Endless Nights review – Fantasy & Science Fiction

Charles de Lint reported the following review of Endless Nights in the February 2004 Fantasy and Science Fiction:
Has it really been seven years since Gaiman finished off his lengthy Sandman saga? Though I suppose, once you start counting up the projects in between, which include fascinating books such as Neverwhere, American Gods, and Coraline, you start to wonder where he found the time to write the seven stories collected here.

Because they aren’t light, throwaway stories.

A quick recap for the uninitiated: years ago, Gaiman scripted an ongoing series for DC Comics about seven siblings he called the Endless (all the issues of which have been collected in trade paperback format and are currently in print). They’re not gods, but they’re most certainly not human either, though they do occasionally fall prey to human foibles. What they are is the physical representation of the names by which they’re known: Dream, Death, Desire, Delirium, Despair, Destruction, and Destiny.

For this return to their world, Gaiman has written a story for each of the siblings, each illustrated by a different artist. The talent Gaiman has gathered to help him tell these stories is staggering: you need only flip through the pages to be seduced by their artistic vision. Some tell a story in the traditional panel-following-panel method, others explore different approaches to illustrated narrative. Their only similarity is that they are giants in terms of their talent.

But unlike some comic books where the art overshadows the story (much like contemporary film where too often the FX does the same), Gaiman reminds us once again of just how accomplished he is in this field. Each of the Endless get their fair share of time on stage even if often the story ebbs and flows around their presence but longtime fans will probably appreciate The Heart of a Star the most. This is where Gaiman has the audacity to strip away all the mysteries of his long-running series and give us the truth behind its mythology. Though curiously, in doing so, he has only increased the power of those same mysteries.

Anyone who has dismissed comic books over the past couple of decades would do well to have a look at this new collection to see just how fascinating a medium it has become. For the rest of us, sit back and enjoy this visit to the dark though sometimes whimsical twisting tales brought to us by Gaiman and his collaborators.