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Black Orchid Deluxe Edition Hardcover – May 1, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Hardcover, May 1, 2012
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Editorial Reviews


 Praise for Black Orchid:
"[A] brilliant book that should not be passed up."—IGN
Praise for Neil Gaiman:
"Neil Gaiman is, simply put, a treasure house of story, and we are lucky to have him in any medium"—Stephen King --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Neil Gaiman is the New York Times best selling author of The Graveyard Book and Coraline, the basis for the hit movie from director Henry Selick. His other books include The Graveyard Book, Anansi Boys, Neverwhere, American Gods and Stardust (winner of the American Library Association's Alex Awards as one of 2000's top novels for young adults) and the short collections M Is for Magic and Smoke and Mirrors. He is also the author of the children's books The Wolves in the Walls and The Day I Traded My Dad for Two Goldfish. Among his many awards are the Eisner, the Hugo, the Nebula, the World Fantasy and the Bram Stoker. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo; Deluxe ed edition (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140123335X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401233358
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.5 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,339,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tom Knapp VINE VOICE on July 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
About the same time that Neil Gaiman took a little-known hero called the Sandman and created the rich mythology of Dream and the Endless, he reinvented another obscure character, Black Orchid, a plant-based heroine with ties to the likes of Poison Ivy and Swamp Thing. In this three-part story, Gaiman gives a whole new slant to the character, replacing a standard, gimmicky vigilante with a thought-provoking new entity entirely.
Gaiman's story is brilliantly and expressively told through the art of Dave McKean. McKean employs very little color in his art -- most of the characters and settings are painted in shades of grey. Orchid moves through her drab surroundings in hues of purple. Other colors accent the landscape -- glints of light, flecks of blood, shades of leaves.
Black Orchid is a beautiful tale, though at times violent, and I wonder why this character has been ignored in the years since its release. She deserves to see the light of day again. Soon.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fans of the Neil Gaiman/Dave McKean collaboration which revolutionized the comic art form will find "Black Orchid" an interesting look back at this alliance in its infancy. The story itself is not quite as laudable on its own merits, however.
Gaiman continues his early apprenticeship under Alan Moore and Rick Veitch here, and this work could be viewed as an open homage to the latter's run on "Swamp Thing." The stable of Swamp Thing characters appear here at various points and fans of this comic will undoubtedly find the tale familiar.
Of greater interest is Gaiman's attempt to take an obscure DC character and breath fresh life (and a bit of the supernatural) into it. While the initial shock of how he intends "Black Orchid" to depart from the conventions of the superhero genre is spoiled by the introduction (trust me: read this LAST), it still has impact, and shows the audacity we would come to expect of Gaiman later.
The rest of the tale doesn't quite hold up. Perhaps Gaiman lost steam after the breathtaking first installment and didn't know quite how to wrap it up; perhaps giving birth to The Sandman soaked up all his creative oxygen and left this story in the lurch. Regardless, the last few chapters of the story meander all over the place and resolve themselves in a wholly unsatisfactory manner.
The artwork is vintage McKean and quite beautiful. The illustrator shows a great willingness to take chances with perspective and color to enhance the narrative and it is clear that McKean at this early stage possesses more confidence than Gaiman.
I recommend "Black Orchid" to Gaiman & McKean fans interested in the early stages of their partnership, warts and all, and to Swamp Thing fans curious to see how the milieu is translated by the author. Otherwise, I'm afraid this is of only marginal value to comic book readers.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am not a DC comic fan or collector, so please bear with me in giving you this review from a non-comic owner perspective.
While not a follower of the comics, I do love Neil Gaiman. This is the story of how Black Orchid comes to life and seeks out a meaning for, literally, the life given to her. She wants answers to the questions "Who am I? Why am I here?" and is desperate to find a place that she will belong.
Her tale is told with cameo appearances by Batman, Swamp Thing, and Poison Ivy; and you should not miss the nightmarish visit to the Arkham Asylum where a skeletal, sleepless man spills his nightmares on the floor, and the x-ray man weeps burning tears onto the floor.
She awakens as the Black Orchid in the greenhouse at Dr. Phillip Sylvian, with the memories of a woman named Susan Linden. Phil tells her about a little of her background, and tells her of those who he went to college with, without whom she would not be alive; Dr. Jason Woodrue, Pamela Isley and Alec Holland.
But before he can reveal everything to her, Phil is killed and the Black Orchid is on her own. Her ex husband Carl Thorne finds out about her plant-reincarnation, and makes a visit to her, killing all but one of the smaller plants that Phil has been nurturing. Black Orchid takes the little one with her, "Suzy", to Gotham city where a tip from a friend sends her off along to Arkham Asylum to speak with Poison Ivy. Suzy is snatched by Lexcorp, but after a quick visit with Swamp Thing, Black Orchid rescues Suzy and they fly off to the Amazon Rainforest where Black Orchid can plant her seeds.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I will focus this review on the new edition of the book itself, rather than the work of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean: there are currently 30 reviews right here on Amazon, so I really don't have much to add on the matter. I'll just say this is a truly remarkable work, worth owning in your library.

DC/Vertigo finally seems to start getting serious about this Deluxe hardcovers line: this new Black Orchid edition displays a fine standard of quality (very much like the recent Flex Mentallo and the Fables Deluxe series):

- The paper stock is glossy and heavy weight.
- The printing quality is great, with pristine reproductions of McKean's art.
- The book features a full-color printed hardback under the dustjacket (unlike most of DC/Vertigo HCs that have just a plain dark grey presentation).
- It's a solid glued binding book. I would have liked a sewn one, but given that this is a slim volume and there's little gutter loss, I can live with it.
- The dustjacket features a new illustration by Dave McKean.
- We get an 18-pages section of extras at the end of the book, with notes, sketches and excerpts by Neil Gaiman (including manuscripts) and comments by editor Karen Berger (but nothing from McKean, unfortunately). Very interesting material if you want to dig into Gaiman's creative process.

New Deluxe Edition VS old TPB edition:
This new hardcover features the same contents of the old paperback (full introduction by Mikal Gilmore, acknowledgements and updated biographies). The design of the book is beatiful, quite similar to the old one but also updated and polished, and the original front and back covers designed by McKean for the TPB are printed directly on the hardback of the book, under the dustjacket.

In conclusion, I'm pretty happy with this new edition: we get an oversized, good quality hardcover for an affordable price, with all of the previous TPB contents plus an 18-pages extras section.
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