Preludes & Nocturnes (The Sandman, Vol. 1)

Preludes & Nocturnes (The Sandman, Vol. 1)

With all the good things I’ve heard about this comic series, and having had them sit on my shelf for the last few years, I figured it was time to sit down and read them.

I don’t have much experience with comics or graphic novels, having only read The Walking Dead and The Watchmen previously, and I didn’t really get into the superhero shtick until Marvel started popping out all of their movies, and even then, it wasn’t until just recently that I’ve really started to appreciate the nuances of superheroes and villains. The Walking Dead wasn’t bad, but having seen the show first, it didn’t really do it for me. The Watchmen though, that hit the spot. Dark, real, full of superheroes as they would be in the world today, just people trying to do their best, it was my favorite (albeit only) graphic novel that I’d ever read. Until now.

Preludes & Nocturnes blew past The Watchmen and ignited into my soul as a forever lingering flame of life. As Patrick Rothfuss said, it lit me up inside. It’s wild, it’s weird, it’s dark, and sometimes (oftentimes) confusing, forcing you to read just a little further until that light bulb goes off and the sun appears from behind the clouds to bless you, the reader, with clarity and understanding.

This volume introduces the characters, the world, and has a nice plot that bends and weaves around until you’ve got yourself questioning your sanity. The lines of reality cross into the realms of the underworld and dreamworld, and it’s all thoroughly enjoyable. I’ve always been a fan of Gaiman’s work, particularly the novels, but I can now say that the Sandman is my all-time favorite character that he’s ever created. Dreams is dynamic and compelling, and so much more human than I was expecting.

You see, until then I’d been driven. I’d had a true quest, a purpose beyond my function – and then suddenly, the quest was over.
I felt… drained. Disappointed. Let down.
Does that make sense? I had been sure that as soon as I had everything back I’d feel good. But inside I felt worse than when I stared.

Neil Gaiman

And then there’s the art itself. Expertly done, it’s dark and gritty, both real and surreal at the same time. Like The Watchmen, different styles lend a hand in portraying the scene being conveyed, whether that be through subtle text changes or panel art. I was surprised and even a bit squeamish at how gory some of the scenes were, but it only added to the tension and undertones of the plot.

All in all, I’m sad that I waited so long to start this series, but so grateful that I finally did. Highly recommend.

Book: Preludes & Nocturnes (The Sandman, Vol. 1)
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre(s): Comics, Fantasy
Release: December 1998

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