Transmet Refigured

You’ve probably already seen DC’s announcement that they’re rearranging the Transmetropolitan collections, but here it is, just in case:

Four key titles in Vertigo’s TRANSMETROPOLITAN collected edition series will be reconfigured in spring 2007, putting more classic, cutting-edge stories by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson in each of two newly created volumes.

TRANSMETROPOLITAN VOL. 1: BACK ON THE STREETS and TRANSMETROPOLITAN VOL. 2: LUST FOR LIFE will be combined into a single, new TRANSMETROPOLITAN VOL. 1: BACK ON THE STREETS TP, featuring issues #1-12 of the series. In its new configuration, the series will be comprised of a total of nine volumes.

At the same time, TRANSMETROPOLITAN VOL. 10: ONE MORE TIME and TRANSMETROPOLITAN VOL. 0: TALES OF HUMAN WASTE will be combined into the single, new TRANSMETROPOLITAN VOL. 9: ONE MORE TIME TP, featuring TRANSMETROPOLITAN #55-60 and the Specials TRANSMETROPOLITAN: I HATE IT HERE and TRANSMETROPOLITAN: FILTH OF THE CITY. This title also will include the two TRANSMETROPOLITAN stories from the VERTIGO: WINTER’S EDGE Specials, which were previously available in TRANSMETROPOLITAN VOL. 3: YEAR OF THE BASTARD and TRANSMETROPOLITAN VOL. 4: THE NEW SCUM.

The covers of the new titles will be redesigned to prominently feature the creators’ names. DC will renumber the intermediate volumes of TRANSMETROPOLITAN TPs as they go out of stock and are sent back to press.

Overall, it’s a good idea, since the first book was only three issues, rushed out to keep the series sales growing in the early days. But there’s one big flaw, which I will get to in a minute.

Reportedly, 2, 3, and 5 are currently out of print (although Amazon has them in stock, and so might other retailers), so this is a good time for the effort. It’ll be interesting to see how the prices change, if they do, on the remastered books, and more attention paid to the creators is both a good thing and an obvious improvement.

Here’s a question: did they go far enough? What if they did six 10-issue collections instead? (That’s a hypothetical; I don’t actually know if that makes sense for the material and its break points.) Would fewer, bigger books be more attractive to the audience that hasn’t already bought the series? It would be easier to stock that way, since there would be fewer pieces to keep track of. It would also be less intimidating to new readers contemplating starting a new series.

And here’s the flaw: We don’t know how many months or years it will be before the new series is ready, since it depends on when the final volumes go back to press, and THAT depends on two complete unknowns: how much stock is left, and how quickly the books sell. For whatever that time period turns out to be, no one will be able to get a complete matching set of the series easily.

And that’s probably why DC only made minor tweaks to the break points. If they were going to more radically redo the series, then it would require a willingness to write off existing stock and a higher up-front investment in printing costs.


6 Responses to “Transmet Refigured”

  1. James Moar Says:

    To make things a bit less hypothetical, all of TRANSMETROPOLITAN (except vol 0) is built around 3- and 6-parter stories, or one-shots in sets of 3. So you’re looking at 6, 9 or 12-issue collections, really.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Oh, cool, thanks for the info. Given the two one-shots, then that means 7 books might make sense (6 x 9 issues each = 54 + 1 more for the last 6 and one-shots).

  3. Dave Mahlin Says:

    To take James’ comments a bit further, the series breaks neatly into year one, year two, etc. I would have preferred to see them produce 5 big fat trades with 12 issues a piece, plus the one-shots (which consist mostly of text with spot gallery-style illustration) and assorted short pieces interspersed wherever the creators felt it was most appropriate.

    Perhaps there will be Absolute editions someday with this format.

  4. Lisa Lopacinski Says:

    good to know, I guess. We try to keep Transmet in stock, so now I’m wondering how that’s going to work out. Looks like we’ll have to sell it out and then restock once this revised edition comes in. It always bugs me when they want to sell out before they make all of the new editions. Unless they have a clearance to get the old editions out, it can take a while for everything to sell out and then do a second printing and I would really rather have all of the issues on the shelf match.

  5. Still Looking for Revamped Transmetropolitan » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] November 2006, DC Comics announced that they would be rearranging the Transmetropolitan collections in Spring 2007. It didn’t happen, with the plans delayed to Spring [...]

  6. Transmetropolitan Revamp Plan Changes » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] stated today that their plans to reissue the Transmetropolitan collections, first announced almost two years ago, have [...]

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