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November 23rd, 2005

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07:50 pm - Absolute Watchmen
I bought the über-hardcover "absolute edition" of Watchmen today. Herewith ye quicke reviewe.

First off, yes, it's expensive, but you do get a nice book for your money; hell, it even smells good in a bibliophilic sort of way. The volume itself is a well-bound quality hardcover, though my copy was wedged so tightly into its slipcase that I couldn't get it out without crumpling the dust jacket a little bit. (The jacket, by the way, is excellent: it has no blurb at all, either on the back cover or on the front and back flaps. Perfect.)

Paging through, I was mostly struck by just how strongly the artwork presents in this large (12.9" × 8.5") format; it really does have more impact than in the standard format. The colour looks more or less like it always did; the much-publicised digital "remastering" appears to incorporate only subtle changes, such as making colours more consistent from one panel to the next when they show the same scene, altering background tones for better contrast with foreground objects, and grading some colour fields that were solid in the original. But it still looks like Watchmen; for reference, the biggest single difference I noticed in comparison with my paperback omnibus edition is that Dr. Manhattan is a slightly paler blue than I'm used to  (closer to #99CCFF than #66CCFF), and that he's considerably more consistent in colour from panel to panel. I haven't noticed any changes to the actual line art or inking so far.

The extra material in the back (some early sketches, character notes, a few pages of script) is illuminative without being essential. I understand it's all repeated from a late-'80s Graphitti edition, so it's not exclusive to the Absolute edition.

I would not suggest getting this edition just for the extra material or for the re-done colour; both are nice, but I don't think either justifies the high purchase price. I would, however, definitely suggest picking this up if you're the sort of person who wants a good-quality large-format hardcover edition of Watchmen, or if you have a need for something large and heavy and oblong with which to hold doors open or beat small animals to death. Me, I'm happy with it.

(Now if we can just get an edition like this for V For Vendetta...)

(4 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:November 24th, 2005 02:28 am (UTC)

The price does seem steep

But who am I kidding? I spent almost $30 on an oversized Fantastic Four coffee table book. $15 and change more probably isn't that much. Still I wonder if I couldn't just go to ye locale comic shop and find all the issues of Watchmen used for a few buck$.
[User Picture]
Date:November 24th, 2005 04:02 am (UTC)
You will if it sells well enough, and possibly even if it doesn't. DC are having a bit of an Absolute Edition frenzy right now. I believe Crisis on Infinite Earths is next - since they're currently backing out all the changes it made with Infinite Crisis, they expect some attention may be focused on it by newer readers wondering WTF is going on, as well as old-timers for whom the two existing compiled editions just aren't enough.

Frankly, I'm hard pressed to think of a major comics event I would drop $50 on a hardcover edition of, especially one so unwieldy I'd need a library lectern to read it comfortably, but don't go by me; I still think Alan Moore ought to be jailed, or at least beaten with moderate zeal, for what Watchmen did to superhero comics, so I'm clearly not their target demographic here. :)

Hmm. The Dark Knight Returns, maybe. Maybe. And I recognize that DKR also has much to answer for in the well-you've-gone-and-spoiled-the-party-haven't-you department...
[User Picture]
Date:November 24th, 2005 06:56 am (UTC)
I would jump on an Absolute Edition of The Dark Knight Returns in a hot second, and the same goes for Ronin; I'm not a general Frank Miller fanboy, but those two books, for me, are among the defining works in the field. Crisis on Infinite Earths, however, I think I'm safe on; was never a big enough DC reader to get into their continuity. *whew* (wipes brow)

The only other AEs that I'd be interested in would be the existing pair for the two books of Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen... but not at the current price, thanks.
[User Picture]
Date:November 24th, 2005 07:05 am (UTC)

I wanted to like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I really did. I mean, it's the Victorian Sci-Fi All-Stars, how could you possibly go wrong with that?

Well, I should have had more faith in Alan Moore. I should have known he'd find a way. I know he can do things that don't revolt me - Tom Strong is 100% hoot - but it almost seems like those rare occasions when he manages it, he's done so by accident. The rest of the time he comes up with stuff like The League and reaffirms my view of him as the Hideaki Anno of Western comics.


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