Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Absolute Sandman Vol 1

This is both a Once Upon a Time IV & Graphic Novels Challenge 2010 read.

I think it might be time to tell all about a little book buying "accident" that happened earlier this month. I bought (on impulse) volumes one to four of Neil Gaiman's Absolute Sandmans... I've never even read them (which I feel perhaps I should have done to splash out just over £50 per book!) but in my defence I've known that I neeeeeeeeed to own them for at least two years and a couple of weeks ago I had what we shall call a "whoops".

Yes, dear Reader. I bought all four leather bound, hardbacked, slip-cased, digitally re-coloured and generally utterly gorgeous volumes. Whoops indeed! And even had the courage to 'fess up to Mr B before the arrival of the first package. Who kindly didn't point out that we will be moving house in the next few weeks and have to pay for boring things like stamp duty and solicitors fees and removal men and woodworm and damp and render and oh ye Gods what have I done...? Oh well - too late for regrets. :)

Volume One collects the first twenty issues of The Sandman series of comics, written by Neil Gaiman, with the story focusing on the character of Dream – one of the seven Endless - and so covers the trade paperback editions of Preludes & Nocturnes, The Doll’s House, and Dream Country. With guest characters from the DC universe, this books weaves mythology, folk-lore and history together to create something really rather special. What stood, not entirely unexpectedly, out for me about this series is the quality of writing. To be fair, I’ve not read a huge number of comics but some of these stories were so beautiful and I can’t imagine that many series have the guts to include whole episodes that are so self-contained (although do fit into the wider story)

Extras include an introduction, Gaiman’s original series pitch (with outline plot and concept art) and, my favourite inclusion of all, the complete script and Charles Vess’s draft sketches for the 'Midsummer's Night Dream'. As I was reading, I was thinking about the creation process between the story writer, the penciller, the colourist, the inker and the letterer so it was absolutely wonderful to get this insight and I spent ages pouring over this section.

When searching for images to use to illustrate this post I came across the following picture collected on on this blog showing just what a difference the re-colouring has made.
I know some have complained about the "cartoonish" quality of the above but me? Love it. Plus it justifies my purchase. *cough cough*

Genuinely, I am so very pleased that I splashed out as this book is really, really lovely and fantastic quality. It's massive with leather(ish) embossed cover with silver lettering and a black silk bookmark. I felt almost guilty just opening it (eek – cracking the spine! What if I rip a page?) and the dogs were most put out that I was reading a book that was so large there was no room for them and it on my lap. I have even kept the box it was packaged in so that it can be adequately protected during the house move (!) I think I might just be coming across as weird now but in my defence, a great deal of care and attention has obviously been lavished on its production. I can’t wait to read on to the next set of stories although naturally, other than this one, the only volume that’s actually arrived so far is the fourth one so some self-discipline is required of me… Never my strong point!


Ana S. said...

I think you'll find it was a very, VERY worthwhile "whoops" :D The series gets better and better and MYHEADWILLEXPLODEbetter as it progresses. You'll see :P

Peta said...

Head Explosions? I can't wait!

If only Forbidden Planet would dispatch Volume 2.... Although they're bound to send me Volume 3 first!

Unknown said...

Wow... how fun!
an expensive head explosion.. 50 quid per book .. at four each. Now all you need is four autographs...

Peta said...

I think if I want four autographs I'm going to need helpers. Not sure I could actually carry all four at once! :)

Vanessa said...

I'm reading (and loving) The Sandman series for the first time too. Kinda wish I had invested the extra money in these editions now though!

Peta said...

I have to say that this book is gorgeous but I would guess that the series is a pretty good reading experience however you arrive at it.

If only volume two would hurry up and arrive though!!