In the world of comics, when you get a volume of individual issues that are all collected together they are known as a ‘trade’. These can come in hardcover or softcover volumes and usually include from 4 to 10 issues although it can be even more at times. Softcover trades are generally cheaper than the original separate issues and they often include variant covers and sketches of character designs or original scripts. Trades are also much easier to store than individual issues although they don’t generally accumulate in value. Trades generally contain a complete storyline (with many many exceptions as I’ll discuss next week) meaning that you don’t have to try to run down that missing issue.
What I plan to do in this feature is to highlight a few trades that I have read from my local library the Johnson County (KS) Library. The JoCo library has a fantastic collection of trades available for the very generous price of $0. I know that I’d love to have most of these issues in my very own collection but the library lets you test drive the books before you buy! I’ll include the ISBN #’s for each book as well
Let’s start this week with some books featuring the Man of Steel from DC Comics!
Adventures of Superman Volumes 1, 2, and 3. Take the best talent in comics and ask them to write one Superman story. One. You can take the Metropolis Marvel from any time in his past (we usually see him in with his underwear on the outside and so not the New 52 version) and you can do whatever you want so long as the classic status quo of the character is maintained. It is clear from these collections that just about every writer has at least one great Superman story in them. Reading these stories reminds me of the Superman of my youth or, at times, the Superman of the animated series. The stories sometimes focus on Lois, or Jimmy, or Superman and Batman together but I found myself blown away by each one. These volumes are nice to have by your bedside when you want to read a story or two but you don’t want to worry about where you are or what happened before.
Volume 1: Published 2014 by DC Comics; ISBN: 9781401246884; Includes Chapters 1-15; Creators include Jeff Parker, Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, Dan Abnett, Chris Samnee, Michael Avon Oeming, Pia Guerra, Joelle Jones, Yildiray Cinar and others.
Volume 2: Published 2014 by DC Comics; ISBN: 9781401250362; Includes Chapters 16-30; Creators include J.T. Krul, Marcus To, David Lapham, Marc Guggenheim, Joe Bennett, Sean “Cheeks” Galloway and others
Volume 3: Published 2015 by DC Comics; ISBN 9781401253301; Include Chapters 31-45; Creators include Jim Krueger, Neil Edwards, Peter Milligan, Agustin Padilla, B. Clay Moore, Gabriel Rodriguez, Max Landis, Jock, Phil Hester, Fabian Nicieza, Ron Marz, Evan Shaner, Joe Keatinge, Steve Rude, Jerry Ordway, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine DeLandro and others.
Adventures of Superman: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez: This volume contains Superman stories penciled by the master penciller Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. Garcia-Lopez was tasked by DC to create an in-house style guide for other artists to use as a reference and many of these images are still used for T-shirts and other products that are sold by DC today. Garcia-Lopez was able to capture the iconic feel of each of the DC characters and his clean precise pencils were a perfect way for other artists to see how each costume was supposed to look to get a reference for the relative size and build of each hero. This volume contains stories from issues of Superman as well as the team-up book DC Comics Presents. Besides Superman, we get to see the artist’s take on Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Arrow, Robin, Deadman, and more. The stories contained here are a lot of fun and if you are interested in seeing more of one of the most influential artists of all time, be sure to like the Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez Fans Facebook page.
Published 2013 by DC Comics; ISBN: 9781401238568; Includes Superman #294, 301, 302, 307-309, 347 and DC Comics Presents #1-4, 17, 20, 24, 31; Creators include Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Gerry Conway, Martin Pasko, Len Wein, Denny O’Neil and others.
Trust me when I say that there are a lot more of these volumes to be reviewed in the future (I have 30 checked out from the library right now … I’m not kidding) and I hope that they give you some ideas of books that you can read on the cheap thanks to your local library!