Friday, July 15, 2011

Delirium's Party: A little Endless storybook by Jill Thompson

Delirium is one of the Endless, a set of human-like figures embodying the various concepts in the DC universe. There are seven of them, from Destiny (the oldest), Despair, Desire, Dream, Death, Destruction and then Delirium herself, although she was once known as Delight. Delirium suffered some event in the past where she became what she is today- she speaks what seems like nonsense, but in her own way, she has a greater than normal understanding of the world.

Little Delirium loves her brothers and sisters, but when she calls all of them up to talk, most of them just put up with her nonsense and talking about green monkeys. But one night, she realizes that she has never seen her sister Despair smile, so she decides, after much thinking, to throw a party for her sister and invite all her brothers and sisters with presents for Despair to try and make her happy.

So she and her talking Dog Barnabas prepare Delirium's realm for the party and make a huge cake, and then wait for everyone, including the guest of honor to arrive. Delirium hopes that something in the party and the presents will make Despair happy, and make her smile for the first time in well, forever, actually. Her other brothers and sisters arrive first, and Delirium makes them all hide to jump out and yell "Surprise!" when Despair arrives.

But that doesn't make Despair happy. Nor does the idea of a party... or the cake... or the decorations that Delirium has created. And the cake doesn't make her smile. Or eating it. So Delirium trots out her brothers and sisters with their presence. But none of them know what will appeal to Despair, either. Even so, they do their best. But what will make Despair happy enough to smile? Will Delirium ever get her wish of seeing Despair with a smile on her face?

This is a completely adorable graphic novel, short but sweet, reinterpreting Neil Gaiman's classic characters in a new and very Chibi-fied way. Some might say that it's an insult to the characters, but I viewed it as "This is from Delirium's point of view, and be lucky the characters don't have fish heads or something equally bizarre." Jill Thompson's art fits for this story, but it does kind of come off as kiddified. Real kids will have no idea, or very little idea, who these characters are.

The story itself is mere fluff, but cute, entertaining fluff. After all, what would make Despair happy? Bringing her chosen emotion to others. This is a graphic novel, but it's more like a kids storybook, mostly words enlivened with pictures rather than being told in a standard comic or graphic novel format.

A cute light read, but not, to my mind, really worth the $15 for the hardcover version. More for teens than actual children, as I don't know many kids who would be up to reading the original graphic novels, and some kids might find the form of the book rather insulting. On the whole, though, cute and short. Recommended.

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