I’ve gotta say, Neil Gaiman is a strange duck. He writes about the weirdest things and endorses strange stuff too. I’ve read some of his recommendations and they’re a little creepy. So, I should have been prepared for this.
I’ve heard a lot of really good things about Sandman. I’ve recently gotten into more graphic novels and decided that before it graces the big screen I needed to read it (I heard all about the movie idea here).
So I went to my local library and picked up the first volume, Preludes & Nocturnes. I was really impressed that my library had it. They have the whole series and it made me happy. These past few months have done a lot to restore my faith in the public library system as a whole.
The story is about Dream, one of the seven Endless. (For those that are unfamiliar, the Endless are Death, Despair, Desire, Dream, Destiny, Delirium, and Destruction). He is captured by mortals and bides his time until he can break out and get his revenge. He waits 70 years and in that time his three tools are taken and passed around or traded by various humans.
The bag of sand ends up with a junkie, the mask/helm is in the hands of a demon, and the ruby is with a madman. The whole of the story is Dream breaking out and going on an epic quest to retrieve what is rightfully his.
Along the way you meet some strange characters, The Justice League make a guest appearance as well as Cain and Abel, Dr. Crane (Scarecrow), and a few others. It was a little surprising to see a line drawn from characters so well known to this oddity.
Now, I don’t know how I actually feel about this comic. I know that I will go on to read the second volume. But to say that parts of this story were disturbing is an understatement. It was grotesque. But it asked a lot of interesting questions and had a manga bent to it that intrigued me. There was a lot of violence. The parts that were disturbing were meant to disturb you. It was glorifying the actions of those people; it was showing the madness and the horror of what could be done if dreams turned awry.
It definitely isn’t for children, and I would hesitate to recommend it to anyone under the age of 18. If you are easily disturbed by some of the weirder elements of life then don’t read this. If shows like Game of Thrones make you queasy, stay away. If you want happy ever afters for everyone, this is not for you.
But if you think you could handle a little odd then I recommend it. I’m excited to read more of the story, and I’m excited about getting to the one Gaiman just released, Oblivion.