Black Dossier Record Missing Again

Absolute Black Dossier cover

Originally, the much-delayed League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier was supposed to be a deluxe package that included a 45 RPM single. Those features were cut back in favor of releasing a single hardcover (although one with 3-D glasses) in November 2007.

An Absolute Edition was then offered to come out at the end of this month (July 2008). It was supposed to contain the record, “a 45-rpm vinyl recording of the song ‘Immortal Love,’ sung by Alan Moore himself!”

Now, DC has just announced that the Absolute Edition “will not include the 45-rpm record as originally solicited. Because of this change, this item will be made returnable at a later date.”

I’m confused, now, as to how the Absolute Edition is going to be significantly different enough to justify a $99 price tag instead of the hardcover’s $30. Sure, it’ll have a slipcase… but what are the bonuses?

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23 Responses to “Black Dossier Record Missing Again”

  1. ADD Says:

    Oh, boy. Which will be worse, Alan Moore’s reaction to that, of the kneejerk DC defenders who attack Moore for expecting decency and fair play from his publishers?

    Great point on the apparently uselessness of the Absolute Edition, Johanna. I’ve got every other Alan Moore Absolute that’s been released, but I can’t see dropping a hundred bucks for a bigger version of exactly the same book, especially knowing it likely isn’t even what the creators wanted or expected it to be.

  2. Johanna Says:

    You may be assuming more than is known about the cause. Maybe Moore said “nah, I don’t wanna bother”? Or DC may have decided orders didn’t justify special production and packaging, I don’t know.

  3. Chris G. Says:

    They could make the Absolute version worth it by including a really kick-ass set of 3-D glasses. Big, chunky 1950s glasses with sturdy colored lenses. Maybe make them bifocals so you can wear them around town.

  4. odessa steps magazine Says:

    I’d recommend people save their money on the absolute edition and buy Jess’ annotations for Black Dossier when it comes out at the end of the month. :>

  5. Collected Comics Library Podcast and Blog; News and Reviews on all sorts of Comic Book Collected Editions; Don't be fooled by imitators! Says:

    [...] Ex Machina Deluxe Edition HC (DC). In just a few days I’ve managed to read most of them. Also, there is news that the Absolute Black Dossier will not include the 45 rpm song by Alan Moore. Wasn’t that the [...]

  6. Mark Cook Says:

    There are a few questions I’d need to have answered before I could start decrying DC’s decision here.
    - How much would it cost to create 45-RPM vinyl records now anyways?
    - How much would it cost to store the books so the 45s don’t warp?
    - How big is the printrun of an Absolute?

    A smaller question as well – how many people in the audience for the book actually have a turntable? (Personally: My dad has one but it is not hooked up, and I know a few DJs so I could probably get one of them to put it on CD or something for me) Admittedly, part of the appeal of it appears to be delivering it as a 45, but I think most people wouldn’t ever hear it unless they downloaded an mp3, which probably implies that it was pirated (admittedly, DC/Alan Moore could do something nice and put it up there themselves, but I’m not sure if they could ever manage to agree on such a thing).

  7. Johanna Says:

    Those are excellent questions and may have had some influence on the decision (although if the problem was production cost, I’d expect that to have raised its head earlier than the same month the book was due out, although maybe my expectation is unreasonable).

  8. The Comics Podcast Network » CCL Podcast #177 - Wizard World Chicago 2008 and some Marvel Horror Says:

    [...] Ex Machina Deluxe Edition HC (DC). In just a few days I’ve managed to read most of them. Also, there is news that the Absolute Black Dossier will not include the 45 rpm song by Alan Moore. Wasn’t that the [...]

  9. Devlin Thompson Says:

    United Record Pressing (the first company I checked) currently charges 44¢ each for 45s (plus about $450.00 set-up and mastering).The minimum order for that price is 100 copies, which I think it’s safe to say is well below the likely print-run. I can say that the ONLY reason I ordered any copies of the Absolute edition for our store was to provide the record that had already been promised and withdrawn, and I’m going to be canceling said orders promptly.

  10. Chris Marshall Says:

    Thanks to John Mayo, Comic Book resources, I did a check of the sales estimates for the following books:

    25044 League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Black Dossier HC
    5104 Absolute Sandman v1
    4426 Absolute Sandman v2
    3992 Lost Girls Dlx Slipcased Ed

    As you can see The Lost Girls and the Sandman Absolutes are in the same ballpark.
    The Black Dossier Hardcover is in another territory altogether.
    I think that the Absolute version of the book should do well regardless if the 45 is included or not.
    And if you think that those people who bought the HC will not buy the Absolute version, you may be mistaken. All DC really needs to do is sell about 4000-5000 copies for it to fall in the range of other recent $100 over sized books.

  11. Johanna Says:

    But *why* do you think the Absolute will do well? The Sandman Absolutes collected much more material with redone, improved art. What makes this an attractive product?

  12. Chris Marshall Says:

    Good question. And the answer is because there is now a substantial market over these books. It took a while, but it is here.

    DC was the first to experiment with the format with Deluxe Slipcases from DC (Green Lantern/Green Arrow and Crisis) and progressed to a slightly larger format (Authority and Planetary) that we know of today. Marvel quickly followed suit with their oversized Omnibus line. Dark Horse (Hellboy and Sin City), Image (Madman Gargantua) and even Dynamite (The Boys — upcoming) have all realized that a market now exists for a high priced deluxe edition. You can even add in Calvin and Hobbes, Far Side and the Don Martin book, too.

    Yep, the Oversized Market now has track record and a buying audience, me included.

    But that is just the format. There is also the Alan Moore audience to consider. People will buy his work because they are collectors and they enjoy his work. Much the same way Frank Miller’s Batman and Daredevil have been collected in many different formats. It’s a sure thing; and the brass inside DC or Marvel or whoever knows it.

  13. Johanna Says:

    You’re not answering the question I’m asking; perhaps I’m not being clear. You’ve answered why people buy Absolutes (no debate) and why people bought the first hardcover (they like Moore’s work). I’m asking why, if the Absolute Black Dossier doesn’t differ significantly from the hardcover that’s already been available for a while, why will people buy *this particular* Absolute edition?

  14. Chris Marshall Says:

    True, the contents may be the same. But I’ like to think DC, or Moore, will do a new introduction and perhaps some sketch pages or an afterword. But based on the initial solicitation it does seem so. The page count looks to be the same.

    But what I was getting at is the fact that the book is bigger and that is what helps it sell the most. Like I was saying, Miller’s Dark Knight has been collected numerous times over and Sandman is easily available in trade. Sure the extras are nice, but most people buy the books for the over sized art first.

    Between the Alan Moore fan-boys and collectors of Absolutes the book should sell well regardless of the fact that a similar $30 hardcover is available. Well see come October when the Sales Estimates come out.

  15. Johanna Says:

    I’d like to see some justification for saying “most” people buy these editions because of the oversized art. I have a whole shelf that I’ve bought for the extras, not for the large size (which makes them a pain to read and store).

  16. Mark Parsons Says:

    The lack of music at such a very late date is disappointing. Why not make a cd of the single and make the single look like a record? I’ve seen MOJO magazine do that with some of their free giveaway compilation cds. Still, perhaps the single itself was never recorded…

    As to why bother buying, I expect the book is for completists, or folks who prefer the larger format. Persoannlly, I buy the books for content, not extras. I already had Planetary, Watchmen, Sandman, New Frontier, LoeG 1, but bought b/c I like seeing the art at that size.

    PS: those LOST GIRLS numbers must be for the 3rd or 4th printing. The book sold extremely well for Top Shelf: Chris Staros reported on the various runs back when the book was first released in the US. I expect the pieces might still be up on the TS website.

  17. Leigh Walton Says:

    Chris Marshall, where are you getting your numbers exactly? The Lost Girls numbers, at least, are off by an order of magnitude. When the book was released, Top Shelf sold through two five-figure printings within 24 hours.

  18. Chris Marshall Says:

    The Diamond Sales Estimates as reported by John Mayo, Comic Book Resources.
    In this case John just did a quick query for me.
    Never said it was complete nor scientific, just what was reported by guys who crunch the numbers.

  19. Rich Johnston Says:

    Don’t the Absolute League scripts normally contain a hardcover script volume as well?

  20. Blog@Newsarama » Blog Archive » Can’t Wait for Wednesday Says:

    [...] Dossier hardcover Last I had heard, the 45-RPM vinyl of Alan Moore singing the song Immortal Love was not going to be included in this fancy, extra-deluxe edition of Moore and O’Neill’s latest LOEG outing. DC, [...]

  21. chris7crows Says:

    AFAIK, the Absolute edition will not include the scripts, and that’s a deal killer for me right there. The larger art is nice, but not worth another purchase; and while the 45 would have been an interesting novelty, again not worth the price.

    But without the scripts? As Johanna says, why bother?

    Though I second the recommendation to buy Nevins’ annotations.

  22. Speculation on Alan Moore’s Dossier Record » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] reported here in July, the Absolute Edition of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier was [...]

  23. alan moore und brecht « HIRNWICHSE (ヒルンイクス) Says:

    [...] Gentlemen“; Brechts Rolle in den neuen Abenteuer der Liga; den literarischen Zeitgeist; die verschollene The Black Dossier Vinyl; seine Zusammenarbeit mit dem Zeichner Kevin O’Neil; das Weihnachtsgeschenk seiner Tochter; [...]

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