This work stands as my introduction to both the writings of Neil Gaiman and to the illustrations and designs of Dave McKean. Both are wonderful separately in their own right, but together are exquisite and powerful. This piece of art defies genre and tags, but it may be enough to say that it is beautiful, thought-provoking, and deeply melancholic.
Premise: Roughly a decade before the end of the last millennium, an artist/filmmaker imagines a film about the unfulfilled apocalyptic hysteria that surrounded the end of the first millennium. Ultimately, it is to be a film about humanity’s obsession with imminent apocalypses/death and what the people do when confronted with the end. However, before the artist gets to writing his masterpiece, his doctor informs him of his cancer. The artist is dying, and will not live long enough to create this opus. He is facing his end.
This graphic book follows the artist through his creation process as his death draws near. The poignancy of his message muddles with the realities of his situation and amount of time remaining. The images of his unmade film meld with moments in his remaining life. As sure as the millennium approaches, the doctor’s timeline holds true.
Few books so adeptly capture the contemplation of one’s own mortality so touchingly. It is highly recommended.
[Check out my other reviews here.]