[UPDATED] DC Comics: The New 52 - Collected Editions Announced

Over the course of the next year, DC Comics will release at least 52 collected editions of their New 52 titles. In addition to their previously-announced oversized hardcover collecting all 52 first issues (available in December), DC announced today via its blog The Source that there will be 51 more collected editions between May and November of 2012, accounting for all but one of their launch titles. Mini- and maxi-series such as Penguin: Pain and Prejudice, The Shade and Huntress were not accounted for which is unsurprising since they're technically not part of the 52, but the absence of the much-touted and well-liked Wonder Woman series by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang is more surprising.

Hiding within the solicitations (such as they are--none of the books have product descriptions yet and many of them don't even have subtitles) are a few nuggets of new information, though; let's take a look:

Most of the New 52 stories appear to have built their first arcs around the familiar six-issue structure, in spite of DC's early comments that it would no longer be editorially-mandated to do so. This means that most of the trade paperbacks will be roughly the same size as most of DC's trade paperbacks over the last several years.

Some stories however will go longer. These appear to be mostly the more popular titles, and DC will indeed accommodate that in the trades, as they had said they would. Action Comics is most notable, as it will include eight issues and, of course, Action Comics #1 and #8 will be oversized. Whether the collected edition will publish the backup features being carried in the title starting with #4 is unclear but, given DC's track record, unlikely.

The upcoming creative team on DC Universe Presents appears to be Dan DiDio and Jerry Ordway. DC confirmed today that the pair will follow Paul Jenkins and Bernard Chang on the book, and will write a story about the Challengers of the Unknown after the current Deadman arc, which comes after DiDio and Ordway's names appeared alongside Jenkins and Chang in the credits for the title. Ordway had mentioned to this reporter at New York Comic Con that he was working on something for DC he couldn't talk about, and this appears to be the culprit.

John Paul Leon's Animal Man “cameo,” announced today at The Source, was quietly solicited here first. The blog indicates that Leon will draw sequences based on the movie that Animal Man's civilian identity, Buddy Baker, is supposed to have starred in. He won't have an issue all to himself; instead it appears he'll be doing basically the same thing for Animal Man #6 that Gene Ha did for Action Comics #3, where he was responsible only for the sequences that took place on Krypton.

Hardcovers aren't exactly rare in the list, but will continue to be reserved primarily for the books you'd expect: Justice League, Batman, Detective Comics, Batwoman, Superman, Action Comics, Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: New Guardians, Aquaman, Batman: The Dark Knight, Batman & Robin, The Flash. Batgirl is a somewhat unexpected addition but logical enough given first-issue sales of the title.

I don't think anyone expected readers to shell out $1,000 in a month just so that the collected editions can all come out together but by staggering them over the course of six months, they seem to be setting themselves up to move more units to a somewhat cash-strapped audience, and to distribute the amount they make from these trades somewhat more equally over a period of time, as opposed to creating a furious month of sales followed by far less impressive months right after. They've also got it set up in such a way that the last of the books, hitting a year from now, will collect mostly at least seven issues and therefore be on the racks no more than six months or so after the conclusion of their stories.

Wonder Woman is, as mentioned above, unaccounted-for. Newsarama used that fact in their headline and have reportedly reached out to DC for an update. We have done the same.

It's either particularly notable, or not at all worth mentioning, that several low-selling titles like Men of War, O.M.A.C., and Blackhawks are set to be released in August or later. Certain of those books have been dogged by rumors of cancellation, and certainly pushing the collected editions way back suggests that those rumors are without merit. After all, if the monthly comic is gone and the fanbase presumably diminishing each month, why would they delay the release of the collected editions any longer than necessary? It would seem self-defeating. On the other hand, could this be a stall tactic to consider whether, like the recently-canceled R.E.B.E.L.S. collected edition, they might be impractical to reprint in trade paperback?