Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series is a fantastic journey through the world of dreams and then some. The Endless are seven siblings, personifications of immortal concepts: Dream, Desire, Despair, Destruction, Destiny, Delirium, and Death. While they do not feature in every chapter of Sandman (which focuses mostly on Dream), their influence works its way throughout the series. Of course, Sandman is very much a book for adults only — there is violence and sex, not to mention a good heaping portion of Gaimanesque creepiness.
Thanks to Jill Thompson, however, you can introduce the geeklets to a cute and happy (well, sort of) version of the Endless with these two storybooks, available today in comic book stores (or in other bookstores next week). The Little Endless Storybook was originally printed in 2005 but it’s back in print now; Delirium’s Party is a new story that’s just been released.
Vertigo sent me an advance copy of Delirium’s Party and it’s quite delightful. The story is that Delirium (who, in case you haven’t read the Sandman series, is a bit loopy and hard to follow) just realized that she’s never seen her sister Despair smile. So she decides a surprise birthday party is in order, with decorations and cake and presents from all her siblings. Of course, it’s a bit difficult to bring a smile to the face of sorrow itself, so Delirium has her work cut out for her.
The illustrations are colorful and whimsical, and really capture the weirdness that goes on in Delirium’s head. Thompson also illustrated portions of the Sandman series, but in those Delirium comes across as a bit more creepy rather than silly. But there was also a section that included little cute versions of Dream and Death, and these “little Endless” books carry over that style. Since Despair is generally depicted as a pallid, obese, naked woman, it’s a weird juxtaposition to have her looking like a kid with breasts usually obscured by strategically placed objects.
The “little Endless” is a funny concept, turning characters from a very adult series into a kids’ book, but you can tell that these books are just as much for the adults who love Sandman. It’s a way to share at least a tiny bit of that amazing world with your kids — they’ll just have to wait until they’re older for the rest.