Murder Mysteries
Neil Gaiman, writer,
P. Craig Russell, artist
(Dark Horse, 2002)

Neil Gaiman, one of the most popular writers in comics, teams up with P. Craig Russell for this illustrated version of his short story, Murder Mysteries. They worked together on #50 of the award-winning Sandman series. This one-shot from Dark Horse is just as visually stunning as their earlier project, and just as disturbing.

At first, it seems that two stories are being told, one concerning a British man looking back on an episode in his youth, and another, a Paradise Lost-style story set in Heaven that revolves around the murder of an angel in paradise. Gaiman's powerful and unorthodox use of the heavenly host to illustrate his dark story of love and betrayal is bound to upset the religiously strict, but the story is carefully built along many lines of literary allusions. The story, by itself is wonderful, but Russell's art makes it hard to imagine what the story would be like without the art. Many readers might come away from the illustrated version having realized that there was more going on within the actual story than they realized. It's actually a story within a story. Russell's art simply makes more clear what might not have been obvious to the eye reading it as text.

It's another fine one from Gaiman that's definitely worth having, all the more so because he and Russell seem to bring out the best in each other.

[ by Mary Harvey ]
Rambles: 20 July 2002

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