American Gods: My Ainsel #1

Writers: Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell
Artist: Scott Hampton
Letterer: Rick Parker
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Review by Michael Farris, Jr.

Dark Horse’s comic adaptation of the Neil Gaiman’s novel picks back up with the second arc of three in American Gods: My Ainsel #1. Here, we drop in on Shadow and Wednesday as they’re leaving the House on the Rock. Wednesday regales Shadow with some tales of his favorite cons before leaving him on his own to temporarily start a new life in the small Wisconsin town of Lakeside. In Lakeside, Shadow gets the grand tour of the town from local old-timer Hinzelmann. Seems like a nice little town. No problems here. Nope.

I was a huge fan of the original Neil Gaiman novel, but honestly, for an adaptation, there sure seems to be a lot of copy and pasting from the source material. It was great to get a visual version of Gaiman’s book, but, at the same time, this is a very-word heavy and doesn’t let the art do the talking like most good comic adaptations are able to do. This project almost feels like it was rushed through the editing and art process in order to capitalize on our other means of attaining visual representation of American Gods (the TV show). So it was a little neat, but also mostly disappointing.

I also had mixed feelings about the art in this one. For the most part, it was well done, but Shadow’s dream sequence is the ultimate example of what I’m getting at with the art: there were some parts that were brilliantly done from the skies to the backgrounds to the lettering layout, but then the bison-man/minotaur creature thing just looked like a child’s drawing.

Verdict: Skip it.

This is a hard one for me to recommend, to be quite frank. The one group that I would tell to buy American Gods: My Ainsel #1 are hard-core collectors of anything Gaiman, but otherwise, I think fans of comics who might not have read the book will find this very text-heavy, and fans of the original book will basically be better off re-reading the book again because you’re going to do a lot of reading either way.

Michael Farris Jr.
Michael is a Virginia-born Idaho convert and a huge fan of sci-fi. He took time off from comics and sci-fi during the dark years of being a teenager and trying to impress girls, but has since married an amazing woman with whom he regularly can geek out and be himself. He's also a drummer, loves metal music, and can always be found in a melancholy state while watching all things DC sports.

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