Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Sandman: The Dream Hunters (2009)

Author: Neil Gaiman | Illustrator: P. Craig Russell | Page Count: 144

In the flickering light ... the monk experienced a strange illusion – it occurred to him that a scrap of his shadow was missing, gone as if it had been torn away.

For the 20th anniversary of Sandman, Gaiman permitted an adaptation of his 1999 novella of the same name into comic book form.  I didn't buy it at the time because it seemed unnecessary; the original was perfect so why bother making it into something it wasn't meant to be?  It smelt like an easy cash manoeuvre.  I relented (after 3 years!) and bought it recently because it was on sale.  It turns out it’s equally as good--and in places even better--than the novella and actually feels like it could be a part of the original comic book series.  It could easily be included in one of the stand-alone collections and it wouldn't feel out of place.

The obvious difference is the art.  Yoshitaka Amano, who illustrated the original novella, has a unique painting style.  Rather than try and compete with that, Russell presents his work in a palette of autumnal colours that he styled on ancient woodblock paintings.  His lines are perfect, and his colouring non-intrusive.  He restructured small parts of the dialogue to fit the serialised format, and imbued the remainder with something it didn’t have before; in short he successfully made it into a comic full of grace and passion.  His version of Morpheus is so damn good.  He’s a history of doing adaptations; this one is by far the most successful of the ones I’ve read.  Even if you own the novella, this is still a worthy purchase.

5 fox tails and fairy tales out of 5

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