I’m back for more unwrapping with new episodes every weekday!
Today I pull out my first Absolute Edition (of a scant few), but before I unwrap it I share my thoughts on how our hobbies grow to own our time. After that, I share some… let’s say, “vague” thoughts on the one Sandman Absolute from which I’ve never read any material.
Want to start from the beginning of this season of videos? Here’s the complete Season 1 playlist of Crushing Comics.
Episode 31 features The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 3.
Not a fan of watching videos – or just not able to watch right now? First, did you know you can speed up YouTube videos? Just click the little gear icon to change the speed settings. I know that makes me much more apt to watch.
Alternately, you can keep reading for the full transcript. Please keep in mind that this season of videos is shot off the cuff with no chance to review the books ahead of time, so I might occasionally fudge some facts (usually addressed in the video by subtitles).
Hello, and welcome back to Crushing Comics – the show where I fall in love with my comic book collection all over again!
We’re gonna go straight to the shelf. We filled up six blocks now. That means we still have 14 left to go,
You know, something that’s really interesting about collecting anything is the time that it takes. Right?
I mean, yeah, okay, duh, it takes time to do something.
But, I mean, let’s say you’re really into playing pool, which … I do enjoy playing pool. [I’m] not much of a shark but my family [did] have a pool table when I was growing up.
You think you just have it in your basement and it’s there, and you played occasionally. You’re putting in enough time to play it. You’re putting in the time to upkeep it. You’re putting up the time too… sometimes you’ve got to go and, I don’t know, chalk your pool cues. Sometimes you’ve gotta carefully vacuum the felt on the table.
And the pastime – that was the thing that you were doing just for fun – starts to take up time in your life other than just the time that’s the fun time.
Maybe playing pool isn’t the best example. A swimming pool is a good example. You have it for the swimming and the exercise and the parties, but then you’ve got to do all this maintenance of the pool. I think, especially if you’re somebody young or if you didn’t grow up with whatever that thing was in your life, you don’t realize that.
I was talking to a friend of mine who bought – a house really beautiful house – in New Jersey. It had a pool, and it was looked like … kind of little swampy. They hadn’t cleaned it yet. And I was like, “Wow don’t you want to swim in the pool every day? It’s summer. It’s hot.” And my friend said to me, “Well, you know, I just don’t know if I want to make the time to upkeep it enough to be able to swim in it regularly right now.”
Clearly they were going to eventually. They bought a house with a pool. But, I think that people sometimes lose sight
of that. When you are like, “I’m gonna be really into whatever this thing is!” there’s always a time component. Nothing is so simple as just having it. You’ve got to dust it, find the space for it, find the time to admire it.
I think that people like me, who are very consumerist kind of people, who want to have all this stuff – pools and pool tables and comic books and guitars – sometimes underestimate that you are tithing out a little piece of your life to that stuff that you’re gonna take to keep it.
For me, I’ve made it fun, because I’m unwrapping these books on camera. But you can’t have everything. I mean, even if you’re some crazy super-rich superstar who doesn’t have to work at all on just has time to spend time with your stuff. You can’t just be Scrooge McDuck and roll around the pile your stuff all the time. You’ve got meals to eat and people
to see and, you know, sunlight to absorb through your your skin.
Mmm. I knew we were eventually gonna get one of these.
This is Sandman Absolute Three. Here’s our first absolute that we’ve unwrapped, even though I thought the Hellboy was
an Absolute. Now we can finally do our head-to-head to see just how close the Library Editions are in size to the
[Holds up books together]
Pretty close. The absolutes are about half an inch bigger, but then they also have this slip case.
Absolutes are just a gorgeous format. People have their occasional qualms with omnibuses. They don’t like the dust jacket, [the] underneath cover printing isn’t cool, the binding … blah, blah, blah
Absolutes tend to be pretty well considered in terms of those factors. People tend to really like them and don’t have as many complaints, Now, there’s occasionally a complaint. I’ll get that whenever we open Sandman volume 2. But, I mean, just look at those things. As an artifact it’s just gorgeous. It has ribbon to mark the pages (and I’ve opened this before, so I’m not gonna do the whole relaxing the book thing).
It’s just huge. Even an inch extra makes a difference in art, because you have to think that it’s scaling up. It’s not like making a book an inch taller gets you a whole extra inch of art. It’s changing the overall percentage of how big the book might be. So even that half inch addition from the Hellboys means the art gets even bigger.
Sandman. I have not read this deeply into Sandman, I will readily admit. I’ve only read the first two absolutes. Sandman is a beautiful thing, because it’s an example of Gaiman playing on the fringe of the DC Universe. There’s never really a lot of hints that this is in the DC world. Every so often there’ll be like a little nod, and at the end there’s a nod that “The Wake,” the final story.
Gaiman takes Sandman, which previously had been a heroic character in the Golden Age, and turns him into something totally else, and does it with an arc.
That’s what’s really important. There [had] been a lot of big-name creators doing Vertigo: Alan Moore on Swamp Thing, Grant Morrison on Animal Man, a whole host of people on Constantine Hellblazer. But none of them doing a kind of a single, self-contained story that has it beats that arc over a run and come to a resolution the way that Sandman did.
This becomes, in a lot of ways, the road map for a lot of modern authors who are doing their own indie work, [who] are trying to cross an arc and come to an end.
These books are… look, there’s a lot of ways to collect Sandman. There’s a really nice box set of trade paperbacks, and if
you don’t need this outrageously huge bookshelf thing you should get those. But these are neat, because they have a lot of cool extras in them. They have a lot of galleries, and, let’s see…
[paging through the end of the book for the camera]
Look, illustrations of designs for bookends. The textlessDave McKean covers and other artwork. Then also some scripts and things in the back. They’re really a beautiful format.
I [am] again going to that theme of: when you were just collecting comic books it was hard to lay hands on these things and that’s why collected editions and now digital are so great. When I decided, “Hey, I finally want to read Sandman,” it
was just so cool to be able to pick up these editions and read them. And Sandman is something that certainly deserves this beauty.
I mean, if you look at some modern DC stuff that gets into Absolute, it’s like that could have just been an omnibus! Especially cuz the Absolutes don’t tend to be as long as omnibus, so it’s like … wouldn’t you rather just throw that whole run to an omnibus? Do we really need two Absolutes? But some things have the scope and the grandeur that they really deserve Absolute treatment, and Sandman does. You can get it in two omnibuses, actually, among many other formats, but that these are just kind of like the pinnacle.
I mean, you can just look at this book’s spine. It has, like, these bumped out parts. And it’s um it’s really just a
I’ll probably have a little bit more about Sandman as we open one and two and maybe even four, but this is kind of a little bit my blind spot in terms of Sandman. Ha! And so that’s all I really say about it. Quick episode! We’re going to shelve it up here for now.
Here’s the ceremonial shelving of Sandman Vol. 3. Tune in next time for more unwrapping of books as we press forward to the halfway point of unpacking the shelf here on Crushing Comics.