Friday, October 9, 2009

Three Absolutes, in time for the Holidays!

DC is killing me here! Three MUST HAVE Absolutes have shipped in the last month!
Absolute V for Vendetta, Absolute Promethea Vol 1, and Absolute Death. WOW. Death ships this Wednesday, but the other two Absolutes came out in the last couple of weeks. I want all three of these, but I just don't have the room. All four of our shops on the other hand stock these wonderful books. You might wonder why we need these Absolute editions? I'll tell you why, there are a plethora of reasons.

Absolute V for Vendetta
The book that inspired the movie! If you haven't read Alan Moore and David Lloyd's masterpiece yet (shame on you!) THIS is the perfect way to enjoy it. From the back of the book:
"Crafted with sterling clarity and intelligence, this ground-breaking story captures both the suffocating nature of life in an authoritarian police state and the redemptive power of the human spirit which rebels against it. The Absolute V for Vendetta collects DC Comics' original ten-issue series in its entirety, including all of the never-before-reprinted "bridging" pages - newly colored by David Lloyd for this edition - which ran between the issues' story pages. This deluxe ship cased volume also includes Lloyd and Moore's introductions to the series as well as Moore's extended history of its creation, "Behind the Painted Smile," and a newly-expanded sketchbook section by Lloyd." This is a HUGE book, well worth the $99.99 retail. V, along with Moore's other earlier works like Watchmen and Swamp Thing turned the comic book world upside down upon publication. No one was expecting such a politically minded series to hit the stands in the US. I know there was some fear at the beginning for DC, would US audiences be able to latch onto such a British-centric tale, and the answer was a resounding YES. Not only did US audiences embrace this tale of loss of freedom and identity in a frighteningly believable big brother state, but the comic book buying public in the US thought so highly of this work that Alan Moore and David Lloyd's names become synonymous with avant guard political expression in the comic book medium. Nothing like this had ever hit these shores, and to be quite frank it still stands up, 20 plus years later. The movie of the same name was good, but nothing could come close to capturing the feel of the original comics.

Absolute Promethea Book One
Another Alan Moore must-read, from the more recent past this time. This book collects issues #1-#12 of the series, so I'm guessing there will be a total of 3 volumes for this series. This time Moore is joined by the amazing J.H. Williams III. For those of you that haven't had the pleasure of checking out Promethea yet, here's a quick synopsis, from the back of the book: " When university student Sophie Bangs begins researching the fabled warrior named Promethea, she expects a high grade on her report. She does NOT expect to assume the mantle, and therefore become the living avatar of Imagination. Sophie's first adventures - including introductions to her powers along with gods and monsters - are collected in this over-sized slip cased edition." Why buy the Absolute edition when the paperback editions of Promethea are readily available? Quite simply the $99.99 price tag is worth it for the J. H. Williams art alone. If you are one of those newer fans of Williams work, thanks in no small part to the gorgeous work he is doing on Batwoman in Detective Comics, you need to see where it all began for J. H. Promethea is one of the MOST beautiful comic book series I've ever seen which is why the over-sized Absolute edition is a must have for fans of beautiful art. The story of Promethea is well done of course, it makes me think of a "what if" scenario "what if Alan Moore was able to write HIS version of Wonder Woman with no ties to the DCU?" Promethea is a very strong female character and J. H. captures all of her power and beauty to perfection. There isn't another artist on the planet that could have done a better job on Promethea. Just poring over the issues there are so many two page spreads with tons of detail in every single panel. J.H. draws women the way they should be drawn in comics, beautiful but not ill-proportioned. His style is rather art nouveau, a favorite inspired time period for me as an art fan, therefore I adore this series. Sigh...just thinking about J.H.'s art makes my heart flutter. What a talented artiste. Buy this book. If the price point is too steep for you, at the least you should check out the paperback editions at your local Amazing Fantasy location to see what has caused all my gushing.

The Absolute Death
It was inevitable wasn't it? Once DC wrapped up their reprints of Neil Gaiman's Sandman run, we were bound to see a similar collection of his Sandman spin-off series, Death. From the back of the book: "From the pages of Newbery Medal winner Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, comes the young, pale, perky, fan-favorite character Death in a new Absolute Edition collecting her solo adventures. Featuring the mini-series Death: The High Cost of Living #1-#3, the second mini-series Death: The Time of Your Life #1-#3, the give-away pamphlet Death Talks about Life, stories from Vertigo: Winter's Edge #2 and The Sandman Endless Nights Death story, the short story from the 9-11 tribute book, Sandman #8 and #20 and extras from the Death Gallery. Introduction by Amanda Palmer, lead singer for the hit musical group The Dresden Dolls. It's all combined right here for the first time in one volume. This Absolute Edition slipcased hardcoer is also the perfect companion for The Absolute Sandman and ideal for fans of Gaiman's sprawling, intimate comics work. " Note: Amanda Palmer is Gaiman's current girl friend and she sort of looks like Death, so I say it's a match made in heaven. This baby has another steep price tag of $99.00, but really, we shouldn't be shocked by this. I'm glad they are finally collecting these stories into an Absolute edition, they were some of my all time favorite Sandman spin-off stories. One of my favorite comic artists from the 1990's is Chris Bachalo, he did the pencils for both of the Death mini-series collected in here, and his work back then was just wonderful. He also worked on a good chunk of Shade: The Changing Man, also from Vertigo. Chris is the seminal Death artist if you ask me. Most artists when drawing Death, use Bachelo's original interpretation as a spring board. I bought one of his original Shade pages, eons ago, and I still love it. His work now isn't bad, but it's changed so very much that it's hard for me to even consider his more recent work as Chris Bachelo art, when I think of Chris's work, only his work on Death and Shade spring to mind. Sorry Chris! I know most artists evolve over time, but I loved his original work so much, I just can't look at anything else he's done without being overcome with sadness.
There you go! If you have an extra $300 bucks burning a whole in your wallet, I just helped you spend it! (I know in these economic times who does, but let's say you have an extra $100 to treat yourself with something nice for the holidays, any one of these Absolutes would do the trick. ) More hardcover gift idea coming soon! So many great releases right now it's hard to keep up!

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