First off, this is not an item you have to pay full price for so don't be daunted. Shop around and don't assume you have to fork over £70. I had to wait a bit, but in the end got it for about £[...] new from america.
Onto the book itself. I've only really begun to read comics recently (Personally I don't much like the term graphic novel, I think it was Neil Gaiman who said "Graphic novel is to comic, what 'lady of the night' is to prostitute) and what I've read has mainly been restricted to the darker comics: Sandman, Hellblazer, Lucifer, Sin City, etc. Sandman is by far the stand-out. Simply for the scope of the narrative (I'm a sucker for old mythology and high tragedy anyway), the quality of the writing, and the beautiful artwork.
That little intro established, I would like to say that while I object very much to the stereotyped view of the teenager with a comic book obsession, harping on about a spiderman villain in issue #91, I confess that reading Absolute Sandman brings out something of the anorak in me.
Effectively, what we have on our hands here is the equivalent of your favourite film, remastered, extended, on solid gold DVDs, with a leather slip case and about as many comentaries and interviews as you could wish. Not only is the first quarter of Gaiman's superb comic series reproduced here with early editions recoloured (the colouring on some of the early issues not being great), in large format, on beautiful quality paper, superbly bound, with a big presentation slip case, large amounts of concept art, Gaiman's original proposal, and so on and so on...
This books is quite simply a joy to read, even if you almost feel bad about touching it. It's that nice.
I won't really repeat anything about the comics themselves, as it has all been said in other places far more eloquently than I ever could. Anyway, if you're reading this chances are you're a fan, as few people would fork over this much for 1/4 of a comic series they didn't already know.
But to all you Gaiman fans out there: Start reserving your expendable income, the other volumes are coming.