The Marvel Universe is a rich tapestry of classic stories and amazing Superheroes that spans almost 60 years. When you’re new to comics this expansive back catalogue can be intimidating. There’s just so much available! While recent releases are readily available in print, it hasn’t always been the case for older stories from decades past. To solve this problem Marvel have introduced the Epic Collections line, which over the past few years has plugged the back catalogue holes and given new readers a great point of entry at the same time.
Read on to find out more about these chunky trade paperback collections and why they’re good for those new to comics.
What Are Marvel Epic Collections?
The Marvel Epic Collections are trade paperbacks which collect huge chunks of a Marvel character’s comic book stories in order of release. Ranging from 450-500+ pages, or around 20 issues of vintage comics, these collections are massive! They’re the kind trade paperback that you could sit down with in a comfy chair, a tasty drink, and spend your weekend with getting lost in the Marvel Universe with.
The best part about them is that they won’t cost you a fortune, with the collections sitting at the affordable price of around $35. That’s about $1.50 issue and heaps cheaper than tracking down the pricey individual comics.
They’re also a way better solution to previous efforts. The previous offering, the Essentials line, were printed on inferior paper in black and white. The Marvel Masterworks, on the other hand, is on the other end of the scale by being hardcover collections, but collect half as much material for twice the price. As you can see, Marvel has offered the best of both worlds, while still remaining accessible.
Why Is The Numbering Out Of Order?
If you look through the list of Marvel Epic Collections you’ll notice that the release order is out of whack. For instance, at the time of writing this, the Iron Man collections have been released in the following order: 10, 16, 1, 13, 11, 2 and 15 out later this month. But don’t worry, the remaining volumes in between will eventually hit the shelves over the coming years.
Why do they do this? There are two main reasons:
- Availability of what is already in print. If the material already available in another collection then there’s no need to collect in this format straight away. Marvel will eventually get to collecting those stories once the previous print runs of the story are no longer available.
- The publishing line would be stuck in the 1960s for years if it was released chronologically. While there are loads of great comics from this era, by releasing it out of order we get to sample a variety of different points in Marvel’s history.
Because of this, there’s no prescribed volume or character to begin reading. I suggest looking for the blurbs on the back for heroes that you like and seeing if it grabs your interest. If you’re still not sure, the comics internet (including this very website) is full of opinions Marvel’s wide range of stories.
Are They Good For New Readers?
These collections are affordable ways to binge read huge chunks of Marvel’s decades of stories. They’re easy to pick up and start reading because they usually group appropriate issues together. This means there’s no need to track down other volumes for the comics to makes sense. In most instances, each volume contains multiple story arcs so you’re definitely getting bang for your buck.
What Marvel Epic Collections Are Available To Read?
Most heroes introduced between the 1960s to the mid-80s have at least one collection available. That includes Marvel’s A-list such as Spider-Man, Avengers, Fantastic Four, Thor, Captain America and others. Digging deeper, characters such as Moon Knight, The Punisher, Doctor Strange and Iron Fist also featured. Even Star Wars and Conan are heavily featured, with the publisher using the Epic collections as a great excuse to reprint the old Dark Horse material (now considered Legends).
Wikipedia is pretty good at keeping the full list of Marvel Epic Collections up-to-date, listing all of the collections that have been released so far and coming soon.
Where Can I Find Marvel Epic Collections?
You can find Marvel Epic Collections at any good comic book store, Comixology, Marvel Comic Store and eBay.
Have Your Say!
Will you be reading any of the Marvel Epic Collections? Let me know in the comments below or via Facebook or Twitter.
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Are the original issues cover artwork included? Eg-Avengers Annual #4, which itself was a reprint.
One reason I love reading these is all the extra material included. Old house ads, articles from Marvel Age, collectible card images, covers and introductions from previous now-out-of-print collections, etc. It helps give you a little context of and feel for the time the original comics were released.
How do I contact Epic Collection for a specific series –
I am looking for The Thor War – 1991-1992- Ron Frenz
Hey Mel, I don’t know if there is a way to contact Marvel directly to request an Epic Collection but I do have some good news for you. The Thor War will be available in September.
While it is excellent to see the epic collections there is one hero that has yet to be brought out in the epic collections; Ghost Rider particularly during the nineties. in addition if you combine that with some of the interconnected heroes (Nightstalkers, The Darkhold Redeemers, Morbeus the living vampire, and the Spirits of Vengeance) that would be an outstanding step in the right direction
BUYER BEWARE …The paper stock is too thin and as a result you can see through the pages and the covers curl for no reason when you lay the book flat. The cover has in some cases, maybe all, been put on crooked so the whole thing just looks off. They forgot to include the “Epic Collection” brand on the spine. The reproduction is poor as in some panels the detail lines have almost dissapeared.
I cannot recommend you buy these volumes.
There are 6 epics that have been manufactured by Quad Graphics, all of which are below the standard of quality you would expect from Marvel.
Amazing Spiderman vol 18 Venom
Daredevil vol. 19: Root of Evil
Iron Fist vol. 1: The Fury of Iron Fist (second printing)
Avengers West Coast vol. 1: How the West Was Won
Doctor Strange vol. 1: Master of the Mystic Arts
Other than that all previous epic collections prior to these were top-notch quality and I highly recommend them. I hope the future epic collections being released in 2019 will change the publishing company or change the quality of paper that they are using because this is not acceptable. We were expecting a comic book not a comic magazine to be thrown away
So, as someone who is looking to start reading a lot of the older Amazing Spider-Man ones and leading up to newer stuff, what’s the thought or difference between the Epic Collection and the Complete Epics that also contain some Spider-Man issues?
Does anyone know when will be available X-Men Epic Collection Second Genesis volume 6 ? I almost buy both The Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 but I change my mind all because the X Men Epic Collection Second Genesis differences in content.
These are great collections, and since they reprint much of the material in the more expensive Masterworks program you can buy these then have them professionally bound into hardcovers with dust jackets to mirror the Masterworks line at a fraction of the price of the out of print Masterworks, It’s a great way to finish a set that you have no intention of spending hundreds of dollars on a single book. They also contain tons of extra “behind-the-scenes” material. Great article and cant recommend these enough.
Better still is to take out a subscription to “Marvel Comics Unlimited” on the Marvel Website. For one annual fee you can read just under 9000 or so digital Marvel Comics. The list is added to weekly. This will work out cheaper than buying the Epic Collection Books at $35 a pop.
So are these epic collections hardcover? I’ve only seen paperback.
Hey Eduardo, at the moment they are all softcover editions.