Death Talks About Life
Reviewed by Matt Levin
Written and Created by: Neil Gaiman
The Dreaming’s character Death talks about sex, condom use, and AIDS with a walk-on assist from John Constantine.
A modern classic, on the counter in 1994, it features the ultra-cute Goth girl, Death, from Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” series.
“Death Talks” is a neat little sidestep in the “Sandman” world of “the Dreaming”. John Constantine makes an embarrassed appearance with a banana.
“Death Talks” is Vertigo at its most genuinely dangerous: Death talks to each one of us directly, about sex, and the consequences of sharing sex without condoms: sex is fun and exciting; sex makes children. Sex also transmits diseases, one of them virulent and deadly. Gaiman writes a light, wry speech for Death — the writing’s never preachy or self-conscious. Death speaks matter of factly, there-it-is, you can make the intelligent choice: 'sometimes a banana is just a banana.'
Printed in black and white and tan, the eight-page pamphlet included in some Vertigo series was also a free-standing freebie to customers, with three columns of organizations to contact for further information or support printed on the back, and with a graceful cover portrait of Death as a maiden telling us: “Now, this comic contains WORDS, CONCEPTS, and maybe a few IMAGES that some people MIGHT find OFFENSIVE. If YOU suspect you’re going to be one of those people…. Just don’t read it. After all, the MOST it could do for you is to save your life.”
And isn’t now a good time for this classic to reappear?
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Name: Matt Levin
Been reading comics: as an adult, steadily since 1973.
Review Bio: I write/illustrate/produce Walking Man Comics mini-comics, over ten years monthly (and bimonthly, now); garden and keep home with my sweet heart and our 15 yr. old son, and cat; 21st year as a Montessori preschool/kindergarten teacher after 10 years in comics retail, and other, preparatory jobs; songwriter, photographer...words, music, pictures; like the TED talks and NPR enormously. Politically, I’m fearful for our nation's integrity, but I Got Hope.
Favorites: Age of Bronze, Astro City, All Star Superman, Amelia Rules, Boneyard, Conan, Colonia, Castle Waiting, Daredevil, Fables, Fell, Hellboy, Jack Staff, Jonah Hex, Lone Wolf, Mouse Guard, Next Wave, Powers, Spirit, Strangers, Usagi, Wolff & Byrd, Criminal, Echo, Fire and Brimstone, House of Mystery, Madame Xanadu, Mercy Sparks, Top Ten II, Welcome to Hoxford, Young Liars, Zorro.