Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ten Books To Read For Halloween: #5

Continuing with the countdown, we move on to one of the most celebrated series in comics, the series Vertigo/DC is probably best know for, and the one to put Neil Gaiman on the map.

5. The Sandman: The Doll's House written by Neil Gaiman, art by Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Chris Bachalo, Michael Zulli and Steve Parkhouse. The Sandman series is a very strange work overall, but strange turns to scary in the second volume of the series. So appropriately enough, Clive Barker writes the introduction for the collection. The Sandman follows the title character and his siblings that make up the Endless, which includes Death, a character who has become popular in her own right, who is present when the story begins, setting the tone. As with most of the stories in the series, a human is focused upon. This time around, it's Rose, a teenaged girl with multi-colored hair who is moving into a new apartment building with some strange, eccentric tenants, including the Spider-women, a pair of sisters in wedding gowns covered with spiders. But soon enough, Rose is on the road, winding up at a "cereal convention," a thinly-veiled meeting of serial killers. While this is happening, the Sandman Morpheus discovers that this girl is a vortex for dreams and will eventually begin to disrupt the Dreaming, so he goes to her. Now, one of the things that makes this volume of the series so creepy is one of the serial killers, whose habits we are treated to throughout the book. He's a magical nightmare of a creature called the Corinthian. He tortures his victims and plucks out their eyeballs to feast on, as he has no eyes himself, but sharp teeth in their stead. Obviously, this guy's psychotic, and winds up at the convention where his presence collides with that of the other two characters I've mentioned. It's a fun, thrilling read with, as Clive Barker says, "the grimmest collection of serial killers this side of Death Row."

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