A few weeks ago I was given the gift of a comic book. I say that with a bit of understatement because it’s really more than a comic book. It’s a really big book of comic books. It’s the JSA Omnibus Volume Three. That’s the Justice Society of America and it’s an oversized collection that runs over 1200 pages. That’s a lot of comics. And by oversized I mean that a normal comic book is about 6.5×10 inches but this one is about 7.5×11.5 inches. So it’s taller and wider. That makes for a a hefty book. I was originally going to make a video for my YouTube channel about this book and I still may but first I wanted to get some thoughts down in writing about it. As much as enjoy making videos sometimes I feel like writing.

First off I haven’t even read this book. That’s why this isn’t really a review. A few years ago I did read a hand full of the issues that are reprinted in it but that’s maybe a hundred pages out of the twelve hundred. They were pretty good. Not great comics but solid super hero stories that were well crafted. I’m sure my review would be about the same if I read the whole thing but I have no plans on reading this doorstop of a book. Yet I did really enjoy flipping through it and looking at it.

I find there are generally two ways I enjoy a comic. The first is to read it and the second is to flip through it. Usually the reading comes first. Sure I can flip through a comic to see if I want to buy it buy that doesn’t really count. When I do that I’m looking for information to make a judgement on if I should buy the comic or not. The real flipping through a comic for enjoyment comes after I’ve read it and I want a closer look at some parts and to see if I missed anything. Or it’s an older comic I haven read in a while so I flip through it to remind myself how much I liked it and sort of relive that experience without really reading it. Comics are good for that because a reader can flip back and forth between scenes in a non-linear nature. Check out page 22 and then flip back to page six and then maybe over to page ten. Look at whatever part suits your fancy at the moment. It’s a fun thing that most comics readers do.

With this JSA Omnibus I discovered I could have fun flipping around without ever having read the book. Without even any plans to even read the book. As a matter of fact if I was planning on reading the book I probably never would be flipping through it first. I wouldn’t want to spoil anything. But I was freed from that. I could go wherever my eyes lead me.

I have a bunch of other Omnibus books that I’ve bought over the years and I’ve read most of them. Most recently a John Carter one that reprinted the Marvel Comics series from the 1970s. I was lucky enough to get it for dirt cheap. It was enjoyable and I flipped through it a little before I read it and some more afterwards too. Same for my Ditko and Lee Spider-Man one and a couple of Colan and Wolfman Tomb of Dracula’s.

It’s pretty impressive to think that it took only a handful of people to make the Spider-Man book. Steve Ditko, Stan Lee, plus the letterer and colorist neither of whom I can name off the top of my head. The Tomb of Dracula one had a few more contributors but not many. The John Carter one had even more than that but still within the same ballpark. There is something to be said about the impressiveness of a handful of people doing all the creative work of one of these giant omnibuses. But there is also something impressive about the opposite too.

I counted the names up in the credits of the JSA Volume three Omnibus. Writers, pencillers, inkers, letterers, and colorists. There were over sixty people on the list. That is a lot of people. Think about that for a moment. It took sixty people (not even counting the behind the scenes people) to bring this twelve hundred page book to us. That’s a crazy amount of people. Just the coordination alone it took to get all those people working is impressive. And flipping through the book I can’t help but be impressed. There is so much in it.

As the picture on the spine of the book shows there are a dozen members of the JSA. Plus there are a ton of guest stars and villains. Every page I turn to has a large cast of characters in a wide variety of colorful costumes. And all those costumes are drawn by a variety of different artists so they’re all a bit different but still they’re drawn in a colorful and highly illustrative manner. The sheer amount of drawing work in this book is staggering. I can flip through and see something different each time. It’s not even my favorite style of artwork but it’s still such a visual treat as to awe me bit. It crackles with super-hero energy.

As an extra added bonus Alex Ross did the covers for the individual issues of JSA that are reprinted here at the beginning of each individual issue. He’s well known for his hyper-realistic super-hero paintings and, once again, that’s not my favorite style but Ross is very good at what he does and it’s fun to see his paintings pop up as yet another style in this smorgasbord of super-hero drawing. It’s a delight to look at.

So there you have it. A comic book that I haven’t read nor do I even want to read still has enough power and goodness in it to impress me. A lot of people put a lot of energy into making it the best they could and it really shows. The huge cast of characters in all the different art styles is amazing to behold. Even if you don’t want to buy a book like this it’s certainly worth looking through if you can. As a coffee table art book it really works well.