Where can I get classic Marvel comics on newsprint, in colour?
April 19, 2012 11:22 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to read some great old Marvel comics. The only reprinted compilations that I've seen in bookstores are the Essentials, which are in black and white (when the whole point is how colourful they are), and the Masterpiece series, which are expensive, and the colours don't look right when printed on the shiny paper. Is there any way to get reprints in colour on newsprint? I know there was at one point, since I first encountered the Fantastic Four in Archie's-double-digest-like format.
posted by poetcop to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Well, if you're not averse to digital, there's Digital Comics Unlimited, which has thousands of older Marvel comics for a subscription fee, as well as less... legal ways of acquiring them.
posted by Oktober at 11:27 AM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Well the Omnibus series is what's replaced the Masterworks series recently. These also aren't cheap--most are around $99 list price, but you can do way better than that at DCBS--and they are glossy. But unlike the Masterworks series, which generally have something like ten issues, each Omnibus volume has like forty or so. The Spider-Man Omnibus is like 1,100 pages.

But to answer this question:

Is there any way to get reprints in colour on newsprint?

For your purposes, the answer is generally "No." First of all, most comic books aren't printed on newsprint anymore, so anything in the last decade or so is going to be glossy from the get-go. Second, though both DC and Marvel do use newsprint in the trade editions of comics that originally came out on newsprint, trades don't generally go back much earlier than the mid-1990s except for truly notable storylines like Knightfall. Even the Dark Phoenix Saga, one of the most significant storylines in the Marvel Universe, was hard to get a hold of for quite some time. The first trade version came out in 2006, and it's out of print. The next one doesn't come out until the end of the month. No word on whether it's newsprint or glossy, but I'd bet the latter. And that one's only from the early 1980s. Getting way into the back issues basically means going with the Omnibus/Masterworks editions or sticking with the Essentials.

Neither DC nor Marvel has done all that much to make their back catalogs available in hard copy. Your best bet really is to go with the digital versions.
posted by valkyryn at 11:45 AM on April 19, 2012

If you don't want digital or the trades, then your best bet is to just order the original comics from mile high. Prices are pretty reasonable at this point.
posted by empath at 11:50 AM on April 19, 2012

The Omnibuses can also be a huge pain to read, so please, try to get your hands on one before spending even $50 on one.
posted by Oktober at 11:57 AM on April 19, 2012

The Omnibuses can also be a huge pain to read, so please, try to get your hands on one before spending even $50 on one.

Definitely. 1100 pages is a lot of comics in one place. This is both a good and a bad thing.
posted by valkyryn at 12:07 PM on April 19, 2012

On the plus side, you build your biceps. Another vote for digital format. It's a great excuse for an iPad.
posted by yerfatma at 2:54 PM on April 19, 2012

Another vote for digital here.

I can sympathize, I share your opinion in regards to glossy vs. newsprint reproduction of older comics. But unfortunately, Marvel has a nasty habit of letting reprint material go out of print. All of your current options are going to require concessions. All of the current color reprints are on glossy stock (trades, ogns, Masterworks). The only available newsprint reprints are black and white (Essentials). Hunting down the original floppies can be a fun hobby, but can become tiresome and expensive. Digital comics through either Marvel's Comixology app, or its subscription service can have spotty coverage and limited availability. It may be more cost effective for you to look into the CD/DVD-ROM collections produced by GIT. Some of the GIT collections are out of print as well (shocking I know). You'll find most of them priced at double the retail price, but even then, they are cheaper than buying floppies or digital copies on a per issue basis. The files themselves are scans in pdf, so you'll be getting the look of newsprint complete with letters pages (if you're into that sort of thing). Here's a link to an Amazon list of the GIT collections.

Good luck!
posted by lilnemo at 3:35 PM on April 19, 2012

Oh! Forgot to mention, should you purchase a GIT collection, AND have/buy an iPad; I heartily recommend using GoodReader to read the pdfs on as it doesn't display the Marvel watermark.
posted by lilnemo at 3:40 PM on April 19, 2012

This makes me feel like I'm not missing out on an obvious option. It sounds like there isn't what I'm looking for, at least not without a lot of scouring of used websites, and digital is the way to go if I really want to dive deep into these comics. Thanks folks!
posted by poetcop at 5:21 AM on April 20, 2012

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