Tag Archives: neil gaiman

Review: Harlequin Valentine

Neil Gaiman tends to make the already fantastic into something even More. In Harlequin Valentine, he does it again, with a simple twist on a classic story. Spoilers ahead.

Harlequin Valentine has roots in the Italian Commedia dell’ arte tradition; a tradition still played upon and taught in theatre classes today. The Harlequin is a character from the Commedia with iterations backwards and forwards in literature: a version of the trickster archetype that is largely motivated by his unrequited love.

In Gaiman and Bolton’s version, however, the object of his affection takes over the role when she bests him by eating his heart, left pinned to her front door on a chilly Valentine’s day. Missy is nonplussed when she finds the heart on the door, proceeding to unpin it, store it in a plastic bag, and clean up the blood. Harlequin describes her actions with all the creepy over-observing of a stalker, obsessed with Missy as an object rather than an individual.

As Missy goes about her day, trying to solve the mystery of the heart, Harlequin follows, assigning the other men in her life to other Commedia stereotypes disdainfully. Gaiman’s tale and Bolton’s art work together to keep the story tight, Harlequin’s perspective hyper-focused on Missy as the day unfolds. Both Gaiman and Bolton bring an eerie sensibility to an otherwise light-hearted trope, without applying too heavy of a hand. The result is spell-binding.

My recommendation is this one is a buy! Now’s your chance to get a reissue of a now 16 year old book in a shiny new shell. If you already own it, however, no need to add another copy to the collection. All content included is from the original 2001 publication, including Gaiman’s clever essays on both Commedia, and Bolton’s artistic methods.

Story: Neil Gaiman Art: John Bolton
Story: 8.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy, unless you’ve already got a copy!

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

New York Comic Con 2017: The Neil Gaiman Library Expands at Dark Horse

Dark Horse has revealed the next installment in the Gaiman Library with A Study in Emerald! From multiple award- winning writer Neil Gaiman comes this graphic novel adaptation featuring art by Eisner award winning artist Rafael Albuquerque!

A Study in Emerald is a supernatural mystery set in the world of Sherlock Holmes and H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. The heart-pounding tale features the brilliant detective and his faithful partner as they attempt to solve a horrific murder of cosmic proportions. The complex investigation takes the Baker Street investigators from the slums of Whitechapel all the way to the Queen’s Palace.

Rafael Scavone, co-founder of publisher Stout Club with Albuquerque and writer of Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Special #1, lends his compositional talent to Gaiman’s award-winning short story while Dave Stewart brings his gorgeous colorist skills to the faithful adaptation. The beautiful cover is also by Albuquerque.

A Study in Emerald will be available for purchase on June 20, 2018. The 80-page hardcover retails for $17.99.

Neil Gaiman’s Only the End of the World Again in January

Dark Horse will release a new deluxe hardcover edition of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed Lovecraftian tale, Only the End of the World Again. The graphic novel blends the worlds of H.P. Lovecraft and Roger Zelazny.

The book follows a claims adjuster who sets up shop in Innsmouth, Massachusetts only to discover that the world may be ending and that the instrument of destruction is a werewolf… which he also happens to be.

Based on a short story written by Gaiman, the new edition is adapted by P. Craig Russell, illustrated by Troy Nixey, and colored for the collection by Matthew Hollingsworth. Russell is no stranger to creating faithful adaptations of Gaiman’s work as he’s also adapting his American Gods.

This new hardcover edition features a brand new cover by Troy Nixey and Matthew Hollingsworth with bonus material including high resolution scans of the inks and layouts. This is the another offering from the expanding Neil Gaiman Library at Dark Horse, which also includes Forbidden Brides, Troll Bridge, and How to Talk to Girls at Parties (soon to be a motion picture).

Only the End of the World Again is available January 24, 2018.

TV Review: American Gods S1E1 The Bone Orchard

Neil Gaiman‘s long awaited adaptation of his novel American Gods has finally hit the small screen. As a fan of the book I can attest that the opening episode was very faithful to the book and I am excited to see the rest of the season. Without giving too much away, American Gods is a story about the globalized confrontation of new and older Gods, played out by virtue of American Immigration from a myriad of cultures. The main protagonist Shadow Moon gets sucked into the ensuing conflict, facing a number of surprises along the journey after being released from prison and finding himself in the employ of the Mysterious  Wednesday.

After the first episode, I really must make a note to commend the choice of casting. The actor and actresses chosen to depict their characters do so flawlessly,  carrying their authenticity and voice without a hitch. The taciturn Shadow Moon, is deep and complex, and very brooding, while Wednesday, shows off his knack for charm, and divine metaphor but without giving up too much about his plans and designs at the beginning.

As first impressions go you’ll find an interesting parallel between the current economic climate that we all face, and the what appears to be the current state of the divinities introduced in episode one. The Gods or otherworldly entities featured are Bilquis, Mad Sweeney, and Wednesday. (Odin for those who needed the hint) they come off as vagabonds, or vagrants at worst. Mere shadows of their former selves. As Bilquis admits to a man who solicits her “I’m not what I once was.” interestingly she is initially demure and shocked by his affections…a disposition in stark contrast to her confidence after “consuming” him.  Here we have deities seemingly sustained by very different types of worship. (Sex, fisticuffs, and eye-gouging)  But like our current marketplace the quest for hearts and minds (and worship) is a fickle one. There is that pesky reality of competitors.  Near the end, we are hinted at an emerging conflict between the old and new guard. When the mystical “Technical Boy”  kidnaps and queries Shadow about his mysterious new Liaison. Although this young upstarts denigrates and belittles the old Wednesday, and threatens to “delete” Shadow for his stubbornness, his bluster belies his fear, which is warranted given a very bloody intervention that saves Shadow. The likes of which was portrayed in a scene that has not rattled me since that Blood-flood elevator scene in The Shining.

To say American Gods is cinematically vivid as it is alluring and mysterious is an understatement. Shadow’s dream sequences anchor his mysterious ties this weird world he has found him in. The sequences are also very faithful to the descriptions in the book. Something that I always appreciate. It feels like a modern or futuristic homage to Alice in Wonderland. On a whole, American Gods is a story about survival. Survival and confrontation in an uncertain land told through a supernatural and mythic frame. Something we can all relate to on some level. If you find the tides of favor have shifted against you in any aspect of life, Bilquis’ words should resonate with you.  If you find yourself questioning the value of that liberal arts degree, in a bloated  employment marketplace then you understand the plight of the “old guard.”  If you’ve been scorned because your age and lack of so called “experience”  have eclipsed the genuine merit of your innovation and ambition then technical boy’s reaction will make perfect sense to you.

Fans of Americana served with a slice of mythopunk, definitely check the series out you won’t be disappointed, whether you read the book or didn’t. This series is a solid offering people will be discussing and debating for some time. The story is an intergenerational and intercultural morality play that is faithfully depicted. I cannot wait for episode two.  The characters are ironically so human but the same time, the story told provides a subtle emphasis on the power and consequence of human belief, worship and attention.

Overall: 9.5

Final Thoughts: The opening scene I believe was an addition to the series not included in the book. It anchors one of cultural mythological roots of one of the main deities and it was a very awesome scene, very Game of Thrones-esque. It also anchors the sub-theme of immigration and encounter among Gods and ideas.

Review: Neil Gaiman’s American Gods: Shadows #1

The comic book adaptation of Neil Gaiman‘s award-winning American Gods is everything you need to hold you over until the STARZ tv version premieres and then some. P. Craig Russell does an amazing job at adapting the story into a readable and enjoyable comic book, he trims the “fat” nicely without compromising the story or the material that we all fell in love with. For those who haven’t read the book yet, the comic book is a nice entry and primer to it and I hope you feel compelled to read the book as well and watch the show.

Scott Hampton gives us low-fi pulp status visuals that bring the story to life in a way that seems more (sur)real than fans of the book could have imagined and he doesn’t skimp on the parts that you thought you’d never see.

There’s always a danger in adaptations of popular material that you’ll screw up the source material, take to many liberties and tick off the fans but, that’s not a problem that this comic book has. In fact having it come out before the TV show might have put some pressure on STARZ to make sure they get it right. There’s a lot of detail in the comic book that holds true to the book but, doesn’t come off as vulgar or exploitive. There’s no shock value or gore just a well-adapted story, with simple yet creative visuals that paint a beautiful picture into the world that our hero Shadow is about to enter.

The first issue of this series focuses on Shadow, his back story, time in prison, motivation to that pivotal moment where he meets and interacts with the “man” who will change his life. As a nice “epilogue” to this issue, we get to meet Bilquis in action in LA which should excite fans of the Gaiman original and, engage newcomers to the story to what kind of story they should expect. This is a solid first issue for a well-loved novel and I’m happy to see it come to fruition. I’m sure the hardcover collected edition will be something that coffee tables will beg for, especially if they get a David Mack cover like Fight Club 2 had. I recommend buying the issue, especially if you can get one of the sweet Mack covers even if you’re tempted to wait for the collected edition because it’s a work of art.

Dark Horse has another hit on its hands with this one, not just because of the story’s original fans but, because it this strong first issue is any indication, they’re going to have whole bunch of new readers falling in love with the story for the first time as well as OG fans finding a new way to love the story in a new and exciting way.

Story: Neil Gaiman Adaptation: P. Craig Russell Art: Scott Hampton
Story: 9.1 Art: 8.9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review

Preview: American Gods: Shadows #1

Dark Horse Comics has released a preview of the highly anticipated first issue of American Gods: Shadows which goes on sale March 15, 2017, ahead of Starz’ premiere of an American Gods TV show adapted by Bryan Fuller. The adaptation of the Hugo and Nebula award–winning novel by Neil Gaiman will be adapted and co-written by P. Craig Russell—who previously adapted Gaiman’s bestselling novels Coraline and The Graveyard Book—and illustrated by acclaimed artist Scott Hampton.

Originally published in 2001 by William Morrow and Headline, American Gods will be adapted into twenty-seven single issues with three story arcs: Shadows, My Ainsel, and The Moment of the Storm.

The series features covers by some of the industry’s most acclaimed artists: Glenn Fabry and Adam Brown, and variant covers by David Mack. Acclaimed artist Dave McKean, who provided covers on Gaiman’s seminal Sandman for DC Comics, has also created a variant cover for the first issue.

Around the Tubes

decelerate-blueIt’s new comic book day tomorrow. What are folks looking forward to? Sound off in the comments below!

While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

CBR – Marvel Announces Future Avengers TV Anime, Manga For Japan – This looks pretty cool.

TorrentFreak – Online Piracy Can Boost Comic Book Sales, Research Finds – An interesting study.

The Beat – Comics Jobs: Lion Forge, Webtoon and Marvel are hiring – Here’s some jobs if you want to try to work in the industry.

The Outhousers – Neil Gaiman Appointed UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador – Awesome!

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

The Beat – Decelerate Blue

Talking Comics – Detective Comics #951

Review: Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of the Dread Desire

forbidden-bridesA celebrated send-up of gothic literature, beautifully adapted into a dark, brooding, and oddly comical graphic novel. Somewhere in the night, a raven caws, an author’s pen scratches, and thunder claps. The author wants to write nonfiction: stories about frail women in white nightgowns, mysterious bumps in the night, and the undead rising to collect old debts. But he keeps getting interrupted by the everyday annoyances of talking ravens, duels to the death, and his sinister butler.

I haven’t read a lot of Neil Gaiman, I’m not much of a prose reader, so when diving into Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of the Dread Desire I had no expectations as to what was ahead of me. And coming out of reading it, I immediately want to check out more of Gaiman’s work.

With art by Shane Oakley, the comic is full of morose humor and twists. While at first I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, about a quarter of the way through the comic and story felt like it was classic Gaiman humor with a wink that makes it go from a dark tale like you’d see with Poe to something more.

By the time I got to the end of it all the whole vision was clear and I came from just liking the comic to really loving the comic. There’s such a sly thing that’s done and you don’t truly get a sense of what’s going on until the end. That’s both good and bad as there were points I felt like I was missing something, but it’s one you need to read the whole comic to get the full experience, and it’s an entertaining one.

Oakley’s art is fantastic with a dark and creepy style that reminds me a lot of something you’d see with a Hellboy comic. The story is dark relying on inks and shadows which create a mood and vibe that fits the story that Gaiman has crafted so well.

I’m not much of a prose reader, but I’d love to see more comic adaptations in this style. It reminds me a lot of “Classics Illustrated” giving you a good sense of the original story and entertaining with great visuals. A much shorter version… more please!!!!

Story: Neil Gaiman Art: Shane Oakley
Story: Art: Overall: Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Dark Horse Will Publish American Gods Comics in the UK

Dark Horse Comics will be publishing the highly anticipated adaptation of American Gods as periodical comic books in England. The adaptation of the Hugo and Nebula Award–winning novel by Neil Gaiman will be adapted and co-written by P. Craig Russell—who previously adapted Gaiman’s bestselling novels Coraline and The Graveyard Book—and illustrated by acclaimed artist Scott Hampton. Dark Horse will adapt American Gods into twenty-seven single issues with three story arcs: Shadows, My Ainsel, and The Moment of the Storm. The first issue of American Gods: Shadows goes on sale March 15, 2017, ahead of Starz’ premiere of an American Gods TV show, adapted by Bryan Fuller.

The American Gods comic books will feature guest interior art by Walt Simonson, Mark Buckingham, Colleen Doran, P. Craig Russell, and more. The series features covers by some of the industry’s most acclaimed artists: Glenn Fabry and Adam Brown, and variant covers by David Mack. Acclaimed artist Dave McKean, who provided covers on Gaiman’s seminal Sandman for DC Comics, has also created a variant cover for the first issue.

Originally published in 2001 by William Morrow and Headline, American Gods is a Hugo and Nebula Award–winning novel. American Gods is the latest Gaiman adaptation from Dark Horse, preceded by graphic novel adaptations of How to Talk to Girls at Parties, Troll Bridge, Forbidden Brides, and many more.

american-gods

Dark Horse is Adapting American Gods into Comics and Graphic Novels

Dark Horse has announced the adaptation of American Gods into comic book form. Originally published in 2001 by William Morrow and Headline, American Gods is a Hugo and Nebula Award–winning novel by Neil Gaiman. This is the latest Gaiman adaptation from Dark Horse, preceded by graphic novel adaptations of How to Talk to Girls at Parties, Troll Bridge, Forbidden Brides, and many more. Starz will also premiere an American Gods TV show in spring 2017, adapted by Bryan Fuller.

Dark Horse tapped P. Craig Russell —who, having worked on Coraline and The Graveyard Book, is no stranger to adapting Neil Gaiman’s work— to adapt and co-write the comic series, while Scott Hampton lends his illustrative skills to the complex world Gaiman created. Glenn Fabry and Adam Brown create the hauntingly beautiful cover art. David Mack and Dave McKean provide variant covers for the first issue. The American Gods comic series will feature guest interior art by Walt Simonson, Mark Buckingham, Colleen Doran, P. Craig Russell, and more.

American Gods: Shadows #1 finds Shadow Moon released from jail only to discover his wife has died. Broken and uncertain about his future, Shadow Moon meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, who employs him to serve as his bodyguard. This fateful decision thrusts Shadow into a deadly supernatural world where ghosts of the past come back from the dead, and a brewing war between old and new gods hits a boiling point.

Dark Horse will adapt American Gods into twenty-seven single issues with three story arcs: Shadows, My Ainsel, and The Moment of the Storm, to be collected into three hardcover graphic novels. The first issue of American Gods: Shadows goes on sale March 15, 2017.

american-gods

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