“It is said that once every century, Death herself takes on mortal flesh to better understand the lives she must ultimately take, and taste the bitter tang that is mortality. This she is tasked to do as the divider of the living and the dead”
Death: The High Cost Of Living is a spellbinding three issue mini-series starring Death, sister of Morpheus (aka Dream) and one of the seven Endless. Written by super scribe Neil Gaiman in 1993, it follows a day in the life of DC Comics’ variant of the Grim Reaper, who once every century takes the form of a human girl to give her role as conductor of souls perspective and keep her in touch with humanity.
The Vertigo variance of Death was originally created by Neil Gaiman and Michael Dringenberg in 1989, making her first appearance in Sandman #8. Death’s appointment entails meeting with the recently deceased and guiding them on their way into an afterlife, but she is also known to visit all new born, though only she ever retains memory of that initial encounter with a new life. DC Comic’s Death character is a universe away from the infamous image of the Grim Reaper, appearing as a young goth girl dressed in black, wearing a silver ankh and bearing a Horus style marking beneath her right eye.
This sensational series revolves around the character of Didi, who claims she is the personification of Death itself, here on her one centennial cycle to mingle with humanity and gain insight into their lives and emotions. Whilst exploring the loves and losses of mortals, she happens upon a suicidal young man named Sexton, who is struggling to find his raison d’etre, that is until the fickle hand of fate guides him to Didi, who befriends the forlorn youth and, in due course, leads him on a odyssey of self realisation and discovery until he finally gains a sense of self worth and an insight into his own mortality, and through these realisations, a love for life itself.
Not your typical superhero style comic, which should come as no surprise considering its author, the high cost of living is an astounding work of comic book fiction with real heart and emotion, and transports you on a beguiling journey into the human psyche, and presents you with a perky, fresh and fun version of Death, no Pale Riders here… just a pale goth, who celebrates life.
This is one of my absolute favourite comic book series of all time and could not come more highly recommended, whether you read comic books or not this is an eloquent, absorbing and stunningly realised story of life, love and loss and is also a great way to introduce yourself to one of this generations greatest writers … the inimitable Neil Gaiman.
Borag Thungg fellow Squaxx Dek Thargo, and welcome back to another instalment of “Great British Comic Book Characters,” Precinct1313‘s episodic look at the UK’s biggest selling and highly influential weekly anthology comic; 2000AD.
Over the previous five instalments of this ongoing series, I have gradually introduced you to the characters and creators of the “Galaxy’s Greatest Comic,” what first motivated me to begin a series on 2000AD was initially the fact that, apart from Judge Dredd, the majority of classic characters from this mighty tome are rather unknown to the world outside of the British isles. Fantastic creations such as Nemesis the Warlock, Rogue Trooper, Zenith and Strontium Dog have rich backstories, superstar creators and close to 40 years of history, yet still remain in relative obscurity. Having grown up alongside these characters, I decided to utilise my blog to promote, as best as I could, these groundbreaking comic characters and hopefully draw more appreciation and proclivity towards characters I believe are deserving of a far larger audience than they currently receive.
Released in the UK on December 7, “Future Shock! The Story Of 2000AD” is an 106 minute documentary that charts the rise of Britain’s favourite comic-book, offering up a dynamic and comprehensive overview of the comic that includes a look at the various highs and lows of the comics history, and extensive coverage of the creative process behind the scenes of the long running megazine. Documenting how a band of Britain’s most talented and eclectic comic talent came together to create the visionary publication, and guest starring a swathe of said talent including; Neil Gaiman, Pat Mills, John Wagner, Grant Morrison and Dave Gibbons, plus recent “Dredd” actor Karl Urban is also on hand to profess his adoration for 2000AD‘s world famous grim protector of the law.
Future Shock! is directed by Paul Goodwin, who has, as previously mentioned, assembled an iconic group of talent for interviews and nostalgic musings on their past glories. Especially entertaining, as always, is the fantastic Pat Mills, who rages and rants humorously on the ups and downs of the comic’s (at times) tempestuous past, Mills alone is worth the asking price, one of the greatest talents in the UK industry, he never pulls his punches and always tells things as they are, his part in this documentary is legendary!.
The documentary itself mostly consists of the aforementioned interviews alongside various illustrations, also included though are some impressive animations courtesy of Zebra Post, with the opening sequence being a particular stand-out piece. The docu mainly covers the 70’s and 80’s of 2000AD‘s long history, but does touch on the 90’s, especially on sister publication Judge Dredd: The Megazine.
At over 100 minutes long, this fantastic look at 2000AD is a must have for fans of the comic, but also offers up an intriguing study of British comics in a time when the UK was going through a considerable transition in politics, music and outlook, 2000AD embraced and used these changes to produce an intelligent and sometimes hilariously subversive comic that almost predominantly helped evolve not just the comic book scene in Britain, but ultimately the across the planet itself.
Precinct1313 Rating: Zarjaz!!
Even The Endless must ultimately succumb to a final denouement it seems, as Neil Gaiman and JH Williams III’s epic comic series nears its conclusive issue. The Neil Gaiman created King Of Stories and Shaper Of Dreams has been with us now for 26 years, with his first appearance in 1989’s The Sandman (Vol-2) #1.
Known by many names, Morpheus and Dream being the most oft used, he is the personification of dreams and stories, one of the seven Endless, beings more powerful and ancient than the Gods themselves. Morpheus resides in a castle within his realm known as The Dreaming, populating his realm with many dreams and nightmares that have a certain conscience and ability to converse. Gaiman has said that he “always assumed Morpheus had once been alone, so he created the beings for want of company.”
Sandman: Overture heralded Gaiman’s return to both comics and his created character, joining alongside artistic luminary JH Williams III (Batwoman: Elegy, Promethea) whose amazing visual style lights up every single page, with each comic panel an individual masterpiece in its own right. The series first issue was released December 2013 in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the character, with each subsequent issue sporadically released since then, with the final issue, #6 due on September 30. Serving as a prequel to the original classic series, it weaves the tale of a cosmic event that weakens Dream enough that a human mystic is able to capture him.
Released alongside the mini-series were also Overture: Special Editions that included gorgeous gatefold covers, metallic inks, black and white issues and glimpses into the creative process behind the creation of the comics themselves, including original panels sans text, interviews and script notes. As previously mentioned, the end of Overture will segue back to the start of Sandman’s original adventures in Sandman Vol.1: Preludes and Nocturnes, making this series the first stop for any new reader wishing to acquaint themselves with The King Of All Night’s Dreaming.
Sandman: Overture #6 will be available to purchase on 30 September. Written by: Neil Gaiman. Cover art by: JH Williams III & Dave McKean. Interior art by: JH Williams III.
New comics Wednesday rolls around once again my comic collecting cohorts, and with it comes this stunning Sandman cover by master illustrator JH Williams III. Penned as ever by best selling author Neil Gaiman of Coraline and American Gods fame. This amazing special edition of the Overture series contains the entire fifth issue in pencils alone, giving the reader a chance to see JH Williams’ amazing art before the inking and colouring process is added. Translucent lettering, an interview with Vertigo stalwart Dave McKean, and a short Q&A with Neil Gaiman round out this exclusive variant comic book.
The Sandman Overture Special Edition is available at your local comic book emporium right now. Written by: Neil Gaiman. Cover and interior art by: JH Williams III.
Well, after close to twenty years of failed attempts at bringing the Neil Gaiman created character – Sandman to the screen, it looks like he will finally grace our cinemas with his dream-like presence. Warner Bros have announced that actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been brought on as a producer on the planned movie of the endless. He will be joining writers Neil Gaiman and David Goyer on the proposed project.
Sandman was created by Neil Gaiman, with the debut issue releasing November 1988, the series initial run was 75 issues long, with Gaiman writing each and every comic. Various artists portrayed the Endless throughout its run, though Dave McKean stayed with the title to draw every one of its 75 covers. The Sandman – also known as Dream and Morpheus is one of the seven ‘Endless’, which also include his extended family of – Death (our personal favourite of the Endless), Destiny, Desire, Despair, Delirium and Destruction. No date has been set, but just the fact that one of the greatest comic series of all time is getting a film release is good enough for us.
Precinct1313 Anticipation Rating: Endless!