Thinning Out The Marvel Omnibuses

Bleeding Cool has covered the difference between the Marvel oversized massive hardcover volumes of comics, and those published by DC Comics – very much in Marvel’s favour. But are things starting to swing back?

A review of the new Iron Man Omnibus on Amazon made a discovery;

Unfortunately, this seems to be the first in a new style of omnibus, with thinner paper being the most apparent difference when removing it from the shrink wrap. The paper grade feels very different, and cheaper, which is a letdown when comparing it to past Marvel omnibus releases.

The cover material under the jacket is also very different, made out of a less textured stock with a matte effect. Instead of the die-cut silver logos from past releases, the “Iron Man” and “Marvel Omnibus” on the cover are rendered in color, flatly on top the cover and spine. You wouldn’t notice unless you removed the dust jacket, but it seems a little underwhelming considering the classy presentation of past releases.

With the jacket on, you’re not going to notice anything and it seems to be the only major component of these releases to maintain the previous quality. Mine is the direct market version with the Layton cover.

The paper isn’t going to crumble between your fingers or anything, but this change worries me for future releases. If the second Silver Age Thor omnibus is released in this style, it won’t match it at all if you remove the dust cover. Considering how some people display their omnibuses without the jackets, this really isn’t really a plus. It does make the overall book lighter, and SLIGHTLY thinner,but the trade off is the pages feel a little more likely to rip. The overall package feels less sturdy but I don’t think it’s in any danger of showing much wear on the outside despite that.

I’ve always bought the Marvel Omnibus releases with the assurance that they’re the highest quality reprints of any material out there. They’ve handily outdone any DC release, short of the Absolute editions, and have almost always contained more material for their equal quality and pricing. I’m disappointed to even see Marvel’s reprint department experimenting with this though; it makes picking this material up digitally a lot more tempting. I absolutely wouldn’t purchase something like a 3rd Spider-Man omnibus if it felt so drastically different from the two previous volumes.

Still, this is still light years past the presentation and construction of things like the DC omnibus releases: the spine is still sewn and there’s no gutter loss to be found. I do wonder if the new paper is a sacrifice made to allow so many issues in one release, though if that’s what it takes, I wouldn’t have been too bothered by an extra volume or two at a slightly lowered price point to make that more practical.

Not everyone feels this way, however.

There are complaints that the paper in the book is too thin but I actually prefer it that way as it makes the book easier to hold and read. The cover is done differently than some omnibus in the past, the cover is a matte finish with the logo screen-printed, in full colour, on the front which I think is a nice change. The omnibus is still sturdy and will hold up for a long time. Yes it is smaller but the books are now easier to store and read as I said before. The move to thinner paper doesn’t seem like a downgrade to me.

From the Marvel Masterworks forum, Mon L writes;

While the reproduction looks great, I will concur with everyone who’s noted the diminished quality of the product. Really thin paper. Cheap cover. This just doesn’t feel like the same quality product as my other Marvel omnibuses which is disappointing. This is a book that retails for $100. It should be built to last.

Given that the Marvel Omnibus is my fav format, this is a real bummer and will likely influence future purchases. Paper quality and whatever comes dead last in my concerns list. But I want the quality of the product to match the $$$$ shelled out.

I also picked up the Waid Daredevil book and it feels hella chinzy as well.

Somehow Dark Horse delivers outstanding Library Editions and Omnibus for half the price. WTF Marvel.

While again not everyone agrees. Zapista posts;

I like the light paper. The book is not as heavy as the other Omnis I have, which makes for greater ease of reading.

If the artwork had suffered from the paper choice, then I would have hated it too.

However, the artwork, colour and reproduction quality look great to me.

So what do you think? Too light or just right?

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