The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
D.C. Comics, New York, 1995
Borrowed from my library. I have the first 30 issues of this series tucked away in my basement.
I decided I had to review something in graphic format for R.I.P. VI. What better than The Sandman? I first discovered Neil Gaiman’s work when someone gave me a copy of Black Orchid. I was hooked.
Gaiman started The Sandman project as a monthly comic in 1989. The original idea of the Sandman character coming from a 1976-1978 DC series, Gaiman made it his own. The Vertigo imprint as released the series in trade paperbacks that group individual comics into complete novels.
With the help of many artist and inkers, The Sandman series grew from an awkward beginning into a complex classic tale of horror, myth and magic. Preludes and Nocturnes introduces the Dream King, Morpheus, held captive for nearly a century. During his icarseration many humans have suffered horrible continuing nightmares. Finally free and seeking revenge along with his stolen magical tools, Dream finds himself weakened, almost dead. To regain his power he must visit a ghastly hell filled with demons and flesh-eating monsters, a combination of Dante’s Inferno and The Garden of Earthly Delights. There are several scenes in Arkham Asylum, a madhouse orginally appearing in Batman comics. I imagine Arkham is based on Bethlam Royal Hospital.
My love of The Sandman is based on the mix of horror, magic, and ancient stories to tell tales of very human dilemmas. Dream and his siblings, including Death and Delirium, are wonderful characters. Neil Gaiman and all of the artist and others involved in this series have created a classic. The Sandman is perfect for reading on dark, stormy nights.