|Comic hardcover, n.pag.|
Published 1999 (contents: 1989-99)
Borrowed from the library
Read June 2011
Writers: Neil Gaiman with Matt Wagner
Artists: Stephen Bissette, John Totleben, Richard Piers Rayner, Mike Hoffman, Kim DeMulder, Mike Mignola, Dave McKean, Teddy Kristiansen
Colorists: Tatjana Wood, Danny Vozzo
Letterers: John Costanza, Tim Harkins, Todd Klein
This book collects much (all?) of Gaiman's non-Sandman Vertigo work, presumably so the dedicated Gaiman-ite doesn't have to sully themselves by buying comics by other people. (Actually, most of the work here had never been collected in trade paperback before, so I'm just being mean.)
Swamp Thing: "Jack in the Green"
This story is about a Swamp Thing from the Middle Ages. It's the second comic Gaiman ever wrote. It's okay, I guess. Nothing really happens.
Swamp Thing: "Brothers"
In this story, Brother Power the Geek comes back to the Earth. He's a character who hadn't appeared for years before this and no one cared about him. I'm not sure why anyone should after reading this. I guess that's kinda the point-- he's the hippie who can't let go. I did enjoy the two side characters, though, one of which who actually was a hippie who couldn't let go. The evil government agent (who was also an ex-hippie) was a pretty cool character. The Claw or whatever his name was, not so much. Oh, and Batman is in it.
Swamp Thing: "Shaggy God Stories"
what is this I don't even
John Constantine, Hellblazer: "Hold Me"
I've never read a John Constantine story before. This was pretty good. The resolution makes little sense on a plot level, but is nice emotionally. Poor Constantine, keeps the world at bay, and even when he lets it in... it doesn't actually like him. The art is amazing. McKean and Gaiman showed they made a good team in Black Orchid, but this is even better from an artistic standpoint.
Sandman Midnight Theatre
I've read this story before, on its own, and it takes up half the book! Why not throw in the Poison Ivy story that Gaiman mentions instead; I want to read that, since he did such an intriguing Ivy in Black Orchid. Sandman Midnight Theatre belongs in a collection, sure... but in a Sandman Mystery Theatre one instead, where it's an important part of an ongoing narrative. It was nice to read it again, though, and Gaiman's introduction to the story provides some nice insight into the way it was written. (Gaiman and Wagner worked out a plot in a hotel room, Wagner wrote detailed breakdowns, Kristiansen drew the art following these, Gaiman wrote the dialogue to match the pictures.) Other than that, I have nothing to say that I didn't say last time.
The collection as a whole is a bit of a jumble, really. Nice to have it all collected, but none of it really stands out or impresses on its own, except for maybe "Hold Me."