No need for me to review the contents of this book -- because if you're even just a casual SANDMAN fan, you've probably got them all in either their o...moreNo need for me to review the contents of this book -- because if you're even just a casual SANDMAN fan, you've probably got them all in either their original comics form or in paperback. No, chances are, you're thinking of getting this book because you're a SANDMAN addict and are wondering whether an ABSOLUTE version of Gaiman's classic is worth all the hubbub, bub.
The stories are presented in an oversize format, beautfully colored and presented on glossy stock. That sort of classy presentation alone should be worth the price of admission -- but there's more here than that.
Also included are Gaiman's original pitch to DC Comics (attention writers: See? Even Neil Gaiman had to pitch editors in his day!), which includes his vision of the character, an outline for the first story arc, and some potential future stories, some of which never saw light of day. The pitch also includes rough sketches by Gaiman of the look of the character, as well as more polished drawings by Leigh Baulch and Dave McKean.
The real gem in here, though, is Gaiman's complete script for "A Midsummer Night's Dream," the first (and only) comic to win the World Fantasy Award. Like Alan Moore's script for WATCHMEN (included in both the Graffitti and Absolute editions of WATCHMEN), Gaiman's script -- a "full script", with action and dialogue broken down panel by panel -- is full of literary asides, inside jokes, commentary on what CD he's listening to, and observations on mythology, character motivation, and backgrounds.
It's not only a peek behind the scenes, to give you an idea of how complicated it is to write a comic, but also a great look at the creative process, as you'll see how -- and why -- Gaiman breaks down some scenes the way he does, and why he has characters act the way they do.(less)
Nowhere nearly as cool as I wanted it to be. At the risk of giving too much away, the motivation behind the Joker's crime spree kinda ruined it for me...moreNowhere nearly as cool as I wanted it to be. At the risk of giving too much away, the motivation behind the Joker's crime spree kinda ruined it for me -- revenge is so remarkably . . . plebian. Solid storytelling, great art, and a commendable effort to bring the Joker's first appearance in sync with continuity, but it just didn't work for me. (less)
Typical Gaiman: a beautiful story, beautifully told, giving Batman -- whatever version of him you prefer -- a rather poetic sendoff.
Gaiman approaches...moreTypical Gaiman: a beautiful story, beautifully told, giving Batman -- whatever version of him you prefer -- a rather poetic sendoff.
Gaiman approaches his tale as a question: Must there always be a Batman? Gaiman argues that, yes, there must -- and that being Batman can often be its own reward, though not necessarily the happiest one. That's the theme, but the tale is in the telling -- and Gaiman tells it quietly and respectfully, while Andy Kubert gleefully pays tribute to the various artistic styles of the last 70 years. It's a good show, all in all.
Will it give you the ending for Batman that you wanted? That'll be up to you. Gaiman isn't giving Batman the same affectionate sendoff Alan Moore gave Superman in his "final" story arc 20 years ago. Gaiman does get to have the same kind of fun playing around with all the conventions of a good Batman story, and sneaks in cameos from all of the heavy hitters -- but then Gaiman isn't trying to necessarily give Batman a happy ending; he's trying to secure his legacy. You'll have to decide for yourself what you think that legacy is and, regardless of what incarnation of Batman comes along again, whether that incarnation can be worthy of it.(less)