Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Death: The Deluxe Edition by Neil Gaiman

Death may be my all time favorite character not just from Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, but from any graphic novel or comic book series. When you think of Death personified in literature, you don't often think of Gaiman's Death...it's often the dreary, menacing, clothed in a black hood, come to steal your life away Death. But Gaiman gave us a whole new Death. He made Death a beautiful female with a spirit that will put a smile on my face any time I read a story of hers. It may be a very melancholy type smile, or tear ridden smile at times, but nonetheless, I smile when I see Death through Neil Gaiman's stories in the Sandman.

She's one of the Endless, a family in his Sandman series who are somewhat of a deity or just beings out there helping humanity being humans. And Death is certainly part of that process. She was there when things started and she'll be there when everything ends. But the Death that Gaiman created doesn't take life selfishly. Instead, she assists people into the next plane, whatever that is, as a friend and a guide.

What I love so much about Death is that she has truly gained life outside of the Sandman series. Thousands have come to love her and so many artists have interpreted her as they saw her. Fans of Gaiman's Sandman series have dressed as her for all kinds of events and welcome her into their lives. And this book is very much a celebration of that and it's so beautifully produced!!

It opens with a gorgeous introduction by Tori Amos written in the 90's. As you all know, I'm a huge Tori Amos fan, and I love the friendship that her and Neil have and the references to each other they make in each others' work. The book then goes on to collect many of the most memorable stories throughout the Sandman series that featured Death and also contains the two standalone Death stories, The High Cost of Living and The Time of Your Life. It also contains a few pieces I had never seen before like a short piece that Dave McKean did featuring Death educating us all on STDs, HIV and AIDS, and safe sex. And it ends with a gorgeous collection of art that various artists have done over the years of Death herself.

And you can get all of this for $30! I jumped on this right away because I really wanted The Absolute Death, but couldn't afford it at $100...this one sounds really similar but at a much more affordable price and I assure you, it's a beautiful book and something that I will indeed cherish for a long time.


Jenny said...

I am totally going to ask for this for Christmas! For some reason I keep forgetting it exists, even though I know both that it exists and that I own neither of the Death books. Both of which I love! The Foxglove one maaaaaaybe an eensy smidge more. Maybe? I'd have to reread them and see. Both are really good.

DesLily said...

the cover is beautiful.. my brain just doesn't wrap around Gaiman but I'm glad yours does because you get so my happiness from his books :o)

Gavin said...

Must get my hands on this! Thanks, Chris, for a great review.

Memory said...

I love Death so very, very much! She has the best attitude towards life. I almost always dress as her for Hallowe'en, too. :)

Chris said...

Jenny, You totally need to ask for this for Christmas!! Its such an awesome collection!

Mama, Isn't it gorgeous? There's tons of gorgeous art in there...I'm glad my brain wraps around his stuff too :p

Gavin, Of course!! And I agree, you must indeed get your hands on this :)

Memory, You're so right! She really does have the best attitude towards life. And I absolutely love that you dress as her for most Halloweens :)

Jeane said...

Somehow I feel like I didn't get to know her character very well from the sandman series; I have been wanting to read the other books that are just about her but of course haven't gotten around to it yet. She did always seem to be the one w/the most empathy for everyone else. I'd love to see the various artist's renditions of her, too.

Carl V. said...

Death is one of my favorite characters as well. The combination of Neil's words and the artist's who originally brought her to life visually make her such a fun and interesting and complex character. Death has become such an iconic character thanks to Gaiman's success and I love that.