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

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Sandman Presents: Taller Tales (2003)

Author: Bill Willingham  |  Illustrators: Mark Buckingham / Peter Gross / Paul Pope / Michael Kaluta / Phil Jimenez / Adam Hughes / Linda Medley / Marc Laming / Zander Cannon / Albert Monteys / Daniel Torres / Shawn McManus / Duncan Fegredo / Kevin Nowlan / Jason Little / Niko Henrichon  |  Page Count: 224

A bestial song of Darwinian law in six-part harmony.  A celebration of the never-ending, inescapable gospel of tooth and claw.

Taller Tales gathers into one book a small collection of the many post-Sandman stories.  There's some one-shots, a complete mini-series, and a single issue of the now defunct monthly 'The Dreaming'.  Each of the individual publications may still lurk in specialist comic shops, but why spend more than the cover price when you can have them in an advert-free TPB?  In the order presented:

01. Merv Pumpkinhead, Agent of D.R.E.A.M. (2000)
Merv recounts an unlikely story of derring-do in which he’s the one daring and doing.  I like Merv, but a James Bond parody isn't something that stays in my memory long.  Most of the actual Bond movies are like parodies of themselves, so besides the hero having a pumpkin for a head, there really isn't much difference.

02. The Dreaming, issue 55: The Further Adventures of Danny Nod (2000)
At Lucien's behest an enthusiastic young lad goes in search of books that are either overdue or have simply gone missing from the Great Library's stock.  The youth's dedication to his job is his shield as he enters the Book-Lands.
About half a dozen different artists lillustrate the short, fanciful journey.  The result could've been messy, but it works in the story’s favour for reasons that I can’t reveal.  It doesn't plumb any great depths emotionally or creatively, but it’s hugely enjoyable, nonetheless.

03. The Thessaliad (2002)
A four-issue miniseries featuring Thessaly, the last of the Thessalian witches, first seen in Sandman Vol V: A Game of You (1993).  On the surface she’s a meek, bespectacled and bookish college student with pink bunny slippers and a teddy bear backpack filled with English Lit work, but get closer and you’ll see she’s beautiful and powerful.  Get on her bad side and beautiful will sidestep so that terrible can take centre stage.  She'll fry your ass.

04. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Dreams... (2001)
Each answer is attributed just a few pages to make its point.  It’s mostly light-hearted stuff, but despite each short being written by the same person (Bill Willingham) there are a number of unique voices in play.
It makes a kind of sense that constructing a dream would be like constructing a movie, and that it should experience the same kind of production problems.

4 challenge stops on the Allegorical Subway out of 5

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