Collecting 101: The Omnibus

by Matt Tuck

Hulk-omnibus-206x300 Collecting 101: The OmnibusAn omnibus isn’t anything new to the comic world, but they are gaining increasing popularity among collectors. How many do you own?

I am part of several comic collector groups on social media (and you should be, too). They give me the chance to watch for trends in collecting. In these groups, fellow collectors show off their prized possessions and “holy grails.” In the last year, I’ve seen a growing trend of fans displaying their omnibuses.

Three years ago, this would have been a rarity. In fact, I don’t recall seeing omnibus posts more than maybe 12-18 months ago. Lately, I’ve noticed more people discussing their omnibus collections and wish lists.

Venom-Omnibus-207x300 Collecting 101: The OmnibusWHAT IS AN OMNIBUS?

An omnibus is a large-print compilation of issues from a single title and typically a single creator, but not always. While you can find plenty of paperback omnibuses, most are published in hardcover.

Does that mean it’s basically a fancy version of a trade paperback (TPB)? Not exactly.

TPBs are much smaller and focus on one primary story arc and contain a handful of issues from a given series, creator, or event. An omnibus, on the other hand, is massive. Take volume one of the Venom Omnibus. It is nearly 1,100 pages long and contains a complete Venom run beginning with Lethal Protector and even has his appearances in other titles.

You could also own the Alpha Flight Omnibus, which binds the entire John Byrne run on the characters beginning with Vindicator’s first appearance in X-Men #109. That behemoth has over 1,200 pages.

Alpha-Flight-omnibus-213x300 Collecting 101: The OmnibusSERIOUS FANS ONLY

Especially in the hardcovers, an omnibus is expensive. That first volume of the Venom Omnibus will cost you about $100 off Amazon. For most brand new omnibuses, that’s a typical price and some go up to $150 or more. That may sound pricey for reprints but consider how many issues you’re getting and the quality of the printing. It makes sense for these to be priced high.

Looking at the price tag and the size, you can see why these are usually reserved for the most hardcore of fans. Of course, not all omnibuses are priced in the triple figures. Depending on the size, some sell for closer to $50. You can also find deals on eBay for a used omnibus if you do not mind a few nicks and dents.

 

Uncanny-X-Men-omnibus-vol-3-209x300 Collecting 101: The OmnibusVARIANTS

The major comics publishers are picking up on this growing fandom for omnibuses. Just like regular issues of comics, you can find variant covers for specific titles. Depending on the rarity, these can carry eye-opening values. The third volume of the Uncanny X-Men Omnibus with the cover from Uncanny X-Men #167 has a sold eBay listing for $300 on June 16.

There’s also an Alex Ross variant cover (which was originally a variant for Immortal Hulk #20) for the first volume of the Incredible Hulk Omnibus, and it is routinely listed for $250 or more.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Massive printed collections have been around as long as comic collectors, but the omnibus’ expanding appeal will be felt more as we go forward. I don’t see these becoming as coveted as the original comics, but there will always be a market for them, especially for the super fans.

 

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1 comment

Paul Larsen June 22, 2020 - 12:54 pm

One downside to these are carting them around conventions; they are heavy! As I learned waiting on Stan Lee to sign both my FF vol 1, and Amazing Spider-Man vol 1; worth it but thought my arms would fall off.

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