Comics (or graphic novels to be more specific) are more or less recognized nowadays as the ninth art. They are so embedded in our everyday lives, that it is almost impossible to imagine how this form of expression was an outcast just a couple of decades ago. One of the authors that are responsible for the upraise of comics is Neil Gaiman with his legendary series “The Sandman”. Its impact is enormous and a lot of comics and other literary creations were inspired by this series. “Preludes and Nocturnes” is the name of the first paperback collection of the saga, and it encompasses first eight issues. These issues essentially set up the universe of Dream a.k.a. Morpheus. The story begins in the middle of WW1, when magician called Roderick Burgess tries to captures Death, but makes a mistake, and catches Dream instead. Years are passing, and Burgess is getting older, but he never lets Dream out, lest he suffers a revenge. Eventually, Burgess dies and his son takes over the control over the Dream. However, Dream manages to escape and is on his way to seize the lost glory. The first impression that one gets from reading this series is how odd and surreal it seems- in the same world you can encounter embodiment of abstract and complex human concepts on the other hand and Batman villains on the other. Graphically, this novel is beautiful, and the dialogue is somehow encrypted, which could pose a problem for somebody who is meeting with Neil Gaiman for the first time. There will be complaints on the accounts of the plot, and its inconsistency, but that is the way it goes with this type of creation- you either love it or not. Some people will be enchanted with the fantastic and a bit slow world of Morpheus, and other will toss the comics in trash. It is really up to an individual.
The Doll’s House
“The Doll’s House” represents the second paperback collection of “The Sandman” series, and it consists of issues 9-16. This part of the story tracks The story of Dream (or Morpheus or The Sandman as you like it) on his way to reinstate things as they were before his capture. This mission will not be simple for him, since things have changed immensely over the decades, and the Realm of Dreams is ruled by a new authority. Dream will have to reconnect with some old acquaintances and deal with some family members in order to gain his earlier position. Visually, “The Doll’s House” is a treat. Flying on the wings of the success of their first series, Neil Gaiman, Mike Dringenberg and the rest of the team got self-confidence and made a step forward in creating the world that is so strangely unique and uniquely strange, and yet beautiful. This collection starts slowly, but on its way to the final issue, it gets better and better with some unexpected twists turning at almost every corner. Some of the ideas creators are exploring are truly marvelous, and it is not an exaggeration to say that at some moments this comic series turns into a philosophical fiesta. It may take time to connect all the dots in Gaiman’s universe, but when you do, you will be a proud and satisfied man.
Here is a list of all Neil Gaiman books.