I don’t read a lot of current DC Comics material but I have been buying a lot of DC hardcovers and trades over the past few years. DC has been doing a really good job of reprinting comics that I’ve forgotten about or runs that are older but are still well worth the price of admission. A few weeks ago, they put out a hardcover called The DC Universe by Mike Mignola which I bought immediately.

Now, if you love Mignola’s work on Hellboy, this book is a must have. Mignola has done a fair amount of work for DC in the past and a lot of it, like Cosmic Odyssey, The Doom that Came to Gotham, and Gotham by Gaslight, have been reprinted a number of times in various formats. But what about all of the covers that Mignola has drawn for DC over the years? What about his very early work? The one shots and short stories? That’s where a collection like this comes in. Inside the beautiful dust jacket you find things like his Phantom Stranger mini-series, The World of Krypton, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #54, and a ton of covers. This is pretty much everything that hasn’t seen the light of day (aside from back issue bins) for years.

It’s a really interesting experience as the material is published in chronological order. When you start with The Phantom Stranger, Mignola’s art isn’t even recognizable. Every once and a while, you get a glimpse of the style that would be his calling card. Reading the book all of the way through, you can watch Mignola grow as an artist until he finds what works for him. Some of his more recent work, like the covers on Deadman from a few years ago, are prime Mignola.

It kind of makes me wonder why we don’t see more of these books from both Marvel and DC. I know in the past, Marvel put out a compilation of Frank Miller’s Spider-Man work. I’d love to see that come back into print. In fact, there’s a fair amount of Miller’s non-Batman work that DC could put together as well. John Romita Jr. has been hanging out with DC a lot lately but there is a ton of stragglers in his Marvel back catalog that could use a similar reprint collection.

These books are great because it allows us to take a look back at the evolution of an artist. No comic book artist is fully formed right out of the gate. Many go through a number of years where they are mimicking the artists they like until they find the style that best works for them,

If these aren’t huge sellers in the physical market, this would be the perfect thing to release as digital content. Put together some digital collections and sell them at a bargain price. The great thing about digital is that printing costs aren’t a factor.

But maybe I’m in the minority. What say you good reader? Leave some of your suggestions in the comments below.

If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!