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Size Doesn't Matter!

Updated: 2018-04-14T16:23:45.122-04:00


Marvel Comics Digest #2: The Avengers


Marvel Comics Digest #2: Avengers is currently on sale. We talk about it over on DigestCast!

Marvel Comics Digest Coming in June!


Well, this is exciting news!

Marvel Comics announced this June they will start publishing a line of digest-sized comics that will be "designed, packaged, and distributed" by Archie Comics, for distribution in "big box retailers, comic shops, and newsstands"! The series will be called Marvel Comics Digest and will be published six times a year.

For a digest comics fan like myself, this news is simply amazing. Not only is Marvel finally getting into the digest game, after their brief attempt in 1987, but they are ensuring that these books will be getting in front of the right audience--namely, kids. And how are they doing that? By teaming up with the industry leader, Archie! Excelsior, what a great idea! Archie has owned the digest format for a quarter century, so it only makes sense. Great move all around!

Rest assured we'll be covering this new series on future episodes of DigestCast!

The Daily Planet - July 1981


Nice to see the Supergirl digest getting such a prime advertising spot on The Daily Planet! Scan courtesy the Comic Book Ad FB page.

Mystery Comics Digest #23 - Gold Key


Behind a typically gorgeous cover, this edition of Mystery Comics Digest (May 1975) features eighteen "spine-tinglers in the Karloff tradition!"

  • "Lo! The Mighty Hunter"
  • "The Man Who Thought He Had Wings"
  • "The Phone to the Past"
  • "The Room That Never Grew Old"
  • "Benefactors From Worlds Beyond"
  • "The Face in the Jewel"
  • "The Gypsy Curse"
  • "The Room of Madness"
  • "Pictures at an Execution"
  • "The Dragon Tattoo"
  • "The Death Bell"
  • "Disaster in 3D"
  • "The Scavengers"
  • "The Plague of Gornau"
  • "The Metamorphs"
  • "One For The Herd"
  • "When Children Speak"
  • "Monster Mountain"

I have to admit, I didn't find a single one of these stories even remotely scary. Dell/Gold Key prided itself on being family entertainment (they never submitted their comics to the CCA, objecting to the very suggestion that their publications even needed such review), so you can imagine it'd be kind of hard to do horror comics in that context. But, of course, these books weren't meant for me, reading them in 2016. I'm sure these comics were read on many a family vacation by kids eager to pass the time. I mean, over 125 pages of comics for a measly 69c is quite a deal.

The artwork (entirely uncredited) is pretty serviceable to the point of being bland, except for one story, "The Face in the Jewel", which stands out thanks to the visuals. Still, the book is a nice little package and seeing it makes me wish DC, Marvel, or maybe even Warren had tried such a thing with their horror comics!

The Daily Planet - March 1980


No sooner did I say it was "impossible" to find DC house ads for their digests then I found this big plug for Best of DC Digest #6. Above the fold and everything!

Archie Andrews Where Are You Ad


A typically eye-popping ad for yet another Archie digest. It's amazing to think that Archie Comics made enough money from a single digest that it was financially worth it to them to build a whole ad around it. I'm sending my 75 cents in coin right now!

Ask The Answer Man: Sgt. Rock's Prize Battle Tales


Finding ads for DC digests outside of the handful they initially did when launching the line is incredibly tough. Impossible, actually, since it seems DC simply stopped doing ads for their digest line much past 1981. So even the briefest mention--like in this December 1979 installment of "Ask The Answer Man" regarding Sgt. Rock's Prize Battle Tales--catches my attention!

DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #15 Color Guide


Another DC color guide courtesy DigestFan Jon Knutson. Gotta love those Ross Andru cover designs--on the front alone he manages to work in 14 figures and it doesn't look crowded!

Archie Comics Digest Ad


Courtesy DigestFan Steven Thompson (he of Booksteve's Library) comes this ginchy ad for the Archie digests--in fact, the very first Archie digest! There was no way of knowing that with this release, Archie would end up becoming the dominant--and only remaining--publisher of the format, forty years later. In fact, head to your local supermarket and pick some Archie digests up today!

Thanks Steven!

Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest #37 Color Guide


Another DC color guide courtesy DigestFan Jon Knutson. A beautifully designed cover, featuring the always great Sheldon Mayer and an unknown DC staffer.

DC Pocket Books Ad


Kind of an oddly staged ad for these international pocketbook editions of DC books--it looks like Batman is enraged and massacring some thugs, and Superman is there to calm his friend down. Good luck with that, Clark!

I only have one of these pocket books, but I want to find some more. They're really fun, even if I can't read them!


Superman Adventures: The Man of Steel


As I said yesterday, DC released two digest-sized Superman collections to tie in with their "Superman at 75" celebration, with little to no pre-release hype. I didn't even know they existed until Nuclear Sub Kyle Benning pointed them out to me after we did a digest-themed episode of The Fire and Water Podcast.

Squarebound with cardstock covers, these books were cover priced $9.99 which is a bit much, nevertheless they make for a handsome package. Superman Adventures: The Man of Steel reprints stories from:

Superman and Batman Magazine #s 1,3,5,7
Superman Adventures of Superman #s 17,18,40,41
Justice League Unlimited #34

I have yet to see any evidence DC did this for their Batman 75 celebration, which you would think would be even more of a slam dunk, sales-wise, than Superman. Let's hope I'm wrong, and that DC does digests for Wonder Woman 75 next year!

Superman: The Man of Steel - 2013


DC released two digest-sized Superman collections to tie in with their "Superman at 75" celebration, with little to no pre-release hype. I didn't even know they existed until Nuclear Sub Kyle Benning pointed them out to me after we did a digest-themed episode of The Fire and Water Podcast.

Squarebound with cardstock covers, these books were cover priced $9.99 which is a bit much, nevertheless they make for a handsome package. Superman: The Man of Steel: Believe reprints stories from:

Action Comics #s 0, 810
Adventures of Superman #s 1, 623
Justice League of America Special #1
Superman #185
Superman 80 Page Giant #s 1-2

The Daily Planet: June 18, 1979


Nice to see a digest get "above the fold" placement on this installment of The Daily Planet, and plugging a non-superhero book to boot! For 95 cents, you can't beat Sgt. Rock's Prize Battle Tales.

I could have just posted the digest-centric part of this page, but I love(d) these Daily Planet features so much that I couldn't help post the whole thing, Hembeck and all!

The Marvel Comics Illustrated Version of Star Wars - 1977


Marvel partnered with several different paperback publishers in the 70s and 80s to issue these digest-sized collections. With Star Wars being the biggest thing around, it only made sense that they collected their movie adaptation in every format possible--big and small.

This b/w book reprints Star Wars #s 1-6 by Roy Thomas, Howard Chaykin, Steve Leialoha, and others, with an introduction by (of course) Stan Lee. May the Force be with you!

Golden Comics Digest #38 - Aug. 1974


Digest Fan Chris Franklin was kind enough to send me this book a few months ago, and who doesn't like a digest comic in the mail?

As the cover indicates, this is a reprint collection of Pink Panther and The Inspector comics, comprising 28 stories across 128 pages. Given the short nature of these stories, it must have been fairly easy to find just enough material to fill a book, whatever the page count. To that end, there are no bonus features to be found, save for some ads for other Gold Key titles.

I was never that big a fan of the Pink Panther, given his generally bland personality. but I loved The Inspector shorts, and I could hear those voices in my head as I read the comics. Thanks Chris!

Captain America Battles Baron Blood


I realize these paperback reprint editions aren't really "digest comics", but they're too nifty to ignore and besides, they're in the spirit of the alternate comic book formats that I find so charming.

This book reprints Captain America #s 250, 253, and 254, back when the book was being done by Roger Stern, John Byrne, and Josef Rubinstein, who did superb work on the title. Capped off with a cover by Bob Larkin, and you've got one great little collection.

I had distinct memories of reading the Baron Blood issues while we were on vacation in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, which was always in August. Then when these issues were discussed on an episode of Mike Bailey's Views From the Longbox podcast, I looked them up online, and saw they were released in October and November. What the?

Then I remembered that one of the newsstands in that area that I frequently haunted sold paperbacks as well, and had this book there in August, which was what I bought and devoured at the time. I found another copy on Amazon and enjoyed it all over again!

DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #3 Color Guide


DigestFan Jon Knutson sent me this color guide years ago, and after this blog went dark it stayed in my "to post" folder, collecting digital dust. Sorry about that, Jon!

In any case, this is a neat behind-the-scenes peek at how one of these digests were put together. In the UPC box you can see the name of longtime DC colorist Tatjana Wood--whether that's her signature or someone else indicating she did the work, I don't know. But things like these give you an idea just how much work goes into any given comic book, even a collection of reprints!

DC Digest Ad - 1972


My pal (and DigestFan) Craig Wichman sent me this awesome, rarely-seen DC ad promoting their first two digest efforts--Laurel & Hardy and Tarzan, both scheduled for 1972.

I say "scheduled", because the Laurel & Hardy book was never published. Its hard to imagine a reason why some modest little book such as this would get pulled from the schedule--especially after an ad had been put together. For pete's sake, why?

This is the kind of comicus obscurus I love finding out about, but I think its a safe bet not one single person working at DC at the time remembers why the book was pulled. Soon after, DC amended the ad to be Tarzan only, leaving it to be the only digest book the company produced for years.

Thanks Craig!

DC Paperbacks Ad - 1977


The last of our new updates comes from DigestFan and all around good egg Craig Wichman--this ad for the line of paperbacks from Tempo Books featuring classic DC stories that were all published around 1977.

I remember seeing this ad in almost every DC book for what seemed like a year, but it was probably only a month or two.

I eventually got the JLA one and a few others, though that Super Friends puzzle has yet to be added to the collection. I need to correct that sometime.

Thanks Craig!

The Amazing Spider-Man Pocket Book #3 - 1979


(image) The third titanic volume of classic Spider-Man adventures, featuring an often-re-used--but still awesome--cover by Jazzy John Romita!

Stories include:
"The Grotesque Adventure of Green Goblin", "Kraven, the Hunter", "Duel with Daredevil", "The Return of the Green Goblin", "The End of Spider-Man", "Spidey Strikes Back", and "The Coming of the Scorpion", all by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

These books were printed on high-quality paper, so they hold up extremely well, considering paperbacks are never really meant to be permanent editions.

160 pages.

The Amazing Spider-Man Pocket Book #2 - 1978


(image) The second edition, reprinting--in sequence--the next six issues of The Amazing Spider-Man. The comics industry's first trade paperbacks!

Stories include:
"The Return of the Vulture", "The Living Brain", "Spider-Man Tackles The Human Torch", "The Man Called Electro", "The Enforcers", "Turning Point", "Unmasked by Dr. Octopus!", and "The Menace of Mysterio!", all by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

160 pages, with a front cover by Jazzy John Romita!

The Amazing Spider-Man Pocket Book #1 - 1977


(image) The first of Marvel's cool paperback line, printed by the fine folks at Pocket Books.

As I said many months ago when talking about a Hulk Pocket Book, these editions were the only comics that ever showed up at the book fairs they had at my elementary school every so often. I assume the page count and the Pocket Books logo gave these an air of respectability that a 40 cent floppy didn't have.

This book reprints the first six, groundbreaking issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, by (of course) Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, plus Amazing Fantasy #15.

160 whopping pages!

Tarzan of the Apes Story Digest Magazine - June 1970


(image) Like I said yesterday, these Gold Key digests always had such beautifully painted covers, and this edition is no exception.

Most of the other Gold Key stars got lumped in to the Golden Comics Digest umbrella title, but of course Tarzan was a big enough star to earn his own digest title!

But this was not a series of reprints--no, this is a prose story book, featuring spot illustrations by the legendary Dan Spiegle.

Golden Comics Digest #31 - Aug. 1973


(image) These Gold Key digests always had such beautifully painted covers, and this edition is no exception.

Stories include:
Turok in "The World Below", "The Terrible Ones", "The Mystery of the Mountain", "The Missing Hunters", and "The Deadly Jungle."

There are other features reprinted, like Young Earth in "The Armored Ones" and "The Ice Age", and Indian Chief in "The Exile" and "Invaders from the North."

132 pages!