Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes...random thoughts

Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman is only my second venture into the world of graphic novels. And this book couldn't have been more different from my first, Alice in Sunderland, which was essentially a non-fiction journey into the northeast of England. How to describe Preludes and Nocturnes though...whew, now that's not an easy task. So, as usual, I'll just be throwing out my thoughts all willy-nilly and hoping some of what I say makes sense.

First of all, I have to say that I enjoyed this first volume of The Sandman. I've read more than once that this is definitely not the finest of the series. Even Karen Berger, the editor, alluded to this in the introduction. And Gaiman himself, seemed to agree, though he did say that there was at least something in each story that he was proud of. Anyway, what does this all tell me? Well, that I've got a fine adventure ahead of me, if it only continues to get better.

In general, this is the story of The Sandman, Lord of Dreams. At the beginning he is captured and held prisoner for a hundred years. The story continues with his escape and his journey to reclaim power. It's a wonderful mix of dark fantasy and myth and horror.

I admit that there were times I became a bit confused (but yeah, that happens easily to me), and I always figured things out within a page or two. And I found one of the stories, 24 Hours, especially disturbing, but still I felt it added to, not detracted from, the overall tale being told.

I do have to say, that being new to the world of graphic novels, I'm still learning how to read them. What I mean is that I'm so used to words, and words alone, telling the story. Obviously, this is not the case with a graphic novel, and I have to slow myself down and remember to "read the art" as well.

So, all in all, I would have to say that I'm very happy with my first choice here in Dewey's Graphic Novels Challenge. It was definitely a unique experience, but one I can honestly say I enjoyed!


Jean said...

Nice review. I may have to borrow this one from my older son, Don, who has the complete set. So many things to read, so little time!!! I assume Rich made it back safe and sound so that the snow may now fall willy and nilly?

Debi said...


Ain't that the truth?!! And yep, home safe and sound...and I'm oh so glad to have him here (well, except that he's at work, but you know what I mean).

chrisa511 said...

Great review Debi! You know, I have this beautiful, beautiful, beautiful edition of Absolute Sandman Volume 1 sitting on my bookshelf, so I think I'm going to crack it open soon and start revisiting Sandman. I haven't read it since I was a teenager. It used to be one of my favorite comics. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Ana S. said...

24 hours gave me nightmares. You're not alone when it comes to that one.

The series does become much better - more subtle, more mythological, more refined. I'm sure you'll enjoy the next volumes even more! It also becomes easier to follow as you become more familiar with the universe. It's only natural to be a little confused when starting a new series.

As for learning to read graphic novels, I still feel that way too, even though I've been reading them for some years.

kreed said...

I haven't tried any graphic novels yet...I'll be anxiously awaiting your other reviews to see if I dare try another genre...

Carl V. Anderson said...

I've said this on other sites before, but a wonderful way to read this the second time through is with Hy Bender's marvelous book, The Sandman Companion. Written with the assistance of Neil Gaiman, it reveals so much depth to each issue in the series. It is great to read it section by section as one reads that section of the graphic novel. Glad you're giving this series a try, it is well worth the time.

Stephanie said...

Like you, I'm a total newbie to the world of Graphic novels. I think I will probably have a bit of a tough time reading one too. But I'm really looking forward to trying!! And yes, I have Neil Gaiman on my list to read!! Who knows?? Maybe I'll love the graphic novel!!

Nice review!!