this is a fun read with some excellent artwork by sale as well as some rougher early work. it's also got a few little paragraphs with insight into his process and some behind-the-scenes info, but just a bit. fans of tim sale will have a pretty good idea what they're in for as far as the art goes and should enjoy seeing his development over the years. what came as a surprise to me was the quality of the writing. honestly i wasn't expecting much, and it wasn't a consideration of mine when purchasing this book, but i really enjoyed these stories for the most part.
included are a nice little (very) short story about jeremiah arkham and some of his famous mental patients, a great three-parter by james robinson involving a new hero in gotham (flipping through this book i accidentally spoiled the ending for myself, but it surprisingly didn't affect my enjoyment at all), a story about a group of batman's d-list rogues teaming up for a rather generic caper (with a somewhat neat twist thrown at the reader on at the very end that unfortunately feels tacked on), a fun catwoman story and a little black-and-white vignette with sale's beautiful inkwash work. also included are a bunch of batman and batgirl covers by sale.
i only have a few qualms with this book. one of them is the ordering of the stories. ideally this sort of volume should have the stories appear in chronological order to show the development of the artist, and for some reason that's not the case here. i don't know if the "blades" story was published before or after the "misfits" one, but the former appears earlier in the volume and is leaps and bounds ahead of the latter in every respect (design, composition, storytelling, even coloring), so they are either out of order in this book or sale just wasn't trying very hard on the second one (and who could blame him? he was working with much stronger material in the first one). i do know that the black and white story is years older than the catwoman one, so chronological order isn't being strictly preserved. it's not the biggest deal, but it struck me as odd. what bothers me more is that the covers to several of these stories are absent, and they were missed. also it's a shame that this collection only included some of sale's batman covers. i would have loved to see more, because those are some of his best work.
all-in-all a very good read. falls short of perfection, but buyers should find themselves pleasantly surprised, if surprised at all. bit of a hefty price tag, but well worth the amazon price.