Hey all, Dani here.
Well I’m back with another review of a whole series, this time the Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman. I read the first five volumes in 2016, and really wanted to finish the series then but I had an influx of other books I needed to acquire and so these collected volumes had to wait. I recently bought volumes 6-10 and could barely restrain myself before diving in to finish them. For the summary and the links to purchase, I’ll be giving the information for the first volume only so as to avoid any potential spoilers.
New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman’s transcendent series SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with his own distinct narrative vision.
In PRELUDES & NOCTURNES, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.
This book also includes the story “The Sound of Her Wings,” which introduces us to the pragmatic and perky goth girl Death.
Includes issues 1-8 of the original series.
Ratings: 5 STARS for EVERYTHING!
This is such a wonderful and complex, diverse and expansive, sometimes whimsical, sometimes dark, sometimes absolutely lovely, series. Honestly, I have no idea why it took me so long to get these graphic novels. Weirdly enough, this was also my introduction to Neil Gaiman…well, unless you count seeing the movie Stardust years ago. But I had always heard about Neil Gaiman as this great storyteller, and this is an amazing example of his creative range.
I love the characters, and there are a lot of them. Some will only show up in one issue of one volume, but some are regularly occurring. Even the random tertiary characters seem to breathe on the page. I had no issues at all seeing them all as real people/creatures/etc. There is diversity in color and belief systems and sexuality and philosophy, which truly makes this a memorable reading experience.
Oh, and the artwork. Depending on the tone of each particular tale, the artwork changed to fit that mood. Some of the characters even have speech bubbles and speech font differences from everyone else. It is just a visual feast, a smorgasbord that you will want to devour whole.
Okay, I will say that Dream and Death are my favorite characters, but each of the Endless are fascinating in their own ways. Plus you run into other fun characters like Lucifer, you know, the same Lucifer that currently has a television show about his exploits on Earth, which is now heading into its third season? Yeah, the Sandman comics are where his storyline began, up to him leaving Hell to come up to our realm. Obviously the adaptation from comic to TV show made some changes but honestly they seem relatively minor (Lucifer is blond in the comics, but I think Tom Ellis is doing amazing in the show).
Anyway, back to the Endless. They are god-like, but they are older than the gods. There are seven of them and they are fascinating. We spend most of our time with Morpheus, otherwise known as Dream, though his older sister, Death, is also a frequent guest throughout the series. As it progresses you meet the rest of them: Destiny, Desire, Delirium, Destruction, and Despair.
Oh, and if you’re a fan of DC comics, you’ll note that a number of characters from there appear in Sandman as well, including but not limited to: John Constantine, Batman, and Hawkman. There are also numerous characters from biblical lore that pop up as well, including Cain, Abel, and Eve.
Basically I could gush about this for many more paragraphs but I don’t want to risk spoiling anything, and with the complete collection of ten volumes, there’s a lot of potential spoilers. I’ll just say that I highly recommend this amazing graphic novel collection.
Where to Buy
You can pick up Sandman in a number of different volume collections or other bound collections from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. I should also point out that you could likely pick up any of the Sandman tales from a comic book store as well.