Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes was not as spectacular as I had hoped, but with all the positive feedback from those who have read further through the series than the first one, I have requested the second volume from the library. It will be a little wait though before I get a turn sometime at the end of October probably.
In the meantime, the nice coworker who lent me Sandman included Death: The High Cost of Living along with it. Now, since in Sandman my favorite story was the final one that had Death, Sandman’s sister in it, I had high hopes for the graphic novel that was all her own. And I wasn’t disappointed. I loved it!
The story takes place in a 24-hour time frame. It begins with a teenage boy with the unfortunate name of Sexton, writing a suicide note. His mother comes home in the midst of his note and kicks him out of the house because she feels like a having a manic day-long housecleaning binge. What better place to go when having an existential crisis than a garbage dump? Standing atop a hill of trash, it gives way and Sexton finds himself buried in the garbage and pinned down by a refrigerator. He calls out for help and is rescued by Death. Or rather, he is rescued by Didi, Death incarnate.
Every 100 years Death must spend 24-hours in human form so she knows what life feels like and can have a glimmer of understanding and compassion. Of course Didi doesn’t tell Sexton who she really is, she has no powers or anything anyway, she is completely human. And since she only gets 24-hours she wants to make the most of it. Perpetually chirpy, everyone she meets gives her what she asks for, a hot dog with all the fixings, passes to a live musical performance, a free cab ride. Sexton tags along the whole time and can’t believe what’s happening.
Into all of this comes a guy under orders to capture Death and take her ankh necklace away. The man who wants it thinks it holds all of Death’s powers and it will make him immortal. Death, who by now is wearing a big yellow smiley face pin on he black rocker chick jacket, falls for the trap.
I won’t say anything else about the story, you’ll have to read it yourself. But when I was done with it, I liked the character of Death even more than I did when I started. The story was good, the characters varied and interesting, and the art was good too. And maybe most interestingly, it puts the concept of death in a different light and provides some food for thought.
Chalk up another one for the RIP Challenge. I have one more Neil Gaiman book to tell you about, probably tomorrow.