I’m back with the next five votes for most-wanted Omnibus volumes from major Marvel fans as collated via the Annual Secret Ballot by TigerEyes. I covered #50-46 in the last installment.
These next five low-ranked books are an interesting mix – flagging support for a pair of prior mid-list favorites, several debuts, and one book that’s held steadily in the 40s for three years.
If you have any extra intelligence to add about the probable runs or opinions about the comics therein, please leave a comment! I have read only a handful of issues from all five of these books combined, so most of my knowledge comes from reading about Marvel’s history and some good ol’ fashioned research.
Do want to learn more about the Marvel Omnibus editions that already exist and the issues they cover? My Marvel Omnibus & Oversized Hardcover Guide is the most comprehensive tool on the web for tracking Marvel’s hugest releases – it features every book, plus release dates, contents, and even breakdowns of $/page and what movies the books were released to support.
And now, onto entries 45 through 41!
Last Year’s Rank: Debut!
Possible Contents: Avengers West Coast (1989) #63-79, 83-100, 102 & Annuals 5-8, plus Darkhawk (1991) Annual 01 & Iron Man (1968) Annual 13. It could also include the Bloodties crossover: Avengers West Coast (1989) #101, The Avengers (1963) #368-369, Uncanny X-Men (1963) #307, & X-Men (1991) #26.
Annuals 5-6 were both parts of crossovers (The Terminus Factor and Subterranean Wars, respectively) but the West Coast characters did not appear throughout either event and so they don’t require the other issues.
What is it? The West Coast team of Avengers returns from a challenging period (thanks to Scarlet Witch) only to slowly unravels due as much to interpersonal issues as foes like Ultron.
West Coast Avengers had been generally ignored for years by Marvel in both reprints and respect until the Marvel Cinematic Universe brought both Iron Man and Hawkeye into prominence. Both characters were strongly associated with this team for much of its run, along with Vision and Scarlet Witch.
Quite suddenly, over the course of five years we’ve seen 3/4 of the 102-issue series collected, with 2/3 of that in oversize format thanks to a John Byrne Avengers omnibus out next month.
Of course, the temptation of a final volume was enough to fuel this book’s appearance on ballots despite the majority of this material being readily available in trade paperback (all but #76-79 & 83-88). Comics fans are nothing if not completists (myself included; this was one of my votes).
What does this book have to say for itself, aside from filling out a bookshelf? It includes a vibrant team during all of its run, which could be generalized as Iron Man, Hawkeye, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man, Tigra, Spider-Woman (the second one), the original Human Torch (not the FF one), and U.S. Agent (a surly Cap knockoff) – with contributions from Hank Pym, Waps, and Quicksilver. That’s a pretty fan-friendly lineup at this point in the development of the Cinematic Universe. Plus, it was co-written by Avengers royalty and all-around amazing author Roy Thomas along with his wife Dann.
The potential contents already comprise 39 actual issues (saying nothing of their lengths – some issues were giant-size), skipping out on the massive Galactic Storm crossover (#80-82) and the tidy Bloodties (#101 – though, this could conceivable be included).
That means if we got this all in one chunk we wouldn’t get much further material. However, there are a lot of mini-series that meaningfully intersect with the end of this run starting around #89 – including Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman, US Agent, Vision, and Terminatrix Objective. These have all found their way to TPB in recent years, so it’s not critical to include them – but, they all tell stories that support the dissolution of the team.
There’s also the chance that we could see a smaller Omnibus of #63-79, which could include other contemporaneous Roy Thomas Avengers material like Black Knight #1-4 and Avengers Spotlight #37-38. Then, we’d get a similarly-sized final omnibus that included that 20-some additional issues of mini-series. However, seeing as there’s no other obvious material to fill out #63-79 + 6 run and none of the later tie-in material sold hugely in TPB, that’s a longshot.
Most fans would rather see this wrapped up in one volume rather maroon the uncollected #83-88 even longer.
Chances we see this in 2017? While the first volume of this series was mercilessly timed to support Iron Man 3, the other volumes haven’t been deliberately released alongside films. The characters and the completionism might be enough for Marvel to get this out while people still want it.
Want to read it right now? You can already pick up Avengers: West Coast Avengers Volume 1 and Volume 2 and then Avengers by John Byrne. Visit my guide to Avengers West Coast for collection options to cover this final run, plus the series that followed – Force Works.
Last Year’s Rank: Debut!
Definite Contents: The Punisher (1986) #1-5 and The Punisher (1987) #1-13, plus Daredevil #257.
Possible Contents, pt. 1 – pre-1986 appearances: The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #129, 134-135, 161-162, 174-175, 201-202, & Annual 15, Captain America (1968) #241, Daredevil (1964) #182-184, Giant-Size Spider-Man (1974) #4, Marvel Preview (1975) #2, Marvel Super Action (1976) #1, The Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #81-83.
Possible Contents, pt. 2 – Punisher series: Some amount of The Punisher (1987) #14-34 & Annuals 1-3, The Punisher War Journal (1988) #1-11, and the OGNs Punisher: Assassin’s Guild, Punisher: Return to Big Nothing, Punisher: Intruder, Punisher: No Escape, Punisher: The Prize, and Punisher: Kingdom Gone. More info below.
What is it? This book would definitely include a hardass core of the Punisher’s original 1986 mini-series, but it’s hard to say where it would go from there – would it include his prior decade of anti-heroism or his following few years of being Marvel’s most-popular gun-slinger?
The Punisher is about to receive his own Netflix series, yet his pre-2000 material is criminally under-collected in color. Actually, it’s not just under-collected – there’s pretty much nothing, save for a paperback out this fall of Jim Lee’s run on Punisher War Journal and another of War Zone.
This volume would put a first dent in fixing that, focusing on some of Punisher stronger material from before he turned into a bloody parody of himself spread thin across multiple titles.
The first thing to consider is that Punisher has almost 500 pages of material from his first decade – prior to having his own series – where he’s dropping in on heroes (usually Spider-Man) as a foil. That was previously collected as Punisher Essentials, Vol. 1, culminating in his 1986 five-issue mini-series.
Would Marvel seriously dedicate that much oversized space to a spate of scattered appearances? I don’t really think so, but I don’t know Punisher’s history well enough to understand which of these are critical, can’t miss appearances. Let’s call that minimally Amazing Spider-Man #129 (his debut) & 134-135, Marvel Preview #2 (his first solo story), and Daredevil #181-184 (because of Frank Miller.
(If you know better, please chime in with a comment.)
Now we’ve got those potential 8 issues plus the definite 5 from his initial mini-series, leaving us 20-40 more issues of Omnibus to fill. That would definitely include #1-13 from his 1987 ongoing, during which he’s blessedly focused on appearing in his own title.
It’s hard to say how the remaining 7-27 additional issues could play out. It could be a straight shot from Punisher #14-34 plus annuals. That would leave aside some of the most-popular Punisher material – the Lee Punisher War Journal issues.
Alternately, that PWJ material could be presented chronologically alongside the main title as something like Punisher #14-27 and Punisher War Journal #1-11. Marvel doesn’t really have a great track record of that sort of comprehensive, multi-threaded collection outside of X-Men hardcovers. Punisher is more analogous to Spider-Man, and Marvel rarely collects Spider-Man in that fashion, though they’re getting it right so far with Wolverine’s Epic Collections.
To add another wrinkle, Punisher had a ton of original graphic novels in this period starting with Assassin’s Guild, though I have no concept of which of them are good or important. So, they could turn up, too.
Point being, Marvel would never in a million years get the contents “right” since no matter what path they choose is fraught with difficulty and disappointment for at least some portion of fans. Chances we see this in 2017? , because Marvel likes money and this material has the demand behind it.
Want to read it right now? Visit my comprehensive guide to every Punisher appearance to choose your own adventure through his tangle of titles.
Last Year’s Rank: #21
Possible Contents: Amazing Adventures (Vol. 2) #18-39, Marvel Team-Up #45, Marvel Graphic Novel #7, Killraven (2001) #1, and Killraven (2002) #1-6 (not in continuity with the other material).
What is it? A oddball mashup of Indiana Jones, The War of the Worlds, John Carter of Mars, and Gladiator that exists outside of main Marvel continuity (except for that one time with Spider-Man), Killraven managed to be great despite itself.
I will confess up front that this is the rare Marvel character I don’t know a lick about, so we’ve all got the same learning curve here.
Upon initial conception, Killraven was meant to be a sort of next generation pulp hero (think Indiana Jones). By the time he debuted in 1973 in Amazing Adventures (a sort of anthology slash audition title), things were a little more complicated.
Set in the farflung future of 2018 (I know, right!), Killraven was part of the resistance against an occupying force of martians whose only use for humanity was as snacks or gladiatorial entertainment.
By all accounts, a portion of the Amazing Adventures material is enjoyable pulp. There is a certain subset of 1970s fans who revere this material and aren’t satisfied with the black and white essentials volume that collected it entirely in 2005. However, with Killraven not a part of the main Marvel Universe and not garnering any cross-media attention (a rumored movie seems to have never reached the script phase), it’s hard to imagine Marvel going to their most high-end format to reproduce the material when it could easily be knocked out in a pair of less-expensive trade paperbacks.
Chances we see this in 2017? , although I’d place my bet on a color paperback collection sometime before 2020.
Want to read it right now? Killraven Essentials: War of the Worlds is your only hope, unless you simply want to read the 2002 retread (by Alan Davis, so it’s not going to suck). Both are readily available for reasonable aftermarket prices, which is one more strike against seeing this in omnibus anytime soon.
Last Year’s Rank: Debut!
Definite Contents: Iron Man (1968) #26-67 & Daredevil #73
What is it? Iron Man’s early 70s adventures, which aren’t his most memorable (sorry, Tony).
This is easy to explain – we’ve got two Silver Age omnibuses of Iron Man already, covering his entire Tales of Suspense run and the first 25 issues of his own series. This would cover the next leg – nearly 40 issues. We know this exactly because Marvel collects exactly three Marvel Masterworks volumes into a single Silver Age omnibus (this will continue to come up as we progress through the ballot results).
If it seems hard to believe that this material is just now garnering the votes to appear on the survey, consider that the prerequisite Iron Man Marvel Masterworks Volume 9 wasn’t even printed until around the time of the 2015 survey. Even if it had been printed, we had never before seen a Volume 3 of a Silver Age omnibus before 2015.
Beyond that, this work is simply not beloved. Even the people who want the omnibus the most admit it’s not strong. That’s partially due to the title changing writers multiple times in this period, and partially because the stories (and especially the rogue’s gallery) were on the weaker side.
The most notable thing that occurs in this run is the debut of Drax and Thanos in #55, which is fast-approaching being Marvel’s most re-collected issue of all time besides Amazing Fantasy #15.
Chances we see this in 2017? Sure, we’ve got enough Masterworks volumes to make this happen, but that’s true of several other lines whose Volume 3s would be received with more enthusiasm. I think Marvel needs to hold onto this until another Iron Man film or the next Avengers movie (because, hey, you can never have enough collections that include Thanos’s debut!)
Want to read it right now? Head to my Iron Man guide get this material today so you can decide for yourself if it’s worth an omnibus.
Last Year’s Rank: #29
- Son of Satan (from Essentials, Vol. 1): Marvel Spotlight (1971) #12-24 & 32, Marvel Two-In-One (1974) #14, Son of Satan (1975) #1-8
- Satana (from Essentials, Vol. 1): Ghost Rider (1973) #1-2, Haunt of Horror (1974) #2-5, Marvel Premiere (1972) #27, Marvel Team-Up (1972) #80-81, Vampire Tales (1973) #2-3
- Brother Voodoo (from Essentials, Vol. 2): Strange Tales (1951) #169-173, Zombie (1973) #6 & 10, Marvel Team-Up (1972) #24 (and, not in Marvel Horror Essentials Vol. 2, also Tomb of Dracula (1972) #34-37, Werewolf by Night (1972) #38-41, Marvel Two-In-One (1974) #41)
- Various monsters (from Essentials, Vol. 2): Dead of Night (1973) #11, Haunt of Horror (1974) #2-5, Marvel Chillers (1975) #1-2, Marvel Spotlight (1971) #26, Marvel Team-Up (1972) #24, Marvel Two-In-One (1974) #11, 18 & 33, Monsters Unleashed (1973) #11, Strange Tales (1951) #169-177, Supernatural Thrillers (1972) #5 & 7-15, Zombie (1973) #2, 6, & 10
- Magazine material: Haunt of Horror #1-5, Chamber of Darkness #1-8 continued to Monsters on the Prowl #9-30, Monsters Unleashed #1-11 (largely reprints), and Legion of Monsters #1
What is it? Marvel’s return to horrific comics in the 1970s, which included both superheroes with a hellish bent and straight-up monsters.
This title and its low placement is more a victim of the survey itself than an indication of waning interest. That’s because “Marvel Horror” is a sort of catch-all for any early-70s Marvel comic with supernatural themes, so many general votes get lumped together while more specific ones seeking collections of a subset of these issues/characters could be left by the wayside.
As to why they’re all clustered at the top of the 1970s, you have Fredric Wertham and The Comic Code to thank for that. After the legitimately ooky horror comics of the early 50s, The Code altogether outlawed scary monsters in floppy books. While you could publish a comic without the Code, it might not be carried by distributors or stores.
In 1971, The Code loosened up a bit, allowing “vampires, ghouls, and werewolves… when handled in the classic tradition such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and other high calibre literary works written by Edgar Allan Poe, Saki, Conan Doyle and other respected authors whose works are read in schools around the world.” Marvel leapt at the chance to be back in the supernatural business, although I don’t know that Ghost Rider is exactly Poe-caliber material.
That brings us to the potential contents.
Some voters are essentially seeking a color version of the two volume Marvel Horror Essentials black and white reprint series. Volume 1 collected key issues of Son of Satan (AKA Daimon Hellstrom) and Satana. Volume 2 collected Brother Voodoo (later Doctor Voodoo) and various monsters including Modred, The Mummy, and Scarecrow (AKA Straw-Man, because of copyrights by DC).
Some of this is good material and very little of it has been reprinted. It could indeed all fit into one big omnibus and Marvel sometimes makes left-field omnibus choices during the Halloween season. However, the disparate nature of the contents lessens the chances, especially when each individual set of contents makes for a fine trade paperback – we’ll get the Son of Satan material in color this fall.
Other voters aren’t seeking the superhero content at all, and instead want a collection of Marvel’s various horror magazines, which included editorial features and short stories. This is not my area of Marvel expertise, but the titles usually include Haunt of Horror, Chamber of Darkness, Monsters Unleashed, and a single issue of Legion of Monsters.
If the book went this route, it might still include the various monster content from above, as well as some of the times Satana appeared in magazine features. However, this version of the book would have a far smaller potential audience. Marvel would do better to subcontract its compilation and release to a company that specializes in classic horror reprints, like EC.
Chances we see this in 2017? . Marvel is always looking for some Halloween material, and with Dracula, Werewolf by Night, and Frankenstein covered it’s either this or (pleasepleaseplease) Ghost Rider. Yet, the upcoming Son of Satan collection really takes the wind out of this omnibus’s sails, since it’s some of the best potential content.
Last Year’s Rank: #49
Definite Contents: Marvel Feature #1-3, Sub-Mariner #34-35, The Defenders #1-21 & Giant-Sized #1-4, Avengers #115-118, Marvel Two-in-One #6-7.
Possible Contents: The addition of a prequel crossover that predates the team’s formation from Doctor Strange #183, Sub-Mariner #22, and The Incredible Hulk #126.
What is it? A ragtag group of somewhat anti-social, non-Avenger, non-mutants anchored by Doctor Strange (and frequently Hulk) get together to solve slightly more mythical, mystical, and supernatural threats than other teams tackle.
If I can get you to take one thing away from this post, it’s this: Netflix’s Marvel’s The Defenders will have almost nothing to do with the original conception of this title.
For Marvel readers, seeing a team named “The Defenders” conjures expectations of some iteration of the following line-up: Doctor Strange, Hulk, Namor, and Silver Surfer, plus some or all of Valkyrie, The Beast, Hellcat, Nighthawk, Son of Satan, and Luke Cage. More recently, it also included Iron Fist and Red She-Hulk.
I know, you’re seeing “Luke Cage … Iron Fist … Hellcat” and thinking, “that’s pretty Neflix-y.” But they were never the core of this group, who was more likely to spend their time battling wizards or visiting other dimensions than loitering on street corners in Hell’s Kitchen (although they did once put a stop to a race riot in Harlem).
The Defenders have never had a significantly popular comeback after their original run despite many attempts, which would explain the lack of Omnibus from a Silver Age property containing so many popular characters. Yet, fans have fond memories of the series, and the early content that would hit this Omnibus is as strong as any other early-70s Marvel work.
Chances we see this in 2017? With The Hulk in a Thor movie that will star Valkyrie, Doctor Strange in the MCU traveling between dimensions, and a Netflix series arriving with the same name, I think it’s time we finally see this material in oversize format – even if we probably can never hope to see enough volumes to cover the entire series. (We’re still waiting to collect a few dozen issues in color for the first time!)