Collectible Blu-Ray/DVD Promotional Comics
Lots of Extra Punch in Exclusive Blu-Ray/DVD Special Editions
Sometimes marketing gets it right. Every once in a while, the peeps in marketing will release a special edition of a movie with tons of extra features, or never-before-seen footage, or exclusive interviews, or limited edition lithographs, or whatever. Sometimes, just sometimes, one of these special edition Blu-Ray or DVDs will include something maybe just a little extra special. Like a free gift for being a die-hard fan of comic books. It’s no big deal, really. Sometimes it’s just a reprint of a key comic book. Like the first appearance of Spiderman. Or the first issue of the first solo title for Silver Surfer. Or the first appearance of Venom. Or the entire paperback of Gotham by Gaslight in miniature.
These reprints are undeniably altered from the original. They are printed at a different size, determined by the purpose of the reprint. Sometimes they are printed as a micro or mini comic, i.e. at a significantly smaller size than the original, some only 1″ x 2.25″ (25 mm x 57 mm), others 4.75″ x 7.125″ (120 mm x 180 mm). Sometimes they are printed at nearly modern size, perhaps 6.75″ x 10″ (172 mm x 254 mm). In most cases, these reprints are also saddle-stitched, like the original comics, though some are perfect bound (like the original, a squared spine). Ads from the original books are not reproduced in the reprints because they are – undoubtedly – decades out of date. Miniature reprints, it should be noted, are not simply scaled versions of the originals. The interior pages are adapted for the miniature size. Panels from the original comic are rearranged on each page of the reprint – perhaps 4 panels per page – so that the miniature comic may still be legible at the smaller size. Pages in the larger reprints are similarly adapted to accomodate the space left by the deleted ads.
A reprinted cover, regardless of finished size, often features a black border due in part to the differences between the size of the original comic and the reprint. The dimensions of comics printed during each era varied and, thus, does not allow the covers to be conveniently scaled for the reprint:
- Golden Age (1938-1956): 7.75 in x 10.5 in (197 mm x 267 mm)
- Silver Age (1956-1970): 7.125 in x 10.5 in (181 mm x 267 mm)
- Bronze Age (1970-1985): 7.25 in x 10.5 in (184 mm x 267 mm)
- Modern Age (1985-Present): 6.875 in x 10.5 in (175 mm x 267 mm)
These reprints, in addition to the black border and uunusual dimensions, can be distinguished from an original by the presence of a legal notice – “Not for Resale” – and the lack of a barcode since it is not intended to be sold separately from its Blu-Ray/DVD package.
Some DVD reprints are hard to find and, for their size, proportionately expensive due to the comic they reprint or their physical condition. In most households, which do not have a comic collector, the kids might appropriate the comic and read it, and before long it is folded, wrinkled, or torn and left lying about the house. While picking up, responsible parents toss the battered book into the trash. It has served its purpose. We’ve still got the movie to watch and enjoy. Who needs the comic?
Sometimes, though, it’s nice to have these DVD/Blu-Ray reprints for our collection. Because we enjoy the thrill of the hunt, the lovely moment of surprise when we come across one we would like to display alongside the original (if we are indeed so lucky). Because just having them in our collection – whether we have the real thing or not – brings us joy. Joy like few other things in this world.
Because we are collectors. And these stories mean something to us. Even as reprints. Even if it is miniature. And we know, as the world becomes increasingly more digital – think bitcoin and NFTs, or non-fungible tokens – these reprints will become increasingly scarce.