If you’re like me, you’ve suddenly realized reading 15 to 30 comic books a week took up a lot of your downtime. With no new comics coming out for at least a few weeks (thanks to Diamond Comics Distributors halting shipments), now’s the time to take your pull-list dough and drop it on a collected edition. Barnes and Noble as well as Amazon are great venues, but this is also a solid chance to support your local book stores and comic ships. Still, where should you spread your $40 to $120 dollars typically spent on new single issues every week? Here are my top 10 purchases of new or soon-to-be-released absolute or omnibus editions to ensure you have the latest and greatest for your reading pleasure.
#10 – Preacher: The 25th Anniversary Omnibus Vol. 1 (Amazon)
At the top of my list is Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. This series has already been given the Absolute treatment in three volumes, but now it’s getting a new edition. No word on extras or dimensions just yet, but the iconic series will get the first 33 issues collected in this edition due out July 1, 2020. That is 7 more issues and nearly 300 more pages than the Absolute Preacher Vol. 1 that dropped in 2016. This is an important work in comic book history, taking an edgy and bold look at religion, which eventually lead to a TV show and likely inspiring a generation hungry for more gore and revolting storytelling magic.
If you don’t want to wait, you can buy volume 1, volume 2, and volume 3 of the Absolute edition right now for a reasonable price of a touch over $250. That is actually a steal when you consider each Absolute is gorgeously made and retails for $150 each.
#9 – Absolute Batman: Arkham Asylum (30th Anniversary Edition) (Amazon)
This is another iconic series thanks to the novel approach Grant Morrison and Dave McKean took with the Batman canon. At the time, the artistic flair and narrative were unheard of, and part of that is thanks to editor Karen Berger. It’s a must-read for any Batman fan as well as for fans who like to see how specific titles shifted the approach for the comics industry. This new edition comes with extra from Morrison, McKean, and Berger.
#8 – Absolute Death (Amazon)
If you’ve been reading Si Spurrier and Bilquis Evely’s The Dreaming, you know Death is soon to be a hugely important character in the series. What better way than to read the new Absolute edition of the character that’s already out? Collecting Neil Gaiman’s Death: The High Cost of Living (art by Chris Bachalo) and Death: The Time of Your Life (art by Bachalo and Mark Buckingham), this series is a reminder that Gaiman’s most fully formed and relatable character may be Death. Sandman is an interesting series, but also a lot about lore and myth. Here we see a character for who she is and what that means to these pillars. This is a deeply important series with a newer release date.
#7 – Absolute Transmetropolitan Vol. 1 (Amazon)
This series is one of my favorite of all time. This is a reprinting of the Absolute edition published in 2015, but it’s a great thing since it can be marked up quite a bit on eBay. This 500-plus page delight can be yours when it drops in December 8.
#6 – Absolute Batman: The Black Mirror (Amazon)
I missed this release back in May 2019 when it released — I’m still kicking myself for it. Deeply engaging and interesting, this is Scott Snyder’s first foray into writing Batman with Jock and Francesco Francavilla backing him up with some of the most interesting and atmospheric art you’ve ever seen in a Batman book. Collecting Detective Comics #871-881, this collection houses the “Black Mirror,” “Skeleton Cases,” and “Hungry City” story arcs. All told, these arcs tell a tale of how Gotham corrupts heroes. It’s a riveting tale and one of Snyder’s best. It also houses plenty of extras to delve into, like one of Snyder’s scripts, character designs, and much more.
#5 – Absolute Swamp Thing by Alan Moore Vol. 2 (Amazon)
This comes out in October, but that gives you plenty of time to track down Vol. 1, which is currently not available on Amazon for a reasonable price. Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing is one of the most talked-about and cherished superhero stories ever written. If you bring up Watchmen to a comic book fan, Swamp Thing is likely to enter the conversation as well. The new Absolute editions of this series also have updated coloring, which may annoy purists, but it does improve upon the look of the book at a time when coloring wasn’t as rich as it is today.
#4 – Absolute Fourth World Vol 1 (Amazon)
Out in June, this series collects Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #133-139 and #141-148, The New Gods #1-11, The Forever People #1-11, and Mister Miracle #1-18, plus later stories from New Gods #4 and DC Graphic novel #4. We all know Jack Kirby is the godfather of comics, with much of what we know of superheroes and the accompanying art style emanating from ol’ Jack. What better way to enjoy Kirby’s work than with his collection, which houses stories never before reprinted. So much of what DC Comics has done in the last two decades are owed to the creations in this book, including Mister Miracle, the idea of the Mother Box, and more.
#3 – Absolute DC: The New Frontier 15th Anniversary Edition (Amazon)
Way back in 2004, Darwyn Cooke stole our hearts with The New Frontier. His art style and pitch-perfect depiction of DC Comics’ greatest heroes was astounding. It was succinct, well done, and beautiful. Since then, the series has gotten fantastic collections but now it has an Absolute edition released back in November 2019.
#2 – The Authority Omnibus (Amazon)
I already own the first edition of this omnibus, so it’s a no-brainer that it’s on this list thanks to a new edition released last August. This was one of the boldest superhero canons in the last few decades, surprising everyone with its mature take and viciously real art and action. It was also great fun to read as a longtime fan as you can see the colorful characters all acting as reflections of the heroes we grew up with. Is this iconic series by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch a bit high on this list? Maybe, but it’s also a series that’s nostalgic for me and one that was important in my development in understanding comics.
#1 – Sandman Deluxe Ed Book 1 (Amazon)
This isn’t the first time Sandman has received a collection. Way back in 2006, I bought the very first Absolute edition, which was gloriously oversized and damn near heavy enough to kill a small farm animal. This new edition houses Sandman #1-16 and Sandman Mystery Theater #1. This new edition has extras, though it’s not quite clear if they are new or the same extras included in the Absolute edition. Either way, it’s priced at a reasonable $50, and if you missed the last reprinting, pick it up on June 23.
Absolute Fables Vol. 1 (Amazon)
Fables is a series I read when it was all the rage, but slowly fell out of touch with while in college. After doing some light Googling, I discovered an 800-page collection (housing Fables 1-29 and Fables: The Last Castle) is on the way in June. This is one of the most valuable reads one can do in two or three sittings and the narrative suits the larger format. It’s also a tale that’ll make you forget what is going on around you as you drop yourself into this imaginative and clever world.