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

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Neil Gaiman's Midnight Days (1999)

Author: Neil Gaiman | Illustrators: Stephen R. Bissette / John Totleben / Dave McKean / Teddy Kristiansen / Sergio Aragones / Mike Mignola / Richard Piers Rayner / Mike Hoffman / Kim DeMulder | Page Count: 176

'In her dreams her fingers had become tiny snakes.
When she awoke she could not feel her hands; but she could hear her fingers, slithering over the sheets and away from her in the darkness.'

Midnight Days collects together some of Gaiman’s earliest works for DC.  It’s not of his usual high standard, and it’s certainly not the place to start if you’ve not read any of his works before.
He admits in the introduction that he was still finding his feet.
It’s not all bad news.  There are parts of it worthy of praise.  A short piece featuring the wonderful John Constantine is creepy and unnerving, and without a doubt the highlight of the whole endeavour.  Plus, it has art by Dave McKean.

The collection contains six stories in all, one of which came from an unused Swamp Thing script; it was illustrated specifically for the book.  It’s interesting.
Each story has its own full page introduction detailing the creation, or the inspiration behind it.  I enjoyed those, sometimes more than the story itself.

Perhaps the biggest draw, from a completist point of view, is the lengthy noirish Sandman Midnight Theatre, which has the first and only meeting between The Golden Age Sandman (Wesley Dodds) and Gaiman’s Sandman of the Endless.

After being hard to find for many years, it has recently been reprinted as a ‘Deluxe Edition’ (August 2012) with an embossed hardcover, which means they can charge more for the same product.  It’s much too expensive for the small amount of content given; even the most ardent fan will feel a little empty in the pocket.
If it gets a softcover edition, or if you see it on sale, it could be worth picking up.

The book collects together Swamp Thing Annual 5, Sandman Midnight Theatre, Hellblazer issue 27, and Welcome Back to the House of Mystery issue 1.

3 leaves on the hotel carpet out of 5

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