The Absolute format has been a pretty popular one for DC Comics. Started by Scott Dunbier at DC/Wildstorm and inspired by the French collections of American comics, it collects a goodly sized run of comics, around 12 issues, in hardcover, in an oversized format, with a slipcase and plenty of attention to production details.
But how many of them get read? How many people are just happy to have a particular run in that format sitting on the shelf?
Because three years ago, in October 2011, DC Comics published the Identity Crisis series in the Absolute format for $100. Recently, they dropped the price significantly for retailers as a promotion, doubling the discount most retailers receive, encouraging them to stock up.
And that's one fellow who bought his copy. And read the thing. Ultimate Spider-Fan writes,
Since the book doesn't have page numbers, I'll just have to describe the scene with the out of order page. It is in the final issue of the story, and is during the scene where Jean is in bed with Ray admitting to having murdered Sue. Jean is in the middle of telling her story, then there is a two page spread of Ray reacting through internal dialogue, then Jean's dialogue continues on the following page, with the next page continuing Ray's reaction. While skimming through the book, the scene seemed very disjointed to me, so much so that I actually paid the $1.99 to download the issue from Comixology. Turns out that the pages are out of order in the Absolute. I returned the book for a replacement (not just because of this, some of the pages were stuck together and tore when separating them), and the new copy I received also has the pages in the incorrect order.
Did anyone else notice this in their copy? Was this problem brought up at all when the book first came out? A Google search on this topic turned up nothing. If the problem wasn't widespread, maybe I'm just unlucky and got two defective copies in a row, but I find that hard to believe.
Nope, no one noticed. And yes, it's in everyone's copy. It seemed no one read it, or if they did, didn't notice it was out of order.
This was in the days before unboxing videos of comic books on YouTube where collectors measure the gutter loss in a big collection with a ruler and a cameraphone.
But no one seems to have noticed this error at the time, or subsequently. Or if they did, they didn't post online. And everyone who has checked, has found the same error.
When the first Crisis On Infinite Earths hardcover came out with a misprinted panel, the book was withdrawn, and the pages removed and replaced, one by one. Similar errors have cost people their jobs.
But if no one cared to check in three years – what does DC Comics do now?
Well, DC has a 10th anniversary $30 hardcover edition of the book scheduled for December. Judging by the page count (288 versus 264 for the TPB) it looks like they're just reprinting the contents of the Absolute volume at standard size.
Might it be a good idea for someone to look over the files before sending them off to the printer?