Written by Beth Winters
What is the point of "The Sandman" by Neil Gaiman? I think I missed it.
I read the entirety of Gaiman’s acclaimed graphic novel series on a recommendation from a friend. He said "The Sandman" was supposed to be a super great graphic novel series, that anyone who likes graphic novels should read it. So, I thought, why not? I like a good graphic novel. ("Buffy" seasons 8, 9 and 10, anyone?) Plus, Gaiman wrote one of my all time favorite movies, Stardust, which I watch every year as a birthday treat. I still have "Stardust," the book, in my TBR pile.
But I digress. I did not understand "The Sandman" at all. I was bummed the stories are so broken up. The series pretty much boils down to this: 10 volumes, where odd-numbered volumes move the plot along while even-numbered volumes are vignettes. The story revolves around the Dream King, who is in charge of the dreaming realm. As far as the storyline goes, I am not sure I can accurately describe the series’ plot, because, as stated above, I am pretty sure I missed the point.
I enjoyed the odd-numbered volumes. It was interesting to see the adventures of the Dream King and his siblings. Throughout the series, I rooted for the Dream King. He seems to be a lost soul figuring out what to do with his immortality. The Dream King also seems very lonely, despite all the other people in his realm.
I could have liked the Dream King more, though. The odd-numbered volumes revolve around him, but most of the stories are told from perspectives other than his, so as a reader, I did not always get to see his inner thoughts. I would have liked to learn about him on a deeper level, as I think it would have added interest.
What struck me about the even-numbered volumes was just how many vignettes there are. I do not read many graphic novels, and "The Sandman" was originally published over the course of seven years, with 75 published issues. Then, the 75 issues were brought together for these reprint volumes—not sure if this is normal.
I read all the vignettes, but I did not pay as close attention as I should have, because SURPRISE! A good chunk of the vignette characters and stories are brought back in the ninth volume, meaning all the vignettes have a purpose. I just wish I knew that prior to reading, as I would have paid more attention.
Bringing all the characters and their stories back is a really cool idea. The best story just might be that of a guy named Hobbs, who cheats death and has a changing relationship with the Dream King. Do not worry, I will not give away too many details by describing how cool this particular continued character interaction is.
Before you decide to buy all 10 volumes (plus the additional two volumes with more stories than in the original run of the series, for a grand total of 12 volumes), read the first one or two to see if you actually like it. The series is not for everyone, as it is dark and includes some nudity (as do most adult graphic novels).
I would recommend this series to people who like graphic novels, who feel the need to read an acclaimed series, who want to try something new, or who want to know what the hype surrounding "The Sandman" is all about.
Title: The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: Vertigo, Reprint Edition
Publication date: October 19, 2010
Page count: 240
List price: $19.99
About the Nook
The Nook is a collective space where Reviewers share their thoughts on and reactions to the books they have just finished reading. Have something to say in response to a Reviewer's entry? Add a comment! Consider Reviewers your virtual book buds. You can also check out individual Reviewers' diaries to get a sense each one's unique tastes and ideologies.