This is the final post in our series time-traveling backwards through Marvel’s era of comic books to see what books would make fantastic omnibuses, and this is a big one – it’s what I’m calling “The Masterworks Era.”
After this post, you should have more than enough ammo to fill out your 2017 Most Wanted Marvel Omnibus Secret Ballot, which is due by Sunday at midnight! I’ve suggested over a hundred possible votes!
What exactly is “The Masterworks Era,” aside from something I just made up? It refers to the period of comcis that Marvel has covered with their deluxe, standard-size hardcover Marvel Masterworks reprint line. The Silver Age portion of the line begins with Fantastic Four #1 in 1961.
The end is a little fuzzier. The Silver Age is understood to end in 1970-71, but with a handful of exceptions Marvel has already pushed past that point with every line of Masterworks collections. In fact, their newest two Masterworks lines are The Spectacular Spider-Man (1976), Spider-Woman (1978), and The Savage She-Hulk (1980)!
Yes, that’s right – Masterworks now cover comics that began in the 1980s! That’s like when the oldies station of my youth started playing Madonna songs. Plus, the farthest outlier, Uncanny X-Men, has reached all the way up to issue #188 in 1984.
When it comes to classic Omnibuses, until this year Marvel followed a specific formula almost every time – one omnibus contained three Masterworks volumes. We’re now seeing them deviate from that formula with Amazing Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Thor, all of which contained more than the customary three volumes.
To figure out what comics are due for potential omnibuses to feature in this post, I had to first figure out both what has been covered by Masterworks volumes and what has been skipped! That’s not really a part of this discussion, but if you’re interested, I’ve shown my work.A list of titles that are eligible for Masterworks treatment
- Marvel Spotlight (1971), an anthology series which branches to:
- Red Wolf (1972) – This has never been reprinted in color, but does not have enough material for an omnibus.
- Werewolf by Night (1972) – This has been reprinted in Omnibus, but could still be Masterworked
- Ghost Rider (1973) – This has never been reprinted in color and is listed below!
- Son of Satan (1975) – This received a TPB collection in 2016 and is too short to be an omnibus on its own.
- Spider-Woman (1978) – This has begun to be Masterworked and could be an omnibus, but we need more MMW volumes first.
- Moon Knight (1980)– Collected in color in Epic collections and could be an omnibus; it is listed below
- Plus, the Deathlok MMW line, Warriors Three stories in the Thor MMW line, and a Fury story in the Nick Fury MMW line
- The Cat (1972) – Collected in the Women of Marvel Omnibus
- Chamber of Chills (1972) – A horror anthology; this has never been reprinted fully in color.
- Marvel Premiere (1972), an anthology series featuring:
- Warlock (1972) – This has been fully Masterworked and could be an omnibus; it is listed below
- Doctor Strange (1974) – This has begun to be Masterworked and could be an omnibus; it is listed below
- Iron Fist (1975) – This has been fully Masterworked and could be an omnibus; it is listed below
- Doctor Who – This is licensed material.
- And shorter runs and one shots of Hercules, Satana, Legion of Monsters (Ghost Rider, Man-Thing, Morbius, Werewolf by Night), Liberty Legion, Woodgod, Monark Starstalker (before Star Wars!), Solomon Kane, 3-D Man, Weirdworld, Torpedo, Seeker 3000, Tigra, Paladin, Jack of Hearts, Man-Wolf, Ant-Man (Scott Lang), Falcon, Alice Cooper, Black Panther, Caleb Hammer, Wonder Man, Dominic Fortune, and Star-Lord
- Night Nurse (1972), collected in the Women of Marvel Omnibus
- Shanna, the She-Devil (1972), collected in the Women of Marvel Omnibus
- Supernatural Thrillers (1972), a horror anthology; this has never been reprinted fully in color.
- Tomb of Dracula (1972) and Dracula Lives (1973) – This has been reprinted in Omnibus, but could still be Masterworked
- Frankenstein (1973) – Collected in color in TPB and is too brief for an omnibus
- Vampire Tales (1973) – An anthology series featuring Blade and Morbius. This has been collected in TPB and could be Masterworked, but it’s too short to be an omnibus without including other material.
- Haunt of Horror (1974), which included Satana stories
- Master of Kung Fu (1974) and The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu (1974) – Collected in Omnibus but not Masterworked.
- Man-Thing (1974 / 1979) – Collected in both an omnibus and a Complete Collection line, but not Masterworked.
- The Invaders (1975) – Collected in a pair of Complete Collections, and previously in Classics; could still be Omnibused – listed below.
- Marvel Chillers (1975), an anthology series featuring:
- Modred the Mystic, not collected
- Tigra, not collected
- Marvel Presents (1975), an anthology series featuring:
- Bloodstone, not collected
- Guardians of the Galaxy, which has been collected in omnibus and could conceivably hit Masterworks
- Super-Villain Team-Up (1975) – Collected in a single Complete Collection; too short for omnibus, but could appear in a Namor omnibus line.
- Captain Britain (1976) – Collected entirely in a pair of OHCs; could still be Masterworked, but an omnibus would be redundant since there’s nothing left to add.
- The Eternals (1976) – Collected in one of Marvel’s early omnibuses; could still be Masterworked
- Howard the Duck (1976 / 1979) – Collected in both an omnibus and a Complete Collection line; could still be Masterworked
- Nova (1976) – Collected completely in a paperback Classic line, but not omnibus or Masterworks – so it’s covered below!
- Omega the Unknown (1976) – Too short to be an omnibus; has been collected in TPB, but could be Masterworked
- What If? (1977) – Collected in a paperback Classics line, but not in omnibus – so it’s covered below!
- Devil Dinosaur (1978) – Previously collected in omnibus, and recently in paperback; could be Masterworked!
- Machine Man (1978) – Collected in a single TPB in 2016 and has previously appeared on the survey; however, without the rights to reprint 2001: A Space Odyssey material Marvel likely can’t expand this to an omnibus.
- Amazing Adventures (1979), an anthology series which branches to:
- Inhumans content in their MMW line; could be omnibused
- Beast content in the X-Men MMW line; could be omnibused
- Killraven, which has not been reprinted in color and could be omnibused
- Marvel Spotlight (1979), an anthology series which branches to:
- the final volume of the Captain Marvel MMW line
- A handful of Dragon-Lord stories, uncollected
- Star-Lord, collected variously with Guardians of the Galaxy (including in Omnibus)
- Captain Universe, as a spin-off from Micronauts, collected in Captain Universe: Power Unimaginable; not enough material for ominbus
This list omits Western titles like Tex Dawson, Gunslinger (1973), Gun-Slinger (1973), and Gunhawks (1972) and licensed material Marvel can’t Masterwork, including Conan, Doc Savage, Godzilla, The Human Fly, John Carter, Kull, Micronauts, Planet of the Apes, Red Sonja (in her own title and in Marvel Feature (1975), Shogun Warriors, Star Trek, Tarzan, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and The Wizard of Oz (based on the film).
How am I defining “due” here? It’s any superhero universe series that the Masterworks line has skipped entirely or any Masterworks line with three or more un-omnibused volumes.
Any comic with a Masterworks line that’s in-progress with only one or two volumes is not included: Ka-Zar, Luke Cage, Marvel Team-Up, Marvel Two-in-One, Not Brand Echh Vol. 1, Rarities Vol. 1, Rawhide Kid, She-Hulk, Spectacular Spider-Man, Spider-Woman.
I also didn’t include the one-and-done Masterworks volumes Champions and Deathlok as potential omnibuses, since the omnibus would be the same as the Masterworks!
Are you ready to travel back in time from 1980 to the beginning of Marvel’s Silver Age in 1961? Here we go! [Read more…] about Marvel series still awaiting an omnibus from the Masterworks Era (1961 – 1980)