Comic Review: The Dead Boy Detectives by Jill Thompson

The Dead Boy Detectives brought to us by Jill Thompson, the same illustrator who brought us Death: At Death's Door which I reviewed a few years back. The artwork is by an American artist making the art decidedly Western. The publisher targeted the manga fans because of the size and format, but I got more of an Archie and Jughead kind of vibe. This is a mystery tale about a group of boarding school richies from Chicago who write to the Dead Boy Detectives because their schoolmate goes missing. The girl characters in the book are quirky and fun and might make you laugh. It's a cute little read, but don't count on it to thrill you. The book is best purchased for pre-teens or those who like mysteries like the Hardy Boys.

There is a cameo by Neil Gaiman's Death, but not enough to keep a Death fan sated. Though if you are a hard-core Death fan who must read all Death related comics, it might be the first time you've seen Death in sweats and a baseball cap. There is also a rad caricature of Dream on the back cover, but I'm not sure what he's doing there unless it is to just rope more Sandman fans in.

For a thin, easy to carry comic, it is actually packed full of visual action. There is no wasted space unless you count the two page introduction to the Sandman library in back. The only extra is an excerpt from Jill Thompson's Death: At Death's Door comic.

If you'd like to read more about it, check out the customer reviews at

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Vampire Kisses Manga

The Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schreiber has been a staple of the YA horror community for quite some time and now, you can read it in manga form.  Though I have not read the books in this series, the manga can stand on it's own as a work of art. vkVampire Kisses #1: Blood Relatives is a cute, teenage romance about an adorable goth girl named Raven and her gorgeous vampire boyfriend.  Raven reminds me of a young Death from Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics.  They added just a dash of chibi to make you forget you are reading an American produced manga.  The art, by REM, is gothic and modern with a beauty all it's own that will have any gloom cookie loving it from cover to the last scene.

This is the first successful book adaptation turned manga I have seen.  The art is well done, the story is edited well, and it accomplishes what it is meant to, which is encourage you to read the book series.  I can say confidently that this team "gets it" and I give them credit because not many trying to break into the manga market do.

We manga fans have come to expect extras in the back and we are not to be disappointed here.  They have included some cool behind the scenes sketches of all the characters.  I adore the goth-loli-punk sketches of Kat.

My only complaint with this little book is that it is too short.  It is a measly 98 pages while most mangas run 150-200.  Considering the novel this manga represents is on the slim size, I suppose they didn't want to stray from the series format and make it larger.  I am, however, hopeful for an all-encompassing omnibus of these mangas like TokyoPop did with the Princess Ai series.

I have high hopes for this series to continue in like style.  If you're looking to move from traditional manga into book-inspired manga, this is a great way to start.

To purchase Vampire Kisses #1: Blood Relatives on Amazon, click here:

Death, Manga Style

Neil Gaimans character Death is back!  The awesome chick with excellent gloom cookie fashion sense, sporting an ankh necklace, and funky eye makeup is re-imagined in:deathDeath, At Death’s Door by Jill Thompson

This American-style manga is loads of fun for any Sandman fan.

In the first few pages, we see Death and her siblings arguing as they always do. Delirium appears in chibi form, while Desire reminds me of the old Archie and Jughead comics. Dream looks like a cartoon vampire. Deciding to travel to Hell to find his lost love, Nada, Dream causes all the inhabitants of Hell to wind up in Death’s apartment.

My favorite part is when Delirium walks in on Death as she is trying to baby sit all the displaced souls. Death is covered with bodies. In true Delirium style, she says, “Aren’t you hot wearing all those people?”

This is a fun, sometimes silly, look at our favorite Endless siblings. In the back is a great Death bio, a sketchbook area with more Death pictures, and a synopsis of the complete ten volume Sandman graphic novel library.

Death, At Death’s Door by Jill Thompson is available at Amazon. Click the Amazon portal on this page to support dashPunk.