Unprecedented collection, unbeatable price
For me, the book succeeds massively and on many levels. first off, the concept is ambitious and uncalled for: "let's invite 60 of our favorite artists to create giant-size comics, and then put them all together and see what happens." probably without quite knowing why they were doing this project -- except that it sounded like fun -- buenaventura press gave it a shot. good for them! second, the look and feel of the physical object is borderline absurd. another reviewer aptly notes that the book is so big it hurts your arms to hold and so tall it won't fit on any sane bookshelf. how refreshingly strange! (like the comics inside??) part of the book's ingenious beauty, i think, is its physical impoliteness. in other words: the funny frustrations of the package weirdly "rhyme" with the work inside. the whole is truly greater than the sum of the parts. third, chris ware has drawn an actual-size baby in the center of his two-page spread. she's a full-size baby, just lying there and staring up at you from a cradle of comic panels. don't miss it. the book is full of unexpected stuff like this -- touches that the editors never could have anticipated when they devised the format. not every artist does something extremely unique-feeling with the big page, but not every artist has to. it's a thrill to see all the individual takes on the format, some more conspicuous than others. fourth, the production values are first-rate. the paper is super-premium, all the binding was done by hand, and the title is stamped on the cover and on the spine in a delightful, subtle rainbow foil that feels just right. (you have to see the rainbow stamping in person to really see it.... online pix don't communicate it.) $125 seems like a high price, i guess, until you consider that this is effectively a limited-edition art object with a print run of 3,000 or 3,500. (i've read both numbers online.) i'm not saying it's not a lot of money; what i'm saying is that it's not so much money that anyone who wants one can't save up and buy a copy if they really really want it. what's more, amazon's discount is pretty incredible. to be able to get a book like this for $80 postpaid -- the cost of a mid-range pair of sneakers -- is just super.