American Gods

Dark Horse

Release Date: 3/15/17

Words: Neil Gaiman

Pictures: P. Craig Russell

The Sitch:

If you don’t already know Neil Gaiman, his novel American Gods, or the latest Starz adaptation of said novel…. dude! What the hell!? Basically, Gaiman is a master storyteller. He cannot disappoint. He’s my storyteller god. He just is. If you’re not familiar, American Gods is a kind of horror/supernatural, crime, action/adventure story. Shadow Moon is newly released from jail to find his life is gone. His wife is dead, leaving him defeated, broke and aimless. In his uncertainty he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday who offers Shadow a job as a his personal bodyguard. Here begins Shadow’s journey into the supernatural world where ghosts come back and the war between the old gods and the new gods come to a head.

The Confession:

I’m too biased in regards to this story to be fair, I suppose. But I’ll tell you anyway: I love this story! I have always had a soft spot for the kind of tales your elders would tell you over a fire or on a dark and stormy night. I also love folklore, myths and fairy tales. American Gods incorporates it all. If you’ve read and loved The Sandman, this is a no-brainer. If you’ve read the novel this is just more icing on the cake. If you can’t get enough, the Starz adaptation is really good, too. Casting is spot on and Bryan Fuller knows how to translate this story with his visuals. The art in this book reminds me of The Sandman days. It feels both old and timely. It changes depending on the story tidbit being told. Also, the David Mack covers for the variants are worth it alone. It pretty much speaks for itself.

Most of the inside art will contain spoilers so I’ll leave you with two David Mack covers that I am in so much love with.

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Sandman Overture #1 (of 6, bi-monthly)

Vertigo

Release Date:  10/30/13

Words:  Neil Gaiman

Pictures:  J. H. Williams III

The Sitch:

If you ever wondered how the Lord of Dreams could be taken prisoner in the beginning of the original Sandman series, your answer is finally here.

The Confession:

This isn’t going to be a fair blog.

If you want the long story short up front – it’s Neil Gaiman doing The Sandman again!  Just buy it already!  Yes, even at the hefty price of $4.99 there is no buyer’s remorse if you truly appreciate a good story telling.

Sandman Overture is the answer to the question posed in the first issue of The Sandman 25 years ago: how could one of the most powerful beings in the universe come to be so easily taken captive by a bunch of sad, wanna-be-Aleister-Crowley-type wizards?  Neil Gaiman isn’t relaunching his classic series, he revisits it to tell a story he has kept hidden in his library of treasures, the prelude to a dream.  Only Gaiman can tell a story like this, a story about stories.  He can weave a killer fairy tale with epicness and ease, Overture being just another amazing piece of the mythology that is The Dreaming.

The art of Williams is gorgeous.  He understands the feel of Gaiman’s flow in storytelling on a visceral level.  In the opening pages of this overture Gaiman wanted Dream depicted as a flower in the dream of a carnivorous plant and what Williams comes up with is simply beautiful.  The union of Gaiman’s words and Williams’ work is seamless.  Williams knows just how to guide the reader along the story within the panel layouts perfectly.  The double page spreads are so awesome I’m considering framing pages for my nerd lair.  One of my favorite pages to look at is this:

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I could babble endlessly on like the fan-girl I am but I’ll be kind.  I will confess The Sandman series is what brought me back to comics.  It is the best comic I’ve ever read, my one truest of true loves.  The Dreaming is my happy place in all its horror and beauty.  I would have named my first born Nuala if the grandmothers could have pronounced it correctly. Some girls read to find they want to be Lizzie Bennet, I read to find I want to be Death.  If you love a good Neil Gaiman story accompanied by stunningly beautiful art, you can’t pass this one up.  If you are a dreamer, do yourself a favor and fill your waking world with these stories and if you aren’t…maybe this is the way to start.