With the Superman vs. Wonder Woman facsimile edition here, the world’s foremost authority on treasury editions weighs in…
UPDATED 12/29/20: The Superman vs. Wonder Woman facsimile edition was released this month and Marvel just announced that Giant-Size X-Men #1 will be included in a treasury-size tribute in 2021. (Click here for more on that.) Seems like a good time to re-present this piece by Rob Kelly that first ran earlier in 2020. Dig it. — Dan
In case you missed the news we broke the other day, DC is planning on re-releasing the classic 1970s Superman vs. Wonder Woman treasury edition in full size as a hardcover. (You can click here for the details.)
Of course, when something this cool happens, I immediately get greedy and think, “Well, gee, wouldn’t it be great if THIS happened too?!”
So naturally, I thought about THE TOP 13 TREASURY EDITIONS THAT NEED TO BE RE-RELEASED — RANKED.
And just as naturally, I asked Rob Kelly, the world’s top scholar on treasury editions — and the host of the superb TreasuryCast — to weigh in. He readily agreed.
So here’s Rob:
By ROB KELLY
Based on the (very) welcome news that DC will be publishing a hardcover treasury-size facsimile edition of its classic 1978 all-original oversized comic Superman vs. Wonder Woman by Gerry Conway, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (Praise Be His Name), and Dan Adkins, Dan Greenfield has asked me to compile a list of 13 other classic DC and Marvel treasuries that should—nay, need—similar deluxe treatment.
And while there are hundreds, if not thousands, of superb comics that would look great reprinted as treasury-sized hardcovers, I’m going to stick to just those books that were originally published at that glorious tabloid size — except for one, which we’ll lead off with:
13. Justice League of America #210-212: When A World Dies Screaming! This is my one exception to my treasuries-only rule for this list. But the reason I’m putting it here, aside from the fact that it’s a super widescreen, action-packed, planet-hopping story by Gerry Conway, Rich Buckler and Romeo Tanghal is that this three-parter was originally commissioned as a treasury edition! But by the time work on it was completed, DC had decided to scale back their all-original treasuries and the material was shelved for years, sitting in inventory until it was dusted off for three successive issues of the regular Justice League of America comic book series (I remember buying these comics off the stands, and wondering why newer members like Zatanna and Firestorm weren’t part of the fight against this massive alien invasion of Earth).
Once you know that it was planned as a treasury, you can see the moments where Rich Buckler was letting it rip, knowing how amazing it would be to see these pages at the treasury size. Alas, it was never to be. So DC could correct this mistake by reprinting it as a treasury, like it was meant to be.
12. The Spectacular Spider-Man (Marvel Treasury Edition #1). I’m generally staying away from the all-reprint treasuries for this list, since that material has been reprinted elsewhere, in some cases many times. But Marvel knew for its first-ever treasury they had to do it right, and they did: This collection of classic Spidey tales makes for a great primer on the character, and it deserves a hardcover re-issue.
11. Superman and His Incredible Fortress of Solitude (DC Special Series #26). One of the last Bronze Age DC treasuries, is this fun trip through Superman’s history, as exemplified by the artifacts found in his secret hideaway. As a doomsday clock ticks down, spelling the end of the planet, Superman tries to find clues to stop his adopted planet from blowing up. Roy Thomas, Ross Andru, and Romeo Tanghal deliver an Irwin Allen-style disaster epic that really makes good use of the extra-large page size.
10. MGM’s Marvelous Wizard of Oz. The first publishing venture between DC and Marvel was this glorious adaptation of the iconic 1939 film, by Roy Thomas, John Buscema and Tony DeZuniga. With a film this enduringly popular, this would make a great keepsake edition for kids and adults alike.
9. Dick Tracy (Limited Collectors’ Edition #C-40). OK, I admit I’m playing favorites with this one. A bomb when published, this was DC’s one and only attempt at a Dick Tracy comic book. Still, it’s a lot of fun, collecting the complete Flattop arc and featuring lots of cool bonus material.
Hey, if it’s good enough for the Clash’s Joe Strummer…
8. Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles (Marvel Treasury Special). A treasury-sized, all-original Captain America story by Jack Kirby? Do I need to say more? (No.)
7. Batman (Limited Collector’s Edition #C-51). Aside from the fact that Dan Greenfield would no longer talk to me if I didn’t include this book on the list, the Neal Adams cover alone deserves to be on an oversize hardcover. In an age when reading an entire storyline spread over many issues was really hard if you happened to miss an installment (dang spotty newsstand distribution!), DC helpfully collected the best of the original Ra’s Al Ghul saga between a glorious wraparound cover. One of the company’s best. (Dan adds: This should have been #1. Just sayin’.)
6. Superman and Spider-Man (Marvel Treasury Edition #28). Though not as viscerally exciting as their first team-up, this second meeting of the Man of Steel and the wall-crawler does feature appearances by Wonder Woman and the Hulk, plus it was drawn by Big John Buscema. Plus, wouldn’t that nifty painted cover by Bob Larkin look great on a hardcover?
5. Savage Fists of Kung Fu (Special Collector’s Edition). With the MCU Shang-Chi movie coming down the pike, Marvel should reprint this fine collection of stories for a new audience. Since this book was, for some reason, given its own title (Special Collector’s Edition instead of being an issue of Marvel Treasury Edition), a lot of comics fans don’t even know Shang-Chi got his own treasury!
4. Superman vs. Shazam! (All New Collectors’ Edition #C-58) A slam-bang, rip-roaring team-up by Gerry Conway, Rich Buckler and Dick Giordano. Why Superman was so angry in the 1970s, I can’t say, but you can enjoy the comic anyway! (UPDATED 12/29/20: This story IS being reprinted — but at standard size. Click here for info.)
3. Star Wars (Marvel Special Edition #3). Marvel knew that putting its Star Wars comics in any format would sell, and they weren’t wrong. Originally published in the treasury format as a two-issue series, this edition combines both comics with some added material and a new front and back cover. Now that the House of Ideas has the Star Wars license in house again, this seems like a no-brainer.
2. Batman vs. The Hulk (DC Special Series #7). Another classic DC and Marvel match-up, this time by Len Wein, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (him again!) and Dick Giordano. This was the last classic treasury DC would produce, and they sure went out on a winner. A facsimile edition of this would look great next to the #1 pick…
1. Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man. Pretty much the ultimate treasury comic, this is the first time DC and Marvel paired two of their characters together. And of course the two companies knew this titanic tussle just couldn’t be in any old comic, it had to be big, big, BIG! Gerry Conway (him again!), Ross Andru and Dick Giordano brought their best, delivering a story worthy of these two iconic characters. If any treasury deserves a hardcover, it’s this one.
So that’s my list! With Marvel releasing treasuries here and there nowadays (Silver Surfer: Black, Heroes of Power: The Women of Marvel), I hope these facsimile editions are DC’s way of getting back in the game, as well. As I try and make the case in every single episode of my show TreasuryCast, I still say treasuries are the greatest comics format ever devised, and there’s a lot of great material out there just waiting to be enjoyed all over again.
Rob Kelly is a writer/artist/podcaster. He is the host/co-host of several shows on The Fire and Water Podcast Network, including Aquaman and Firestorm: The Fire and Water Podcast, The Power Records Podcast, Superman Movie Minute, Pod Dylan and, most importantly, TreasuryCast.
— SUPERMAN VS. WONDER WOMAN Treasury to Be Re-Released — at FULL SIZE. Click here.
— The Brilliant Majesty of the BATMAN-RA’S AL GHUL Treasury. Click here.
March 24, 2020
This is a great selection right here.
March 24, 2020
For anyone who hasn’t listened to Rob’s show, Treasury Cast, it is very enjoyable if you’re a 70s baby and treasury fan.
While I don’t think anyone else is as fond of it as I am, Batman’s Strangest Cases was always my favorite treasury. I’ve already mentioned this elsewhere, but when the Ra’s Al Ghul treasury came out, I was still in my “girls have cooties” period and thought it was gross that Batman kissed a girl. Otherwise, I loved it then and I love it now.
With a Morbius movie coming out, how about a re-release of Marvel Treasury Edition 14, which reprinted Morbius’s first appearance? One of my earliest comics.
Honestly, I was hoping Marvel would maybe go back into the reprint treasury business when I saw the oversize Galactus book, Kirby is Fantastic, Ditko is Amazing, etc. Those things are just too darned big, but I would have loved to have seen them at treasury size. I got the Galactus one and was afraid it would fall over and crush my dog.
Rob, you used to ask Treasury Cast guests what treasuries they would have liked…well, why not do an article on that? One for Marvel and One for DC, or otherwise you would have to cut too much. I’ll even get you started. For DC, Bat-Murderer and Infantino Flash…For Marvel, Steranko Captain America and Spider-Man the Master Planner Trilogy.
March 26, 2020
What about Superman vs Muhammed Ali? I can’t remember much about the story, but Adams’s artwork was incredible drawn to that format.
March 26, 2020
It was already reprinted as a hardcover about 10 years ago. Not hard to find!
March 30, 2020
Pretty cool to see Joe Strummer reading these! Lately with what’s going on, I’m feeling So Bored with the USA!
July 14, 2020
I would want 2/3/9
December 23, 2020
I’m not saying they were comic gold, but I always loved the holiday Treasury Editions (of both Marvel and DC).
December 29, 2020
When, as a kid, I first saw the cover of Hulk vs. Batman, my interest went south as I imagined a logical ending was Batman as a black, blue and yellow smear on the pavement…and Batman is my favorite! I never really liked the raging idiot version of the Hulk, so I passed. Such a mismatch.
January 1, 2021
great list! i picked up 2 copies about 7 years ago of #1 on your list, never had it before – the weird thing is the seller had a lot of comics, his dad’s collection actually and he had 40 copies of it, that were clearly all previously bound together w twine in a bundle.