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Comix-to-Flix #37

12.27.2006

COMIX-TO-FLIX is a JoBlo.com column featuring reviews of comic book graphic novels that have been optioned to be made into motion pictures. Seeing as the universe of comic books and movies is becoming more and more connected, we figured that we may as well jump right into them as well, especially since we love both mediums to begin with. We hope that you enjoy this new addition to the site and be sure to email us with your thoughts.

Death the High Cost of Living
by Neil Gaiman


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PLOT:

One day every century, Death walks the earth. Sounds pretty ominous, huh? Except that Death, who goes by Didi, is a perky, cute goth chick and her reason for walking the earth is so that she can more easily relate to the people whom she sees in their final hour.

“Death: The High Cost of Living” follows Didi and Sexton Furnival, a boy whom Didi befriends, on their day of adventure as they search for the heart of a witch named Mad Hettie.

“I want you to find me heart for me.”-Mad Hettie

Film Status:

“If anyone is going to screw this up, I want it to be me,” is apparently a quote from “Death” creator Neil Gaiman. At this time Gaiman is supposedly slated to direct his own screenplay while Guillermo Del Toro (“Hellboy”) is set to executive produce. Gaiman has also stated that he has added some further elements to the story that he wanted to include when he initially wrote the mini-series.

Because the book was published by DC (a Time Warner company) Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema are to produce the movie. There is no word on a production or release date at this time.

CRITIQUE:

This is an interesting story with clever dialog. The previous sentence should almost go without saying since this is written by arguably the best comic writer, ever. Regardless it must be said or a beheading may be the order from King Gaiman’s court. I won’t say this is my favorite Gaiman work (I’ll leave that ranking to the “Sandman” series) but it is certainly a good story.

The story is about a suicidal teenage boy (Sexton Furnival) who befriends a girl, Didi, who is literally the personification of death. Once a century it is required of death to walk to earth to “relate” to the people whose souls she collects at their dying moments. Didi and Sexton come across witch named Mad Hettie (who has also appeared in the Vertigo series “Hellraiser”) who enlists their help to find her misplaced heart. As well, there is the blind Eremite who is waiting for death to return and lures Didi and Sexton into a trap.

“She’s coming. I can feel her. -Eremite

I am quite excited about the rumor that Gaiman is adding some story elements to the screen version of “Death.” Although an interesting story, “Death” does end very neat and tidy and it will be very interesting to add some new levels to the story.

The best part of the story is Death herself, better known as Didi. Didi is a cute character that is girlishly charming and fun. The mixture of Didi’s cuteness with her goth look makes for a surprisingly (and possibly unintentionally) sexy character. Artist Chris Bachalo manages to render Didi in a way that makes her attractive without requiring the anatomical dimensions of a pornstar.

As I mentioned above Chris Bachalo has given a very appealing representation of Death. Chris Bachalo’s artwork is genuinely original and finely detailed. Bachalo started out with the “Sandman” franchise and has been an X-Men mainstay for Marvel. It speaks volumes that Marvel has entrusted Bachalo with a number of their extremely popular mighty mutant titles.

WHAT ELSE?

There is a foreword by singer Tori Amos and a public service comic by Neil Gaiman and artist Dave McKean. This public service comic entitled “Death Talks about Life” is an extremely honest look at the facts and myths surrounding AIDS. John Constantine (“Hellblazer”) makes an appearance in this story.

IN CONCLUSION:

Get ready to fall in love with “Death’s” main character Didi, but don’t expect to be blown away by a profound story from the writer of “Sandman.” Enjoy the artwork and enjoy the relatively simplistic but entertaining tale of a day on earth with Death.

“Well, if you want to go climbing around on garbage dumps, maybe you ought to dress for it.” - Didi/Death

GRAPHIC NOVEL RATING (8/10):

MOVIE POTENTIAL (7/10):

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