So it has been pointed out to me on my site and elsewhere that DC Comics does appear to be planning a reprint volume of the very Doctor Fate comics I was dead certain would not be reprinted any time soon.
According to the Amazon listing:
“Collects 1ST ISSUE SPECIAL #9, stories from THE FLASH #306-313, THE IMMORTAL DOCTOR FATE #1-3, DR. FATE #1-4 and DC CHALLENGE #11.”
…which is kind of a weird way to put it, since The Immortal Doctor Fate is a reprint series that features the stories from 1st Issue Special #9 and The Flash #306-313. …Unless it’s also featuring the other stories reprinted in IDF #1 (a retelling of the origin from DC Special Series #10, and a Golden Age story from More Fun #56), in which case why not say “collects all that other stuff and DC Special Series #10 and More Fun #56″ and leave out mentioning Immortal Doctor Fate altogether. Or maybe the book is reprinting the covers from Immortal Doctor Fate, which, as far as I know, were new to that particular series.
Oh, hey, let Webster’s know that I’ve got a new definition of “nitpicking” for them. Thanks.
Anyway, including the four-issue Dr. Fate mini feels just a little odd…on one hand not too odd since it does feature the art of Keith Giffen, who drew all those Flash back-ups also reprinted in the book. On the other hand, it is a bit odd since it’s very much a transitional series, doing away with the decades-old version of Dr. Fate that most of the book is covering, and establishing a new status quo for the character. It feels like it would fit more as a prologue piece to a second Doctor Fate trade, as the monthly series that followed directly spins off from that mini. Instead they could have reprinted a couple of those Superman/Dr. Fate team-ups (from World’s Finest and DC Comics Presents, and I’m sure there are one or two appearance here and there that could have been squeezed in as well.
But they didn’t ask me, and frankly I’ll be surprised if there is a second Dr. Fate reprint volume, though I’m too busy eating this remarkably tasty Glengarry bonnet to vociferously deny its possibility. I’m glad that any kind of reprint is in the offing, even if my preference is to get more stuff that only exists on crummy, decaying newsprint represented on nice white paper with modern printing, like those Superman team-ups I mentioned, since the rest of that Dr. Fate material has already made it into a longer-lasting format.
The one really oddball thing about the book is, as reader BobH mentioned, the inclusion of some of Giffen’s Dr. Fate pages from DC Challenge, which must only be included here for completeness’s sake. In brief, for those who may not recall, DC Challenge was a round-robin mini-series, where random creative teams were assigned to each issue (after an initial installment by prime instigator of the series Mark Evanier), who were to resolve cliffhangers left for them by the creators of the previous issue, while setting up more difficult situations for the next creators to deal with, and simultaneously attempting to push along whatever was passing for the plot. You can read more details at the Wiki entry, and I’d posted a couple of panels from the series a while back.
The whole thing was kind of a glorious mess, entertaining almost despite itself, and definitely outside of whatever was passing for regular DC Universe continuity at the time. I’d love to have this as a full trade paperback, which likely would sell about 10 copies, but it would be nice to remind people that the series exists. It was a fun book that brought in characters from all over the DC Universe and mixed ‘em all up into a crazy jumble, not for “changing DC Comics and nothing will ever be the same” Big Event Stuff, but just for the heck of it. We don’t get enough of that kind of thing any more.
Um, oh, yeah. There’s actually a Doctor Fate reprint book coming out. Pretty crazy, right? It’s full of good comics, so if you haven’t read the material before, here’s your chance. And it’s nice to be surprised by what DC will put into trade…there may be hope for that DC Challenge collection yet.