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Jill Thompson – Death: At Death’s Door

April 7, 2009

37. At Death’s Door by Jill Thompson (2003)
Sandman, Death Spin-off #3

Length: 204 pages

Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy

Started: 04 April 2009
Finished: 04 April 2009

How long has it been on my TBR pile? N/A
Verdict? Eh. N/A

Death deals with the folks
turned out of Hell. It seems like
I’ve read this before…

Summary: The story of At Death’s Door should be familiar to anyone who’s read Season of Mists from the main Sandman series (in The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 2). The Dream King goes to Hell to attempt to free a woman he loved but imprisoned there aeons ago, only to find Hell empty and locked. This book focuses more on what happens to the people who have been turned out of Hell; most of them have gone to seek the last person who was kind to them – everyone’s favorite perky goth girl Endless, Death herself.

Review: Ah, expectations. They’ll bite you in the ass every time.

I had originally thought this was one of the Death spin-off stories that was written by Neil Gaiman himself, and contained a new story. However, Gaiman is listed on the cover page only as a consultant, and large chunks of the story are a re-hash of things we’d learned in Season of Mists. It’s in a weird borderland where people who haven’t read the main Sandman series wouldn’t know what’s going on, but people who have read the main books want something more than a cute retread of familiar ground.

Thompson’s anime-style artwork is lovely and fun, and her use of space and panels on the page gives the black-and-white illustrations a liveliness they might not otherwise have had. However, the artwork occasionally tips from fun and cute into overly cutesy, which I found distracting, and not entirely in keeping with the tone of the story. Plus, seeing Morpheus with anime-eyes is just strange. 3 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: A quick and inoffensive read, but I wanted something more. There’s not enough new material to really make it essential reading for anyone but die-hard Sandman fans.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Working Title, Things Mean a Lot
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: “I told him not to do anything stupid!”

7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 7, 2009 6:40 am

    I agree – not essential, but a lot of fun. I really like her artwork, cutesyness aside :P

    The two Death stories Neil wrote himself are must-reads, though!

  2. April 7, 2009 9:49 am

    Nymeth – I’ve got a hold on Death: The High Cost of Living at the library, but they don’t seem to have The Time of Your Life. I’ll put in a suggestion for purchase… my library’s really pretty good about buying the books I tell them to. ;)

  3. Bobbie Crawford-McCoy permalink
    April 7, 2009 1:09 pm

    I really enjoyed your review! :-) It would have been nice if it had been in colour…or do all graphic novels come in black & white? You can tell that I haven’t read any, eh? :-)

    It’s Bobbie from Book Reviews By Bobbie.
    I am delighted to pass on the Premio Dardos Award, to you! Please stop by my blog to see the award and find out all the particulars.
    Your blog is marvellous!

  4. April 8, 2009 5:45 pm

    Well they won’t always bite you in the ass but they do way too often! Sorry you didn’t get what you had hoped to out of this one :(

  5. April 8, 2009 7:19 pm

    I hadn’t heard of this. The Sandman series is one of my all time favorite so I will try and find it.

  6. April 10, 2009 11:38 pm

    Bobbie – The main series Sandman books are in (gorgeous) color, but this one’s only B&W – I think it depends a lot on the production medium – color means special paper and ink and hence more $$. Thanks so much for the award!

    Ladytink – Well, no, not always… we just don’t really notice when our expectations are met. :)

    Gavin – Definitely give it a chance, although I’d recommend seeing if your library has it (or at least giving it a thorough browsing in a bookstore) before buying.

  7. Sylvia S. permalink
    March 5, 2010 12:47 am

    Well, i haven’t read the series but i’m looking 4 it, i really liked this book or comic i got from the library, it rocks and is SO addictive : ) love the blog about it ((BIG HUG)) love’ya all bye X)

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