- Posted by Johanna on May 29, 2011 at 4:27 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: by Jill Thompson
- PUBLISHER: DC / VertigoVertigo; $14.99 US
Back in 2001, Jill Thompson (Scary Godmother) re-envisioned Neil Gaiman’s Endless (from The Sandman graphic novel series) as adorable little kids in The Little Endless Storybook. Dream, Death, Desire, and the other embodiments of key human drives and motivations were surprisingly cute, drawn with big heads and streamlined symbolism.
Now there’s a followup, just as charming. In Delirium’s Party, the crazy, colorful littlest sister decides to throw a party in order to make her sibling Despair smile. Now, those of us old enough to have experienced despair know how futile an attempt this may be. And that’s what makes this slim book, which at first appears slight and fluffy, so substantial and impressive an accomplishment.
Delirium and her very sensible dog Barnabas (surprisingly, my favorite character, due to his focus on the everyday) work to assemble the gathering, and then the other Endless brothers and sisters attempt to gift Despair with the right thing. The whole thing is told through lovely watercolor paintings and small bursts of beautifully descriptive text that include such Delirium-esque words as “twirly” and “imaginamals”. The structure demonstrates each little Endless’ personality and unique focus in addition to allowing them to interact as a group.
Adult readers will appreciate the book for two special reasons: Delirium’s quirky and creative ways of throwing a party and trying so hard to please are particularly, appropriately toddler-like, and the question posed — how do you make Despair happy? — is surprisingly deep, with lots of room for pondering. Here we have a gorgeous work, extraordinarily well-crafted, with fun and surprises and thought-provoking as well. That’s the best kind of comic. Amazon has a small number of preview pages (PDF link) if you’d like to see for yourself.