By Neil Gaiman (original story), P. Craig Russell (art)
The Story: To celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Sandman, P. Craig Russell has gone back to adapt Gaiman’s original prose novella into a four issue limited series. Originally published in 1999 with accompanying painted illustrations from Japanese artist Yoshitaka Amano, “The Dream Hunters” is a Japanese-inspired fantasy about a young monk and a shape-changing fox who fall in love. When the fox learns of a group of demons who intend to kill the monk, she turns to Morpheus for help in saving her true love.
The Good: Seeing this story translated to comics gives new life to the original novella, and Russell was a brilliant choice for the job. I have been a great admirer of his since I first saw his work in the “Ramadan” issue of Sandman, and I think his style is well suited to Gaiman’s fantasy. Russell’s pages are complex and inventive in their composition, nevertheless, he keeps art beautiful and elegant. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of seeing what Russell can do with a comic page, this would be a wonderful introduction to his work.
The Not So Good: Not much, really. I suppose my only problem is that this story is being serialized when it would have been better released as a complete graphic novel, much like how the original was published. Being serialized like this, I fear people will lose interest in the story by the time it concludes in February, which would be a shame, really, as it is so well done.
Conclusion: Whether you were a fan of The Sandman or just love a well-told story, I think this series will delight and impress you. P. Craig Russell reinterprets Gaiman’s original story with a graceful style, and offers a lasting tribute to one of the best series in comics history. Not to be missed!