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GREAT KIRBY WORK, MARRED BY FLAWS IN BOOK DESIGN
on February 26, 2013
I bought these KAMANDI issues when they first came out, beginning with the first issue in 1972. In terms of the content included in this book (KAMANDI issues 21-40) I could not love the material more. And in terms of reproduction and coloring, it is very true to the original, and a pleasure to have in a single volume.
But there are some flaws in its book design that I just don't understand. Issue 32 (as is plainly evident in the text on the reprinted cover) had a two-page global map of Kamandi's world (expanding on the one-page map of just the Western hemisphere that appeared in KAMANDI # 1). But for reasons that make absolutely no sense, the 2-page global map is not included in the this book.
Further, there are 10 pages of the book (pages 74, 96, 118, 124, 162, 184, 206, 226, 308, and 404) where enlarged sections of that not-included global map are used as filler pages, almost none of which are map-section regions relevant to the stories these pages are placed with. It makes absolutely no sense!
Also missing from the reprint of issue 32 (again promoted on the # 32 cover) is a behind-the-scenes 4-page text feature about artist Jack Kirby, incuding photos of Kirby, his home, and art from the KAMANDI series. It would have been nice to have these photos reprinted with better quality. No explanation why it was not included.
One other thing that bothered me about this KAMANDI Omnibus Vol 2, is that the other Omnibus books (OMAC, THE LOSERS, and especially THE DEMON) all included previously unused pages, and uninked pencil versions of covers. This one does not. I would have settled for just not excluding the 2-page map and 4-page Kirby text feature. And DC, don't tell me there wasn't room. You hosed away 10 pages on pointless map blow-ups, the missing material was only 6 pages.
I took my issue 32 original to a print shop, and made 2 color copies of the 2-page map, trimmed the edges, and spray-glued it neatly in the inside front and back covers of the book, as endpapers, to make my volume complete. It looks like it was published that way. I think the person who designed the book, and the editor who approved it, should be demoted or have external supervision on future projects for the pedestrian thoughtlessness they brought to this edition, so they don't similarly screw up future Omnibus editions.
Another problem common to these non-archive DC hardcovers is that they are printed on paper that is inferior to what is in the nicer Archive editions.
But the biggest problem with these DC omnibus books is that (OMAC, THE LOSERS, THE DEMON, etc.) the pages are about 1/8th of an inch from the binding for some reason. Especially on double-page splashes, you lose the comic-book feel reading the Omnibus hardcover version, because it is so tightly bound and close to the spine that you cannot see the whole effect of the two-page spread. I wish DC would leave the art page edges at least 1/4 inches from the spine, as it is in the KAMANDI ARCHIVES Vol 1 (reprinting issues 1-10) and Vol 2 (reprinting 11-20), so you can fully appreciate the art.
I also frankly don't understand the decision to do these Omnibus versions of Kamandi and discontinue the Archive versions begun before them. I bought KAMANDI Archives vos 1 and 2 as they came out. Then they had a KAMANDI Omnibus vol 1 right after, reprinting both volumes I just purchased in a single volume! So I skipped Omnibus 1, since I already have them in book form.
And I'm glad I did.
If you love this series as much as I do, you can appreciate it more in the better printing and formatting of the Archives 1 and 2 of the first 20 issues. And then get the Omnibus Vol. 2 to have issues 21-40.