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Valiant Deluxe Editions: Are They Worth The Price?

VALIANT_LOGOValiant Entertainment will usually publish deluxe edition hardcover collections of their comics, usually with anywhere between 4 to 16 related issues inside (and I say related as in parts One through Three of a series of miniseries, or a chunk of an ongoing series or whatever. I’m sure you get the picture). The first of these wonderful collections I picked up was  Book Of Death from a friend who was selling his copy – he had never opened it, and seeing as how I had just reread the single issues not a week before buying the hardcover, I still haven’t opened it. But I love it.

In all honesty, they are a great way to read the equivalent of three of four trades worth of material in one sitting, but are they as cost effective as reading single issues or trade paper backs?

That’s the question I wanted to answer today, and to do so I am going to use the US cover prices (and not the sale prices that you may get from your LCS or from Amazon) sourced from the back of the hardcover or from Amazon if I don’t own that specific book. This is also strictly a comparison between print comics and the physical deluxe hardcover, and so will ignore any digital options as well. The additional content provided in the hardcovers won’t be counted here – only the comics themselves.

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In all honesty, they are a great way to read the equivalent of three of four trades worth of material in one sitting, but are they as cost effective as reading single issues or trade paper backs?

That’s the question I wanted to answer today, and to do so I am going to use the US cover prices (and not the sale prices that you may get from your LCS or from Amazon). This is also strictly a comparison between print comics and the physical deluxe hardcover, and so will ignore any digital options as well. The additional content provided in the hardcovers won’t be counted here – only the comics themselves.

HC Snip

This isn’t a comprehensive list of the hardcovers available, but rather a semi random selection.

For the most part, assuming you’re paying cover price for each, it would seem there’s a little savings to be had by only buying the hardcovers. Of course, if you can get them cheaper, say on an online discount, then you’re going to be saving a bit more than the few pennies you’ll save at cover price.

Does that make them worth waiting for? Well that’s entirely up to you. I have been using them to read the 2012 X-O Manowar  series because they seemed to be the most cost effective way of reading the series  in print, and the hardcovers were certainly more convenient to locate with each one containing around thirteen comics verses finding the individual issues in the wild. But there’s no guarantee that Valiant will actually publish everything in a hardcover format (Imperium, for example, is still waiting for a deluxe edition). One would also be remiss in mentioning the 20 odd pages of bonus extras in each deluxe edition that you also get with the hardcovers, though for the purposes of this comparison I was strictly focusing on the comics within the and not any bonuses. But those additional pages of bonus material do make for a lovely addition to the book.

But what about the trade paperbacks? How do they stack up with the deluxe hardcovers and single issues?

tpb snip

Well, let’s go back to the research board using the same series used with hardcovers above, once again only factoring in the comics themselves and not any additional value provided by any bonus material. Pricing information is again based on cover prices (sourced from Amazon). What I found interesting from the second chart is that unless you’re paying either $9.99 for a trade that collects four or more comics you’re really not saving anything significant based on cover prices. Which surprises me; I had always thought that the savings one would realize from buying trades from would be more significant than those shown in the chart here. What I see instead, is that patience may save you about $15 over the course of a two year comic run if you wait for trades or the deluxe hard covers. (Using Bloodshot Reborn as an example, trades verses hardcovers will save you just under $3).

Obviously this is a very specific data point from one publisher, and whether it’s indicative of the industry in general is a question that won’t be answered today in this post. However, one can see that although generally there are savings to be made from buying either the trades or deluxe hardcovers that Valiant offers, they’re not actually as significant as you would come to expect. Indeed, with the series I researched, I noticed that for the most part the savings were higher on the initial trade than any other book, with all but one showing a $9.96 savings verses single issues.

Interestingly, my initial question of whether the hardcovers are “worth it” depends entirely on what you want to get out of your purchase.

  • If you want to read the story as it comes out, then maybe you don’t want to wait for a potential hardcover release.
  • If you want to store your books on a shelf and don’t care for bonus content, maybe you’d be happier with a trade.
  • If you’re okay with waiting, you like the bonus content and you’re happy to wait then the hardcovers do look very nice.
  • Maybe you’re a collector and want them regardless of value, in which case you knew the answer to the question before you started reading this post (and if you’re still here, thank you).

However you choose to read your comics, ultimately only you can answer whether the deluxe hard covers are worth it to you. For me, they’re worth every penny (especially when you can get them for around half of cover price), but I’m also playing catch up with a lot of series and love the look of hardcovers on the shelf.

But at least now you have a little more information to help you make the decision.

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