Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrators: Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, & Malcolm Jones III
The Sandman, vol. 1
Over his many unending years of life and influence, he has been called many things: Morpheus, Dream, the Sandman. When an unholy ceremony intended to summon and imprison his older sister Death, Dream finds himself drawn in instead. The items in which he has hidden his power taken from him, he sits in a glass prison for years upon years–so long that his original captors have all died. When Dream finally does manage to escape, he finds himself destitute in a world of chaos, much of his power scattered and in the hands of others. And so, he sets off on a quest to reclaim his powers and restore order to the realm of the night.
I have been a fan of Neil Gaiman ever since I first read Neverwhere and The Graveyard Book ages ago, but it’s only recently that I discovered his work in graphic novels by picking up The Books of Magic. I’ve heard really impressive reviews of The Sandman even before I started reading graphic novels; however, I must say that Preludes & Nocturnes wasn’t really what I expected. There was too much of a usual comic-book feel–the author himself even says in the afterword that he was trying to emulate various traditional comic styles–and honestly, there is altogether too much unnecessary violence and horror. I love Gaiman’s work for its overwhelming fantasy; he doesn’t need to stoop to cheap horror. However, the last chapter gave me hope for greater things from the future volumes of The Sandman, enough that I definitely intend to read on. I do appreciate the unexpected sparks of depth that show up scattered throughout, as well as the many allusions to mythology, literature, etc. . . . although the Justice League allusions just weird me out a bit. As for the art, well, if you’re used to a comic book style, it’s probably normal enough. Maybe even impressive. I haven’t read enough of them to know; I just know that the coloring and style are really strange to someone like me who usually reads manga. So yeah, overall, Preludes & Nocturnes is definitely not my favorite Gaiman work, but I’m holding on judging the story as a whole until I’ve read the other volumes.