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on 6 April 2017
Fantastic for the fans of fantasy!
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on 1 September 2010
I've become a graphic novel fan recently through Joss Whedon's After The Fall series. I wondered where to go next, and then I remembered The Sandman. I knew next to nothing about the series other than I have often heard it spoken of in awed and reverent tones by people who are more at home with Joyce and Shakespeare than they are with comic books. Now being a fan of the medium I decided it was high time I went for the pinnacle of graphic novels. More than that, it had always seemed inevitable that I would - other things I liked seemed to be guiding me in that direction. I'm a fan of Terry Pratchett (favourite author), Tori Amos (favourite musician) and Babylon 5 (still my favourite science fiction series) - all of whom have strong Neil Gaiman connections. I read the first issue of The Sandman to see if I liked it, and then I did something wonderfully reckless and self-indulgent. I bought the entire series of it all at once - four Absolute Sandman collections, the Absolute Death edition and the hardback of Endless Nights. I'm not all the way through, but I haven't regretted it yet.

To review all the Absolute Sandman volumes and Absolute Death first in terms of their quality, these are every bit as well made and high quality as you'd expect from the price. Bound in faux leather and with glossy pages, bookmark ribbons and beautifully designed hardcover slipcases, these are tomes the quality of which would make wizards and priests envious. Not only that, the artwork has been re-coloured to make it the best that it can be.

Absolute Sandman Volume 1 contains the first twenty issues as well as many, many pages of wonderful miscellany. I know each volume contains something extra that the ten standard collections do not, so this is surely the ultimate treasure for any fan of The Endless.

I read the first story arc (which would be volume 1 of the standard collections) with the same awe and reverence that I have described hearing from others. Captivating, spellbinding, shocking and amazing - it has already entranced me into an avid fan. There's now something of a new ritual in my life. Each day I pick up a slipcase, tip out an absolute edition, sit down on the bed and read no more, no less than one chapter, put the volume back in the slipcase and stand it back with the others in its pride of place on a very sturdy shelf.
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on 16 January 2016
After reading the Sandman trade paperbacks I decided to buy the Absolute Sandman series. Each comes in a luxurious oversized hardback of over 600 pages, beautifully bound and complete with colourful slipcase. The attention to detail is amazing, the colours are brilliant and though heavy you can hold them on your lap to read. All have extras and at £40+ for each volume they are worth the money if you are a Sandman fan. Volume 1 has issues 1-20 plus lots of extras at the back.
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on 4 October 2007
Neil Gaiman's Sandman collects the first 20 issues of the comic series , and highlights one of the UK's brightest talents in the industry . The story focuses on an immortal being , Dream , who is one of the seven Endless . These demigods are eternally tied to all living things in the universe ( not just on Earth as is demonstrated in the first few issues ).

The book is presented in an enlarged "prestige" format , with high quality paper and binding , as well as recoloured artwork throughout the book . There is also the added extras of Neil Gaiman's initial pitch and plot synopsis for the first few issues , and a complete script for the award winning 'Midsummer's Night Dream' issue .

The book is beautiful , and as you read on ( almost three years worth of issues ) you can see the increasing maturity of Gaiman and his artists . It may be quite pricey , but is certainly no dearer than if you had bought each issue individually ( or even now in terms of the rarity value ) , and represents excellent value .

Thoroughly recommended .
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on 15 September 2016
I have owned The Sandman in almost every iteration, from the original monthly comic books to softbound 'graphic novel' collected works. With Absolute Sandman, I will never need another copy as they are simply beautiful. Each large leather bound tome is encased in a matching sleeve with artwork by the legendary Dave McKean. His distinctive stylings are further reproduced on each cover, with attractive stamped detail and silver lettering. Whether you are an old fan or a newcomer, I can't recommend this set of books highly enough. They are still as fresh and immersive today as the first time I found them, and stand up well as the pinnacle of the author's storytelling powers. I'll forever be appreciative of Neil Gaiman's other work but for me The Sandman is a true legacy.

Volume One begins with a foreword by Paul Levitz. We then are introduced to the world of the Endless with now classic stories, laid out in vivid retouched colour on high quality paper. It's still enthralling for me to follow Morpheus through his imprisonment, or meet his sibling Death in "The Sound of Her Wings" as if it were the very first time. These stories still have the power to captivate, and I make it my business to enjoy them once a year or so. At the end of the book, alongside the original proposal for the series by Gaiman, is a printing of the pencilled Midsummer Night's Dream with notes from the man himself. It's an interesting way to draw back the curtain for the reader, and a fun fresh perspective. A brilliant read.
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The world of comic books was a very different place before the Sandman came into being. Neil Gaiman revolutionized the graphic novel with "The Sandman," an exquisite story filled with shadowy realistic art and strange magical beings. Bringing together the first three volumes, "The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 1" is one of those rare collections that tantalizes you with beauty and chills you to your core, all at the same time.

In "Preludes and Nocturnes," a group of occultists are attempting to summon and trap Death... but instead, they capture Dream and lock him in a glass orb. Decades pass, and countless people are locked in slumber -- unable to dream, unable to wake for long. One day, Dream escapes his prison and reenters the world, but loses the last of his power with his final act of revenge.

His Dreamworld palace has fallen into ruin, and his magical items have been scattered. To regain his power, he must get back his helm, his pouch of sand, and his dreamstone. His journey to regain them will take him across worlds -- to John Constantine and a woman destroyed by dreams, to the depths of Hell at a demonic club, and a ghastly madman who drives various people to depravity and death.

But his problems do not stop there -- in "The Doll's House," Dream discovers a dream vortex. That vortex is Rose Walker, the granddaughter of Unity Kinkaid (who has slept most of her life), who is searching for her imprisoned little brother. And even worse, some of Dream's creatures have escaped, and are wreaking havoc on the waking world.

And in "Dream Country," Gaiman tells us a quartet of haunting stories -- a cat seeking revenge who wanders into the Dream Country, a struggling writer who buys and rapes a muse, an elemental superheroine who longs to die, and Shakespeare performing his classic play "A Midsummer Night's Dream" for the court of Faerie.

The world of "The Sandman" is a strange one -- it lightly interlocks with other graphic novel series, effortlessly slips from one world to another, and exposes both the beauty and ugliness of our own world. "The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 1" is an excellent introduction to Neil Gaiman's strange, expansive world -- as well as his hollow-eyed anti-hero.

And the artwork is sublime -- realistic in style, but often bizarre and a little frightening in theme. And despite the core colors being shadowy greys, whites and blacks, there are splashes of bright colors everywhere. Green fields, blue hallways, psychedelic skies, hallucinations filled with sickly pallid hues.

And Gaiman created one of his most iconic, complex characters in Dream -- his inhumanness is underlined by acts of great cruelty and kindness, and his sad, grim demeanor is more than a little touching. The author also spun up a very nonstereotypical version of Death. No robes, scythes or skeletal faces here. In fact, forget about anything sinister -- this version of Death is a delightfully quirky, perky goth chick.

As for this omnibus edition, it is absolutely gorgeous -- oversized, with gorgeous enhanced colors, strong fabric covers, a sturdy slipcase and some pencil sketches. It's not really one for casual reading, but for collectors.

"The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 1" is a gorgeous rerelease of Neil Gaiman's classic series, but this would be nothing if the material were not so sublime. A delight for comic readers.
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on 13 May 2010
I will start by saying that this is an absolutely gorgeous book. It's a compilation that was obviously done with great care and attention to detail, and as a result it has a very imposing physical presence. I found myself checking if my hands were clean before picking it up to read (and I'm not kidding).

What to say about the comic itself... "Sandman" is fantastic, quite different from what I got used from a comic book (and it must have been quite ground-breaking at the time it came out). I started reading Watchmen at the same time I was reading The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 1, and found myself comparing the two. While Watchmen is undoubtedly much more political and thought-provoking (and also quite original in its storytelling), Sandman is a lot more subtle. It's an intricate world of fantasies, of metaphors and of symbols. I could read only one story at the time, and after a while I figured out why. I found myself being unable to fully appreciate all the little details, references and symbols, because there were so many. Thus, I slowed down (and good thing I did), making this the book that has taken me the longest time to read in my life.

The final part of the book is dedicated to the making-of the comic, and is really an excellent read. I enjoyed immensely going through the whole issue of "A Midsummer Night's Dream", step by step, with the quirky commentaries of Neil Gaiman to the illustrator.

The artists that collaborated on this book are all very talented. I have a soft spot for Dave McKean's work, and his issue covers were another thing that made me love this book. If you like comic books, then I heartily recommend you get your "clean" hands on this.
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on 31 July 2012
bought this as a gift for a Gaimen fan - they response was all the young persons txt abbreviations - omfg etc. for the 60 quid price it was cheaper then buying in waterstones and better packaged than most box sets. score some brownie points, buy it as a gift. :)
think of it as a DVD, theres a few extras, a foreword, amazing art work, recoloured as well...
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on 4 January 2007
The quality of this volume is hard to beat, both in terms of content and packaging. The first 20 issues of Neil Gaiman's Sandman have been collected in the Absolute oversize format with new colouring that compliments the artwork.

I had no prior experience of Sandman and was blown away. Highly recommended.
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on 20 January 2012
this series of books is an absolute bargain at around £40 each. the scope and scale of the stories and their settings throughout history are an education as well as being very entertaining. absolutes 1-4 plus absolute death are all you need - avoid absolute 5 as it is a money making ploy.
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