What is an Anthology?
Noun anthology (plural anthologies)
- A collection of literary works, such as poems or short stories.
- ( by extension ) An assortment of things.
But in the comic book world it is basically a comic with more than one (usually around five for standard American comics) stories inside the issue, usually revolving around completely different characters and ideas but all conglomerated together so that a standard comic book size can be used. One of the purposes of an anthology is try out characters and determine (based on reader feedback) which ones are popular enough to host their own series. Many of the most famous comic book characters first appeared in an anthology; until the mid-60s, most of DC and Marvel's top-selling comics were anthologies.
Though anthologies fell out of fashion in American comics, they are still quite common in Europe and Asia. Generally, all of the comic volumes with the most published issues are anthologies due to the fact that a long-running anthology is made up of the individual works of hundreds of writers and artists and the volume can easily outlast all of its original contributors, several generations over. In Japan, the best-selling magazines overall tend to be manga anthologies and historically the most popular have sold millions of copies (virtually all Japanese manga is first published in anthology form before being collected).
The largest comic anthologies can have over twenty ongoing series and some of the largest are over 1000 pages per issue.
List of Noteworthy Characters who First Appeared in Anthologies