Prior to meeting Neil Gaiman I was talking about him with my coworkers. My one coworker asked me if I had read any of the Sandman comics and offered to bring a copy of his book in. The following day, there it was.
I know next to nothing about comics. My knowledge of them is lacking severely. So... take this as a review of someone who has never seen a comic before (well, I have, but I just am really unknowledgable to it all). Based on what I've read from goodreads I suppose this is a republish of this story with a new artist but I haven't the knowledge of what it was before. I suppose that will be something for you to find out on your own.
In this fairytale a badger and fox make a bet to get a young monk to leave his temple but it sets off a n unlikely chain of events. The fox, with her attempt to bring the monk out of the temple, turns into a beautiful woman. The monk helps the woman but is not fooled by her looks and knows her to be a fox. Neither the badger or the fox win the bet but the fox comes away with something it had not considered, the fox fell in love with the monk.
But there are more things afoot and a greedy man, desperate to take the property of the monk, is working with dark magic to get it from him. The fox is privy to this information and takes it upon herself to save the monk. The monk ultimately tries to save the fox and in the end, they are still separated, but that is only what some believe.
I haven't much experience with Japanese fairytales either but I've read a few and found that this story, to me, reads quite like a Japanese fairytale. It's beautiful and simply put but moving all the same. It's a love story in the classic way that love arrives sudden and shocking and that not all love stories in written tales (especially fairy tales) end with a happily ever after but something to make you curious and wonder. To suspect and hope.
The story stays with you and you're left hoping that maybe you can stumble into love as the fox did and that it will be strong enough for sacrifice, if necessary, but hopefully not needed.
I know there are other comics that Gaiman has done and this one sealed the deal: I love reading Gaiman and I want to read more of his comic stories. Especially if they are as artfully done as this one.