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Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman Vol. 1 #BookReview

An occultist attempting to capture the physical embodiment of Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his seventy-year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power to reclaim his reign. From there, one of the greatest series in the history of the graphic novel genre begins…

Sandman volume one trade paperback cover, 30th anniversary edition

Title: The Sandman (Vol 1) | Writer: Neil Gaiman | Editor: Karen Berger | Illustrator: Sam Keith, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III; Robbie Busch (colorist); Dave McKean (cover art) | Publisher: Vertigo | Pages: 240 | ISBN: 1401284779 | Genre: Horror, Fantasy | Language: English | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: Purchased |

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General Thoughts

I wish someone had made me read Sandman much sooner. For whatever reason this one never made its way very high on my TBR, but I was on a Neil Gaiman kick recently and decided I needed to sit down and read this series finally.

I have been missing out. We’ll leave it at that for now.

Writing

Neil Gaiman has a reputation with his writing, and in Sandman he lives up to that reputation. The atmosphere and worldbuilding are beautiful. The dialogue was near perfect. The plot was loose and a little weird in places because Gaiman experimented with weaving DC characters into his story, but other than that one little hiccup it’s a lot of fun to follow along. And really those cameos aren’t terrible, they just feel like product placement. Constantine’s moment in the story feels the most natural and makes the most sense. I had a lot of fun reading this.

Art

The art style is a little dated, but the series did come out in the 90s. It holds up perfectly fine, I just enjoy more modern artwork in comics. I’m sure some people would find that sacrilegious but it’s my opinion. It looks like older superhero comic. There isn’t a huge amount of depth to the colors and there’s a certain stylistic look to the characters in some cases that can be a little distracting. The art didn’t detract from my enjoyment at all though. My personal preference doesn’t change the fact that the art worked very well and still created a lush and engrossing reading experience.

Critiques and Final Verdict

I don’t think I have anything truly negative to say. I read this one in barely more than one sitting and I was captivated 95% of the time. I get this specific giddy feeling in my chest when I come across a story that I know is truly special, and I got that feeling when I read this volume, and continue to feel it whenever I think about the series. I’ve already started collecting the rest of the series in advance so I don’t have to wait to read more as I finish each volume. I had that small gripe about the DC cameos, and a dumb complaint about the Abel character’s excessive stuttering that became a chore to read, but other than that I loved it. In general Gaiman has been one of those authors that for some reason I never read any of his work when I was a kid and it actually hurts me to think about how much I would’ve enjoyed his books at a younger age. But I get to enjoy all his work now and feel like a kid again, so there’s that.

Sandman is such a well-known series that my opinion isn’t really relevant, but you should read it. It’s good.

While this book is available at major retailers, in the interest of supporting indie bookstores, we recommend purchasing from Indiebound.org or from the Sci-Fi & Scary Bookshop. (Disclaimer, we do receive a small cut of the profits if you purchase from Bookshop, which goes toward supporting the site.)

Content Warnings

Spoiler
Blood and violence; implied sexual assault/nonconsensual sex; child death; mild body horror
Published inBook ReviewsGraphic NovelsStarred Reviews

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