I’ve been wanting to read Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes for ages because I like Neil Gaiman, because I like to make forays into the world of graphic novels from time to time, and because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. My expectations were high and Sandman didn’t quite deliver. I found the story to be rather choppy and at times a bit confusing but it all ended on an up note that made me think, maybe the next one will be better. And then I read the author’s note.
Gaiman himself admits that the story was choppy and could have been better. This was his first venture into graphic novels and he didn’t really know what he was doing, though felt, and I agree, that it got better as it went along. He suggests that this book contains the seeds and it begins to flower in the next. So I suppose I will try whichever one is next–does anyone know what that one is?–sometime.
The story in brief, the Sandman is one of the Endless and he is, well the guy who brings you dreams. He is king of the Dreamworld and he keeps it all in balance. He looks rather like a rocker with punked blue-black hair and a penchant for long flowing coats. He also looks ever so slightly like Neil Gaiman which I thought was both funny and a nice touch.
A powerful magician gets all the ingredients together with the plan to trap death and become immortal. But he catches the Sandman instead. The magician has no idea who he has caught and Sandman won’t talk. Sandman is relieved of all his official tools, a ruby, a mask, and his bag of sand. The longer Sandman is trapped the more the world slips into chaos because the world of dreams falls apart. People start falling asleep and not waking up. They don’t die, but they are lost in their dreams with no way of escaping them.
One thing leads to another and eventually Sandman gets out of the trap but he is week and has barely any power. His tools have been dispersed and he must find them and get them back. The best part of the book is the final section when all is done and Sandman is a bit depressed about everything and his sister, Death, makes an appearance in an effort to cheer up her brother. Death turns out to be a rather chirpy rocker chic dressed in black tank top, tight black jeans, and an ankh necklace, she has heavy black eye makeup and long black hair. I like her. Good thing too since I have a graphic novel in which she stars.
If you like Gaiman and haven’t read Sandman then definitely give it go but don’t expect to be wowed by Preludes and Nocturnes. If you’ve never read Gaiman before, don’t start with this one or you will not be likely to want to read him again.