I've been a believer in getting Christmas gifts for yourself. There are always things you'd like for yourself that are either too expensive, that you can't wait until Christmas or that you know loved ones will perhaps not care to get you.
I've longed resigned myself to the fact that comic books are something that my parents tolerated at best. They never bought them for me when I was a kid and they were certainly something they didn't care to get for me as an adult. While Cathy is better, she's still not comfortable buying them either. She's picked up the odd one, but I think she's worried about getting the wrong one.
And I think both her and my parents dislike buying them because they don't want to encourage me. A little late for that now, but I guess they live in hope.
Anyway, I got my early Christmas gift on Thursday and spent the weekend on and off reading through it. I still haven't finished it, but I am enjoying it thoroughly. It's The Absolute Sandman. This is what it looks like.
It's a beautiful over-sized hardcover with a slipcase that reprints the first 20 issues, or three trade paperbacks, of the series. Along with the issues there are some nice extras including the series proposal and a script. Plus, the stories have all been recoloured. It might not seem like a big deal, but when the individual issues first came out there were problems. The technology to colour comics improved significantly with computers. However, believe it or not, the paper comics were printed on wasn't keeping up. So a lot of the early issues had dark and smudged colours which marred the artwork. This book cleans it up and puts it on nice paper. The issues look beautiful.
Granted, it's price tag isn't for everyone. But the way I look at it is if you've never read the books before and want to, buying the three trade paperbacks will set you back about $50 or more. For $30 extra you get this much better looking book.
If you don't know what the fuss is about with regards to Sandman, well, you could always go to Neil Gaiman's site or, of course, the token Wikipedia entry. Let's just say it's one of the best comic series of the past 20 years and well worth picking up.
By the way, this is volume one of four, although I don't know when the other three volumes are coming out. Needless to say, I'll be getting the rest of them