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Bob Simko
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Posted: 13 September 2021 at 10:40pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I was introduced to a lot of great stuff I never might have run across because
of those digests...loved 'em!!
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Bob Simko
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Posted: 13 September 2021 at 10:42pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Speaking of Archie, there was an Archie/Red Circle superhero digest with a
slick Neal Adams story featuring the Black Hood (when Archie relaunched their
superhero line in the 80's).
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Dave B Stewart
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Posted: 14 September 2021 at 10:35am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Oh heck, yeah!  I bought that Archie digest at little grocery store beside a mini golf course in Gatlinburg, TN!  Read it until it fell apart...


That and the first Best of DC digest with Superman 149 are burned (in the best possible way) in my memory.

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Mike Benson
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Posted: 14 September 2021 at 10:43pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

My familiarity with DC history prior to 1976 came almost exclusively from these.  Loved them.  
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Jim Muir
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Posted: 16 September 2021 at 9:20am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

On a similar note, any UK members remember the old
Marvel Pocket books?

50 pages of classic Marvel comic books reprinted in
black & white on the cheapest paper imaginable... they
were great! Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Hulk... I
bought nearly all of them, I think... Filled in my
Marvel history in no time.







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Rod Collins
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Posted: 17 September 2021 at 3:19am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

We had similar books here in Australia.  Gave me a good grounding in Silver Age Marvel books.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 18 September 2021 at 12:05pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

About those UK digests: How is it an X-Men digest is at No.15 and reprinting #9 while the Fantastic Four digest is only at No.5 but reprinting #51? And they had more than one issue reprinted inside? I'm presuming the covers are connected to what's inside...

I had the Archie No.2 digest, but not sure if I bought it at the time. It's where I first saw John Rosenberger art (on The Fly and The Jaguar), and decided he was one of the best figure artists ever in comics.

I don't remember any Marvel digests in North America, ever. They had color paperbacks on white paper with chronological issues of Spider-Man and others though.

At the other extreme was the oversized (tabloid sized) comics of the '70s, and they both had those... lots of fond memories of huge Bob Kane Batman pages (with genuinely scary villains) alongside big-foot filler strips that used to be in with the superheroes. I always wanted a big Sheldon Mayer Rudolph comic in my Christmas stocking too!
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 20 September 2021 at 2:02pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Love those books. They were a great introduction to books that I didn't read, or reprints of books that I was missing.

DC doesn't do them anymore because A) the characters are now different and B) there's no good way to reprint a standalone story... there is no longer such a thing as a standalone comic (except maybe the "juvenile" books.) You'd basically have a Batman chapter out of a "Shadow of the Bat" arc or some such with a character that's not recognizable out of the middle of a storyline. And they cannot introduce characters more than a year or two old (the last "cycle") - new readers, the pander factor, won't recognize them and thus won't buy them.

Test it? Easily. Pick an older book that was very popular (Brave and the Bold, All Star Comics, Legion of Super-Heroes, etc., and try one year of digests. See how those sell. I'll bet they won't; no one knows  the characters. Shucks, hit the afterburners; since Essentials are no longer being printed, do a book with one year of the original "All-Star Comics" run backed up with silver age Flash or Green Lantern stories. They'll sell like laxatives at the Donner Party Family Reunion. Nobody wants to read those stories anymore, and the increasing tiny and critical reader base won't even sniff at 'em.

I wish I were wrong, but I truly believe I'm not.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 20 September 2021 at 2:32pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Stray thought, 'increasingly tiny' is like 'jumbo shrimp'... but they definitely have lost a wider readership. People can't seem to approach comics like music... when I heard a Fats Domino songs for the first time in say 1977, it was 1977, and I liked and reacted to it on that basis. So with the digest reprints be they DC or Archie or Disney, they were comics 'happening' when I read them. It seems if we are going to have characters that go on and on as 'properties' we should just accept this and not package things so much as classic oldies, but have something that may be old presented simply as here are some comics like with a various artists album of music?

Or maybe that's what they were trying with the Walmart 100Page line?

Then again, the collector in my also enjoyed the Adventure Comics digest run that reprinted all the earliest Legion comics in order. I wonder how those might have gone over with a more casual reader... not enough variety for them? Too dated?

Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 20 September 2021 at 2:35pm
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Jim Muir
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Posted: 20 September 2021 at 3:34pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

<< About those UK digests: How is it an X-Men digest is at No.15 and
reprinting #9 while the Fantastic Four digest is only at No.5 but
reprinting #51? And they had more than one issue reprinted inside>>

Ha yes Rebecca, they were typically a few issues crammed into one
issue. There was no continuity ... youd have Micronauts published
alongside first series Hulk. I didnt care, even at that age I understood
these were all reprints I was privileged enough to read for pennies.
Simpler times!
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 20 September 2021 at 8:25pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Thanks for the info Jim! If I'd have gotten those at a certain age, even if small, I expect I'd have started coloring the pages in. :^)

I've had a few French '70s comics that I think are in that same small B&W inside format, it's a good format.

For the slightly smaller and color U.S. digests they often would have to enlarge the original lettering in proportion to keep it readable, and that was a bit of a downside to that format. I remember comparing a full sized issue of Supergirl against the same story in a Supergirl digest (still remember the Perez cover) and how the digest version lost some of the art to the lettering.
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