Creatures of the Night Hardcover – Nov 26 2004
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The brevity and recycled nature of current fantasy supernova Gaiman's new book at first suggests he's milking the old cow pretty hard. Its two stories are adaptations of prose-only versions in Smoke and Mirrors (1998), in which they weren't the most memorable entries. And only 48 pages? Fortunately, the artwork quashes all kvetching. Zulli mixes the precision of pen-and-ink and the lushness of full-spectrum watercolor to produce one glowingly lovely panel after another. The full- and two-page single images are big beauties suitable, as they say, for framing. Note, in particular, the two-page transition between the prologue (an interior scene) to the narrative proper (an exterior) in "The Daughter of Owls." It's ravishing, though not as intensely colored as many other panels, especially in "The Price," which gives the lie to those who sneer at the idea of a guard cat. Oh, there is one odd scene in "Daughter" in which the story vaults alarmingly from seventeenth-century England to . . . Solomonic Jerusalem, isn't it? Even that looks marvelous. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
www needcoffee.com 1 Feb 2005: " Just about every page looks good enough to frame."; www thealienonline.net 19 January 2005: " ..beautiful volume of short stories from Gaiman, gorgeously illustrated by Zulli."; www thefourthrail.com January 2005: "...Gaiman and Zulli craft such beautiful and enduring stories that its hard to resist.9/10."See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If you just read Gaiman but aren't a collector, as I've said, these are in Smoke and Mirrors. On the other hand, if you love the beautiful art of Michael Zulli (whom I've loved since the days of Puma Blues) and want to see him adapt two of Gaiman's stories, you won't be disappointed.
To see more adaptations of Gaiman's stories, check out Murder Mysteries and Harlequin Valentine.
human dream and natural wonder, Neil Gaiman is among
the very finest of writers around today. Touching
the bonds between the mundane and the marvelous, with
a flair for language and character which can touch
gently and brusquely arouse, often at the same time,
Gaiman's scope unflinchingly draws our particpation
in some of the most illustrious tales ever told.
Those who've experienced his gripping work in novels
such as AMERICAN GODS, haunting teleplays such as
BABYLON 5's "Day Of The Dead", or Sequential landmarks
such as THE SANDMAN and the playfully-beckoning 1602,
know full well what a Grandmaster of Literature Neil
Yet, an area which Gaiman is drawing renewed attention
is the area of the illustrated narrative. Fresh ground
was broken when Gaiman and the superb illustrator Charles
Vess redefined Faerie lore with the award-winning STARDUST.
Now, with the visual depth and engraver's genius of
illustrator Michael Zulli, Gaiman strikes deep with Dark
Horse Comics' CREATURES OF THE NIGHT.
The handsome hardcover offers a pair of tantalizing
vignettes which unveil elusive tableaus of what we cannot
see, or often refuse to face. With word balloons absent
from all but two strategially-placed pages, the result
is a daring read for the attentive spirit, and curious soul.
In "The Price", a black cat's steadfast ordeal is the
window into a deeper mystery as old as Time itself. "The
Daughter Of Owls" peers vividly into essential places
where the wayward and lustful dare not go. Each tale
is delivered with a seamless intimacy which belies
the looming, often terrifying issues at stake.
An artist whose work spans across entire idioms, Neil
Gaiman is a cunning storyteller with much to tell. Those
who think Gaiman's gifts are fit only for any one title,
or should be limited to any one field, do the author -and
themselves- a grave injustice.
Enter evening, reading slowly, mindful of all paths......
If you're an avid reader of his online journal, you may recognize the black cat in the first story- which has a shocker near the end. I had a, "Whoaaa... No way, man" moment. And the second reads a lot like an old Grimm fairy tale- the kind that doesn't necessarily end "happily ever after" for everyone. And Zulli's artwork is wonderful in both stories.
I collect all of Gaiman's work, so this was a no brainer purchase for me. If you're new to his work, maybe try Murder Mysteries or Stardust or definitely the Sandman series first. You'll get hooked, I promise. I gave this 4 out of 5 stars strictly because it was so short. I wouldn't have minded waiting for a hardcover with at least five stories of the same length as these two. Because then the book would have lasted longer than half an hour!
The art is OK. You can tell it's done with a practiced hand but the shapes are too loose for my taste and I didn't like the color palette, it looked really clashy on some pages. If you want to look at comics done in oils, Dan Brereton is way better.
I thought the choice of stories could have been wiser. The she-Devil in The Price and the Innocent Girl in Daughter of Owls juxtaposed against each other basically makes this a book about a she-Devil who keeps getting whupped by a housecat and a human girl who needs to be avenged by some barn owls. It's unintentionally funny like, get it together, ladies! LOL
I've read "Smoke and Mirrors" and, though I remember them, they weren't the strongest ones in the collection and so they make average comic book stories. Illustrated nicely by Zulli using canvas and oils, it's an alright read but seems more of a cashcow for Gaiman, double dipping old stories into new books.
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