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Black Orchid

A graphic novel written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Dave McKean

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Gaiman's graceful, introspective tale.

  • Jul 7, 2003
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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More Black Orchid reviews
review by . November 26, 2008
Black Orchid by Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman
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 …
review by . January 26, 2003
I picked this up for three dollars at a remainder fair in Denver while I was there for Anaconism, and read it on the plane coming home. It was a whim purchase, based solely on my good impression of Gaiman from Good Omens (co-written with Terry Pratchett) and his comic series, "Sandman." Black Orchid is a comic, and unlike "Sandman" for the most part, it is set in the superhero populated DC Universe (Batman, Swamp Thing, and the current inhabitants of the Arkham Asylum feature prominently in the …
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Tom Knapp ()
Ranked #283
I founded the online review site, Rambles.NET, in 1999 and continue to operate the site with more than 200 contributors and more than 14,000 reviews in our permanent online archives. A fraction of my … more
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About this book


From one of the most highly recognised and award winning comic writers on the scene today, Neil Gaiman (Sandman, Death, Violent Cases), and his sometime collaborator, innovative artist Dave McKean (Arkham Asylum, Cages, Violent Cases) comes a haunting and stylish exploration of birth, death and renewal. Both human and flower the heroine, Black Orchid, undertakes a hazardous journey to uncover her true origins, providing a moving ecological parable for our times. This work by Gaiman and Mckean is an early showcase for the talent we know today.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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ISBN-10: 0930289552
ISBN-13: 978-0930289553
Author: Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean
Genre: Comics & Graphic Novels, Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Vertigo
Date Published: Septermber 1, 1991
Format: Graphic Novel
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