DC FINEST: 13 BOOKS We’d Like to See in DC Comics’ New Line

These could be epic…

A reader asked recently why we hadn’t covered the news of DC Comics’ new line of collections, DC Finest. And the answer was that we’ve been taking a wait-and-see approach. The first four titles, announced at ComicsPro, looked like we were getting a new coat of paint on standbys like Batman: Year One and Superman’s earliest adventures.

But over the last week, nine more titles have popped up on retail websites and the variety is broader and more exciting — featuring, for example, the Golden Age Justice Society, the Bronze Age Legion and Ramona Fradon’s Aquaman. DC Finest has been compared to Marvel’s Epic Collection line, which reprints titles in precise chronological order, but that’s not really the case here. A Robin edition could, for example, include stories about Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake and Damian Wayne.

In addition, many of the descriptions of the titles don’t come with issue numbers and some seem to offer contents that run contrary to what’s on the cover. Further, it appears most if not all of the titles will include material that’s been reprinted before in one form or another.

But these are still very wide variables — and to be expected, at this stage. DC hasn’t solicited these books yet and so much still can be changed and adjusted. In other words, there’s no reason to jump to any kind of conclusion until we get some harder info.

But since 13 — 13! — titles have now emerged, it behooved us to come up with 13 DC FINEST BOOKS WE’D LIKE TO SEE.

And by “we,” I really mean we — the collective hivemind of our 13th Dimensioneers (regulars and occasional contributors alike). I thought about doing this by my lonesome but I knew my list would be too myopic, so I called in the crew.

They gave a lot of groovy suggestions, but since I’m the editor, I had to cut the list down to 13(ish). And since there’s still so much we don’t know about DC Finest (other than the $40 price tag, give or take), this is a pretty freewheeling selection, with no rules applied.

So here they are — in no particular order — along with what each contributor wrote.

Dig it.

Showcase. To my mind, the original 93-issue run of Showcase (1956-1970) was the title that catapulted comic books into the Silver, or Second Heroic, or whatever Age you want to call it. From its pages sprang the Flash, Challengers of the Unknown, Space Ranger, Adam Strange, Rip Hunter Time Master, Green Lantern, Sea Devils, the Atom, Metal Men, and more.

Some of the more important origins have been reprinted elsewhere and frequently, but most of Showcase’s features remain largely unknown (Kings of the Wild. Frogmen. Maniaks. Jason’s Quest.) except for the 1992 trade paperback Essential Showcase 1956-1959 (for which I wrote the introduction) and the aptly titled Showcase Presents Showcase Volume 1 (2012) that contained the first 21 issues in glorious black and white. — Paul Kupperberg

Metamorpho. A Bob Haney/Ramona Fradon (plus Sal Trapani) Metamorpho please! — Kerry Callen

Ambush Bug. It occurs to me that all of Keith Giffen’s Ambush Bug appearances and miniseries have never been collected in color and they definitely should be. — Chris Ryall

Batman Family/Dollar Comics Detective Comics. A run of volumes that would collect the 20 issues of Batman Family and the subsequent Dollar Comics Detective Comics issues after the two titles merged. There’s a ton of rich material that gets forgotten in here and it features virtually everyone in Batman’s cast up to that point in the Bronze Age. — Dan

Cancelled Comic Cavalcade. Well, gosh, if we’re shooting for the moon, how about Cancelled Comic Cavalcade? In as many volumes as it would take! Walt Grogan (Two, says Kupperberg, who was directly involved.)

Infinity Inc: The Generations Saga. An underrated ’80s gem. DC dropped the ball 13 years ago when they only collected parts 1-4 of the 10-part story. Also throw in the three guest-star appearances from All-Star Squadron. Speaking of which, All-Star Squadron was one of the most beloved DC series of the 1980s/pre-Crisis era. — Anthony Durso

Anniversary Issues. I’d love a collection of all the great oversize anniversary issues like Justice League of America #200, Wonder Woman #200, Detective Comics #500, World’s Finest #300, Superman #400, Batman #400, and so on. All those great jam issues. — Ryall

All-Star Comics #58-74 (1976-1978) /Adventure Comics #461-466 (1979). After more than a decade of the annual JLA/JSA Earth-One/Earth-Two team-ups and guest-shots, the Justice Society of America returned to its own title as the “Super Squad” in All-Star Comics #58 by Gerry Conway, Ric Estrada, and Wally (gasp!) Wood (and continued as a feature in Adventure Comics after All-Star was cancelled by the DC Implosion. It was epic stuff, especially for fans who couldn’t get enough of the Golden Agers and their next generation compatriots.

Pretty soon, assistant editor Paul Levitz joined as first co-writer, then solo scripter, and Keith Giffen penciled for a while before Wood penciled and inked several issues on his own (one of which I dialogued several pages of, making it the only time my career touched Wood’s even tangentially, sigh!), followed by Joe Staton and Bob Layton. Long story short, the art was awesome, but so were the stories, especially the depiction of the older Earth-Two Bruce Wayne, now the police commissioner of Gotham City and married to Selina (Catwoman) Kyle, with Adventure #462’s death and funeral of Batman an emotional high point. The run was reprinted in two volumes in 2006 and 2007 as well as a Showcase Presents in 2011, but it’s time for a new look at this great run. — Kupperberg

Tomahawk. I am a Revolutionary War nut and have been on a Tomahawk kick for the last couple of years, picking up affordable back issues where I can at cons. The very end of that run, circa 1970, right before and after it becomes Son of Tomahawk, is an unheralded gem with stunning art by Frank Thorne and scripts by Bob Kanigher. Plus there are amazing covers from Neal Adams and Joe Kubert. I doubt DC would ever do it, but hey, that’s what these “Dream Lists” are for, right? — Fred Van Lente

Mad. I’d like to see all the Mad comics in color, complete and in order, then after that all the Mad magazines in order. — Peter Bosch

Firestorm and Other Backups. I’d want a collection of the Firestorm and Dr. Fate backup stories from The Flash, the Elongated Man backups from Detective Comics— Scott Tipton

DC’s 80-Page Giant Annuals (1960-1964). In 2009 and 2010 and under a previous series label (DC Comics Classic Library), DC reprinted The Batman Annuals, Volumes 1 and 2, containing the first seven of those classic (oh, I get it now!) 80-Page Giants from 1961–1963 (there were two annuals a year, one in summer, the other in winter). Reprints of reprints? Yes, and more please!

Left on the table, before the format shifted to a weird dual numbering system — both the “G” (Giant) number and the number of the issue the series was part of — are several of what this Silver Age baby considers some of the greatest single issues ever published, including: eight Superman Annuals, two Lois Lane Annuals, one each of The Flash Annual, Superboy Annual, Sgt. Rock’s Prize Battle Tales Annual, and the first Secret Origins 80-Page Giant. — Kupperberg

Jerry Lewis. Both Grogan and Bill Morrison picked the comedian whose comic ran for an extraordinary 19 years — 1952 to 1971 — when you include the Dean Martin issues. Walt in particular mentioned the issues where Jerry met DC superheroes like Batman, Wonder Woman and the Flash.


— 13 Great DC/MARVEL Crossovers We’d Like to See. Click here.

— 13 GIANT-SIZE Marvel Facsimile Editions We’d Like to See. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

Share This Post On


  1. A complete collection of all JONAH HEX series would be essential (& long overdue!).

    Post a Reply
    • The ALL-STARS and CAPTAIN CARROT are owed collected editions… in color@

      Post a Reply
  2. I couldn’t agree with you more about wanting to see collections of Batman Family, All-Star Squadron / Infinity Inc., Dr Fate backups, Tomahawk, and Annuals collections. My list would also include the WWIi era Wonder Woman run that coincided with the first season of the 1977 TV show, which also featured several JSA members. Then a Mr and Mrs Superman collection), all Earth-2 Huntress stories (going beyond the Darknight Daughter collection, a Golden Age Star-Spangled Kid collection, and Bronze Age Hawkman and Adam Strange collections. Then collections featuring the Silver Age Superboy, Rex the Wonder Dog, Krypto, Ace the Bat-Hound, Streak the Wonder Dog, the original Batwoman and Bat-Girl, and that would get them through next summer anyway.

    Post a Reply
  3. Alan Grant’s run on The Demon. To the best of my knowledge, it’s the only Demon era that hasn’t ever been reprinted, and as far as I’m concerned he’s second only to Jack Kirby as the best Etrigan writer.

    Post a Reply
  4. Those are great ideas for collections. A few I’d like to see would be the Neal Adams issues of Jerry Lewis and Bob Hope. I’d really enjoy a collection of the Murphy Anderson and Neal Adams Spectre issues. Broderick Firestorm, Grell Warlords, and a “DC Universe by Jim Starlin.”

    Post a Reply
  5. I believe All-Star Squadron and the All-Star Comics revival will likely be collected under the JSA banner.

    Post a Reply
    • Aha, you have sources?

      Post a Reply
  6. That there’s a DC Finest: Events sub-genre has me jazzed. Put me down for Eclipso: The Darkness Within, please! Your mention of Firestorm reminds me there’s a whole set of semi-related John Ostrander books that could be collected — Firestorm, Captain Atom (though I grant that’s a longer shot). How about Mr. Kupperberg’s Checkmate?

    Post a Reply
  7. I agree on some of the ones listed and would like to add Challengers, Brave and the Bold (Robin Hood, Silent Knight etc), Mlle Marie.

    Post a Reply
  8. Here are some additional DC Finest TPB I would like to see…

    – Mr. & Mrs. Superman (Action Comics #484, Superman #327 and #329, The Superman Family #195-199 and 201-222)

    – Chuck and Woods’s Robin Run (Robin #74-85)

    – The Origin & Life of the Red Tornado (World’s Finest Comics #265-270,272, Justice League #192-193 and Red Tornado #1-4)

    – Pre-Crisis Ragman (Ragman #1-5, The Batman Family #20, The Brave and the Bold #196, DC Who’s Who #19)

    – DC Challenge (DC Challenge #1-12)

    – The Shadow War of Hawkman (The Shadow War of Hawkman #1-4, Hawkman Special #1, Hawlman #1-10, and Superman #588)

    – The Time Trapper Saga – (Cosmic Boy #1-4, Legionnaires 3 #1-4, Superman vol. 2,#8; Action Comics #591; and Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3, #37-38, Superman vol. 2,#21-22, Adventures of Superman #444, Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3, #46-51, Legionnaires #17, Valor #22, Legion of Super-Heroes #60, Legionaires #18, Valor #23, and Legion of Super-Heroes #61)

    – Superman, the Secret Years (Superman: The Secret Years #1-4 and Superman #359, 362, 365, 366, 370, and 374)

    Post a Reply
  9. The late 1940s issues of FLASH COMICS, where Kubert and Infantino reigned supreme.

    Scribbly and the Red Tornado by Sheldon Mayer.

    WARLORD by Mike Grell.

    SUPERMAN by Marty Pasko and Curt Swan, circa SUPERMAN 310-330.

    BATMAN/DETECTIVE from the Doug Moench/Don Newton/Gene Colan era.

    SHADOW WAR OF HAWKMAN by Tony Isabella and Richard Howell.

    Post a Reply
  10. No random collections. Just reprint the issues in order.

    Post a Reply
  11. Top of my list is Sheldon Mayer’s Scribbly, especially the entire run of Ma Hunkel/Red Tornado run.

    Sugar & Spike would make a nice four or five volume set.

    In fact, DC’s humor comics in general are way up on my list. Angel and the Ape, Stanley and His Monster, and Plastic Man–including the Phil Foglio minis from the late ’80s and early ’90s–would be nice to see.

    Frank Robbins’s run on Batman/Detective, bridging the gap from the New Look era to the O’Neil/Adams era hasn’t had a proper full reprint.

    There’s a lot of Batman and Superman from the seventies through 1986 that never seems to get reprinted. The Gerry Conway/Doug Moench run on Batman and Detective with the changing of the guard from Dick Grayson to Jason Todd, that whole 1982-85 run, would be a nice set of books.

    Two infamous runs that people grew to love over time, Trial of The Flash and Justice League Detroit, would make for fun collections.

    I could do this all day.

    Post a Reply
  12. Inferior Five

    Stanley and His Monster (from Fox and the Crow)

    Post a Reply
  13. Inferior Five and the Robby Reed Dial H for Hero.

    Post a Reply
  14. Those that have already been reprinted (even if OOP now) will be reprinted quickly (JSA, Showcase, Doctor Fate backups …. )

    I’d really like to see (reread them in complete order)

    – Paul’s and Jan Duursema’s Arion.
    – Many of those Mini Series from the 80’s (Slash Maraud, Spanner’s Galaxy, Silverblade, Jemm …. )
    – The New Talent Showcase
    – The Warlord (‘and not stoping with Mike’s leaving the series)
    – Captain Carrot, and all those Anthropomorphic comics from the 30’s to the 60’s (More Fun, New fun assuredly, but also : Animal Antics, Funny Folks, Peter Panda ..to name a few)
    – the Broderick (and then Kayanan) Firestorm

    and some more

    Post a Reply
  15. All Star Squadron and Grell Legion would make me a happy man

    Post a Reply
  16. All Star Comics/ Adventure Comics was collected a couple of years ago in a handsome hardcover with non slick, thick pages. Love it!

    Post a Reply
  17. Tomahawk is a great idea but start it with his first run in Star-Spangled comics. Don’t think those have ever been reprinted… also a collection of Alex Toth’s Johnny Thunder from All-American Western and maybe even start a run of Mr. District Attorney. I guarantee those have never seen the light of day since they were first published. Maybe a series with the Star Rovers or the Space Museum… I’m sure sales would sky-rocket on these volumes… hmmm…

    Post a Reply
    • There was the Superman Salutes the Bicentennial, the limited collectors’ edition containing nothing but only Tomahawk stories.

      Post a Reply
  18. I have been CLAMORING for more of Keith Giffen’s work for sure. Ambush Bug (getting a McFarlane figure this year!) and “Dr. Fate by Keith Giffen” are instant buys for me.

    And “Batman Family” underscores the absolute dearth of Bronze Age Batman reprints.
    DC needs to get on that in the leadup to THE BATMAN PART II in 2025!

    Post a Reply
  19. I like the idea of a collection of Batman Family and the Dollar-size Detective Comics. It would be fun to see back-ups, like Nemesis, though I don’t think there’s enough demand for them. I’m a purist like Tim and would prefer them in chronological order. In the case of anthologies, there are too many years to represent with long-running series and the selections seem hit or miss.

    Post a Reply
  20. I’d still love to see them republish DC’s “Silver Age” miniseries from 2000. I’m surprised they hadn’t already done it, considering the talent involved.

    Post a Reply
  21. Let’s see the stuff that hasn’t yet been reprinted in proper color formats in order and completion…enough of these “done already” reprints…

    -All-Star Squadron (No brainer…wayyy long overdue)
    -Infinity Inc
    -Superman Family (the full run in its entirety!)
    -Batman Family/Detective Dollar Issues (again full issues in entirety)
    -Bronze Age Worlds Finest Dollar Books
    -Omega Men
    -Green Lantern backup stories (from Bronze Age Flash)
    -Dr Fate backup stories from 80s Flash (Giffen)
    -Jonah Hex
    -Ambush Bug
    -Legion Baxter series
    -Superboy- Bronze Age Adventure comics 1970s- and the entire -1980 series (including backup stories like Krypto!)
    -DC Comics Presents (full run including backup stories “Whatever happened to…?”)
    -OMAC (Jim Starlin from Kamandi and Warlord backup stories)
    -KAMANDI- the entire post Kirby run #38-59, plus Karate Kid #15, and Kamandi 60-61 from Cancelled Comics Cavalcade
    -Return of the New Gods- (First Issue Special, late 70s run ,and Adventure Comics stories, and JLA #183-185)
    -Mister Miracle- #19-25 1970s issues
    -Freedom Fighters – JLA #107-108, entire 1970s run #1-15

    Bronze Age 70s runs that haven’t yet been collected of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern
    *(yes, regular full chronological runs, not just “famous stories”)

    Post a Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: