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An Anthology Comic is a comic containing multiple stories, often by different writers and artists. The different stories may or may not all be set in the same 'verse. Some have art and writing house styles of various strengths.

Anthology comics used to be common in America, but are less visible nowadays. Marvel and DC, originally published several stories in one issue of their respective comics; only the most popular characters ever got a whole issue devoted to them, and even then it was typically a group of shorter stories about the character. Nowadays, Marvel and DC typically publish one or two stories per issue of each comic — the Decompressed Comic and Writing for the Trade pretty much forced the end of the anthology at the Big Two. However, Marvel has recently attempted to revive the anthology format with Marvel Comics Presents; the first series lasted 175 issues but the second only 12. They've since tried giving it another go, this time re-using the Strange Tales title. It is also easier to find independent comics that go down the anthology route.

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In Britain, anthologies are the norm. Most are aimed at pre-teen children and consist primarily of a set of one-to-two page gag strips, though there are exceptions. If a comic is successful, a publisher may print a summer special, featuring longer stories which often revolve around some theme. Very successful comics may even have annuals printed. An annual, as its name suggests, is a hardback collection of new stories published once a year, typically just before Christmas. These stories tend to be considerably longer than those in the main comic, and the annual also often has things like quizzes, activities, and text stories.

If a certain character proves to be very popular, they may get their very own comic. This may be either a one-off or semi-regular extended story, or it may be a full-blown Spin-Off. Judge Dredd is a good example.

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Japanese comics tend to go the anthology route by default, having multiple comic series be serialized in larger magazines that are a few hundred pages long, with each one being about 20-30 pages in length (except for gag series and Yonkoma). Those aimed at teenage boys or girls often put the name of their demographic in the title, while those aimed at seinen or josei usually use words like young or youth.

In Japan, if a series becomes popular enough, it will often be published in a series of softback collections known as tankobonnote . Tankobon are the primary format in which manga are published outside Japan.

Anthologies used to be common in France (and Belgium and the Netherlands) as well, using the same model as British ones though more of the featured Franco-Belgian Comics were story-based. Some are still published, but do not seem to have made as much of an impact as the American or Japanese publications; though they are still the dominant and default form of comics magazines, it's just that the collected editions are seen much more as the real deal, the publication in anthology magazines (and papers) is seen as pre-publication, rather than as first edition.

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See also Animated Anthology.


Examples

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    America 
  • Epic Illustrated
  • Shonen Jump (featuring different series from the Japanese version's history)
  • Shojo Beat (ditto)
  • Marvel Comics Presents
  • Mome
  • Flight and Flight Explorer
  • Yen Plus
  • Creepy and Eerie
  • From DC Comics during The Golden Age of Comic Books, when anthology comics were the standard format and character-centric solo series were the exception:
    • Detective Comics – Birthplace of Batman, introduced as its main feature in issue #27, which eventually took over the series.
    • Action Comics – Birthplace of Superman, which eventually took over the series.
      • Action Comics Weekly was an attempt to revive the anthology format, with Green Lantern as the main recurring feature; it lasted 42 issues before returning to a monthly Superman series.
    • Flash Comics – Birthplace of The Flash (naturally), Hawkman and Black Canary.
    • More Fun Comics – Birthplace of The Spectre, Doctor Fate, Aquaman, Green Arrow, and Superboy. From issue #108 onwards was Retooled as a non-superhero comedy book, with its superhero characters moved over to...
    • Adventure Comics – Birthplace of Sandman (the original, not the Neil Gaiman one), Hourman and Starman. Was eventually taken over by Superboy, then the Legion of Super-Heroes, then Supergirl. Unusually, in issue #425 it returned to the anthology format, and afterwards continued to last for a long time while frequently changing its main feature and backups. Taken over entirely by Dial H for Hero for issues #479-490. Finally ended up as an anthology comic again for its last thirteen issues, albeit digest-sized and consisting of mostly reprints.
    • All-American Comics – Birthplace of Green Lantern and The Atom. From issue #103 onwards was Retooled as All-American Western.
    • World's Finest Comics – Originally featured separate solo stories of Superman and Batman (being DC's two most popular superheroes), plus a few other characters. Eventually taken over by Superman & Batman team-up stories.
    • All-Star Comics – Originally featured solo stories for all DC's most popular characters apart from the top two. In issue #3, the Justice Society of America was introduced as a framing device; eventually the series evolved into a genuine team title. From issue #58 onwards was Retooled as All-Star Western.
    • Comic Cavalcade – Fulfilled the original purpose of All-Star Comics by featuring separate solo stories of Wonder Woman, Flash, and Green Lantern, these being the other three DC superheroes with their own solo series.
    • Sensation Comics – Had Wonder Woman as its main featurenote ; also the birthplace of Mister Terrific and Wildcat. Wonder Woman was phased out after issue #106, and the title was changed to Sensation Mystery from #110.
    • Star-Spangled Comics – Birthplace of the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy, Guardian and the Newsboy Legion. Later had Robin as its main feature, followed by Tomahawk. From issue #131 was Retooled as Star-Spangled War Stories.
  • Other notable anthologies from DC Comics and related companies include:
    • Whiz Comics – Published by Fawcett Comics, birthplace of Captain Marvel)
    • National Comics – Published by Quality Comics (oddly enough, not by National Periodical Publications, DC's official name at the time). Birthplace of Max Mercury (then named Quicksilver).
    • Secret Origins
    • Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman
    • Mystery in Space
    • Tales of the Unexpected
    • House of Secrets
    • House of Mystery
    • Strange Adventures — a sci-fi series notable for the first appearances of Animal Man, Enchantress and Deadman
    • Batman Black and White (five short Batman stories in each issue, each from a different writer and artist)
    • Wednesday Comics — presented in a newspaper comic format.
    • Funny Stuff (a humor title, taken over by its stars, The Dodo and the Frog)
    • DC Universe Presents (has a slightly different format, as each character has whole issues to themselves before switching to the next one)
  • Most titles published by EC Comics in the Golden Age, including Tales from the Crypt and Crime Suspenstories.
  • Garfield: His 9 Lives, which also got an Animated Anthology adaptation.
    • MAD began as one.
  • Star Wars Tales
  • Tattoo; each story is inspired by a Tori Amos song (yes, some are rather weird). Also something of a Doorstopper.
  • Image Comics seems to release a lot of thick anthology books like Popgun, a general collection of indie artists, 24 Seven, different stories set in a world inhabited entirely by humaniod robots and Liquid City a collection consisting of work by artists from South East Asia. Image's head publisher Erik Larsen has said he really loves anthologies, which works out nicely for readers who also like them.
  • CrossGen Chronicles
  • WildStorm's New Line Cinema's Tales of Horror was a series that would have alternated between telling two stories set in either the Nightmare, Chainsaw or Friday Universes, or a combination of two of the three. It had only one issue.
  • Many graphic novels of Clive Barker's Hellraiser series were anthologies by various writer/artist teams.
  • Death Rattle, a 1990s horror anthology comic series with some recurring characters/storylines (such as the Alcoholic Janitor).
  • Dark Horse Comics has published Dark Horse Presents off and on for a over a decade.
  • Tales From The Aniverse is a variant. The comics consist of several short stories with varying cast members, all set in the same universe and occasionally overlapping.
  • Dizzy Dames
  • Dark Horse Monsters, a 1997 comic with four different stories involving monstrous creatures.
  • Albedo Anthopomorphics began like one at first until the late 90s when the anthology part was removed after all the remaining stories were canceled or moved to solo magazines, and it become focused into the titular heroine Erma Felna exclusively to this day.
  • Ice Cream Man is a horror anthology comic that connects a series of disparate stories, all of which involve the eponymous Ice Cream Man, a malevolent supernatural entity.
  • Dark Souls: Legends of the Flame is an anthology of stories based on Dark Souls.
  • Big Bang Comics

    Britain 

    France 

    Japan 

...and many, many, MANY others.


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