SANDMAN Vol. 1: PRELUDES & NOCTURNES TPB: Sandman Vol. 1 Writer: Neil Gaiman Artist: Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg
With Neil Gaiman revisiting the Sandman universe with his new mini, Sandman: Overture, this seemed like a good time to review his original masterpiece. In the first volume, the Sandman is captured by a rich occultist who endeavors to capture Death and make it do his bidding. Instead, he captures the Sandman whom he imprisons for 70 years. Eventually escaping, he learns that the symbols of his office have since been turned into powerful relics used by the mystical community. On a search for the symbols of his station from which he draws power, the Sandman must deal with Constantine, go through Hell itself, and stop a deranged inmate of Arkham who suddenly has power and the sick mind to put it to use.
Neil Gaiman likely needs no introduction if you’re familiar with Sandman. It’s his best known work and one of the few graphic novels ever to make the New York Times Bestseller List. Sam Kieth is both a writer and illustrator and is best known as the creator of the Maxx.
Drawing on everything from folklore, theology, mythology and fairy tales to populate his story, Gaiman masterfully writes about these larger than life characters while making them feel almost human. Confined for decades by someone who is terrified by death, Sandman feels he is resurrected after escaping and retrieving his symbols only to find his realm has decayed in his absence. In the final issue of the trade, Sandman reveals to his sister Death that he feels adrift now that his revenge has been taken and isn’t sure what to do with himself.
The art (Kieth for the first five, Dringenberg for the final three) is fantastic throughout. The character models including that of its titular character are all offbeat and stylized but not to the point of obscuring detail. Shadows and lighting are used to similar effect but the eighth issue occurs in broad daylight showing that the art is always in service of the story and not the other way around. The Dreamscape backgrounds are similarly breathtaking.
I’ve heard the first volume is not very representative of the whole series so I’ll avoid attempting to paint the entire series with a broad brush based on only this trade. But in closing, after talking with my fellow podcasters, many had never read this series. For something started in 1989, that’s forgivable given many of our ages. But whether you’re rereading this two decades after it closed or reading it for the first time, I highly recommend picking it up before the second issue of Overture comes out in February.
I wasn't actually a huge fan of Robert Kirkman when I first started reading his books. He was competent, sure, but I didn't see the appeal-- The Irredeemable Ant-Man was a boring side story in the middle of Civil War and The Initiative (although I've since changed my mind about this), and his Ultimate X-Men run was, in many places, a mixed bag (although I did very much enjoy his "Phoenix?" storyline). And Marvel Zombies just seemed like a ridiculous idea--not that I bothered to try it at the time. Now, though? I've completely reevaluated my opinion on his work, and when his name is attached to a project, I'm far more likely to give it a look. I don't know if I'd classify him as a master storyteller or a comics icon--but he's very skilled, he has an incredible knack for dialog, and he writes stories that, no matter how ridiculous, seem real . In a medium where characters frequently violate the rules of physics, that's not alway
Horror comics are becoming more and more frequent in our reading culture, and the Ghastly Awards are here to recognize, through Horror Comic submissions, those that shine the brightest. We encourage all Comic Creators to take the time to head over to http://www.ghastlyawards.com and submit your work for 2013 Ghastly Award Nomination consideration. from the official Ghastly Awards press release . . . . . Submit your Horror Comics today for 2016 Ghastly Award Consideration! 2016 Submissions are being accepted until Dec. 31, 2016! Hello everyone! Can you believe it is already September? We are emailing you today to just remind you that you can submit your Horror Comic work throughout the entire calendar year for Ghastly Award Consideration. We are already less than 2 months away from the end of 2016 and we need your books for consideration! So what can you submit? If your book came out in 2016 it is eligible to be submitted. It's that si
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