The Sandman series is one of those keystones of the comic industry that I have been meaning to read since not long after I starting reading comics when I was 13, its only taken me 15 years to get around to crossing the first volume off my list, (it actually was on my list of 30 comics to read before I’m Thirty).
Reading the Sandman was actually spurred on a bit by watching Foxes Lucifer (the comic it was based on is actually a spin off/ sequel of the Sandman) I was curious about the characters, the world and the background.
This volume focuses on Morpheus who is the legendary Sandman, Dream of the Endless, ruler of the Dreamworld. It looks at the consequences of the Sandman’s imprisonment away from the wider universe and how he picks up his life after that imprisonment ends. The story is set in the DC universe seeing cameo appearances from characters such as Wesley Dodds (the golden age Sandman of the JSA), Mister Miracle and the Martian Manhunter of the Justice League International, the Demon Etrigan and the Hellblazer John Constantine, and this was something that surprised me as I had assumed, I now see somewhat erroneously, that comics published under DC Comics Vertigo line were of a separate continuity (similar to the Wildstorm Universe), but it was nice to see a few familiar faces mainly because the familiar is somewhat comforting, especially as I was expecting something completely new and disjointed from what I had read before.
Neil Gaiman’s writing is something that I’ve often found somewhat hit or miss, I’ve liked things like Stardust and Good Omens, but haven’t been to fond of things such as the Eternals or Neverwhere, and have been on the fence about things such as The Comical Tragedy or Tragical Comedy of Mr Punch. But this first instalment of the Sandman is rich and deep, even the minor throwaway characters are well rounded and thought provoking. Its definitely a grown up piece of work with many layers to it, it may even require a re read just to pick up on all the subtle references that Gaiman makes throughout the work.
The artwork provided by Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg is definitely worthy of an adult aimed comic, its visually rich and the colours really stand out, even the black (and there is a lot) somehow manages to still pop out from the page and catch the eye
Since reading this volume I’ve actually gone out and purchased the rest of the series, the prequel and several spin offs, all because I enjoyed it that much and am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the post man to bring me more to devour. And when I’m through with them, you can bet your arse that I’m going to writing some more killer comic reviews on the subject.