Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

Preludes & Nocturnes

New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman's transcendent series SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with his own distinct narrative vision.In PRELUDES...

Title:Preludes & Nocturnes
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1563892278
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:240 pages

Preludes & Nocturnes Reviews

  • Alejandro

    Writer: Neil Gaiman

    Illustrators: Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg & Malcolm Jones III

    Covers: Dave McKean

    Letterer: Todd Klein

    Definitely there is stuff that if you read again, you’ll get it differently, but even so, you’ll get it differently if you re-read it again in a different order.

    I am re-reading again the first four TPBs of

    since I was able to buy the rest of TPBs of the series,

    Writer: Neil Gaiman

    Illustrators: Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg & Malcolm Jones III

    Covers: Dave McKean

    Letterer: Todd Klein

    Definitely there is stuff that if you read again, you’ll get it differently, but even so, you’ll get it differently if you re-read it again in a different order.

    I am re-reading again the first four TPBs of

    since I was able to buy the rest of TPBs of the series,

    I chose to read first the TPBs of

    and definitely it was the right call. Neil Gaiman commented at the end of

    that Death can serve as an introduction to

    and he was right. I guess he knows something about it since he’s the author (he,he,he).

    But, seriously, now that I read

    first of re-engaging into

    , I was able to recognize some characters and getting the importance of comments made there. Even wondering details like how Roderick Burguess was sure, with just a glance, that Dream wasn’t Death, but wasn’t able to know who was exactly. Allowing me to enjoy even more the re-reading experience of this first TPB in the series.

    Of course, re-reading again this first TPB (taking in account that I already read before the following 3 TPBs) allow me to enjoy the introduction here and there of characters that they will play relevant roles in the rest of the series. And that I was able to appreciate and understanding certain scenes.

    So, indeed this is a prelude to

    , since Neil Gaiman is just establishing the general scenario where he will develop the story in the following TPBs.

    1916: Morpheus, the King of the realm of Dreams, the embodiment of Dream, is trapped by mistake by a black sorceress.

    Roderick Burguess didn’t want to catch Dream, he was after Death.

    But what’s done, it’s done.

    Dream is trapped in a magic circle during 72 years and even bereft from his tools of office which are key receptacles of his own power.

    1988: Dream is able to escape. Weak. Angry. Confused.

    During this first TPB of

    , Morpheus must seek out for his tótems of power, a little pouch full of sand, a helm with the shape of a WWI gas mask, and a ruby.

    Dream needs all those three artifacts since he put inside of them too much of his own power and therefore, now without them, he won’t be able to regain control of his own realm.

    Dream will have a little help from John Constantine to get back one of those items, but about the remaining two, he must face alone dangerous challenges in unexpected places and/or against unexpected oponents.

    And since Morpheus needs those things to get back to full power, evidently he isn’t in top shape to fight his enemies with raw power, so he must rely in cunning and

    to try to be again his “old self”.

  • Patrick

    First off, let's be clear, I'm a big soppy fan of Gaiman's Work.

    Secondly, I've read the Sandman series several times before. So this is more a record of my fond re-reading and musing about this story rather than some sort of objective review.

    But if you've read any of my other reviews, that won't come as a surprise.

    I think it's been a full ten years since the last time I've read this series. And, given that my memory is, well... to put it plainly quite shit, I get to experience the series with

    First off, let's be clear, I'm a big soppy fan of Gaiman's Work.

    Secondly, I've read the Sandman series several times before. So this is more a record of my fond re-reading and musing about this story rather than some sort of objective review.

    But if you've read any of my other reviews, that won't come as a surprise.

    I think it's been a full ten years since the last time I've read this series. And, given that my memory is, well... to put it plainly quite shit, I get to experience the series with a fairly fresh set of eyes at this point.

    The first thing that I notice is that the art is different that I remember. I remember it being darker and grittier. More real AND more surreal at the same time.

    But that, I'm expecting, is the lens of corrective memory at play. In reality, the art seems more (for lack of a better word) cartoony. The colors are bolder, more garish than I remember.

    Note: I had the same experience recently when I re-read Watchmen. So I'm suspecting this is an issue with me, rather than the comic. Or perhaps I'm remembering the later parts of the comic more vividly.

    The other thing I'm surprised to see is that both John Constantine and a few members of the DC cannon show up in this first book. Mostly just brief walk-ons, but Martian Manhunter is there, and we see Arkham asylum and the Scarecrow.

    These things don't detract from the story. I can say that for a fact, because on my earlier reads when I hadn't read many comics, so I didn't know who many of those characters were. But I have to say, reading through this time they kinda surprised me.

    You see, I think of the Sandman series as being... well... kinda self-contained. That's not the right way of putting it really, as the story is hugely vast. It's sprawling and lovely and mythically rich.

    I guess what I'm saying here is that while it seems perfectly natural that Sandman exists in the same world as Odin and Puck and Eurydice, having Batman in that cosmology, even by association, feels really odd to me. And the more I think of it, it's strangely off-putting.

    That said, I'm fairly certain these DC cameos were early things, and weren't repeated extensively throughout the rest of the series.

    As for this first book, it makes for both a great story in itself, and a great start to the larger series. That's not a common thing.

    Is it worth your time?

    Absolutely.

    I don't care if you don't read comics, you should read this series.

    And if you *do* read comics, you cannot consider yourself well-read until you have Sandman under your belt. Seriously.

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    I need to admit something. I've never "gotten" Neil Gaiman's books. They confuse the hell out of me. I really never know where he is going with a story. *gasp*

    This one was some freaky ass shit. Some old guy wants to perform a ceremony to capture "Death". Yeah..okay.

    Anyways, he ends up capturing our guy Dream.

    Dream bides his time. Then he wants his domain back. Then some more freaky ass shit goes down.

    I see a whole lot of fangirls and boys on these books. Don't kill me yet. I have another on

    I need to admit something. I've never "gotten" Neil Gaiman's books. They confuse the hell out of me. I really never know where he is going with a story. *gasp*

    This one was some freaky ass shit. Some old guy wants to perform a ceremony to capture "Death". Yeah..okay.

    Anyways, he ends up capturing our guy Dream.

    Dream bides his time. Then he wants his domain back. Then some more freaky ass shit goes down.

    I see a whole lot of fangirls and boys on these books. Don't kill me yet. I have another one to read.

    But I'm skeered...

  • Bookdragon Sean

    Mr Gaiman, thank you for the dream.

    See what I did there? But in all fairness this is a dream. This comic is just everything I want a comic to be. It’s dark and brutal; it’s profound and sophisticated: it’s imaginative and creative. I just love everything about it. It’s superb. Let’s begin with the characters:

    So the protagonist is a god, a very old god. And he represents one of the key elements of life itself: hope. He is everything the mind longs for. He is the reason to carry on living

    Mr Gaiman, thank you for the dream.

    See what I did there? But in all fairness this is a dream. This comic is just everything I want a comic to be. It’s dark and brutal; it’s profound and sophisticated: it’s imaginative and creative. I just love everything about it. It’s superb. Let’s begin with the characters:

    So the protagonist is a god, a very old god. And he represents one of the key elements of life itself: hope. He is everything the mind longs for. He is the reason to carry on living. Dream walks in the darkness. He comes from the darkness and brings the light. However, such an entity has been brought down by the folly of humans. He’s been locked away and his power sought after. The world is in turmoil; thus, the story begins. As Dream seeks the stolen relics of his power, the depth of this world is slowly revealed.

    Although Lucifer isn’t a major character in this volume, I do feel like he is being forshadowed as a later antagonist in this series. Well, at least, I hope he is. I love the rendition of Lucifer here. He is very much in the Miltonic vein. Proud and beautiful yet twisted beyond repair. One of his minions has a relic of Dream’s, and although the two are hospitable towards each other, the words speak of veiled threats and a violent past. I can’t wait to see more. Lucifer and Dream philosophising the sovereignty of hell? Give me more.

    So Death is a gothic girl who oozes with nihilism? She’s a rock chick who is clearly rather badass. She’s Dream’s sister and is rather pissed off that he didn’t call on her for help. Why are these characters so fucking cool? I could spend all day reading about this lot.

    Did I just find a new favourite comic series?

  • HFK

    Neil Gaiman is a bit of an black sheep to me.

    What I mean by that is that I absolutely adore his ass off. He is one of those authors that writes so beautifully, vividly, creatively that it is almost impossible not to be sucked inside the fantasy worlds he somehow manages to share to us mere mortals. All this despite of the fact that his most popular works are in general the kinds I have no interest, no passion, no need to have on my reading list.

    But he is Neil Gaiman. He is my black sheep. He is

    Neil Gaiman is a bit of an black sheep to me.

    What I mean by that is that I absolutely adore his ass off. He is one of those authors that writes so beautifully, vividly, creatively that it is almost impossible not to be sucked inside the fantasy worlds he somehow manages to share to us mere mortals. All this despite of the fact that his most popular works are in general the kinds I have no interest, no passion, no need to have on my reading list.

    But he is Neil Gaiman. He is my black sheep. He is that one anomaly, worship worthy.

    First volume of

    did not live up to my enormous, perhaps too high and hyped up, expectations, and I in many places felt as if Gaiman did not do as good as he could do. Granted, this is a work of long process and I do know in my heart that he will eventually get to blow my mind, the more volumes I am able to read, the more I will fall in love with his creation.

    This was a fifty-fifty read for me. Other parts (mostly the modern parts of the story) I really liked whereas the other parts (mostly the parts that leaned heavily on the fantasy side) I did not feel at all, which again highlights my reading tastes and preferences.

    The Sandman as a character was build to be a very compelling, attractive, multilayered personality and he will be one of the two big reasons why I will gladly continue my journey with. The other is his gorgeous sister, The Death. I am sensing great things happening in the near future volumes.

    I was familiar with most of the side characters, such as John Constantine, but I do not believe it to be necessity for a reader to have that knowledge of comics world to be able to fully enjoy this volume, it is structured good enough for both sides of the fence.

    Sweet dreams, there will be more of those soon enough.

  • Bill  Kerwin

    I thought it was time I added

    . It fits precisely into my systematic program of reading. “Hold on!” I can hear all you folks out there saying. “ Your 'systematic program of reading'? Why you're one of the most eclectic readers I know!”

    I can understand why you might feel that way, but there is a little method to my madness. Although it is true that some of the books I read (progressive political analyzes, slim 20th century verse collections, cat books, classic spiritual treatises, or t

    I thought it was time I added

    . It fits precisely into my systematic program of reading. “Hold on!” I can hear all you folks out there saying. “ Your 'systematic program of reading'? Why you're one of the most eclectic readers I know!”

    I can understand why you might feel that way, but there is a little method to my madness. Although it is true that some of the books I read (progressive political analyzes, slim 20th century verse collections, cat books, classic spiritual treatises, or the occasional literary novel) do not fit within my grand plan, most of them do.

    About ten years ago, I realized that many books I liked were from emerging, belittled or despised forms or genres: the Elizabethan popular stage play, the budding 18th century novel, the gothic romance, the Victorian

    novel published in serial form, the novel of sensation, the decadent experiment, the adventure tale, the sea story, the spy story, the ghost story, the pulps (both mystery and terror), the space opera and other science fiction and fantasy of the '50's, the detective novel, and the modern horror tale. Whereas the writers of “literary fiction” are often too concerned with critical opinion, judiciously curbing their personal obsessions and producing unreadable “writerly” prose, the humble genre writer is more likely to give his “inner crazy” free rein, and either tell his eccentric story in no-nonsense fashion or--on occasion--let his plots and prose burgeon untrammeled, like a blooming meadow garden. At worst, the result is amusing, or odd; at best, it is something original, something new.

    Not long ago, it occurred to me that—being too much a creature of words—I had neglected an obvious example of an emerging genre: the comic book of the late 80's, on its way to becoming the “graphic novel.” Since I'm already in love with Gaiman's

    , I decided to begin with

    .

    I am glad I did. The first eight numbers of Gaiman's series are, on the surface, a traditional quest story. Morpheus Lord of the Dreamworld, imprisoned for years by a sorcerer, goes searching for the objects of power—his helmet, his jewel, his pouch of dream-dust—so that he may once again exercise full power over his realm. But the stories it tells, and the genres in touches, range widely, from an Edwardian tale of an Aleister Crowley type sorcerer, a pulp EC Horror Cain and Abel anecdote, a contemporary British horror story of drug abuse, through a mythic descent into hell featuring an epic duel with demons, until it climaxes in a ghastly ordeal of modern horror (with a little meta-fiction thrown in) in which an escaped madman in a diner, in possession of the Dream Lord's mind manipulating jewel, brutalizes the restaurant's clientele for hours. The final number (“The Sound of Her Wings”)—perhaps the most elegant of the eight—is however, a kind of whimsical coda, introducing us to Dream's sister, the irreverent and down-to-earth Death.

    I thought everything about this saga—story, dialogue, art—was well executed...except for

    small detail. Gaiman chooses to make a reference to the DC universe (the Justice League of America, to be precise) in a way that breaks the spell of what otherwise would be a completely self-contained, transcendent and mythic journey. But that's the kind of thing that's bound to happen in emerging genres. People take risks.

    Anyway, I'm hooked. On to

    .


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