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THE LAST TEMPTATION

Neil Gaiman, Author, Michael Zulli, Illustrator, Neil Gaiman, Illustrator
Neil Gaiman, Author, Michael Zulli, Illustrator, Neil Gaiman, Illustrator with Alice Cooper, illus. by Michael Zulli. Dark Horse $9.95 (104p) ISBN 978-1-56971-455-3

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Hardcover - 103 pages - 978-1-59307-414-2
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A spooky collaboration between novelist and comics writer Gaiman (Sandman; and see review of American Gods, above) and creepy shock rocker Cooper, this is the story of Steven, a boy with many fears: girls, ghost stories and growing up among them. On a dare, he steps into an odd theater and meets a mysterious, top-hatted showman, an Alice Cooper–like figure (complete with dark eye-circles) who offers him a way to avoid his fears by simply giving up his "potential" and staying forever in a dreamy netherworld of spirits and wraiths. And after encountering Mercy, a beautiful ticket-taker in the ghostly theater, Steven gives the offer serious consideration. Cooper is the inspiration for the Grand Guignol of this demonic theater, a chilling metaphor for the seductive allure of complacency and indolence. Gaiman's story is a whimsical horror tale about confronting the fears within, and Zulli's black-and-white illustrations have a dark, emotive line, presented in a brownish, bloodlike hue that makes even a mundane, autumnal street scene seem eerie and foreboding. (June)

Correction:The designer of the dust jacket for The Road Builder, depicted in Forecasts, April 30, is Thomas Tafuri.

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