Does it get anymore absolute than Death? I certainly believe it does in a metaphysical sense but there is no doubt that Death makes a great Absolute Edition. Collecting all of Neil Gaimans Death stories is accomplishment enough but this beautiful slipcased oversize hardcover, complete with bookmark ribbon is, of course, the ultimate companion to the now complete 4 volume Absolute Sandman.
You get the entirety of Death: The High Cost of Living, and Death: The Time Of Your Life as well as short stories from Vertigo: Winter's Edge #2, The Sandman: Endless Nights, "The Wheel from the 9-11 book of tributes, Sandman #8 and #20 and a fabulous Miscellaney that looks at Death in collectible form. The intro features Amanda Palmer, the lead singer of the hit musical group The Dresden Dolls. Honestly, it doesn't matter how many times you've read these before, Absolute Death will practically force you to pick it back up experience them, all over again
Gaimans conceit of picturing Death as a sweet little Goth chick has stood the test of time, been picked up and utilized widely by others becoming a true cultural icon in a spiritually conscious age. She is at once welcoming and comforting while remaining darkly ambiguous unwillingness to provide details to travelers about their ultimate destination is. This would seem coy if it weren't for Gaimas densely layered mythology where all characters, even Death, rather than merely representing types, are caught in their own arc, flying through their own histories, making their own choices, bound by their own essence.
Vertigos recent release of their hardcover Fables The Deluxe Edition collection is a case in point as to how incredibly important the Sandman stories are. Eschewing not only superheroes but embracing the everyman the Sandman universe and the tales within it provide a context to examine the wider struggle of all men everywhere to find meaning in the things that sometimes seem horribly meager in the face of evil. Self sacrifice, family ties, love, forgiveness, honesty, compassion, gentleness, valor, are things even the King of Dreams struggles with. Is there hope before the little Goth chick comes to claim us and escort to our destination? Gaiman has wanted to believe so. In response to an audience question at a reading of Coraline he said that he felt it was an authors duty to create the world as he wished it could be, to, at least occasionally, reflect hope back into the world. This has it in spades reflecting on the notion of our mortality without losing sight of the big picture.
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