Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

A circle of British magicians trap a naked man in a glass cage and keep him locked in for 70 years. While they age and die the hostage remains silent and unchanged. The Sandman tells the story of the imprisonment of the King of Dreams, his eventual escape and his quest to recover the powers he lost over the decades.

Since its appearance in 1991 The Sandman has become a classic comic book series so I’m very late to the party. I picked this up for the RIP challenge and there’s plenty of horror here, especially when a madman gets control over the world’s dreams and draws humanity into anarchic self-destruction.

This volume might not be the best of the Sandman series – the quests are a little mechanistic – but there are some great scenes, especially in Hell where Dream meets a rather attractive Lucifer. Also, there’s an appearance from John Constantine, which just might be the reason I picked up the book in the first place (maybe the movie wasn't well-loved by the critics, but it's well-loved by me).

I’m ambivalent about graphic novels since usually I prefer to be plunged into the language of story-telling. This one was a pleasure though, full of the imaginative playfulness you’d expect from Gaiman. He’s very skilled at conveying a lot about the characters in few words of dialogue. I might pick up more in the series – graphic novels (la bande dessinĂ©e or BD) are hugely popular in France so the libraries are full them, and it’s an easy way to read French. Okay, this has been about the Sandman so here’s a little more horror and/or a great song...


  1. This is the only book in this series I have read and I didn't like it... I keep planning to try the series again, but haven't actually done so. One day!

  2. Hi Kailana, thanks for stopping by! Apparently Neil Gaiman also thought the first stories in the series are awkward, and the later ones are more acclaimed so maybe they're worth trying out. But yeah, one day!