Collected Comics was published by Marvel UK as a companion series to the UK Generation One comic. Its purpose was to reprint entire stories from the comic (hence the name), in many ways a precursor of the modern trade paperback.
They were published on a semi-regular basis alongside the UK comic, usually as Summer or Winter specials. The name ‘Collected Comics’ wasn’t actually used until volume two of the series however.
The majority of the stories reprinted as part of the Collected Comics series were UK exclusives; however Collected Comics 1 and 2 were reprints of the US 4 issue miniseries.
When they were originally published in the UK comic some stories, such as Man of Iron were printed in black and white, these were later coloured for their publication in Collected Comics.
Collected Comics 4 contained the first reprinting of The Enemy Within, the first Transformers story by Simon Furman. The only other reprinting was in issues 308-309 & 313-317 of the regular comic. Furman has since gone on record saying that he is unhappy with the quality of this early work so these could well be the only reprintings this story will ever receive.
Some volumes contained multiple stories, a main story along with a short back-up story to bring up the page count. Especially long UK stories would be split across multiple volumes.
The cover of each issue was usually (but not always) a reprint of an earlier UK comic cover. This would usually be one of the original covers from the story contained within, although in later Collected Comics this was not always the case.
In 1986 Marvel reprinted the US Transformers: The Movie adaption in a single Collected Comics style volume. This was not sold as part of the Collected Comics series but simply as a Winter Special.
In February 1990 Collected Comics 15 reprinted the first 3 issues of the incredibly popular Target 2006. Unfortunately the master copies for the remaining issues were lost in the post meaning that the remainder of the story was never published in the Collected Comics series. Rather cheekily however Collected Comics 16 used a Target 2006 cover.
Collected Comics 17 saw the reprinting of the first 3 parts of Space Pirates!. This ended with a 'To be continued…' caption at the end. Collected Comics 18 however saw the first 3 parts of Time Wars being published instead, no explanation for this was ever given, with parts 4 & 5 reprinted in 19. Time Wars itself was also never completed, as due to falling sales, the UK comic ceased publication and the Collected Comics series went into a decline, with its output becoming ever more random.
The UK Annual story Victory! was reprinted twice, once in Collected Comics 14 and once in Collected Comics 19. On both occasions the first, eighth, ninth & tenth pages of the story were omitted, although this did not affect the story's readability.
Following the demise of the UK comic in 1992 the Collected Comics series continued to be published for a further 2 years, although the Collected Comics moniker was dropped after volume 19. An additional 8 volumes were published in this period with the final volume being published in the winter of 1994, over 9 years since the first volume in the series and a year longer than the comic series that spawned it.
Below is a complete list of all the Collected Comics series. Where applicable the volume number is specified within the title.
Summer Special 1985
2 – Autumn Special 1985
3 – Winter Special 1985
4 – Summer Special 1986
Winter Special 1986
5 – Spring Special 1987
6 – Summer Special 1987
7 – Winter Special 1987
8 – Spring Special 1988
9 – Summer Special 1988
10 – Holiday Special 1988
11 – Winter Special 1988
12 – Summer Special 1989
13 – Holiday Special 1989
14 – Autumn Special 1989
15 – Spring Special 1990
- Target: 2006 prologue, #1 & 2
16 – Summer Special 1990
17 – Holiday Special 1990
- Space Pirates! #1-3
18 – Holiday Special 1991
- Time Wars #1-3