The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have been wanting to read this one for a long time, and finally it came back in at the library. Of course I grabbed it, and this was my last finished book of 2013.
I've been reading Neil Gaiman for about two years, and I consider myself a pretty healthy fan of his work. This first installment showcases a lot of his style and thematic focus in his work.
From my experience of his writing, there seems to be an undercurrent of prevalent sadness , and this was no different. It fits the overall story, considering that the main character is an immortal who interacts with humans to a varying degree. To this ancient being, humanity is as fleeting and temporary as a blink of an eye. That has to feel rather morose to an immortal, who wonders what purpose such a short life would serve. Also he seems to feel lonely and disconnected. Morpheus makes an interesting lead because of his power to enter and to shape the dreams of humans, since he is the god of sleep. He makes for a ripe subject in a fantasy graphic novel series because the concept of dreams can go in so many directions.
Essentially, The Sandman works very well as a frame story, and that was my experience as I read the stories in this volume. I liked them all except 24 Hours, since it is the kind of visceral modern horror that rubs me the wrong way. Otherwise, I was pretty happy with this book. I liked the numerous cameos for those who are familiar with the DC Comics universe (yes, some big ones!).
I feel that the collaboration between writer and artists here was very successful, as I could see a very cohesive effort in the narrative and imagery. I have the feeling this will be a series that I enjoy, and I am looking forward to following this series in 2014.
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