Death: the Time of Your Life

By Neil Gaiman

Illustrators:  Chris Bachalo, Mark Buckingham, Mark Pennington

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: DC Comics, 1997

Genres: Fantasy, dark fantasy, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, mythic fiction, horror

Format: Graphic novel

Series: Related to The Sandman series, but not a part of it.

ISBN: 1563893339

Intended audience: Adult, young adult (Suggested for mature readers” stated near the ISBN; PCPL has in the teen section)

Number of pages: 96

Settings: New York City, LA, the border of the Sunless Lands

Time period: 1990’s

Plot summary: Foxglove, a famous, young pop star has been disillusioned with life.  She’s made it to the big time, but it hasn’t brought her happiness.  Instead, she’s been having intensely strange dreams.  When Foxglove’s girlfriend, Hazel, tells her she needs Foxglove to come home, Foxglove finds herself making the strangest journey of her life – one with serious repercussions.

Illustrations: Colorful illustrations which range from sunny and vibrant to drab and sunless.  The last few pages of the book include “visions of death” – illustrations of the character, Death, by various artists.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: The story jumps back and forth in time, but maintains a quick pace throughout.

Characterization: Told in third person, the story is seen through both Foxglove’s and Hazel’s perspectives.  The title character, Death, plays an important role in the story.

Frame: As the story jumps between people, time, and places, so does the frame.  The overarching frame is as grey as mist, but there are moments of extreme darkness, as well as vibrant clarity.

Story line: A serious story about love, responsibilities, and sacrifice.

Subject headings:

From PCPL:

Death (Fictitious character : Gaiman) — Fiction.

Similar authors:

From Amazon:

Alan Moore –Watchmen and Batman: The Killing Joke

Jill Thompson – Death: At Death’s Door (Death #1)

Mike Carey – Lucifer Vol. 1: Devil in the Gateway

Garth Ennis – Preacher Vol. 1: Gone to Texas

and lots more by Neil Gaiman

Personal notes: I enjoyed this story immensely.  I wonder about putting it in the teen section, however.  Mature teen readers (I think) will find adult reading material on their own; I wonder about precocious kids and tweens finding this in the teen section….  Why put The Sandman series in the adult section and this one in teen?  Doesn’t make sense to me, but the cataloging at PCPL is a constant surprise…

[Annotated 4/14/09]

Other notes:

“Death created by Neil Gaiman & Mike Dringenberg”–P. 3.

“Originally published in single magazine form as Death: the time of your life 1-3, and in A Death gallery, Sandman: A Gallery of Dreams“–P. 5.

Complete list of artists: Neil Gaiman – writer, Chris Bachalo & Mark Buckingham – pencillers,  Mark Buckingham & Mark Pennington – inkers, Matt Hollingsworth – colorist-separations, Todd Klein – letterer, Dave McKean – covers and design, [Introduction by Claire Danes].

Not listed in NoveList

Other (themes, diversity):

Diversity – female rock stars, homosexuals, lesbians, multi-racial families

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