Endless Nights reviews

Okay, let’s try this again without me missing the end link tag and IE crashing utterly for two hours (and nope, Coranto and Netscape don’t get along).

Jeff Kapalka reported the following Endless Nights review in the September 28th Syracuse Post Standard

“The Sandman: Endless Nights” **** (out of 4), DC Comics; $24.95.

You can tell that you’ve made it as a writer when your name on the cover is bigger than the title.

Neil Gaiman is one of those writers, as evidenced by the cover of his latest book, The Sandman: Endless Nights.

He’s earned it.

Not only is he a New York Times best-selling author (for his novels American Gods and Coraline) and a highly regarded writer of children’s books, but he’s won the Hugo, the Nebula, the World Fantasy Award and the Bram Stoker award. Writer/creator of the BBC’s fantasy mini-series Neverwhere, when budget constraints and pedestrian direction hobbled his original vision, Gaiman turned around and transformed his scripts into a bestselling novel.

But comic book fans will know him best as the biographer of Dream, the member of the Endless known as the Sandman. Literate, whimsical, horrifying and thoughtful, the Sandman’s life fills 10 collections that belong on any fantasy fan’s bookshelf.

And now, seven years after Gaiman’s last tale of Dream, we get a brand new collection of tales of the Endless. Yes, the Sandman is here, but we also get to see what his siblings, Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium, Destruction and Destiny have been up to over the ages.

Gaiman is teamed up with a role call of international talents, ranging from P. Craig Russell and Bill Sienkiewicz to Milo Manara and Miguelanxo Prado, each of whom contribute their own vision to the mythos. (The most disturbing: Barron Storey’s “15 Portraits of Despair.”)

Definitely not for kids, but it’s a must-have for the serious student of the art.

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Terry Morrow reported the following Endless Nights review in the September 26th Knoxville News-Sentinel:

Neil Gaiman thinks like a nightmare.

He captures the innocence of a folktale and mixes it with a macabre sense of wonderment. As with old European fairytales, the root of his stories is shocking as they betray their exterior.

“The Sandman: Endless Nights” (Vertigo Comics, $24.99) is a 152- page hardcover of short stories revisiting characters from Gaiman’s Sandman comic in vignettes.

There is Sandman, the living embodiment of dreams, and his messed up family — all personifications, too. There’s Death, Desire, Dream, Despair and Destiny, among others. They are concepts, for the most part, living in a physical form.

In the 1990s, Gaiman built his reputation by writing some of the most thought-provoking comic tales in decades. His comics are an intelligent art form, serving as social commentary while keeping a playful sense of irony.

“Endless Nights” is Gaiman at his sharpest. Each entry stands on its own merit.

The opener, “Death in Venice,” parallels two stories and is my favorite of the series. One is set in modern times, and the other is centuries ago. Their merging proves to be wonderfully terrifying in that Gaiman sort of way.

“Dream, Heart of a Star” is about a party attended by “god”-like beings with the same weaknesses of the heart as mere mortals.

Making “Endless Nights” complete is the jaw-dropping art. While “Endless Nights” is one of those rare comic examples where pictures are not needed — the words speak for themselves — the art magnifies the reading experience.

Scotsman Frank Quitely stretches his amazing abilities for Destiny’s story. The simple white background frames the images perfectly. Bill Sienkiewicz’s Delirium tale comes closest to representing in images what Gaiman does with the written word.

“Endless Night” can be bloody, perplexing and humane, sometimes all in the same story, sometimes all in the same frame. It’s a superb example of the kind of artistic standards that only comics can produce.

RATING: ***** (out of five)