Comics Creators

The Trades Thread - Hardcovers, Graphic Novels, and More


The Sandman Overture Absolute Edition

This arrived today. It’s a bigger book than I expected, by which I mean fatter, although obviously Absolutes are pretty big in general.

(That’s the deluxe HC next to it for comparison.)

The reason for the fatness is a huge wealth of extras, including an entire alternate version of the story - but we’ll get to that.

The story itself remains as great as ever (of course), but the art looks even more amazing at this size, with flourishes like the gatefold four-page spreads even more imposing here.

But if you’re already familiar with the story, then the real interest is what this Absolute offers over and above the original issues and collections, and the answer is: a lot.

The second section of the book repeats the entire story again, but this time without Dave Stewart’s colour contribution - just JHW3’s original art (with lettering digitally added).

It’s really educational to see the art in this state and to see how much changed before final publication. As you can see, colour was already present to varying degrees in the original art.

It’s interesting to flip between certain sequences to compare them. Much of the art is even more impressive in its original form.

It’s amazing to see how some pages were brought to life through a combination of JHW3 and Stewart’s talents.

After that, there’s an extensive selection of extras that deal with pretty much every aspect of the book. So you get art process stuff:

You get an interview with and chapter notes from Gaiman:

As well as a copy of the script to issue #1:

There’s a detailed look at Stewart’s colouring:

And at Todd Klein’s lettering:

And even at Dave McKean’s variant covers:

With even more sketch and preparatory work from JHW3 also in the back pages.

Some of this was included in the deluxe HC, but some of it wasn’t. Either way, this is the most comprehensive package you can imagine.

Still, it’s hard to recommend this book outright. It’s very expensive for what it is, and (as with other recent Absolutes like Batman Year One or the upcoming Killing Joke) the page count is essentially padded out with multiple versions of the same story.

But if you can find it at a decent discount, if you’re a fan of the story, and if (like me) you love JHW3’s art enough that you probably would have bought the upcoming Gallery Edition book containing his original art anyway, then this is well worth a look.

And collectors will be happy to know that DC have maintained the same production style for the book as the previous Sandman Absolutes (embossed black leather style cover and all) that makes it and the other five volumes a perfect set.


Bugger, I’m going to have to buy that bastard.

I’ll be keeping a close eye on Books Etc, only a week or so back they were flogging the IC Omnibus for £80+, so there can be rapid price drops.

Thanks for that excellent review Dave, you got a bargain - don’t suppose they were selling more than one copy?


Sadly not. It was from the seller ‘mastercomics11’ if you want to keep an eye out.

After that, the best price I’ve seen is Speedyhen on ebay and Abebooks, around the £63 mark (but with an Abebooks 10%-off voucher it’s more attractive at around £57).


Yeah, I’m content to go at around the £50-60 mark on the big hardbacks, it’s when the books go into the +£70 or +£80 range that I just can’t possibly justify it - even for a monster volume!


I agree, I was tempted but had to wait for it to go under £60.


That Absolute Sandman Overture looks lovely.

I need to pick it up evetually despite the ridiculous price and concerns that the gatefold pages will be screwed up (folded, miscut, etc.).


Yeah, there are four (as you get each gatefold twice), so one of the first things I did was check those.


The Grey Area

With the Dredd Mega Collection winding down, I’ve started grabbing some 2000AD trades that came out in the last four years, yes, it’s been that long!

This has some similarities with the very recent Port of Earth series Zack Kaplan and Andrea Mutti have been doing at Image, except:

  • It’s by Abnett, so it’s a better take. Kaplan’s good but he’s at the start of his writing career, Abnett isn’t and it shows. This is a far stronger take on the idea of alien immigration / visitors.
  • It’s 2000AD so the density of story per page and episode is higher.
  • Mutti’s art is good, but 2000AD have the better artists too.

So rendered, it seems kind of unfair - and in a way it sort of is, as this book collects short stories from across six years that had far more time to be made than a monthly US comic. Nonetheless, the similarity of area means comparisons are going to happen. Over time Port of Earth will get better at squaring up to its Brit rival.

There’s a rough overarching arc, but in the main these are short tales focusing on the day job in the Grey Area - sometimes funny, tragic, violent or all three - each are well-executed, with superb art.

It’s a big, top quality trade from Rebellion - get it.


I bought the first volume of Port of Earth in a comixology sale, not read it yet though.

When I saw the first issue solicited i did think it sounded like a wee bit of a rip off of grey area. Although it could just be coincidence.


I see it as that.


Dealer Alert

Rogue One OHC: Currently £13.42

Star Wars OHC3: Currently £16.77


Bit of Marvel fishing.
This seems to be a cross-over between annuals soon.

First of a new edition of What If?, presumably because the return of the Conan rights means they don’t have to skip issues now.

Goes up to Onslaught, statistically proven the best period of Marvel comics ever!

Ms Marvel Epic Collection v1
Surprised this is appearing before a Captain Marvel Epic Collection, but I guess Carol does have a movie out soon.


My copy of Tokyo Ghost arrived and it was a pleasant surprise to find it is not a usual -size OHC, but instead is an Absolute-size hardback! Thick paper, good bidding - makes this a steal at just under £22 for it. It’ll also go very nicely with the Fear Agent, Low, Deadly Class and Black Science volumes.

The Infinite Crisis Omnibus turned up too. I suppose it was inevitable that a volume to match the Simonson Thor Omnibus would eventually turn up. Today was that day. This 1,400 page, almost unwieldy monster volume is quite the book.

Why did I want it? A long-time frustration has been with the way DC presented this epic originally versus how they collected it. For the comics they did the Countdown special, which spun off the four mini-series, plus a couple of other stories formed part of it, including crossovers within a crossover! Then they did the main event, but also a special covering the back story including the infamous concept of Superboy punching reality so hard it was rewoven! Very stupid, very superheroes. They also did a special for each of the four miniseries and issued all of them so they worked in combination with the main event issues.

So what happens when they collect it? They slice it six ways to Sunday, they don’t include those specials, so resulting in a fractured and incomplete story - and they even issued an Absolute edition in this form! And they did this crap for years. This monster volume? Actually has everything together, so yeah I was after it but never expected to get it so cheap.

Dealer Alert

For those after it, go buy:

Wonder Woman Deluxe Volume 2 - Books Etc - £14.87


Wow, that’s great. Enough to sell me on it I think - Murphy’s art must look amazing at that size.


Yeah, it does, went for that first double-pager with the bike - it looks good.


Remind me Ben… have you read it before ?


Has anyone got their Grant Morrison Batman Omnibuses yet? Thoughts?


Amazon are buggering me around with mine but it should be here in the next couple of days.


Me too. Temporarily out of stock or some such nonsense. But, eager to get my hands on it, and re-read this run. Haven’t done so since it was first published.


I can’t wait too. One of my favourites.

I don’t think I’ve ever done a full reread so this will be a good opportunity.