Black Orchid

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Press: Vertigo; Reprint edition (July 23, 2013)
Publication Date:2013-7
Author Name:Gaiman, Neil


Before introducing the modern version of The Sandman, Neil Gaiman wrote this dark tale that reinvented a strange DC Comics super hero in the Vertigo mold. 
Featuring spectacular art by Gaiman's frequent collaborator, Dave McKean, BLACK ORCHID is now collected in a deluxe trade paperback After being viciously murdered, Susan Linden is reborn fully grown as the Black Orchid, a hybrid of plant and human, destined to avenge her own death.
Now, as this demigoddess attempts to reconcile human memory and botanical origins, she must untangle the webs of deception and secrets that led to her death.
Beginning in the cold streets of a heartless metropolis and ending in the Amazon rainforest, this book takes the reader on a journey through secrets, suffering and self-rediscovery.

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.


Comics & Graphic Novels,Fantasy Graphic Novels,Graphic Novels,Superheroes,Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Comment List (Total:15)

  •     So bad I couldn't even finish it.
  •     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.
  •     Black Orchid is clearly a Neil Gaiman story, of that there can be no doubt. And that means wonders and mysteries both brilliant and dark. However, that being said, it should be noted that this work is early Gaiman, before he'd truly built a reputation for himself, or earned the freedom to write as he saw fit. It's a wonderful story, and a must read for anyone that wishes to see Gaiman's evolution as a writer. You can see early stirrings of the master we would come to know and love, but not quite there yet.
  •     thanks...
  •     A thing of Beauty. I gave this as a gift to a very special person.
  •     Not a huge fan of graphic novels. I was hoping since it was Neil Gaiman that would overcome but not so much.
  •     An excellent example of Gaiman's style. Defies preconceptions and traditional expectations while dealing with thought provoking issues.
  •     It's interesting. Not what you would expect in most "comic" books
  •     The artistry of Dave McKean’s illustrations is spectacular. The color introduces the character of the individual on each panel. Each character’s personality and true physical appearance is reflected each time the individual in pulled back in the story. Natural colorization of dark grays make you keenly aware of the evil. The spectacular colors introduce the worthy characters. Color, clarity, and movement make each scene electric. There is a wonderful combination of almost photographic reality with the essence of abstract life.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 !
  •     This would be my favorite graphic novel of all time if the story didn't falter in act 3. Really, Act 3 is an incredibly disappointing piece of storytelling.
  •     State of the art graphics and text. Very sutil
  •     Excellent story, the art is masterfully mystifying and McKean is in top form here. Readers might "get more" out of the story having read Alan Moore's Saga of the Swamp Thing run as there are references to characters in those books that might alienate someone just picking this up without having read those titles.
  •     Though Neil Gaiman is most famous in comics for his work on Sandman, it was far from his only work. This was his first attempt at recreating a DC Comics hero and helping reinvent comics forever.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.
  •     This is such an interesting book. A sublime mixture of the light and dark: I gave it 5 stars, not just for the writing, but for the entire composition of art, storytelling, and lettering. It is so well done, and way out of the ordinary realm. It entertains, and expands the imagination. I had to read it over a couple of times to really get its essence, (and then another ten times to learn the graphic lessons it offers).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!!
  •     Every now and then I read a book like this and it just blows my mind. Neil Gaiman's early work is heavily influenced by Alan Moore 's run on Swamp Thing in the nineteen eightys.

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