The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes

By Neil Gaiman

Illustrators: Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, artists; Todd Klein, letterer; Robbie Busch, colorist; selected recoloring by Daniel Vozzo; Dave McKean, covers.

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: DC Comics, 1995, 1991

Genres: Fantasy, dark fantasy, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, mythic fiction, adventure, horror

Format: Graphic novel

Series: The Sandman series; 1

ISBN: 9781563890116

Intended audience: “Suggested for mature readers”

Number of pages: 239

Settings: various cities on Earth, Hell, and dreams

Time period: 1916- 1988

Plot summary: When a secret magical society tries to capture Death to use for their own purposes, they mistakenly capture Dream, Death’s younger brother instead.  Imprisoned in a glass bubble, Dream (aka Morpheus and The Sandman) waits for his chance to escape.  After waiting more than seventy years, Dream is finally able to escape, but he has been much weakened by his capture.  His realm has fallen to ruin and he must find his tools of his trade which were taken from him (his pouch, his mask, and his ruby), before he can fully regain his strength.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: Slower beginning while Dream is imprisoned; once he escapes, the action picks up immensely.  The Sandman tirelessly pursues his quest of retrieving his lost tools.

Characterization: Told in third person through various viewpoints.  The primary viewpoint is The Sandman’s, but other character perspectives are shown as well.  Many characters are introduced in this book, some of which seem like they will become increasingly more important as the series progresses.

Frame: Dark and intense colors are used to illustrate many frightful pictures.  The frame is dark and disturbing and sometimes graphically violent, although there are brief moments where beauty is glimpsed.

Story Line: A compelling story involving a simple quest: escape and find precious lost tools.  This simple quest becomes quite complex as many other stories and characters become intertwined with Morpheus and his quest.

Subject headings:

From PCPL:

Horror comic books, strips, etc.
Fantasy comic books, strips, etc.
Dreams — Comic books, strips, etc.
Graphic novels
Strip cartoons.

Similar authors:

From NoveList:
Robin Mckinley, Terry Pratchet, Christopher Moore, Stephen King,  Kurt Vonnegut, Charles De Lint, Alan Moore

Personal notes: A friend of mine introduced me to this series years ago by giving me a single issue comic book.  Even though much of the story was lost to me, I still really enjoyed it.  I know that this is going to be a series which I will read all the way through now that I have started at the beginning.

[Annotated 11/16/08]

Other notes: Introduced by Karen Berger

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