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Harlequin Valentine (Neil Gaiman's Telling Tales)

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,512 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
In this modern hardcover retelling of a classic commedia dell'arte legend of tomfoolery and hopeless, fawning love, creators Neil Gaiman (The Sandman, the Newbery Medal-winning The Graveyard Book) and John Bolton (Evil Dead) update the relationship of Harlequin and Columbine. A buffoon burdened with a brimming heart, Harlequin chases his sensible, oblivious Columbine aroun ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published December 4th 2001 by Dark Horse Manga (first published March 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 14, 2016 Amber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great holiday of hearts this is when a demented Harlequin clown literally rips his heart out and pins it to the door of the one he wants as his columbine as a proclamation of love. Will his plan to ensnare Missy with his grotesque gift succeed or will there be something else in store for him? Read on and find out for yourself.

I thought this was a pretty good read. Neil Gaiman brings us a wonderfully twisted Valentine's day tale about the Harlequin clown and his antics. The artwork by the
Airiz C
Jun 25, 2011 Airiz C rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers who like weird romances, readers familiar with Comedia dell'arte/Brit Pantomime
Would you give your heart to someone for Valentines’ Day—literally? Neil Gaiman’s buffoonish Harlequin certainly will. In this romantically twisted re-imagining of Comedia dell’Arte and the British Pantomime, Gaiman once again proved that he is a wizard of storytelling. Couple that with John Bolton’s adroit hands with a palette of colors and what you get is a little literary treasure that will leave a lingering feeling in you after you turn the last page.

Harlequin Valentine follows the story of
L. Alexandra
Aug 12, 2013 L. Alexandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This comic came at an ironic time for me, that is to say, two stories before I would've read its original story in Fragile Things. At the tail-end of my Neil Gaiman binge, I was alternating between some of his comics, and the short stories in the aforementioned collection. I was unaware that Gaiman had transformed more than a few of his short stories into graphic novels. It was interesting reading the graphic novel first. Insofar as I can tell, there are no changes between the short story and th ...more
Feb 01, 2016 Pablo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of Gaiman's earliest works and it shows. It's an entertaining tale that brings back the delights of 'Comedia dell'Arte' to modern times, but even if it feels as a chapter of 'The Sandman' somehow it lacks its strength. Still, an entertaining read!
Mar 28, 2012 Marsha rated it it was amazing
Valentine is a time for lovers, yet set in the one of the coldest months of the year in many climes. How is happiness and romance supposed to bloom in a time when no one is in the mood to take off their clothes? A certain Harlequin has no concern for that, only his oblivious Columbine, whose feelings of love may not be the same as his… Gaiman gives us a tale of surprises, changes and trickery where nothing is as it seems and love itself can be taken off balance. In muted, colored backgrounds, sh ...more
Jan 16, 2016 James rated it it was amazing
A thoroughly engaging short graphic novel, it is visually and dramatically compelling. The story for me was held together by the sense that the relationships between these characters, even those briefly glimpsed, were natural and very real. The protagonist of the Harlequin is seemingly trapped between his nature and his desire, his interest trapped between experience and a belief in what cannot be seen, and the other characters seemingly trapped by their roles and jobs on a cold Valentine's Day. ...more
Sep 08, 2015 Benja rated it liked it
Tale of a mischievous, invisible harlequin who attempts to romance a lonely girl on St. Valentine's Day. The harlequin literally gives his heart to the girl, nailing the bloody thing to her front door and then sort of following her around, waiting for her to notice him.

The story is short and offbeat enough that you continue reading, but it never really grounds you with a specific tone, and fails to convey any lasting emotion other than one of strangeness. Not because of its supernatural trickste
Harlequin Valentine is a bloody and romantic short story later rewritten into a graphic novel by Neil Gaiman & illustrated by John Bolton, based on the old Commedia dell'arte and Harlequinade pantomime. The short story has been republished in Gaiman's collection of short stories in "Fragile Things."

The story takes place on February 14 with the Harlequin giving Missy his heart, literally speaking, by nailing it to her door. The story follows the Missy as she tries to discover who gave her thi
Nov 11, 2008 Ceci rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in art, tradition, history and weird but wonderful stories
Harlequin Valentine is such a delightful cocktail of quirkiness, oddity and romaticism that one cannot help but love it. I have always enjoyed pantomimes and the harlequinades (which I've only seen on film and in classib British tv series) and this is a charming re-telling of the old tale of the Harlequin and Columbine in the best Commedia dell'Arte tradition.

At first, I wasn't sure if I liked Bolton's illustrations, as beautiful and eerie as they are since they looked so much like eighties' fa
Bruce Nordstrom
Jul 09, 2015 Bruce Nordstrom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw this one at the library and just started looking through it. Next thing I knew I was ordering a copy from Amazon.

This a love story which examines the nature of Love. It begins on Valentine's Day, and a man gives his heart to a young woman. Literally. But she does not scorn him. Instead she keeps his heart. And then things start to get weird.

An amazing story which I keep re-reading and finding more. Neil Gaiman's story is brilliant, and Tom Boulton's artwork makes it so great.
Arlequín está enamorado y ha decidido entregar su corazón el día de San Valentín a su amada. De manera literal. Clavado en la puerta de su casa con un alfiler de sombrero.

Missy, la Colombina, tiene sentimientos diferentes a los del arlequín y no duda en devorar su corazón.

Interesante revisión del clásico de la Comedia del arte.

No me ha gustado demasiado el arte gráfico.
Jan 29, 2015 Leah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gaiman's modern magical retelling of an age old story with age old theatrical tropes was a real treat. It was a nice respite from the longer books I've been trying to make myself read. The art was beautiful, if only a little wonky at times. I initially bought this as an unplanned Valentine's Day gift for my boyfriend who loves Neil at least as much as I do.
Aug 25, 2014 Angie rated it liked it
Harlequin is searching for and trying to seduce his new Valentine in this graphic novel from Neil Gaiman. Since his seduction starts with him pinning his bleeding heart onto her front door you know you are not in for a regular seduction. The story is a bit gruesome, but entertaining. I enjoyed the history of the Harlequin story that Gaiman included at the back.
Jun 11, 2011 Phoenix rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
I just finished this today. While I've always loved this short story, I found that I didn't like it as much when adapted to a visual format. I think it's mostly because I'm selfish when I've already read certain stories long before and have a specific image of all the characters in my head. I didn't picture Missy the way the artist of this graphic novel did, nor Harlequin for that matter. The atmosphere overall fit the tone of the story, but again, I think I preferred it when there weren't pictu ...more
Aaron Chandler
Thou i haven't read this story on this comic book, i have read it in one of his other works. This interesting and a weird and truly interesting love story, i had to just sit back and enjoy this. Got me interested in the Harlequin legend, i mean this is truly and great story about love and obsession. I mean this is funny it was in a way what you need to get thou love. This was something golden, i mean i loved it. there is simply nothing else to say. i wanna get the comic cause well i love that st ...more
Feb 14, 2016 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
An unusual Valentine's tale, as only Neil Gaiman can offer. I listened to the 24-minute audio version, which was narrated by Gaiman, adding to its richness and ambiance.
Jun 28, 2016 RB rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Prosaic writing, a lifeless story, a shoddy execution, and very unpleasant artwork make Neil Gaiman's "Harlequin Valentine" a forgettable book that you will be glad is only 32 pages.
Paul Eckert
Jun 10, 2011 Paul Eckert rated it really liked it
Great short story in which a Harlequin roams the streets in a city, trying to win the affections of a particular woman. In a short space, Gaiman does a great job of introducing the mythical background of the Harlequin and playing it into the story. The ending was a welcome surprise and brought the story full circle.

The illustration complimented the story well, and told its part of the story very effectively. The Harlequin was well-realized, and the soft focus of the drawings gives the story a d
3.5 stars

This very short, 40-page graphic novel tells the story of a harlequin who falls in love with a woman, Missy, on Valentine's Day. To exhibit his affection, he nails his heart to her door with a hat pin. The story progresses from there as the harlequin follows Missy about her day, her carrying his heart along. The plot is drawn from the tropes used in old Commedia dell'arte, with some of the style of English harlequins thrown in.

The art style, comprised of digitally enhanced photos that a
Suki St Charles
Feb 13, 2016 Suki St Charles rated it it was amazing
...a wondefully twisted little love story... The artwork is stunning, and the text and pictures complement each other perfectly.
Mar 13, 2008 Ako rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again, Neil Gaiman has written a heart-melting modern fairy tale and blended it with a contemporary point of view and a sprinkle of fairy dust.

After literally giving his heart, Harlequin the pantomime chased his heart desire on a Valentine Day. Later on in the city, he found such a charming surprise in town. It's a story of hopeless love. Strange but romantically gorgeous. Just perfect for the ones who found that spending Valentine Day alone as something hard to swallow.

It's poetic and has
Oct 19, 2014 Valeria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amé esta historia y las ilustraciones tan bellas. Sin duda quedo entre mis favoritos.
Frans Karlsson
A book about how Harlequin gives away his whole heart to Missy (Columbine).
Jose Gonzalez
Apr 27, 2015 Jose Gonzalez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un relato bonito y misterioso. También algo oscuro, pero magnífico.
Mar 14, 2015 GONZA rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biblioteca
I was hoping for something better.

Speravo in qualcosa di meglio.
Kat Desi
Nov 30, 2014 Kat Desi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
This was my first ever Gaiman read; based on the Commedia dell'arte and Harlequinade pantomime, Gaiman retells the story of Harlequin and Columbine.
Lía Erazo
Jan 07, 2015 Lía Erazo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una belleza que hay que tener en las manos
Jan 29, 2011 T4ncr3d1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novel
"Ahi, sventura, Arlecchino innamorato è una triste creatura"

Può capitare che si usi l'espressione "io le ho donato il mio cuore, e lei se lo è mangiato". Gaiman ha pensato bene di scriverci un fumetto.
E così, qui troviamo un Arlecchino tristemente innamorato che regala il suo cuore alla donna che ama, glielo inchioda alla porta. Ma lei, indifferente, preferisce mangiarselo.
Un'altra fiaba dark, pensata per la festa degli innamorati.
Se questo non è genio, è una forma di follia tanto vicina alla g
Jan 21, 2015 Cale rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This quick tale takes the Harlequin from the Commedia Dellarte form and puts him in a modern story about strange romance. It's a simple story, but it has Gaiman's feel to it, with a world that is almost normal, but just slightly bent, and things work out in an unexpected way. The art is distinctive, both photo-referenced and heavily cel shaded. Also interesting is a quick two page 'interview' with John Bolton at the end, which seems like the genesis of Neil Gaiman's directorial debut 'An Intervi ...more
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Share This Book

“I watch my heart disappearing into her rosebud mouth. My Valentine's jest somehow seems less funny.” 20 likes
“That's the joy of a harlequinade, after all, isn't it? We change our costumes. We change our roles.” 5 likes
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