Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Absolute Absolutes

I wouldn't call "Green Lantern: Rebirth" my favorite comic book series. Not even close. I liked it well enough at the time of its release, and I thought Geoff Johns did a surprisingly good job making some kind of sense out of the Parallax ridiculousness and bringing Hal Jordan back in a way that erased the sins of the "Emerald Dawn"/Gerard Jones era without ignoring them.

But I somehow now own it in three different formats: single issues, hardcover collection, and now the Absolute edition. I bought the single issues during release, and caught up with all the Johns Lantern HCs during the "Sinestro Corps War" when my local shop had a 50% off sale, and I felt the need to own the comics in a format that I could throw at slow moving squirrels or something. And I am incapable of resisting an Absolute edition. It's by far my favorite format to read comics in. Oversized and bulky. Absolutes are immersive experiences.

Turns out, that just like so many other Absolute editions, I like "Green Lantern: Rebirth" even more reading it at this size. Ethan Van Sciver has never been one of my favorite artists. He strives for Brian Bolland but lacks the structure to hang all that rendering on. Yet at the Absolute size, his work looks great. And it helps that "Green Lantern: Rebirth" is the best work of his career. Far better than "Flash: Iron Heights," which was his previous benchmark, and far, far better than his recent work on "Flash: Rebirth."

So, yes, "Absolute Green Lantern: Rebirth." I am no sorry I own this. Not one bit.

And when I mentioned Absolute editions on Twitter, some folks asked for recommendations, so here are my Top 10 Absolute Editions, in order of ones-I-would-bring-to-a-desert-island-and-read-and-not-burn-in-a-fire-to-keep-me-warm.

#1. Absolute Watchmen. Dave Gibbons at this size is like the Mona Lisa giving you a high-five.

#2. Absolute Dark Night. Frank Miller doesn't just draw comics. He carves them.

#3. Absolute DC The New Frontier. Darwyn Cooke's finely crafted masterpiece of superhero spectacle is a bit cold and lifeless. But in this format, you can crawl around inside its sculptured majesty.

#4. Absolute Promethea. J. H. Williams III. He draws good.

#5. Absolute Crisis on Infinite Earths. The story is pretty terrible to actually read, but George Perez's art has never looked better.

#6. Absolute Ronin. Euro-manga explosion, inside Frank Miller's pen and ink.

#7. Absolute Sandman. All four volumes. Why not?

#8. Absolute League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Both volumes. Out-of-print, but classic. And Kev O'Neilly.

#9. Absolute Death. Chris Bachalo is an amazing artist, and even if this book unnecessarily reprints issues from Absolute Sandman (seriously, who buys this and not Sandman?), it's still, you know, Chris Bachalo.

#10. Absolute JLA/Avengers. Pure eye candy.

I don't own Absolute Planetary or Absolute Authority, but when they're reprinted, I'll be able to build a house with them. Alex Ross in Absolute format? Nah.


Justin B said...

The fantastic Umbrella Academy Limited Editions have the same high production quality as the Absolutes. I'd take them over New Frontier since that story didn't work for me at all. Do you have these books as well, Tim? Would they take the place of anything on your DC-only list?

Absolute Authority Vol 2 is definitely worth it for the giant-size Quitely art. Auction prices on eBay can be a lot better than some of the asking prices for it on eBay or Amazon.

Besides anything from Quitely, Williams, or Stewart, what is out now that you'd like to see in Absolute? Every time I read a new issue of Daytripper or Joe the Barbarian I think of how great they'd look in an Absolute.

Chad Nevett said...

I love Absolute editions, but only for very specific books. I currently have three (Watchmen, Planetary, and the first Authority one) and can only think of a few more that I would be willing to pay so much money for. I do really want that Miller Dark Knight collection, though.

.gbrl said...

i'm delighted to see you back at bloging more frequently :)

Neal Kitterlin said...

I love absolutes as well, but don't have too many of them because of the price. The Promethea one is stunning, and I'll be getting the two Planetary ones when they are re-released.

But what I'm really waiting for is Absolute All-Star Superman. I'm sure you'll agree this one is a must-have, right, Tim?

Timothy Callahan said...

Umbrella Academy I do not own in hardcover. They seemed to pricey for the skinny size, but if I can buy Rebirth, I can buy Umbrella Academy. Unfortunately, the first volume is long gone. Oh well.

Absolute All-Star Superman would be way up near the top of this list if it had already come out. Can't wait!

Timothy Callahan said...

And .gbrl -- I plan to keep up the one-post-a-day schedule at least until the end of the month, then see what's what for my schedule.

Justin B said...

Yeah, the Umbrella Academy Limiteds seem like single-sitting reads, but sometimes I just start staring at that gorgeous Ba art and Stewart color and don't get any reading done at all. And even though Apocalypse Suite is long gone, it's OK because Dallas is even better.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see a list of favorite non-absolute, absolutes. I've fallen in love with the oversized format in the last month or two. Some of those out of print books are a devil to find, but totally worth it.

Jeremy said...

I always preferred the Marvel Omnibus myself. I have a dozen of those and no Absolutes. Big high-quality pages, but more issues AND cheaper prices. The only Absolute I would pay even the Amazon.com price for would be oh say...All-Star Superman.

Wait, what? That's actually happening?


*takes off glasses slowly* My God...I WILL OWN THIS.