What I Want for Christmas
I can’t think of anything I really need for Christmas, aside from a new place to live that’s big enough to unload my 10×15 storage unit. It feels like I need more black socks, but the reality is that I have a bunch of them in a tightly-tied plastic bag full of dirty laundry that I don’t want to open until I am able to wash everything in the bag, because I think it will break if I try, and I want to keep my dirty underwear and socks spearate form the rest of my clothing.
There are two books that recently went out of print that are getting harder to find.
I first started reading Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman from the library (and it and the Steve Gerber books I first brought to NYC are what really got me back into comics) and initially bought only the last three (of ten) volumes. I now have all but three of them (volumes 3, 6, and 7). Unfortunately, they recently made a new edition of the series, and the old edition is getting harder to find. They not only changed the covers, but the interiors are colored differently in a more modern process. I was able to compare the different editions of volume 2 side by side, and the differences are staggering–often completely different colors are used, whereas in the last few volumes, there is no difference at all. Gaiman prefers the newer colors, but I prefer to have them as they initially appeared. I may at some point get the Annotated Sandman editions, which will have the new colors, but that’s definitely not in the current budget. With my A/V equipment in storage, books are the only non-necessities that I buy.
This is what volume 3 looks like in the previous edition. I have seen two copies in stores recently, but I thought they both had excessive shelf wear, even for buying them on sale. Volumes 6 and 7 are still not that hard to find and I will probably be buying them in some of the sales this week. The Sandman is extremely popular and can be found in regular bookstores as well as comic shops. I don’t recommend attempting to buy online, because they might send the current one (Amazon shows that the new edition has a different ISBN, but the older version is available only form Amazon Sellers. I should also note that there are at least two editions/covers even earlier than this one.) This volume is the shortest and least expensive, at $14.95. It contains issues 17-20, plus the script for #17.
The other one I am looking for is going to be harder to find, and will complete my collection of Sandman Mystery Theatre (a revival of DC’s 1940s character as well as a tie-in with the Gaiman series). Volume 2 is the only trade paperback collection I do not have, and the only one that is out of print. It contains issues 5-12. I think it went out of print about a year ago. The series ran 70 issues, but so far, only the first 52 have been reprinted in trade paperback format. Unfortunately, I haven’t read volume 9 (containing #45-52, because it’s buried in a box with other books by authors whose name begins with W, waiting until I have a job and can move out. Volume 8 was in a different place because I had it pulled out to read, so it ended up with my recent acquisitions, which are about the only comics I can get at.) This retails for $19.95. I have seen only one copy recently, at Strand Books, and it sold even when marked up to $30. Strand sells both used and new books, and if a book costs more than its retail price, it always has “out of print” on the sticker. I think it’s been out of print for no more than a year, so it may be findable.
While there are other Sandman spin-offs I don’t have, such as the ten volumes of Lucifer (in The Sandman, he abandons Hell and sets up a piano bar), but I’m holding off because the earliest Sandman spinoff other than Mystery Theatre is The Dreaming, and volume 2 of the trades ties in with Swamp Thing. I’ve had to stop reading Swamp Thing because I left off at volume 2, #126, and I have an unbroken run from 127-152 that I can’t get at until after I move out of storage. (The trade paperbacks of volume 2 cover only issues 21-81.) The crossover with The Dreaming takes place shortly after the final issue of volume 2 (#171). Swamp Thing is currently on volume 5, and the only issues I don’t have in some form are (vol. 2): 153, 155, 157-164, 166-171; (vol. 3): 4, 5, 19, 20; Swamp Thing Secret Files and Origins, and Brightest Day: The Search for Swamp Thing #3.