Death: The High Cost of Living, A brief review

Well all. It’s been rather a case of ‘all’s quiet on the blogging front’ from me of late. What can I say? My thesis is life ruining and other stories…

I wasn’t going to review this comic series straight away as I have never read a single edition of Gaiman’s prominent Sandman comics, of which Death! is a spin off, nor have I read much Pratchett Death Disc World, about which much comparison could probably be made, but I used a Gaiman quote in class today for a word exercise and my tutor had no idea of who he was!?! End of my first world, fantasy loving universe to hear the words, “Huh? Who exactly IS Neil Gaiman?”

So I decided to take it to the blogosphere and get talking about Neil Gaiman because I am a big fan and I think he is a very clued in guy when it comes to both social media and fandom. A couple of weeks back, a good friend of mine lent me the comics Death: The High Cost of Living, telling me it was amazing.

With the qualification of never having read any other Gaiman comic before, I have to say I agree.

From Gaiman’s website:

From the pages of Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN comes the young, pale, perky, and genuinely likable Death. One day in every century, Death walks the Earth to better understand those to whom she will be the final visitor. Today is that day. As a young mortal girl named Didi, Death befriends a teenager and helps a 250-year old homeless woman find her missing heart. What follows is a sincere musing on love, life and (of course) death.

– copyright Harper Collins Publishers

This comic was a quick, easy read, but it is definitely for mature readers. Bear that in mind and it does say this on the front cover. There are alot of weighty issues within the three volumes including depression and suicide, poverty, disfunctional families, the nature of friendship, the nature of success and what is considered creative in modern day society, crime, violence and life in the lower strata of society. I found that these issues were dealt with in a provocactive and thoughtful way that really made these comics a great read.

My friend described the series as “A story where nothing much happens, and yet everything happens.” It’s philosophical and hard hitting. It’s critical and humanist. It’s life affirming and brave and a little bit wild…

And it’s absolutely Neil Gaiman. What else do you expect from the current master fantasist himself?


About InkAshlings

Maureen, Australian, young aspiring writer.
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14 Responses to Death: The High Cost of Living, A brief review

  1. jaymountney says:

    I love Neil Gaiman’s writing. I can’t believe your tutor hadn’t heard of him!!! I have the feed from his blog on my LJ reading page and whilst I don’t often read it, whenever I do it makes me think.
    I love Pratchett, too, and think he’s another fantastic guy in both writing and his fight against Alzheimers.

    • InkAshlings says:

      Well, so do I. I was so shocked by my tutor I couldn’t even articulate who he was to her beyond “BUT… BUT… HE IS NEIL GAIMAN. NEIL. GAIMAN. VERY, VERY FA… BU… NEIL….” Apparently she never leaves the sports channels but still, in academia and no Neil Gaiman? He is the latest God of the literary world. I mean COME ON.

      He does make you think doesn’t he! I need to subscribe too.

      What books have you read of his?

      • jaymountney says:

        I can imagine you spluttering into silence! *g*
        I’ve read Good Omens, of course, and Neverwhere (had an audio tape but daughter has lost it) and a book of short stories (Smoke and Mirrors?) including a stunning version of Snow White. Stardust. Various odds and ends. I’m hopeless at remembering titles.

      • InkAshlings says:

        Yes. I may well ask Gaiman on tumblr how he would like me to describe him beyond Famous Writer Man.

        I really need to read Good Omens. I started reading Neverwhere but had to return it and never got the chance to reborrow. I enjoyed what I read of it however. Smoke and Mirrors is the collection with the Snow White story and boy was it memorable.

        I need to read more Gaiman.

  2. I love Neil Gaiman; not only in his own right but also for his collaberations on the Discworld series and Doctor Who!

    • InkAshlings says:

      I loved Neil before I ever read a single book or comic he had ever written. He was just so cool about fandom!

      The Doctor’s Wife is one of the best ever episodes of Who imo.

      I just couldn’t believe it when my teacher had never heard of him! He is literally the God of the writerverse atm.

      • I adored TDW ; it was sheer perfection – aided by the wonderful actress Suranne Jones.

        By the way hon, could you please enable “Follow by email”? I don’t always get to know when you’ve blogged here, so if I were notified it would be much easier 🙂

      • InkAshlings says:

        How do I enable ‘follow by email.’ I assumed that would happen automatically.*word press fail*

      • Heheh! Simply go to your dashboard, select “Widgets” and use the drag-and-drop option to enable “Follow by email”. I also have the Twitter widget so that people can follow me, along with Pinterest.

      • InkAshlings says:

        And done. Thanks for the tip.

        What Gaiman books have you read?

      • I’ve read Good Omens and loved it, and I know there are other Gaiman Books in the house (such as Don’t Panic). I personally just adore everything he’s ever been involved in.

        There are some wonderful published writers floating around WordPress; Marc Schuster, who writes under the name “Abominations” had a hand in a book about the psychology of Doctor Who, and has written a few other books that look interesting. You might want to follow him, as he’s intelligent, sweet and a very funny guy 🙂

      • InkAshlings says:

        Thanks for the follow tip. Will do!

        I NEED to read Good Omens. I’ve not met a single person who has said a bad word about it!

  3. Matilda says:

    I feel pathetic, I’ve been on Gaiman’s website and have read several interviews of his, in which everything he said was brilliant, (I find his reflexions on life very interesting), but I haven’t read a single book of his. What would you suggest for a start?

    • InkAshlings says:

      I am assuming you have watched The Doctor’s Wife from s6 of New Who? Imo it was one of the best ever episodes of Doctor Who. Absolutely amazing!

      I had heard of Gaiman for years and years,(my brother is into comics, so I’d heard of Sandman) but only started reading after I found out he was writing on Who. I started off by reading The Graveyard Book, Anansi Boys and Smoke and Mirrors.

      Out of those, I think Smoke and Mirrors is best to start with as it is a collection of short stories, poems and vignettes by Gaiman and showcases his diversity. I really enjoyed The Graveyard Book too, but it is more for younger readers.

      Gaiman’s website has some free short story downloads and you can hear him read out some of his picture books on youtube.

      I’ve never gotten the chance to read American Gods, but alot of people start there too and it is one of his most acclaimed books.

      Also, have you seen the movies Coraline or Stardust? If you enjoyed those and you like graphic novels you could start with those.

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