Friday, 28 December 2012
How We Know Neil Gaiman Knows What He Is Doing
(i) he knew that some readers would dislike the somewhat surrealistic art of The Kindly Ones but that this would be more than adequately compensated for by the detailed realism of the concluding volume, The Wake;
(ii) knowing, when writing their scripts, that the later Sandman story lines would definitely be collected and republished each as a single volume, he paced them in a way that would make sense in that format even though it would seem to readers to be too slow on initial publication in monthly comic books.
(i) and (ii) exactly correspond to my experience of reading these works. I had some problems with the art in The Kindly Ones but loved The Wake and found that later story lines dragged to some extent on a monthly schedule but not when reread as graphic novels.
As with Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, the reader of The Kindly Ones comes to appreciate that the art, even if not liked at first, is appropriate for the theme and mood of the story being told.