This week on View from the Gutters our topic work is Free Country: A Tale from the Children’s Crusade, written by Jamie Delano, Alisa Kwitney, Toby Litt, and Neil Gaiman with art by Peter Snejbjerg, Mike Barreiro, Chris Bachalo, and Peter Gross. Whew, what a mouthful!
According to wikipedia legend—O Best Beloved—this series was originally published as The Children’s Crusade in 1993 as two 1-shot issues written by Neil Gaiman, which were to bookend a story told through the Annual issues of five ongoing Vertigo series. However, due to reasons (which are several and varied) many of the annual issues only touched on the intended story tangentially, and due to its general incoherence it was never collected.
Free Country: A Tale from the Children’s Crusade, released in 2015, discards the annual issues with a brand new middle to Children’s Crusade #1 & 2, written by Toby Litt, along with additional pages that fill in other gaps within those issues.
The series follows the first case of The Dead Boy Detectives, Edwin and Charles (introduced in the pages of The Sandman), who are tasked with finding a missing child. Children have, in fact, been disappearing all over the world and in great numbers. They soon discover that the children are being taken to Free Country, a mysterious neverland free from the tyranny and abuse of adults.
But all is not well, even in Free Country, and Edwin and Charles must race against time to stop a nefarious plot that could alter the fate of the world (or something to that effect).
In our recommendation section our hosts nominated The Dark Tower: Gunslinger Born, Death Vigil, Bitch Planet, The Question: The Five Books of Blood, and Lobster Johnson: Get the Lobster for discussion on our next episode, and our selected title is The Question: The Five Books of Blood.
Our hosts for this episode are Andrew Chard, Tobiah Panshin, Kayleigh Fleeman, Kit Deforge, and Cade Reynolds.