulk #58, Fearless Defenders #1, Journey Into Mystery #646, Morbius #1, Uncanny X-Force #1, Wolverine #1, X-Men #1 and Avengers Assemble #9

Marvel have recently implemented a major relaunch on much of their line. This volume carries all the relaunch issues. Superior Spider-Man is a very long way away in the Essentials.

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