Summer of Sandman – First Impressions of Preludes & Nocturnes

While there’s now rather a lot about Sandman here on Comparative Geeks, it’s not a comic series that either Holly or I had read before. Not from a lack of interest – for me at least, it had to do more with figuring out where and how to jump in. There’s so many editions and reprints at this point, giant collected volumes and such…

Sandman covers by Dave McKean. Collage discovered at The Book Wars

Sandman covers by Dave McKean. Collage discovered at The Book Wars

Even getting it from the library like I did, I had the option of the smaller trade paperbacks, or the much larger Absolute Sandman. Deciding (accurately) that I probably wouldn’t be reading it super quickly (#GeekBaby), I got just the first volume, titled Preludes and Nocturnes.

I don’t feel like I have a whole lot to say about it, especially as there is much more in-depth Sandman discussion elsewhere on the blog. So let me spend a moment to reflect on my experience as a first-time reader of this comic, rather than hashing out the comic itself.

The Introduction

First, the introduction, which continually prove to be interesting reading in trade paperbacks. Beyond the usual “yay it’s so great, every creator was perfect” talk, there’s the discussion of how Sandman was originally a DC comic. Like, right there in the mainstream universe, connected to Superman and Batman (and referencing them both, no less), DC comic. I knew it as a Vertigo comic – the “independent” wing of DC. Well, apparently Sandman helped lead to the creation of Vertigo, to print those comics that don’t fall in the normal DC vein. So this was really interesting – and adds that sense of weight of “this is an important comic.”

Part of the Wider DC Universe?

So, all that hype and backstory there, I got into the comic itself. But between the hype and knowing it’s part of an existing universe, it was a bit distracting. I found myself wondering, with each introduced character, whether they have a backstory in the comics, whether they were new or adopted. Some I knew the answer to – so when John Constantine or Martian Manhunter made their way to the page, I knew we were deep in the DC universe. But even when it was the “villain” of the piece, Doctor Destiny – I just wasn’t sure. Wikipedia says he’s a way older character, so there we go.

Overall, that feeling that I was missing something, that I was supposed to know the characters – that was a little annoying, especially in what should have felt more fully like an introduction.

Where Does It Go From Here?

Meanwhile, the plot moves on, Morpheus collects his tools once more, and I was left really wondering where the plot goes from there – what the “normal” sort of story in Sandman would be. Because so far, it was come back to power and get the tools back. That accomplished, what does him ruling the Dreamworld look like as a plot? I don’t have an image of it, and idea of it.

However, I feel like that was addressed really well in the last issue in the trade – because not only do I as the reader feel that way, Morpheus himself feels that way! He’s completed his goals upon escaping captivity, the quest that was reuniting his tools and regaining his power. At which point, he felt empty and aimless. And here we have another of the Endless introduced – Death. Their relationship was interesting, and Morpheus was reinvigorated and filled with renewed purpose.

Thus filled with purpose, I am filled with curiosity! I don’t know how great a first impression these comics left me with, but I think the weight of the entire series being out, of it being Neil Gaiman who I love and already expect a lot from (and this being some of his earliest work), with the backstory elements mixing with my lack of DC knowledge, and with all the hype… I think it might be late for this to truly be a “first” impression! That said, I was left (deliberately) intrigued enough to keep reading, and that’s my plan! Volume 2 is on the way to the library now!

7 responses to “Summer of Sandman – First Impressions of Preludes & Nocturnes

  1. Oh no you didn’t! LOL.

    That’s just a reaction to the ping. I’ll leave you an appropriately intelligent comment once I read.

    Also: I still have the rough draft of my Dream character study/profile. Once I get back on my feet, you can certainly have that one. It’s a good piece, and it would be dumb of me to publish it elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I figure I have at least one more post in me for this as well: a review of the second trade, since I’m curious if that will leave a stronger impression!


      • I think it will. The first volume isn’t representative of the work as a whole.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Funnily enough the first volume was my favorite of all of them (although I still haven’t read the last two.) And that was long before I knew anything about the DCU. But the first DC comic I read was Kingdom Come, and I adored that despite it being almost ENTIRELY cameos of previous characters, aged-up and changed… So, maybe there’s something wrong with me. 😉

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: The Comic-Verse – Super-Sized Three Week Edition: Awesome Art & The Top 45 Featured Links (06/25/15-07/15/15) | The Speech Bubble

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