There isn’t a lot I need to add to my review of Volume 1 of this excellent adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel, but I’ll see what comes forth. First, why two volumes? Probably a marketing decision, it’s probably easier to sell a $20 book and then later another $20 book with a guaranteed return audience than to sell a $40 book up front. I imagine it will come out in one volume eventually and sell more copies. I’m all for that, and the probable trade paperback version or versions as well.
This volume contains only three chapters, 6 to 8, but Chapter 7 is at least half the book, and presents the meat of the story: the confrontation between Bod Owens, raised in the graveyard by ghosts and other spooky creatures, and his intended murderer, The Man Jack. It’s action-packed and wonderfully staged and written. Russell’s work on this project is twofold: an excellent script adaptation of the novel, and pretty detailed layouts for every page. Chapter 7 is finished by Scott Hampton, whose style and approach to comics art is noticeably different from Russell’s, but it still works wonderfully. Hampton adds lots of depth, atmosphere and texture with gray washes that brings realism and a seriousness that helps the story. Chapter 6 is by David Lafuente in a somewhat manga-influenced style, and Chapter 8, the finale, is by Russell with Kevin Nowlan and Galen Showman. Russell’s layouts hold everything together. If you haven’t read any of his adaptations of Gaiman works, this is a fine place to start.