Death Takes a Field Trip

By J. Stephen Bolhafner
Published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Sunday, April 3, 1994

"Death: The High Cost Of Living"
Written by Neil Gaiman
Art by Chris Bachalo, Mark Buckingham and Dave McKean

Neil Gaiman's Death, sister to Dream and one of the Endless who are older and more eternal than the gods, steps out on her own in "Death: The High Cost Of Living" (104 pages, DC Comics, $19.95 paper), a graphic novel reprinted from the three-issue miniseries.

Once every 100 years, it seems, Death takes on mortal form for one day, to remind herself what life is like for those whom it is her task to dispatch. As a human girl named Didi, she befriends a suicidal teen-ager and helps a bag lady who's more than 250 years old find her hidden heart.

Gaiman is always an interesting writer, and although fans of his "Sandman" comic book will obviously pick up on a few things others won't, this book is accessible to those who've never heard of him before. The art by Chris Bachalo and Mark Buckingham is very good.

Also included is a little piece about AIDS and condoms by Gaiman and artist Dave McKean that was inserted into all of DC's Vertigo line for one month as a public service announcement. I'm not sure it fits here, but what the heck.