I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve written of my love for Neil Gaiman’s work, especially his Sandman comic book series, which is why I’m excited that today the first three special edition volumes of Sandman were released. And if that wasn’t awesome enough, there’s also news that an annotated Sandman is also in the works!
The new trade paperback special editions feature recolored artwork — the same treatment given to the Absolute Editions — as well as new covers and other upgrades from their original publication, which began in 1989.
The remaining volumes of the series, which are published by DC’s Vertigo imprint, will have the same remastering treatment in the future, but no dates for those have been announced.
If you already own the entire series, you might be wondering if the new editions with recolored artwork are worth the cost of a repurchase. If you check out Vertigo’s blog, you can see a few comparison samples between the original and recolored art. Also, below is an excerpt from Gaiman’s blog from 2006 in response to a fan questioning the recoloring on the Absolute Editions.
3) Do you feel that the new coloring better represents your original vision, the artist’s original vision? is it a matter of technology?
3) Yes, to all three. The original technology means that with every new printing on cleaner paper with sharper inks, it looks worse. There was never the time or the money to fix anything in the old days, and stuff simply went out as it was, sometimes to the detriment of the story. As things went on, we got to computerise the colour, and the technology gradually made things better. Compare Preludes and Nocturnes to The Kindly Ones, just from a standpoint of colour and you’ll see what I mean.
Below is the information regarding the three new editions released today — and yes, I’m getting them, they’re already on the Wish List! (Note, today’s release date was delayed for some vendors until October 19 — hopefully, they won’t be pushed out any further.)
THE SANDMAN Vol. 2: The Dollâ€™s House written by Neil Gaiman, with art by Sam Kieth, Mike Dringernberg, Malcolm Jones III, Chris Bachalo and others with a cover by Dave McKean collects issues #9-16.
THE SANDMAN Vol 3: Dream Country written by Neil Gaiman with art by Kelley Jones, Malcolm Jones III, Colleen Doran, and Charles Vess with cover by Dave McKean collects issues #17-20 including â€œA Midsummer Nightâ€™s Dream.â€
Regarding the planned Annotated Edition of Sandman, Leslie Klinger, who did The Annotated Sherlock Holmes and The Annotated Dracula, will be working on the “definitive annotated version” of the series. Klinger plans to annotated all four volumes of the Absolute Editions, all at the prompting of Gaiman himself.
Below are Klinger’s thoughts on the project, via FearNet:
“… We’re still talking about the format. The plan at the moment would be the Absolute Edition pages would be reduced in size. The books would stay the same size, but the images would be reduced down to allow marginal notes, and there will be other pages introduced. There will be some material that will be long, but it won’t be in a margin, it’ll be on a whole page by itself. This will clearly be notes together with images. There is no point in doing any sort of stand-alone book that would be a companion or anything like that. This will be image by image notes.”
As to when we’ll get these Annotated Editions (and yup, I plan on getting them!), Klinger said that the earliest would be the end of 2011, but he thinks it will probably be more like the end of 2012.