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The Sandman #1

The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes

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Librarian Note: If you're looking for the Audible adaptation of the first three volumes it is here.

New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman's transcendent series SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with his own distinct narrative vision.

In PRELUDES & NOCTURNES, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey, Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.

This book also includes the story "The Sound of Her Wings," which introduces us to the pragmatic and perky goth girl Death.

Includes issues 1-8 of the original series.

233 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1988

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Neil Gaiman

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Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 90 books232k followers
October 30, 2018
So here's the thing...

I wrote the introduction to the 30th anniversary edition of The Sandman.

How absolutely *stupid* is that?

It's been half a year since I got the invitation, and months since I actually finished writing the introduction, but I still can't believe it.

To celebrate, I thought I'd write a review here. But rather than just my usual messy gush about how I love some story, I got permission from the publisher to re-print part of my introduction I wrote.

Share and enjoy...

**(What follows is an excerpt from the intro)**

I’ll admit, I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to do here.

If you’ve already read Sandman, what can I tell you that you don’t already know deep in the secret corners of your heart? You know this story is lovely and brilliant and sweet and strange. You know it is beautiful and deep and wry and wondrous. You know.

If you’ve already read this book, you know nothing I can say is as good as what waits for you ahead.

So go. Stop reading this and go.

If you haven’t read this book, and are, perhaps, standing in a bookstore or a comic shop, wondering if it’s worth your time, what I can say to convince you? Should I wax rhapsodic? Get lyrical and grandiose? Reference some of the story’s funnier jokes so I seem more clever than I really am?

No. I love this book too much. I don’t want to spoil its secrets or steal its thunder.

So let me tell you the simple truth. No hyperbole.

Sandman changed my life.

It’s not often you get to say that and mean it. But it’s true.

If that’s not enough to convince you… I guess all that’s left is for me to tell you a story or two. Because that’s what I do.

Stories are important, after all….

* * *

I came to comics late in life. I can’t tell you why. I was a voracious reader as a kid, going through pretty much every picture book in the local library until I finally started chapter books around age 9. Then I read a novel or two a day until I finished high school.

Even as I slouched through college, comics simply weren’t on my radar. Didn’t occur to me to read them. Didn’t occur to me they might be worth reading. I had a couple thousand fantasy and sci-fi novels under my belt, and my classes were exposing me to Shakespeare and Chaucer, Sanskrit theater and the Harlem Renaissance poets. I read Roethke and Frost and Brooks and Baldwin.

But comics? That was like… Garfield, right? And superheroes? I didn’t spare any thought for them, and when I did, I assumed they were (and I’m ashamed to write this now) silly bullshit for kids.

I was well into my 20’s when, at a weekend-long party, I sat down in a quiet corner and idly picked up a copy of Dark Night Returns. I read the whole thing straight through, completely lost in it, deaf to the riot and welter around me.

Hours later, I hunted down the person who had brought the book. I shook it at them, angry and incredulous, demanding: “Is it all as good as this?”

“Oh no,” he said sadly. “But some of it is close.”

First he gave we Watchmen, and it floored me despite the fact that I didn’t I didn’t know superheroes mythology from a hole in the ground.

Next came Sandman. And it was unlike any story I’d ever read. In any genre. In any medium. I remember thinking, “Can you do this? Can you have Odin and angels and faeries and witches and… just everything? All at once? In the same story? Is this allowed?”

It lit me up inside. I wouldn’t shut up about it. I’d give it to people and say, “You have to read this! It’s like Shakespeare!”

I blush a little now, remembering that. It’s not the best comparison. It’s just that back then, Shakespeare was the best thing I’d ever read.

The truth is, Shakespeare wishes he wrote something this good.

* * *

But let’s back up a bit. I’d prefer to be fully honest here. I didn’t feel that way about Sandman immediately. Not right out of the gate.

I read this first graphic novel and liked it well enough. Preludes and Nocturnes is lovely. It introduces the world, the characters, there’s a nice little plot. Tension. Mystery. Hero’s Journey. Mythic underpinning. Decent to the underworld. Vengeance. Recovery of self. Got my RDA of all manner of awesome here. Cool.

Then I kept reading, and the storytelling got looser. But I was still happy. Shakespeare shows up. I dig that. And there’s faerie tales. And… What? Are we in Africa now? Wait, is someone telling a story about a story inside a story? Okay. That’s cool. I guess this series is more like a bunch of different stories? But they’re all interesting, so who really cares if they don’t really have much to do with each other…

Then I kept reading and there was a little plotline. And a new character or two. And… and… hold on. Wait. Does all this fit together? Has it all fit together from the beginning?

Has everything been leading to an ending?

Oh. Oh lord. I never knew a story could be like this.

**(End excerpt)**

There's more, of course. I do tend to go on a bit when it comes to books I love. But I'm guessing you get the gist of it.

If you read The Sandman back in the day, trust me, it's as good as you remember.

If you've never read The Sandman, this is the place to start. And trust me, it's absolutely worth your time.
Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 90 books232k followers
February 15, 2015
First off, let's be clear, I'm a big soppy fan of Gaiman's Work.

Secondly, I've read the Sandman series several times before. So this is more a record of my fond re-reading and musing about this story rather than some sort of objective review.

But if you've read any of my other reviews, that won't come as a surprise.

I think it's been a full ten years since the last time I've read this series. And, given that my memory is, well... to put it plainly quite shit, I get to experience the series with a fairly fresh set of eyes at this point.

The first thing that I notice is that the art is different that I remember. I remember it being darker and grittier. More real AND more surreal at the same time.

But that, I'm expecting, is the lens of corrective memory at play. In reality, the art seems more (for lack of a better word) cartoony. The colors are bolder, more garish than I remember.

Note: I had the same experience recently when I re-read Watchmen. So I'm suspecting this is an issue with me, rather than the comic. Or perhaps I'm remembering the later parts of the comic more vividly.

The other thing I'm surprised to see is that both John Constantine and a few members of the DC cannon show up in this first book. Mostly just brief walk-ons, but Martian Manhunter is there, and we see Arkham asylum and the Scarecrow.

These things don't detract from the story. I can say that for a fact, because on my earlier reads when I hadn't read many comics, so I didn't know who many of those characters were. But I have to say, reading through this time they kinda surprised me.

You see, I think of the Sandman series as being... well... kinda self-contained. That's not the right way of putting it really, as the story is hugely vast. It's sprawling and lovely and mythically rich.

I guess what I'm saying here is that while it seems perfectly natural that Sandman exists in the same world as Odin and Puck and Eurydice, having Batman in that cosmology, even by association, feels really odd to me. And the more I think of it, it's strangely off-putting.

That said, I'm fairly certain these DC cameos were early things, and weren't repeated extensively throughout the rest of the series.

As for this first book, it makes for both a great story in itself, and a great start to the larger series. That's not a common thing.

Is it worth your time?


I don't care if you don't read comics, you should read this series.

And if you *do* read comics, you cannot consider yourself well-read until you have Sandman under your belt. Seriously.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,922 reviews69.3k followers
December 20, 2022
Re-read 2022


When I first read this back in 2009, I really hadn't been reading comics for very long.
Because of my newbie status, a lot of the cool cameos and whatnot went completely over my head.
And yet, I still thought this was a really awesome story. So it does stand on its own for those of you who aren't really that familiar with some of the faces you might see.
Now that I get the references to this character or that character, it adds an extra layer of ah-ha! to the story that wasn't there before. Not a necessary requirement, though.


The art style is very late 80s/early 90s and your personal mileage is going to vary with it. For me, it was ok. As in, I didn’t love it, but it did have a recognizable style all its own that (I thought) fit with this particular tale.


The end with Dream's sister was still a lot of fun to read, and if you like this character, I’d suggest you check out Death. It’s good stuff.

I liked the beginning when Dream was captured. The mystical elements held my attention. However, the middle of it kind of grossed me out. Especially the part with Dee in the diner. EWWWW. The end of Preludes and Nocturnes totally made up for it, though. I loved Death! How cool is she?! Making Death a peppy little goth girl was genius.


Highly Recommended.
Profile Image for Bill Kerwin.
Author 1 book81.5k followers
April 10, 2020

I thought it was time I added The Sandman. It fits precisely into my systematic program of reading. “Hold on!” I can hear all you folks out there saying. “ Your 'systematic program of reading'? Why you're one of the most eclectic readers I know!”

I can understand why you might feel that way, but there is a little method to my madness. Although it is true that some of the books I read (progressive political analyzes, slim 20th century verse collections, cat books, classic spiritual treatises, or the occasional literary novel) do not fit within my grand plan, most of them do.

About ten years ago, I realized that many books I liked were from emerging, belittled or despised forms or genres: the Elizabethan popular stage play, the budding 18th century novel, the gothic romance, the Victorian bourgeois novel published in serial form, the novel of sensation, the decadent experiment, the adventure tale, the sea story, the spy story, the ghost story, the pulps (both mystery and terror), the space opera and other science fiction and fantasy of the '50's, the detective novel, and the modern horror tale. Whereas the writers of “literary fiction” are often too concerned with critical opinion, judiciously curbing their personal obsessions and producing unreadable “writerly” prose, the humble genre writer is more likely to give his “inner crazy” free rein, and either tell his eccentric story in no-nonsense fashion or--on occasion--let his plots and prose burgeon untrammeled, like a blooming meadow garden. At worst, the result is amusing, or odd; at best, it is something original, something new.

Not long ago, it occurred to me that—being too much a creature of words—I had neglected an obvious example of an emerging genre: the comic book of the late 80's, on its way to becoming the “graphic novel.” Since I'm already in love with Gaiman's American Gods, I decided to begin with The Sandman.

I am glad I did. The first eight numbers of Gaiman's series are, on the surface, a traditional quest story. Morpheus Lord of the Dreamworld, imprisoned for years by a sorcerer, goes searching for the objects of power—his helmet, his jewel, his pouch of dream-dust—so that he may once again exercise full power over his realm. But the stories it tells, and the genres in touches, range widely, from an Edwardian tale of an Aleister Crowley type sorcerer, a pulp EC Horror Cain and Abel anecdote, a contemporary British horror story of drug abuse, through a mythic descent into hell featuring an epic duel with demons, until it climaxes in a ghastly ordeal of modern horror (with a little meta-fiction thrown in) in which an escaped madman in a diner, in possession of the Dream Lord's mind manipulating jewel, brutalizes the restaurant's clientele for hours. The final number (“The Sound of Her Wings”)—perhaps the most elegant of the eight—is however, a kind of whimsical coda, introducing us to Dream's sister, the irreverent and down-to-earth Death.

I thought everything about this saga—story, dialogue, art—was well executed...except for one small detail. Gaiman chooses to make a reference to the DC universe (the Justice League of America, to be precise) in a way that breaks the spell of what otherwise would be a completely self-contained, transcendent and mythic journey. But that's the kind of thing that's bound to happen in emerging genres. People take risks.

Anyway, I'm hooked. On to Sandman, Volume 2: “The Doll's House”.
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
797 reviews3,631 followers
January 1, 2023
What a hell of a ride, although gods are just bystanders

Because Sandman aka Dream and his gang rock even more
With their sheer power, they dominate every aspect of human lives, are more than literal gods, because they exist forever without the need for sanctimonious sentient beings. They´re manifested in ways that are essential to the universe itself and human features too. But they're not immune to

The trouble caused by naked apes
Arrogance is part of the game, because if your pals are named destruction, desire, death, despair, delirium, and destiny, one tends to go full megalomania. From there, the already amazing story erupts to even more complexity, because the main protagonist begins questioning himself. Helping with that is the

Inclusion of gods, timelines from ancient times to the present time, and real life innuendos with historical figures
This extra free, maybe a bit speculative and alternative, history course is the icing on the prodigy work cake that makes this series a milestone of the genre and one of the many reasons for Gaiman's iconic megastar status.

Gaiman's preferred writing style is similar to Sanderson's Laws of Magic
But instead of, mainly but not just, implementing magic like Sanderson, Gaiman uses very big pictures, kind of metaphilosophical and metaphysical concepts that are manifested as magic creatures, that are more gods than wizards. They don´t have a magic forest or a tower, they live in their own kind of magic, I hope I got that right, realms that are somewhat physically not that easily explainable, like Asgard, Hell, Dreaming, and Faerie. With such a concept one

Can just grow big and extremely complex
Because the downcycling capacity is incredible, not to speak of the plot and trope options. Something mightier than a god influences parallel universes and reality, while modified and manipulated humans do what they should. Or not, because, as small and unimportant as we are in comparison, one of us can still create pretty much trouble for an entity as old as time and the universe.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
February 27, 2017
Mr Gaiman, thank you for the dream.

See what I did there? But in all fairness this is a dream. This comic is just everything I want a comic to be. It’s dark and brutal; it’s profound and sophisticated: it’s imaginative and creative. I just love everything about it. It’s superb. Let’s begin with the characters:



So the protagonist is a god, a very old god. And he represents one of the key elements of life itself: hope. He is everything the mind longs for. He is the reason to carry on living. Dream walks in the darkness. He comes from the darkness and brings the light. However, such an entity has been brought down by the folly of humans. He’s been locked away and his power sought after. The world is in turmoil; thus, the story begins. As Dream seeks the stolen relics of his power, the depth of this world is slowly revealed.

Lucifer Morningstar


Although Lucifer isn’t a major character in this volume, I do feel like he is being forshadowed as a later antagonist in this series. Well, at least, I hope he is. I love the rendition of Lucifer here. He is very much in the Miltonic vein. Proud and beautiful yet twisted beyond repair. One of his minions has a relic of Dream’s, and although the two are hospitable towards each other, the words speak of veiled threats and a violent past. I can’t wait to see more. Lucifer and Dream philosophising the sovereignty of hell? Give me more.



So Death is a gothic girl who oozes with nihilism? She’s a rock chick who is clearly rather badass. She’s Dream’s sister and is rather pissed off that he didn’t call on her for help. Why are these characters so fucking cool? I could spend all day reading about this lot.

Did I just find a new favourite comic series?
Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,129 reviews3,552 followers
May 19, 2015
FanTABulous preluDe!

Creative Team:

Writer: Neil Gaiman

Illustrators: Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg & Malcolm Jones III

Covers: Dave McKean

Letterer: Todd Klein


It is NEVER “only a dream”, John Constantine.

Definitely there is stuff that if you read again, you’ll get it differently, but even so, you’ll get it differently if you re-read it again in a different order.

I am re-reading again the first four TPBs of The Sandman since I was able to buy the rest of TPBs of the series, BUT I chose to read first the TPBs of Death and definitely it was the right call. Neil Gaiman commented at the end of The High Cost of Living that Death can serve as an introduction to The Sandman and he was right. I guess he knows something about it since he’s the author (he,he,he).

But, seriously, now that I read Death: The High Cost of Living first of re-engaging into The Sandman, I was able to recognize some characters and getting the importance of comments made there. Even wondering details like how Roderick Burguess was sure, with just a glance, that Dream wasn’t Death, but wasn’t able to know who was exactly. Allowing me to enjoy even more the re-reading experience of this first TPB in the series.

Of course, re-reading again this first TPB (taking in account that I already read before the following 3 TPBs) allow me to enjoy the introduction here and there of characters that they will play relevant roles in the rest of the series. And that I was able to appreciate and understanding certain scenes.
So, indeed this is a prelude to The Sandman, since Neil Gaiman is just establishing the general scenario where he will develop the story in the following TPBs.


I am riding in your dreams.

1916: Morpheus, the King of the realm of Dreams, the embodiment of Dream, is trapped by mistake by a black sorceress.

Roderick Burguess didn’t want to catch Dream, he was after Death.

But what’s done, it’s done.

Dream is trapped in a magic circle during 72 years and even bereft from his tools of office which are key receptacles of his own power.

1988: Dream is able to escape. Weak. Angry. Confused.

During this first TPB of The Sandman, Morpheus must seek out for his tótems of power, a little pouch full of sand, a helm with the shape of a WWI gas mask, and a ruby.

Dream needs all those three artifacts since he put inside of them too much of his own power and therefore, now without them, he won’t be able to regain control of his own realm.

Dream will have a little help from John Constantine to get back one of those items, but about the remaining two, he must face alone dangerous challenges in unexpected places and/or against unexpected oponents.

And since Morpheus needs those things to get back to full power, evidently he isn’t in top shape to fight his enemies with raw power, so he must rely in cunning and destiny to try to be again his “old self”.

Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,574 reviews5,911 followers
December 30, 2014

I need to admit something. I've never "gotten" Neil Gaiman's books. They confuse the hell out of me. I really never know where he is going with a story. *gasp*

This one was some freaky ass shit. Some old guy wants to perform a ceremony to capture "Death". Yeah..okay.
Anyways, he ends up capturing our guy Dream.
Dream bides his time. Then he wants his domain back. Then some more freaky ass shit goes down.

I see a whole lot of fangirls and boys on these books. Don't kill me yet. I have another one to read.
But I'm skeered...
Profile Image for Chad.
7,734 reviews869 followers
July 26, 2020
I'm stuck at home during a pandemic so why not revisit an old friend. Sandman was the first comic I remember reading in high school where I first thought, "Hey, maybe comics aren't just for kids!".

Even though Vertigo later distanced itself from the rest of the DC universe. I love how Gaiman grounds this right in the DC universe while still making it its own thing. John Constantine who quickly become one of my favorite DC characters. Even the Justice League shows up with the main villain, Dr. Destiny, being a JLA villain. Rather than ignoring the Golden Age Sandman, Gaiman explains how the two are related.

Gaiman does embrace a dark, horror vibe, especially in the issue where Dr. Destiny tortures the patrons of a diner. Sam Keith and Mike Dringenberg give the book a nice 1950's horror look. The book looks like it could have been issues of Eerie! or House of Mystery. Speaking of House of Mystery I adore how Gaiman repurposes the host of those books, Cain and Abel, making them supporting characters in Sandman. I like how he uses the idea of the Dreaming to explain those old DC horror stories.

And then there's Death. Who would have ever thought that Death would be this adorable, perky little Goth girl, not so much menacing you as you die, but comforting and helping you on your journey to the great beyond. I'm so glad that I can go back and revisit this 30 years later and it's still just as magical as the first time I read it.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,977 followers
January 3, 2020
Re-Read 1/3/20:

Just as good as the previous reads. :)

Original Review:

I have to say I enjoyed this much better the second time around.

Both times I really got a kick out of the Crowley sidestory, and I still have no idea who or what the original sandman comic was all about, nor do I particularly care, but this reimagining is a real work of art.

It's not even the art, per-se, although I did enjoy seeing Bowie as Satan. It fits him so well. It was the story. It seemed to stumble about for a short while as 70 years of imprisonment turned a very old god into a shadow, but once he was released, we had the real power of myth awaken and we suddenly had a Quest to Regain Powerful Artifacts, including John Constantine representing normal human worlds, Satan representing hell, and Doctor Dee representing dreams all made perfectly real. Each success returned Dream to his former glory and established a truly epic worldbuilding experience.

If everything is possible, then what is necessary?

The answer? A good night's sleep.


Oh hell, I know what's going to happen later. This has made me almost impossibly giddy to revisit it. Welcome home, Dream.
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,012 reviews1,332 followers
October 4, 2020
“What power would hell have if those imprisoned here would not be able to dream of heaven?”

Fadi's pick for my 10 reader, 10 recommendations challenge!

For personal reasons I will only do a short review of this book. I thought the book was confusing and hard to get into at first but the more I read, the easier it got to follow and understand and I enjoyed it more and more.

There is always a magic to books released decades ago (1998!!) because you get a snapshot of that time period which I find fascinating.

I am not the biggest fan of the art, it is gooey and slimy and in fact, it is fitting for the story but I just prefer cleaner styles. Anyway I still enjoyed this and will be continuing it in the upcoming months.
Profile Image for Brad.
Author 2 books1,691 followers
November 19, 2013
Since joining goodreads, I’ve been baffled by the Neil Gaiman love fest. American Gods, Neverwhere, Stardust, The Graveyard Book, they appear to be universally loved, and I’ve been skeptical of this emotion that borders on worship. These books are good and all, and I recognize their general accessibility, but I don’t personally find any of them mind blowing literature. Gaiman’s prose is no match for China Mieville’s or Iain M. Banks’ or Ursula LeGuin’s (and countless others who write speculative fiction), and the way he recasts mythology into contemporary settings is more clever than inspired. The love accorded Gaiman, therefore, feels disproportionate to the quality of his work – at least to me.

Lately, however, I’ve been reminded that I once loved Neil Gaiman, and that reminder was my return to The Sandman Preludes and Nocturnes. Like his other fine work, The Wolves in the Walls, The Sandman series plays to Gaiman’s greatest strength: his ability to conjure beautiful images from artists. But it also elevates many of the things that Gaiman is usually only able to do adequately. His writing, when confined by thought and dialogue bubbles, is inspired (mostly because its goal is to be natural and believable rather than aspiring to literary greatness); his contemporizing of mythology is much more palatable (happening, as it does, in a comic book universe predisposed to gods and heroes); and his naturally cinematic pacing works better in a graphic format. Yes, indeed...graphic novels are Neil Gaiman’s best form.

Sleep of the Just – This may be the greatest first issue of a comic ever written. The capture of Morpheus/Dream/Sandman (or whichever name of his you prefer), the sleeping sickness, his inevitable (and beautifully patient) escape and vengeance guarantees that any fan of fantasy or comic books or fantasy and comic books must continue with the series. Even better, though, Sleep of the Just could have been its own stand-alone issue, and that would have been good enough. There are few single issues of a comic that are so fulfilling. I buy it all, and everything I had to know was given to me. Luckily, Gaiman left me with plenty beyond what I wanted to know. My personal favourite: the introduction of Sandman’s helm. Killer.

Imperfect Hosts – A kick ass follow up episode that includes a taste of Sandman’s powers, the characters that populate his Dreamworld, and the beginning of his search for the three artefacts stolen when Burgess captured him instead of Death. This episode is most notable, however, for the way Gaiman weaves his Sandman into the existing universe of DC. I am not a DC fan. I read Batman and Superman because they are cultural requirements, and what I know of the DC Universe is filtered through the pages of those books, but Sandman was a rare piece that warped and wefted its way into the DC universe without letting itself get bogged down in DC’s usual shabbiness. Imperfect Hosts is where this all begins to happen.

Dream A Little Dream of Me – A weakened and vulnerable Morpheus is busy looking for his sandbag, the first of the three stolen artefacts that can restore him to his former splendour and power. So he tracks down John Constantine, the Hellblazer, who bought the sandbag years before and put it into storage, but the sandbag is gone, stolen by Constantine’s ex-lover, Rachel, a heroin addict who needed money for a fix. She never got it; instead, the sandbag took control of her mind, throwing her into a forever nightmare that included the transformation of her father into a room sized, living, breathing, tortured, mass of flesh. Dream a Little Dream of Me is a horror show that hints at the depths of nightmare Dream will combat in future issues, and it embeds Morpheus more deeply into the DC Universe. It’s a satisfying chapter in Morpheus’ rebirth, and this is where the patient build towards the story’s literary quality begins.

A Hope In Hell – This is the one issue that really doesn’t thrill me too much. Morpheus goes to Hell and meets up with Lucifer, Beelzebub and Azazel – Hell’s triumvirate of Dark Lords – demanding the return of his helm. He ends up dueling Choronzon for his helm in a "reality" battle. Each takes a turn in the shape or form or concept of something or other. Each incarnation is slightly tougher than the opponent’s until the victor’s incarnation can’t be beat. Morpheus defeats Choronzon as "hope," which totally sucks. Hope?! Please. I can see hope as a stage in the battle, perhaps, but as the ultimate incarnation of victory? No way. Hope can be good, but it’s also an emotion that can derail thought and action -- and that makes hope potentially bad and self-defeating. Still, Lucifer was cool and his parting words about Dream give us plenty to look forward to in the series to come: “One day, my brothers...One day I shall destroy him.”

Passengers – A creepy start to the search for Morpheus’ last artefact – the Ruby of Dreams. A decrepit Doctor Destiny is sufficiently mad when he escapes Arkham Asylum, Morpheus runs into J’onn and Scott Free from the JLI, and the Doctor Destiny corrupted Ruby throws Morpheus into a catatonic stupor on the floor of a storage garage in the middle of nowhere, all setting the stage for the most terrifying chapter of Volume One:

24 Hours – Bloody, nasty, marvelous. Dreams in the hand of a corrupted man become corruption, and the whole Earth suffers. This is the best issue of The Sandman in Preludes and Nocturnes, so I'll let it speak for itself. But be warned: this one is not for the faint hearted.

Sound and Fury – This is a satisfying resolution to Dream’s return to power. Sandman shows John Dee mercy, he bestows the Earth with a night of pleasant dreams, and he returns to his Dreamscape to rebuild his kingdom. It’s not quite as powerful as 24 Hours, but it does what it needs to do.

The Sound of Her Wings – Death is a beautiful thing. If there were no other reason to love Neil Gaiman, this realization would be enough because Death really is a beautiful thing -- both in the comic and at the end of our lives

I’m glad I revisited Gaiman's greatest moment. Maybe now I can enjoy his new stuff more and appreciate him as much as so many of my friends do.
Profile Image for Kirstine.
453 reviews566 followers
June 13, 2021
"I am anti-life, the beast of judgement. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, Gods, worlds... of everything. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?"

"I am hope."

This is my favourite quote from this book, and one of my favourite quotes in general. It's beautiful. And true, thank god, so true.

I really liked this book. I've wanted to read The Sandman for a long time, and after this I'm beginning to grasp why it's become so popular.

You can tell that this is a prelude to the "actual" series. Morpheus, one of the Endless, master of Dreams, has been kidnapped, and once he breaks free, well, things aren't as he left them. So the first volume is all about Morpheus trying to get his power back. It's an enthralling and entertaining journey, that introduces a lot of characters, places and plots that will be revisited later.

I enjoy Morpheus a lot as a character. He comes off as very sympathetic and yet it's soon made clear he can be as brutal and unforgiving as many others. He is Endless after all.

It's a lot more violent than I remember it as, which is probably because I just gratefully forgot. I'm not prudish, but I have to admit the cruelty is often very difficult to watch. I suppose I'll have to get used to it, because judging by the second volume it's not slowing down.

I'll definitely continue with this series, and now I've finally bought the whole thing. It's creative, the art is to die for, and it manages to be both dark and hopeful at the same time. Well, most of the time...
Profile Image for Will M..
304 reviews615 followers
January 15, 2015
One of those graphic novels that are so famous and hyped up that it makes you want to read them. The consequence though would be that expectations tend to rocket up. I am more disappointed than entertained.

I've read 2 novels of Neil Gaiman. I hated Stardust, while Ocean was a mediocre read for me. I DNF(did-not-finish) American Gods and Graveyard Book because I got bored. The Sandman was not that great for me. I think I have to conclude soon enough that I honestly don't see what's so good about Gaiman. I just don't get his weird writing. I didn't hate this first volume, but it was not mind blowing.

The terrible thing about this volume would be the overwhelming amount of things happening. There were too many characters (both new and recycled) so some ended up flat and boring. The main character was not bad, but like I said, he became a bit flat and boring. The only one that I really liked would be John Constantine. I hated Martian Manhunter ever since I was a child, and I still hated him after reading this.

The plot was also a bit overwhelming and confusing at times. So many things were happening, and some ideas that you want the author to expound on got overlooked because new ideas were presented. The overall story was actually interesting, so I'll see if it improves in the second volume.

3/5 stars. Still disappointed in Gaiman, but hopefully the second volume would be an improvement over this.
Profile Image for Ethan.
216 reviews236 followers
August 25, 2021
So. Much has changed, much is strange on Earth since I was ripped from my dream home. What first? I doubt I am strong enough to go up against the hordes of Hell. Not yet. To Earth then. The ruby first? Or the pouch? There are things I do not know about this "Justice League". More than mere humans, eh...?

The Englishman, then, John Constantine. He has the pouch--or he knows where it is. And he is just a man. I will visit Constantine. Regain my pouch, and with the pouch I will have the power to dare the gates of Hell itself...

He is, after all, just a human. Just ONE human. What could possibly go wrong?

Preludes and Nocturnes is the first volume of Neil Gaiman's comic book series The Sandman, and collects issues 1-8 of the series. In this volume, a magician, Roderick Burgess, attempts to summon Death using a spell. He accidentally summons Dream instead, a.k.a. Morpheus, a.k.a. The King of Dreams, who, as several of his names suggests, is the lord of all dreams.

Though Dream is able to eventually free himself, several of his tools, which he uses to administer the dream world and in which he has placed much of his power, have been taken by various humans and other entities during his seventy years in captivity. Dream must now embark on an epic quest to retrieve his tools and restore balance to the dream world.

I can't even put into words how amazing this volume is and how much I loved it. It's the best book I've read this year, and I consider it to be one of the greatest books I've ever read. The writing is beautiful, thought-provoking, and infinitely inspired. The quality of the art varies in some panels, but overall it shows a high attention to detail and is of excellent quality.

This series mixes fantasy and horror wonderfully. It is awe-inspiring in its scope, but also at times extremely disturbing and scary. It holds nothing back; children die, as do adults, sometimes in horrible ways, and yet this is never done to excess or to the point where I ever considered this book as anything other than a masterpiece. Besides the amazing story, the characters in this volume are fascinating, and fully realized, to the point where I can't wait to read more about them in future volumes.

My only minor gripe is that I found the comic 24 Hours to be extremely disturbing, without adding much to the overall story. Its entire purpose appears to be to illustrate how insane the character John Dee, a.k.a. Doctor Destiny, is, but I found this could have been achieved in just a few pages, rather than in a full comic book, and that this particular book went over the top in terms of extreme violence, with no noticeable benefit to the story. Gaiman himself alludes to the disturbing nature of this book in the Afterword of this volume:

"24 Hours" is an essay on stories and authors, and also one of the very few genuinely horrific tales I've written

In terms of the greater series, I have the Volume 1 pictured (there are more modern reprints than this one), with the purple cover, and although it says on the back that the series is collected in ten such volumes, there actually ended up being eleven, with Volume 11 being titled Endless Nights. There is also a prelude collection that serves as a Volume 0, which is called Overture, as well as both prose novel and graphic novel versions of another Sandman story, The Dream Hunters.

Modern Sandman box sets include Volumes 0-11 and both editions of The Dream Hunters, from what I've seen, although there are additional materials as well, such as a short story collection called The Book of Dreams. Each of these books are quite expensive, and even if you buy a box set collecting all of them, it still costs hundreds of dollars. I bought them all, sight unseen, based on the extremely good reviews on GR (most of the volumes in this series have ridiculously high GR averages of 4.4 stars or above), but it might be wise advice, given some of my GR friends have rated Volume 1 a two-star read, to pick this one up first and see if you like the series, rather than picking them all up at once like I did. But to each their own.

Getting back to this volume: I look forward to reading the next book in this series more than I've looked forward to reading a book in a very long time, and in this, if nothing else, Preludes and Nocturnes is a smashing success. It's brilliant, complex, beautiful, and ultimately unforgettable.

Highly, highly recommended! On to Volume 2.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,868 reviews16.5k followers
June 10, 2019
Preludes and Nocturnes is the first entry of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman series and in it he introduces the main protagonist, Dream, also known as Morpheus, and also unveils an imaginative storyline.

Written in collaboration with graphic novel artists Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, and Malcolm Jones III, the medium illuminates his creativity and expands the reader’s perceptions of his vision.

The Sandman concept promises an occult, fantastic journey into dreams, Hell, and an intimate association with Death, with anthropomorphic personifications reminiscent of Piers Anthony.

Lots of fun.

Profile Image for Trish.
1,947 reviews3,405 followers
January 3, 2020
Why, hello. Sandman, Morpheus, Lord of Dreams. This is the first we see of Gaiman's Eternal (one of seven god-like beings).

In this first volume we see how Alastair Crowley High Mage Burgess accidentally captures Dream instead of his sister Death and imprisons him for the next 70 years or so. However, you can't just remove an Eternal as they have responsibilities. Thus, the world and everyone in it suffers severely. Since Dream refuses to give Burgess what he craves, he remains a prisoner until long after Burgess is dead. Then, an opportunity presents itself and he breaks free.
The problem? When they locked him up, they took three objects from him that hold part of his power. Fans of a certain young wizard will recognize the idea of storing part of your soul/power in objects - and no, I don't mind if the author actually took her idea from this one and made it her own. Because this is different. Because Dream is ... well, eternal as the name suggests (so he doesn't store parts of himself in objects for the same reason as YouKnowWho). He doesn't die until the end of all things when his sister turns off the lights and closes up shop behind everyone. Instead, it's about his abilities. And, naturally, he needs to get the objects back in order to repair the damage done to the world during his absence.
Thus we follow him on a quest to retrieve a pouch filled with dream sand, a ruby and his mask.

Since this is volume 1 of 10, I think we all can guess how the quest goes. However, as is most often the case, the way is much more important than the final destination (excuse the pun).
And along the way, here, we meet other DC characters such as John Constantine or Lucifer Morningstar before even someone as powerful as an Eternal gets dressed down by his older sister. *sniggers*

Seriously, I love Dream but I LOVE Death. She is so cool (and not just because of her love for Mary Poppins).

*clears throat*
Back to the main story though: The art is nothing spectacular. Sometimes it's borderline ugly even. I'm told it is the typical art of 1989. I wouldn't know. But the story. Oh, the story! It's solid as hell (sorry, another pun). It's riveting, thrilling, funny in a very macabre sort of way, and deeply mystical. There are A LOT of references to history, mythology, movies / TV shows and other DC comics. I had to look up one or two such references, but mostly I understood because Neil Gaiman probably wanted to ensure anyone could follow and enjoy this tale.

So don't hold your breath regarding the panels, but don't let that discourage you; do get sucked into the Realm of Dreams by the quality of the writing. I definitely will and can't wait for the next adventure.

Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
643 reviews4,265 followers
September 29, 2018
“I am hope.”

A man named Roderick Burgress wants to prevent death in the world by summoning and capturing Death – but what he ends up with is Dream instead. Dream is imprisoned for 70 years and loses his tools that give him his power. Upon Dream’s release he must embark on a journey to retrieve his tools before the world falls into turmoil.

I’ve been so psyched to read the Sandman series since I first heard about it on bookstagram. It’s considered by many to be the pinnacle of graphic novels - an epic, sprawling masterpiece that might even be Gaiman’s best work. My first impression was that the artwork is dark and gritty, just how I like it—and hey, doesn’t Dream look a lot like Gaiman himself? But I was hooked pretty quickly.

Gaiman’s imagination will never fail to impress me, he is insanely creative and his ability to incorporate mythology into contemporary settings is extremely clever. This volume does really feel like a “prelude” to the entire story, a prolonged introduction almost. We get to meet Dream aka Morpheus aka The Sandman (choose whichever name you prefer) and as a character, I find him incredibly intriguing. He is a sympathetic character, but can be brutal when he feels it’s necessary. We also meet a few other characters who you get the impression are going to become huge players within the series – his sister Death and then Lucifer himself. Excited to learn more about both of these characters!

My favourite issue in this volume was 24 Hours. It’s gory and graphic and you won’t want to stop reading until you’re done.

What annoyed me slightly was the inclusion of some DC characters, I haven’t read any of these comics so their significance was pretty much lost on me. I’m not sure if having prior knowledge really matters or not, but I hate the feeling that I’m missing out on something.

I’m really looking forward to continuing with this series as I feel like the real story is only beginning…
Profile Image for Ms. Smartarse.
590 reviews249 followers
September 20, 2022
Dream (a.k.a. the Sandman) is mistakenly captured by a creepy cult, that had been hoping to bind Death. Attempting to make the most of their failure, the cultists try to persuade Dream to do their bidding, but he refuses to even acknowledge them. Instead, he bides his time until his captors make a mistake... 72 years later.

failed capture

I loved the story, especially the first chapter where the effects of Dream's imprisonment on humanity are depicted. For all that I'm not big on horror and gore, I was positively fascinated with all the nitty-gritty details that both the story and the illustrations provided. I was so enthralled with it all, that I was simultaneously wishing for chapters not to end, as well as looking forward to the next step in Dream's quest.

There was really only one downside, when it came to fully enjoying the reading experience. Two of the more important chapters featured cameos from some minor(?) DC characters, most of whom I had no knowledge of. Before you jump on me for calling the likes of John Constantine a minor character, please keep in mind that most of my DC universe knowledge comes from a few episodes of the animated Batman series.

John Constantine

Initially, I had only meant to briefly flip through "Preludes and Nocturnes", vaguely recalling that Roxana had recommended the series. In the end, I found myself eagerly carting around the first 5 volumes, while waiting to board a 14-hour flight. And let me tell you, they're much heavier than they look.

The longer I thought about the upcoming reading experience, the more my excitement started to vane. What if I had paid a small fortune just for some pretty covers? The last time I tried my hand at an over-hyped graphic novel, I finished reading it in an hour, and gave it away 3 days later...

first 5 volumes

It eventually took the launching of the Romanian translation, and a notice of an upcoming Netflix series to finally push me into giving it a try. Even then, I proceeded most carefully, prolonging the experience for as long as I could. What can I say? Bragging rights spur me on like nothing else.

Score: 4.3/5 stars
When it comes to favorite quotes, I wouldn't have thought it possible that graphic novels could ever supply one, yet this one here has to be my absolute favorite from the entire book.

storytellers and their monsters huddled under the bed
Awesome both in AND out of context.

I actually ended up reading the first volume twice, hoping to write a more inspiring review. While I did enjoy the story more the 2nd time around, I'm not sure I can get more eloquent than: "WOW!" and possibly "I wish I was more familiar with the DC universe".

Review of volume 2: The Doll's House
Review of volume 3: Dream Country
Review of volume 4: Season of Mists
Review of volume 5: A Game of You
Review of volume 6: Fables & Reflections
Review of volume 7: Brief Lives
Profile Image for Celeste.
908 reviews2,342 followers
January 30, 2018
I first read this a couple of years ago, and it was one of the first graphic novels I read. Even though I love me some Gaiman, I have to admit that I didn’t love this. It seemed so incredibly dark when I first read it. Since that time, I’ve read many more graphic novels, most of which have been dark. I decided to revisit this series to see if I still found as dark as I did originally.

Yes. Yes, I do.

The plot of the first few issues didn’t bother me. Dream’s story and search were compelling. Where I got uncomfortable was when Doctor Destiny became the central focus. That issue remains one of the darkest things I’ve ever read.

You can tell when reading Sandman that it’s written by a novelist. The writing is much more dense than that to which I’ve become accustomed. You can also tell that it was written decades ago. The writing and the art are dated. Artistically, my favorite aspect of Sandman is the almost abstract styling of the issue covers.

I can see why this is a cult classic, but I’m afraid that it’s a cult that I won’t be joining, despite my second attempt at trying to develop a taste for it. If you’re a Sandman lover, more power to you, and please accept my sincerest apologies for not sharing that love.
Profile Image for Anthony.
Author 4 books1,866 followers
November 24, 2022
It’s been a long time since I first read these first chapters of this revolutionary work, but so many moments and images remained indelibly etched in my brain. My view of stories and allegories and horror and myths and visual storytelling have been profoundly shaped by the work that Neil Gaiman and his artists did over 30 years ago.

And even though, as Gaiman himself says, moments in these early chapters aren’t quite as fully realized as what comes later, there is no denying how impactful and arresting and haunting and original this work is.

I’m very happy to have been inspired by it all over again.
Profile Image for Tony Z .
102 reviews
September 4, 2021

Esta es la primera novela gráfica de estilo occidental que leí y también es el primer comic que leí, dejando de lado a Condorito así que mi opinión tal vez no sea la más calificada en el tema, pero si te interesa, aquí va….

Antes de empezar a leerlo

Como la historia está dividida en siete Capítulos, mi reseña la dividiré en siete

1. El sueño de los justos Al principio estaba bastante perdido, no se explica casi nada, solo son cosas sucediendo, cosas algo tenebrosas, pero bastante confusas, lo que más llama mi atención en esta parte es el arte de los dibujos y la explosión de colores.

2. Anfitriones imperfectos sigo algo perdido, aunque mi entusiasmo no ha disminuido, empiezan a aparecer otros personajes como los sirvientes del Señor del sueño y Las Parcas, con ellas finalmente veo un camino y un propósito en la historia.

3. Sueña conmigo sorpresa, aparecen personajes famosos de DC nada menos que John Constantine con su ayuda el Señor del sueño empieza a cumplir su propósito. Este capítulo cuenta una historia bastante tenebrosa y empiezo a entender porque es una novela gráfica adulta

4. Una esperanza en el infierno -ESTOY EN EL INFIERNO Y ME ENCANTA hola Lucifer n_n- El señor de los sueños continua en su búsqueda y se encuentre en el infierno, ahora gobernado por un triunvirato, el deberá enfrentarse al demonio Choronzon este duelo es lo más genial y épico hasta ahora y como Sandman obtiene su victoria es espectacular. Pero aún no termina y aunque Sandman sale triunfante del infierno se ha ganado unos enemigos peligrosos.

5. Pasajeros Este capítulo es corto y aunque salen más superhéroes y villanos famosos de DC pensé que me estaban metiendo relleno… hasta el final del capítulo donde Gaiman me da un ¡Ja Ja te engañe! y me doy cuenta que Sandman no las tiene tan fáciles

6. 24 horas si antes dude si esto debería considerarse una novela gráfica adulta acá me doy cuenta que definitivamente lo es, esto paso de tenebroso a terrorífico en un momento...

John Dee (que viene a ser el principal adversario de Sandman en el comic) es todo un psicópata con títulos y certificados estoy bastante seguro que el maldito desgraciado se graduó con honores en la universidad de los dementes, en unas pocas páginas Gaiman una vez más me demuestra su grandeza y lo retorcido que puede llegar a ser. Ya solo falta el final

7. Ruido y furia el final, Sandman y el psicótico John Dee tienen su batalla decisiva en el mundo de los sueños -modo surrealismo on- y están bastante parejos, pero solo puede haber un vencedor…

Con esto se cierra el primer volumen de Sandman, me he llevado una grata experiencia con este comic, El señor del sueño y su peculiar familia tienen un aire mitológico que me encanta, y los siguientes volúmenes siempre tienen algo que te atrapa, si eres de los que les gusta el genero fantástico, seguramente te gustara.

Profile Image for Santy.
77 reviews73 followers
October 20, 2020
"¿Sabes de qué están hechos los sueños? (...) La gente cree que no son reales porque no son materia, partículas. Son reales. Están hechos de puntos de vista, imágenes, recuerdos, juegos de palabras y esperanzas perdidas."

Tenía estos cómics en la mira hacía un tiempo y por fin decidí leerlos. No tenía claro su argumento, ni estaba enterado de que era parte de DC, así que me llevé una sorpresa (de las buenas). Investigué un poco más y me encontré con que no solo era muy popular sino que muy aclamado críticamente. Me lancé de lleno.

Si bien lo puede parecer, no es una historia precisamente de superhéroes, en cambio, me encontré con una trama de fantasía compleja y bien construida. Los conflictos, los personajes y hasta los diálogos me parecieron muy ingeniosos, al igual que las ilustraciones.

El protagonista, Sueño, me fascinó desde el comienzo, se me hace un personaje muy enigmático y poderoso, del que quiero saber más y más. Al igual que las otras apariciones y cameos, muchas caras conocidas de DC comics (Constantine, La Liga de la Justicia...), así como múltiples elementos de la mitología. En ese aspecto, es una combinación muy exquisita.

La trama también es interesante, ligada a lo último mencionado: un personaje tan atractivo como ese la sostiene constantemente. Aunque sí, un poco confusa y desconcertante por momentos; sentí que tenía mucho más potencial del que demostró, y por eso es que continuaré con esta saga, esto no es más que una introducción, supongo.

"Dime, Lucifer.. Preguntaos, todos... ¿Qué poder tendría el infierno si los aquí encerrados no soñasen con el cielo?"

Muchas conversaciones y frases me parecieron astutas, inclusive las que apelan al humor. Además (esto no tiene nada que ver, pero…) me encontré, sin querer, con Stephen King en tres oportunidades a lo largo del cómic. Bien o mal, la presencia de mi autor favorito por supuesto que le suma puntos a esta historia y me hacen seguir apostando por ella. Doy inicio a mi recorrido por #Sandman.
Profile Image for Ayman Gomaa.
447 reviews574 followers
August 6, 2022
English & Arabic Review :

I heard Neil Gaiman is one of the strangest authors with crazy imagination mind.
Now after i read to him he is stranger than i even thought :)

The Sandman Comic is so madness and captivating

At first i was like oooohhh this is weird
Then i was like WTF is going up here !
Now i am so dazzled and puzzled

Neil Gaiman created a freak dark brutal world
this comic was so dark so bloody and what the drawings was so fabulous and very good .

it starts with occultist who tries to capture death but instead he captured dream lord " Morpheus "
kept him in prison for 70 years until he escaped to find his realm has been destroyed
he intended to go search for his lost tools of power to get back his strength again

Now enter Neil Gaiman to make it so beautifully one of it kind

The story interacts with alot of Dc World members

To find his First tool he went to John Constantine

To find his Second tool he went to hell and meet Lucifer
To find his third tool he went to justice league members

Volume one includes issues from 1-8
it starts slow but then it was so captivating and chilling
issues No 3-5-8 was the best in my opinion .

I entered this weird world and now i am obsessed .

and i wish to see more of Dream's Sister Death <3

Arabic Review :

الواحد سمع عن كتابات نيل جايمن و غرابه العوالم اللى بيخلقها من دماغه
و اخيرا قدرت ادخل عالم من عوالمه عن طريق الكوميكس

رجل الرمل " سيد الاحلام" كوميكس من عالم غريب
فى البدايه ممكن تكرها و تحسها غريبة و خاصة انها تمس الهه و الجحيم
لكن بعد كده بتدخلك عالم تانى سوداوى دموى من ناحية و لكن ممتع جدا " انا مش مجنون" ما علينا
بما ان ده اول ريفيو عربى للكوميك ف انا حاحاول على قدر الامكان انى لا احرق الاحداث

الكوميك بيبدا ب شخص بيحاول يستدعى الموت حتى يعطيه حياة ابدية و لكنه يستدعى سيد الاحلام اخو الموت الاصغر
و يحبسه لمدة 70 عام على امل ان يوصل للموت او سر الخلود
بعد 70 عام يهرب سيد الاحلام ليعود لعالمه ليجده تم تدميره و اهماله بعدما تركه مدة كبيرة

ليبدا فى رحلة بحث عن ادوات القوة الخاصة به ليسترجع قوته و مكانة عالم الاحلام

لحد هنا القصة عادية و لكن نيل جايمان بيدخل عوالم دى سى فى بعض

يبدا سيد الاحلام رحلته و يرصد ادواته واحدة فى الجحيم يمتلكها شيطان
و اخرى بحوزة جون كونستاتين طارد الارواح و الشياطين " من اهم شخصيات دى سى " و تم انتاج فيلم عنه

و اخرى مع doctor Destiny من الد اعداء Jusitce League

القصة مبهرة و الرسومات كانت روعة
النهاية كانت رائعة مع دخول شخصية الموت التى كانت اكثر من رائعة

كوميكس غريب جدا لمحبى الغرابة xD
Profile Image for Amin Matin.
293 reviews47 followers
August 9, 2022
شاهکار به‌ تمام معنا.
هیچوقت تجربه خوندن The Sandman از خاطرم نخواهد رفت.
با اختلاف غنی‌ترین تجربه کمیک‌بوکی و حتی شاید بتونم بگم ادبی بود که داشتم،

برای خواندن سندمن انرژی زیادی گذشتم، تمام رفرنس‌ها رو چک کردم، ساعت‌ها مطالب مرتبط به اون پنل و اشاره‌ها و ارجاعات رو بررسی کردم و اینجا بود که فهمیدم با یک اثر معمولی طرف نیستم. سندمن از همه جهات اثری بود که بعیده تا مدت‌ها از ذهنم بره.

سندمن به‌شکلی انبوهی از ماجرا، رویا، انواع و اقسام شخصیت‌ها و اسطوره‌ها را در قصه خود جای می‌ده که تصور ارائه و روایت این قصه در هر مدیوم دیگری جز کمیک بوک واقعا مشکله برای من(به هیچ وجه منتظر اقتباس نتفلیکس نیستم.). همین که نمی‌شه مرز مدیوم‌ها و عنصرهای ادبی را در The Sandman مشخص کرد، نشانه شاهکار بودن اونه، زیرا به نظرم در حدی به‌خوبی از تمامی این موارد در روایت قصه‌اش بهره برده که همه اونا به یکدیگه گره خورده‌اند. تاریکی دوست‌داشتنی یک دنیای خیالی، اما آشنا بودن بیش از اندازه آن و کامل بودن، ولی در عین حال ناقص بودن تمامی اجزا و مفاهیم دنیای سندمن چیزهایی هستند که ثابت می‌کنه چرا The Sandman یک اثر ادبی و هنری بی‌مانند و البته ماندگاره.

همین الآنم می‌تونم بگم جزو سه تجربه برتر عمرم تا به این لحظه بود. شاید در آینده با آثار بهتری هم آشنا بشم و افتخار خوندنشونو به دست بیارم ولی سندمن رو با جوهر سیاه بالای کاغذ تمام تجربیات گمانه‌زنم خواهم نوشت.

۲۸ دی‌ماه ۱۴۰۰
Profile Image for Michael || TheNeverendingTBR.
468 reviews161 followers
April 16, 2022
This is a good story with excellent artwork, but moves along a bit slowly. The narrative jumps from character to character at times and tends to feel disjointed; sometimes making it difficult to follow.

However ultimately it is a pretty good read, with interesting concepts.

I wouldn't say it's perfect but it's a good start to a series and it's left me interested to where this is going to go.
Profile Image for Sam Quixote.
4,487 reviews12.8k followers
December 13, 2014
I read this one some 10 years or so ago when I was slowly returning to comics and, having re-read it now, I still maintain that Preludes and Nocturnes is a poor place to start with this series - though it’s a decent book.

My first time around, I read Sandman totally out of sequence starting with Vol 3, then Vol 5, then a couple more volumes (I was just grabbing whatever was on the shelves that week!) and I read Vol 1 towards the end thinking what an unimpressive first volume it was.

I’d recommend someone looking to understand the brilliance of this series to start with the standalone books, Vol 3 and Vol 6 rather than with Vol 1 - those are much more representative of why people love Sandman so much.

Alright - enough prelude! Onto the… nocturnes… ?

Set in the early 20th century, an Aleister Crowley-esque type tries to summon Death and gain immortality - except he botches the spell and gets Dream instead. Dream is imprisoned for 70 years until he escapes and begins to resume his role in the universe. But first he must gather his instruments: his helm, his dreamstone, and his bag of sand.

My biggest complaint of this book is the same criticism I have for a lot of Neil Gaiman’s work: the pacing is much too slow. But this is especially pronounced in a comic! Gaiman’s style was - and is - that of a long-winded storyteller who can spin a good yarn but will not be rushed and this can lead to a much less exciting read.

Not only that but he comes from the Alan Moore school of writing comics where each page is severely bogged down with blocks of text. Though, unlike Moore, its more clumsy in this one and feels like Gaiman is still learning to write comics by trying to make his novelistic approach fit a different genre and not quite succeeding.

That and Gaiman clearly hasn’t found his voice yet. The first volume is very horror-centric in sharp contrast to the rest of the series which leaves this hackneyed approach behind to successfully blend fantasy, the cosmic, and Gaiman’s own style into something unique. It’s a bit of a muddle to wade through which is why it’s a bit unfortunate that this is the first volume where a lot of people will start and which is bound to put some readers off from sampling the rest of this excellent series.

You can also see Gaiman relying a bit too much on the DC Universe in this first volume whereas later - though some DCU characters and locations crop up now and then - Sandman’s original cast becomes the central focus. Arkham Asylum puts in a cameo where we meet Jonathan Crane aka Scarecrow, and, as Dream sets about collecting his necessaries, he encounters John Constantine, Martian Manhunter, and Etrigan.

We also meet a lot of new characters who will go on to become quite beloved by the fans: Cain and Abel, Lucien, the Hecateae, Lucifer Morningstar (who will get his own spin-off title), and, arguably the most popular character Gaiman’s ever created, Death, Dream’s sister (who also gets a couple of standalone books).

Besides introducing characters, Gaiman’s first go at Sandman indicates the kind of series it will become. While Gaiman references earlier incarnations of the character like the 1930s Wesley Dodds Sandman (Dream’s helm looks a lot like Dodds’ gas mask), and a dream sequence drawn in a Jack Kirby style (a nod to the 1970s Kirby Sandman), Gaiman’s Sandman is decidedly more modern and set in a richly imaginative world.

Beginning to distance itself from the DCU, Gaiman’s Sandman goes to Hell, he battles an evil magician across space and time, and, more importantly, he begins to explore the potential of dreams. This is the reason behind the series’ success: dreams. Because ANYTHING can happen in a dream meaning anything can happen in this series and you can see Gaiman beginning to realise that potential in this book. In one particular dream sequence the art switches to pure Kirby so we suddenly get a three-page Fourth World-esque strip out of nowhere!

I know some people don’t like Sam Kieth’s art in this book and, to be honest, when I first read this I didn’t much care for it either. But I’ve since read Kieth’s The Maxx and come to a new appreciation of his style. His art in this book is more restrained than in The Maxx but he brings the fantastic when he needs to and the kind of bizarre comics he creates is a good fit for the type of comic Sandman is aiming for. Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III’s art is also very good though, going back to the horror theme, there’s far too much black on the pages.

There’s a lot to like about this first volume: a lot of ideas and imagination swirling together, some great episodes like Dream going to Hell and meeting Lucifer, or John Dee’s 24 hour nightmare issue in the diner, and Dream and Death’s first scene together. But there’s a lot of chaff here too and it’s less like reading a comic and feels too often like reading an illustrated book.

Sandman Vol 1 might not be a great comic but it leads into a great series and, if you weren’t that impressed after reading this and was wondering what all the fuss is about, keep going because it gets a lot better very quickly. Better yet, skip Vol 1 entirely and come back to it later!
Profile Image for Kerri.
980 reviews351 followers
January 20, 2021
“You say I have no power? Perhaps you speak truly... But — you say that dreams have no power here? Tell me, Lucifer Morningstar... Ask yourselves, all of you... What power would hell have if those imprisoned were not able to dream of heaven?”
― Neil Gaiman, Preludes & Nocturnes

I have had a copy of The Sandman Omnibus Volume I* for well over a year now. I kept putting off reading it, not because I didn't think I would like it, but because I was certain I would. I had a feeling it was probably my favourite book and for that reason I kept delaying actually reading it. I could have kept this up for much longer I'm sure, but when I read that they have starting filming the show for Netflix, I realised I should get started now, so I can check that out as soon as it is released -- I know that may take a while, but there are a lot of issues to read. Also, I really want to listen to the Audible version that came out last year--- the voice cast is incredible.

I did briefly have the idea that I would read one issue per day, rationing the story out to make it last, but I've already abandoned that plan because I am too caught up in the story, too enthused about what happens next to bother pacing myself. Going into this I was pretty sure Death would be my favourite character (and so far, this is proving true). I already have a bit of obsession with her -- but she is kind of the character, right? There's something about her that's wonderful and appealing. Everyone loves her. I would quite like to be her, and I know I'm not alone there. I was so looking forward to Death's first appearance, that I hadn't given anywhere near as much thought to Dream. It turns out I love him too. Those seven issues where he's the only sibling we really see --- they were riveting. He's intriguing and strange and I'm already very enamoured with him.

It's odd to try to review this, because I'm so near the beginning. It's a strong start without a doubt, but I'm not sure I can sum it up. Even at this early point, that feels daunting. Morpheus/Dream is imprisoned for seventy years. He gets out. He seeks revenge. He begins a search for his lost objects of power -- he has encounters with Hecate (or some version of her?), John Constantine, Lucifer Morningstar, his sister Death. He goes to Hell, the Dream Realm, Arkham Asylum, New York. There is a baby gargoyle that I would quite like to have for myself --- this unexpected dose of cuteness in the middle of a dark comic. We follow along as he regains his strength and see glimpses of a creature/god (is he a god?**) with a dizzying amount of power and time and knowledge. The page where he is holding John Dee in his hand was so beautiful. I wanted a copy of it that I could frame and hang up. I found it on Pinterest and saved it to my phone.

Apparently it continues to get better, which I think bodes well for my reading plans this year! I want to know more about all of the characters we have met so far, especially the three Endless, Dream, Death, and the briefly seen Destiny, and also look forward to being introduced to the other siblings.

This is a story where I can completely understand why people rave about it, why it has remained so loved and valued. Onto the next part!

*But writing my reviews under these smaller volumes. Otherwise I'll have one unwieldy, epic, confusing review that tries and fails to encompass far too much!

**It seems he isn't. From The Sandman #9: "... One of the Endless, who are not gods, and will never die like gods."
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sina.
115 reviews87 followers
July 6, 2022
آپدیت 15 تیر 1401
دوباره سندمن رو شروع کردم. اما این بار با کتاب صوتیش پیش رفتم. خیلی خیلی بیشتر از دفعه قبل بهم چسبید. و تازه متوجه شدم که این جلد، هشت چپتر اول رو دربر میگیره، نه ده تای اول رو. در نتیجه قصه های شنزار میره واسه جلد بعد. و از داستان های این جلد، چپتر هشتم که شخصیت مرگ هم میاد کنار برادر کوچیکترش واقعا جذابه. کتاب صوتیش هم واقعا قشنگه. راوی داستان خود گیمنه. دیگه چی میخواین؟!
ولی طراحی هاش هنوز رو مخمه -__-

بالاخره یکی دیگه از شاهکارهای دارک فانتزی کلید خورد.
اگه مثل من زیاد اهل کمیک و این دنیاها نباشید ممکنه چند چپتر اول خسته کننده باشه.
چه از لحاظ طراحی شلخته و در هم و برهمش، و چه از بابت سردرگمی که ممکنه اولش ایجاد کنه.
چون یک جاهایی با دنیای دی سی و شخصیتاش مثل کنستانتین کراس اور داره و همین ممکنه باعث بشه خواننده‌ای که اهل این فضا ها نیست رو پس بزنه.
ولی صبر کنید. بهتر خواهد شد...چه طراحی و چه داستان.
و بهترین چپتر هم با اختلاف چپتر قصه‌های شنزار بود.

جهت آشنایی هم میتونین اپیزود 16 پادکست هیرولیکو تا جایی که داستانو اسپویل نکنه گوش بدین:
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