A reprint is a story that is republished at a later date in any form. A reprinted story in terms of continuity neither contains a new appearance for the characters, locations, concepts, objects or the creative team involved in producing the story.
Though stories were reprinted sporadically during the Golden Age of Comics and early Silver Age of Comics, it wasn't until the 1960s that reprinted stories were being reissued mainly by DC Comics.
Giant Size Annuals
The first reprinted stories appeared in the early 1960s in .25 cent 80 page annuals such as: the Giant Superman Annuals and the Giant Batman Annuals.
80 Page Giants
After discontinuing the Annual comics, DC continued the trend by dedicating a series to all reprinted materials called 80 Page Giants. The initial series lasted only 15 issues, but was continued as theme related issues in various popular DC titles such as: Action Comics, Batman, The Flash, Justice League of America, Our Army at War, the Superman Family of comics and World's Finest Comics. At times, the reprinted stories were altered by retitling the story or removing a page in order to fit in the issue. The 80 Page Giants were reduced to 64 Page Giants just over halfway through the series. The concept of the 80 / 64 Page Giants lasted for 89 issues. The giant sized comics were priced at .25 cents and besides the regular issue number of the comic it also contained the Giant designation such as G-73.
Backup Story Reprints
At the same time the 80 Page Giants were being issued, a reprinted story would appear as a backup story in a 32 page comic under headings such as a "Hall of Fame Classic" or "A Demand Classic". The reprinted stories sometimes added a different title, changed the wording in a lettering bubble or changed a panel or two.
48 Page Giants
The concept of reprinted stories carried on into the 1970s where the reprinted stories were backup features in a 48 page comic. These comics were priced at .25 cents and later raised to .35 cents.
Theme-Related Reprint Giants
Short lived series such as DC Special and Super DC Giant which contain theme related reprinted stories such as "Strange Sports", "Romance" or "Westerns". Both series were 64 page comics priced at .25 cents.
100 Page Super Spectaculars
The 1970s also saw the creation of 100 Page Super Spectaculars. As in the case of the 80 Page Giants, the 100 Page Super Spectaculars series ended, but the concept continued on various DC Comic titles. Some of these 100 page giants contained a combination of new and reprinted materials. The 100 page giants were originally priced at .50 cents and later raised to .60 cents.
A new format of comics was also issued as an over-sized tabloid comic. The series were titled Famous First Edition and Limited Collector Edition. These over-sized comics varied in page count from 56 pages to 80 pages. They were originally priced at $1.00 and later raised to $2.00.
Reprinted stories continued into the 1980s with digest-sized comics called DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest and The Best of DC. These digest-sized comics were 100 pages and some issues were 144 pages in size. They were originally priced at $.95 and the larger sized issues were priced at $1.50.
During the 1980s various mini-series comics were produced which contained reprinted stories under such titles as: Green Lantern/Green Arrow, The Immortal Dr. Fate, Best of the Brave and the Bold and Wrath of the Spectre.
Hardcover and Trade Paperbacks
By the late 1980s reprinted stories were being marketed in trade paperback and hardcover editions under the titles of The Greatest (Superman / Batman / Team-Up / Golden Age / Joker / 1950s) Stories Ever Told.
DC Archives Series
The early 1990s also saw the birth of the DC Archives series, which reprinted a series of issues or stories in chronological order dedicated to a character or group on high stock paper with vibrant colors. Though there were some books where the materials were never recolored, the materials were photocopied giving them a dull and drab look (See The Golden Age Starman Archives #2).
DC Silver Age Classics
In 1992, DC Comics released a short lived series called DC Silver Age Classics. The series produced reprints of ten famous Silver Age comics ranging from Martian Manhunter's first appearance in Detective Comics #225 to the Legion of Super-Heroes first appearance in Adventure Comics #247.
In honor of the new millennium, DC Comics produced exact duplicates of its most treasured or groundbreaking comics of all time. The reprinted issues mainly covered first appearances, first issues and groundbreaking materials (such as Millennium Edition: Crisis on Infinite Earths 1, Millennium Edition: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns or Millennium Edition: Watchmen 1).
Theme-Based Trade Paperbacks
The reprint concept continued into the 2000s with theme based trade paperbacks such as the Greatest (Superman / Batman) Stories of the 1940s through 1980s, Diana Prince: Wonder Woman, Superman vs. Lex Luthor, or Batman: Secrets of the Batcave.
DC continued their tradition of reprinted materials with an extra large trade paperback sized black and white series called Showcase Presents:. Unlike the DC Archives, which has mainly dedicated itself to Golden Age characters and popular Silver Age characters, the Showcase Presents: series has a more diverse range of characters from the Silver and Bronze Age of Comics and theme-related volumes such as Showcase Presents: House Of Mystery or Showcase Presents: Strange Adventures.
A Chronicles Series, which is based off of the DC Archives, reprints stories in chronological order in a trade paperback format. And, unlike the DC Archives which has three separate titles for Superman (Action Comics, Superman and World's Finest Comics) and Batman (Batman, Detective Comics and World's Finest Comics), the Chronicles Series combines all three (Superman, Batman) DC Archives series in order of release. Except for the error in The Superman Chronicles #8, which left out the Superman story from World's Finest Comics #5. Thus, making The Superman Chronicles series incomplete. The Chronicles series so far only covers the following characters from the Golden Age Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Silver Age Green Lantern and The Flash.
DC Comics Classics Library
A hardcover reprint series dedicated to a particular theme such as: DC Comics Classics Library: Batman - The Annuals, DC Comics Classics Library: The Flash of Two Worlds or DC Comics Classics Library: Legion of Super-Heroes - The Life and Death of Ferro Lad.
Not as common as the regular sized hardcover editions, the omnibus is over 600 pages. The Green Lantern Omnibus for example contains the material from the first three Green Lantern Archives.
A vast majority of today's reprints are based off of recently issued storylines, short-lived comic series or dedicated to a particular writer or artist such as: DC Universe by Alan Moore, Batman: Illustrated by Neal Adams or Tales of the Batman: Gene Colan.