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Black Orchid Paperback – September 1, 1991
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Neil Gaiman is the most critically acclaimed comics writer of the 1990s and is the author of numerous books and graphic novels. He is the New York Times No. 1 best-selling author of American Gods and Anansi Boys. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The Black Orchid has been fighting comic crime since the 1950's, but her backstory was never made clear. She is similar to the phantom stranger in that regard. This story attempts to restart the character, making clear her backstory and setting her up in a new direction. Cameo's from the rest of the DC universe abound (yes, including that one). Plus the series loves to subvert cliche's and expectations, with at least three scenes that you would never see coming in a normal comic.
I should also mention that Dave McKean's artwork is breath-taking. altering between abstract and hyper-realistic, the only people I've seen do better are Alex Ross and J H Williams. This was a great miniseries, and I wish Vertigo would collect the ongoing series it inspired.
Strong recommendation for fans of The Sandman, Saga of the Swamp Thing and indie comics fans.
Neil Gaiman’s writing and flow of the story is heartfelt, brutal, yet passionate. The driving force of hate and the lack of knowledge about the main character, Black Orchid, seems in diametric opposition. However, it works so well creating these nefarious characters against the beautiful backdrop of the Black Orchid story line.
The introduction of Batman, Lex Luther and particularly Swamp Thing popped my eyes out. How marvelous to interlace the Amazonian rainforest flower, the “Black Orchid” and the Louisiana marshy bayou plants with “Swamp Thing” was so appropriate & great fun!
About the graphic novels placed into a digital format; I have struggled as any “good comic book enthusiasts” has between the tactile comic book vs. the digital screen. I guess, I have gone to the dark side. 1st: the color on the monitor is so much better than my tpb’s or my books. 2nd: great value. & 3rd: I have a notebook or tablet where ever I go.
I found reading “Black Orchid” by Neil Gaiman on my computer to be an exciting and enjoyable experience. When each of the panels expanded, everything intensified. The color was beautiful and the words were easy-to-read !
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.
I am studying the art of the graphic novel and this book is a really good read, and also a great teacher. I have learned a great deal from its use of graphic communication. KUDDOS to the various artists who put this work together!!