At Death’s Door review – Syracuse Post Standard

From the August 3rd Syracuse Post Standard, Jeff Kapalka’s very positive review of the Jill Thompson manga:

What do you think of when you think of a picture of The Grim Reaper?
Usually a guy, right? Skeletal. Wears long, black robes. Carries a scythe.

Wrong.

Longtime readers of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed “Sandman” series know that death is a teenage girl: a perky Goth, whose job is to guide souls to their final destination. And she throws one heck of a party.

That’s just one of the things you’ll discover in Jill Thompson’s Death: At Death’s Door, a deliciously deviant rendition of one of Gaiman’s most famous story arcs, “Season of Mists.” It’s done up in a sprightly Japanese manga style: big eyes, exaggerated reactions and all.

Now, “Season of Mists” is a moving and thoughtful story dealing with what happens when lost loves are remembered and when Lucifer abandons hell.

“At Death’s Door” takes that story and twists and filters it through the perceptions of Death and her sisters, Delirium (nee Delight) and Despair.

Presented in the freewheeling manga format, the story takes on a surreal tone as the damned, evicted from hell, wind up at Death’s apartment, and wackiness ensues.

Death decides to keep the escaped inhabitants of Hades busy by throwing a party. This, she hopes, will keep them occupied until her brother, Morpheus, the Sandman, can straighten out this whole abandonment-of-hell thing.

Delirium is desperate to help and offers some homemade ice cream as refreshments. Unfortunately, Delirium dances to a different drummer and so creates flavors such as Tiger, Green Mouse and Telephone. Ick.

Thompson retains some decorum when handling Gaiman’s more serious scenes. Otherwise, her new graphic novel is a rollicking send-up of the Sandman saga. Hugely entertaining and recommended. (And if it sparks the new reader into seeking the original source, so much the better.)

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In other news, the September selection for the Washington Post Book Club is Good Omens. It’s being presented by Michael Dirda, who wrote that very knowledgable piece on fantasy back when American Gods came out.

Also, the CBLDF received a major mention on Poynter.org, a prime resource for journalists. Hopefully by reaching that audience, there will be more awareness of the Castillo case.