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The Day the Saucers Came - Neil Gaiman Paul Chadwick

Written by Arion on Tuesday, April 09 2013 and posted in Reviews
The Day the Saucers Came - Neil Gaiman Paul Chadwick
amazing cover by Greg Ruth / asombrosa portada de Greg Ruth

Can a good story be told in only 7 pages? Of course, and Neil Gaiman proves that in “The Day the Saucers Came”, a very poetic tale that plays with the reader’s expectations since the first page. What would happen if one day, suddenly, we were invaded by flying saucers? And what would happen if, on the same day, “the graves gave up their dead and the zombies pushed up through soft earth or erupted, shambling and dull eyed, un-stoppable”? 

Gaiman plays with the archetypical fears of our postmodern mind… with the notions of the end of the world that we have seen in films or TV shows, but at the same time he embroils them with ancient legends and myths that are centuries old. Because on the same day that the saucers landed and the dead came back to life, the time for Ragnarok comes, the snake Jormungand, the wolf Fenrir, Odin and Thor, and all of the Nordic pantheon, have arrived.

The Day the Saucers Came - Neil Gaiman Paul Chadwick
the classic alien invasion? / ¿la clásica invasión alienígena?

And on that same day, the magical creatures that inhabit Elvenhome return to our reality. This surely has been a recurring theme for Gaiman, the idea of Faerie coexisting with our world, forever in our reach and yet always a few steps beyond our mortal ken. From “The Books of Magic”, to “Sandman” or “Stardust”, Gaiman has brilliantly explored fantasy as a realm and as a literary genre. 

Every page shows the delightful art of Paul Chadwick, one of the best American authors of the past decades, who certainly does a wonderful job illustrating Gaiman’s script. Chadwick contributes to the story with sentiment, powerful imagery and a lot of impressive scenes.  

At the end, we see the concept of the deinos, a term used by the Greeks to describe the human nature. Deinos is either the most terrible thing you can imagine or the most majestic and impressive thing you can conceive. Because that is the human nature, to be the worst and the best, the most despicable and the most admirable, and on the last page, Gaiman ties it all up and makes us realize, that no matter how many aliens, zombies, gods or faries are out there, the thing we fear and love the most is still the other, the human that may or may not fear / love us back.

The Day the Saucers Came - Neil Gaiman Paul Chadwick
another kind of living dead / otra clase de muertos vivientes

“The Day the Saucers Came” was printed on the pages of Dark Horse Presents, and surely after reading something from such a fantastic creative team –Gaiman and Chadwick– I must say I felt that the other stories in this anthology were a bit di-sappointing. I’d like to point out, however, that I really enjoyed “Arcade Boy” (by Denis Medri), because of its un-complicated approach to the world of computer games and, most especially, to the intimate sphere of a teenaged boy. Other stories that showed potential were “Beneath the Ice” (by Simon Roy & Jason Wordie) and “Finder” (by Carla Speed McNeil). However, my second favorite after “The Day the Saucers Came” is “Villain House: the Squid and Pachyderm” by Shannon Wheeler, this is an example of narrative economy and great storytelling; in just a handful of pages the reader is transported to another world. Fantastic stuff!   

The Day the Saucers Came - Neil Gaiman Paul Chadwick
The Nordic pantheon / el panteón nórdico

¿Puede una buena historia contarse en sólo 7 páginas? Claro que sí, y Neil Gaiman lo demuestra en "El día que llegaron los platillos voladores", un relato muy poético que juega con las expectativas del lector desde la primera página. ¿Qué pasaría si, repenti-namente, fuéramos invadidos por platillos voladores? ¿Qué sucedería si, en el mismo día, "las tumbas arrojaron a sus muertos y los zombis empujaron la suave tierra, como en una erupción, temblando y con ojos vacíos, imparables"?

Gaiman juega con los miedos arquetípicos de nuestra mente postmoderna... con las nociones del fin del mundo que hemos visto en películas o series de televisión, pero al mismo tiempo los enmaraña con leyendas y mitos antiguos, de hace siglos. Porque en el mismo día en que los platillos aterrizan y los muertos regresan a la vida, llega la hora del Ragnarok, aparecen la serpiente Jormungand, el lobo Fenrir, Odín y Thor, y todo el panteón nórdico. 

Y en el mismo día, los seres mágicos que habitan Elvenhome retornan a la realidad. Este sin duda ha sido un tema recurrente para Gaiman, la idea del mundo de las hadas coexistiendo con el nuestro, eternamente a nuestro alcance y aún así siempre un poco más allá de nuestra mirada. Desde "Los libros de la magia" hasta “Sandman” o “Stardust”, Gaiman ha explorado de modo brillante la fantasía como un reino y como un género literario.

Cada página muestra el delicioso arte de Paul Chadwick, uno de los mejores autores de Estados Unidos en las últimas décadas, que ciertamente hace un maravilloso trabajo ilustrando el guión de Gaiman. Chadwick contribuye a la historia con sentimiento, imágenes poderosas y escenas impresionantes.  

The Day the Saucers Came - Neil Gaiman Paul Chadwick
the extraordinary art of Paul Chadwick /el extraordinario arte de Paul Chadwick

Al final, vemos el concepto de deinos, un término usado por los griegos para describir la naturaleza humana. Deinos es lo más terrible que puedan imaginar o lo más majestuoso que puedan concebir. Porque esa es la naturaleza humana, ser lo peor y lo mejor, lo más despreciable y lo más admirable, y en la última página, Gaiman ata los cabos sueltos y hace que nos demos cuenta de que no importa cuántos aliens, zombis, dioses o hadas hay allí afuera, lo que más tememos y amamos es el otro, el humano que puede o no temernos / amarnos. 

"El día que llegaron los platillos voladores" se imprimió en las páginas de Dark Horse Presents, y sin duda después de leer algo de tan fantástico equipo creativo –Gaiman y Chadwick– debo decir que las otras historias de esta antología me parecieron decepcionantes. Me gustaría señalar, sin embargo, que realmente disfruté “Arcade Boy” (de Denis Medri), gracias a su enfoque sencillo del mundo de los juegos de computadora y, sobre todo, de la esfera íntima de un adolescente. Otras historias que mostraron potencial fueron  “Bajo el hielo” (de Simon Roy y Jason Wordie) y “Finder” (de Carla Speed McNeil). Sin embargo, mi segunda favorita después de "El día que llegaron los platillos voladores" es "Casa de villanos: el calamar y el paquidermo" de Shannon Wheeler, es un ejemplo de economía narrativa y gran secuencialidad; en sólo un puñado de páginas el lector es transportado a otro mundo. ¡Fantástico!  

Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-day-saucers-came-neil-gaiman-paul.html


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About the Author - Arion

Arion, who is either from Chile or New York (it’s not really clear) writes a blog that the Outhouse steals on a regular basis.  Arion is by far the nicest of all the staff writers and the most well behaved only having been banned from one country.  One thing we really appreciate about Aroin is that he writes his reviews in English and Spanish and we hope someday he’ll translate this blurb for us.  We’re not so good at languages, just look at how well we write in English if you need proof.  You should bookmark Arion’s blog -  http://artbyarion.blogspot.com – and actually look at it.  There will be a quiz at the end of every month.


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