Mr Punch – Neil Gaiman

This is a part remembered, part imagined childhood memory. It beautifully illustrates the fog of youth created by the uncertainty of recollection and the mystery of adults. There is something important and possibly tragic going on in the world of grown-ups yet the small boy who witnesses it won’t comprehend what he sees until he grows up.

The accompanying art does not seek to illustrate the tale faithfully but invoke the spirit of a childhood remembered long after the fact. There are photographs, collages, drawings, models and script all smeared into a fantastic reminiscence of the past.

This does a great job of portraying how memory works. How small details dominate events and become larger than life. And also how much of the real world is retained unconsciously as a child only to be deciphered later in life.

Thumbs Up!

229/136

Tomorrow: Divine Right: The Adventures of Max Faraday Book One – Jim Lee

The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch – Neil Gaiman

You would expect an artist to paint themselves in a self portrait. You might not expect a writer to place himself in his own comic book. This curious proposition is what Neil Gaiman does; and he brings his friends Jonathan Ross (THE Jonathan Ross) and Jonathan’s wife Jane Goldman (THE Jane Goldman). The four of them, including the titular Miss Finch, go out for an evening at the circus.

This is kind of reminiscent of the “strange but true” stories Poe or Lovecraft wrote but the art is so bright and colourful that it never gets that creepy feel – although you may never eat sushi again. You wonder if there are some hidden depths that you have missed and feel yourself asking “is that all there is?” The shock for me wasn’t the ending but the fact three celebrities are appearing on the page in front of me.

A lot of writers work hard to evoke suspense or fear in their reader. Neil has a talent for evoking boredom. That is definitely a compliment. For just as the characters are wondering when will it all end so are you. There are some quirks piquing your interest but the pay off just wasn’t rewarding enough for me.

If you are a Gaiman super-fan or a completist then pick it up without worry. If this is your first chance to read his work go for the Sandman instead. No thumbs up today sadly!

5/360.

Tomorrow: The Stranded – Mike Carey