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Annotated Sandman Vol. 1 Hardcover – January 10, 2012

3.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Annotated Sandman Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Neil Gaiman is the NEW YORK TIMES best-selling author of AMERICAN GODS and CORALINE. His other books include the novels ANANSI BOYS, NEVERWHERE and STARDUST (winner of the American Library Association's Alex Awards as one of 2000's top ten adult novels for young adults) and the short fiction collections M IS FOR MAGIC, FRAGILE THINGS and SMOKE AND MIRRORS. With Roger Avary, he is the screenwriter of the motion picture BEOWULF (Paramount, November 2007), direct by Robert Zemeckis. His illustrated novel STARDUST was released as a major motion picture Summer 2007 starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro. With Terry Pratchett, he is the author of the novel GOOD OMENS. He is also the author of the children's books THE WOLVES IN THE WALLS and THE DAY I TRADED MY DAD FOR TWO GOLDFISH. Among his many awards are the Eisner, Hugo, the Nebula, the World Fantasy and the Bram Stoker. Originally from England, Gaiman now lives in the United States.

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Product Details

  • Series: Sandman (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo; Annotated edition (January 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401233325
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401233327
  • Product Dimensions: 12.1 x 1.6 x 12.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #299,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Neil Gaiman writes, in his introduction to this book: "I was taken aside by a man who had read Sandman #1 just after it came out, asking how I dared put one of the Words That Must Not Be Written Down in my comic; I hated to tell him where that word had already been written down, and where I had found it." He leaves us with that, our fascination dilated, appetites whetted, attention held. Just what is he referring to? I've read this whole book, and I still don't know.

Much has been made of the mass of literary, historical, mythological, folkloric, and comic-nerd allusions encrusted into The Sandman like the oddments in McKean's covers. Karen Berger says there's a million things each issue that goes over her head. "Nobody was expected to get all the references", writes Gaiman. Nothing, then, could be more appropriate than an annotated Sandman. And the format-- full-size reproductions of each page, with giant margins for notes. This is a major step in comics history. Unfortunately, it's a botched job. This is one of most frustratingly failed attempts at prestige I've encountered in ages. I can't believe Gaiman would consent to its publication, let alone his name being all over it.

First of all, influences/inspirations are never discussed, and references/allusions are seldom glossed. Many specific tidbits about folktales and mythology which I've always wondered about, especially in regards to names, are not mentioned here. Another surprise for me was that many of the comic book references are barely dealt with, or dealt with not at all.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a fan of annotated books (especially Les Klinger's "Annotated Dracula"), I was expecting a bit more from this volume - I understand why the comics in the collection were printed in black & white (aside from doubling the price of the book, color artwork would've demanded the book itself to've been printed on thicker paper resulting in a heavier, more unwieldy tome), but the lack of notes from Neil Gaiman himself is a weird oversight, especially considering that Gaiman wrote this book's introduction and edited/proofread Klinger's annotations.

Granted, some of Gaiman's editorials from the original print run of Sandman which document the creation of the comic are reproduced in the 'Annotated Sandman', and I respect Gaiman's decision to hand the writing of the annotations entirely over to Klinger, but the decisions to treat Gaiman as if he was dead and unavailable for comment (as mentioned in the book's introduction) was a strange decision that hamstrung the writing of this book, for if Gaiman HAD been dead, then Klinger would've been free to beef up the annotations with information about Gaiman's life and the creation of the Sandman series, but, seemingly out of respect for Gaiman, Klinger keeps his notes focused squarely on the text of the comics (which is rare for an annotated book like this) without any context about the who/what/how/why of the comics' creation, which can make for some pretty dry reading.
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Format: Hardcover
There are things I absolutely love about The Annotated Sandman, and things I am enormously disappointed with.

I am hugely disappointed with the lack of commentary on most pages, especially as this was sold as Gaiman's way of jotting down his reasons for writing The Sandman, and his driving inspirations for the stories. Given what a landmark series The Sandman was and what an influence it continues to be, I expected more profound notes than the history of British rock bands or song lyrics to show tunes. I would much rather have had in-depth commentaries from Gaiman, the artists and the rest of the creative team. Instead, we are left with an enormous amount of blank pages with no comments whatsoever, and a plethora of the enormously profound "In Issue --, this page was followed by an ad page."

If you are buying this edition for stellar commentary and insight into the creative process, the characters and the world itself, you will be highly disappointed.

What I LOVE about this volume, is that it is presented entirely in black and white. The uncolored pages are absolutely gorgeous and add a whole new layer of depth and emotion to the story. I find it interesting that so many of the reviews I have read elsewhere are put off more by the lack of colorization than the trivial (and often absent) annotations. For me, the new visual experience was the best thing about this volume, and the primary reason for its high rating.

I could never get the hang of the lat 80's-early 90's style of coloring and always considered it a bit on an eyesore. (I know this is how things were done in that age due to printing limitations, etc, but it has still always been a turnoff for me personally).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I share the opinion of the first poster and one star review. I had actually put off buying a copy of the Absolute Sandman for this book, as I wished it to be a be-all and end-all collection of the graphic novels for my library. Unfortunately, I found I'm going to have to spend the extra money on the other compilation. Amazon did not clearly communicate this book was in black and white and not full color, and as there were no peeks into the book I had no way of knowing from the description. The paper is somewhat rough and cheap feeling, definitely nowhere near the quality of a graphic novel or even the trade collections I own.

All in all, I'm not too terribly excited about this purchase. I expected there to be more discussions on the annotations as well. Perhaps I'll feel differently when I read the whole thing, but right now I'm definitely not intending to buy the other volumes, and I've not yet decided on whether I will send this back to Amazon for a refund.

EDIT: I've definitely decided to return this book. Going with my original choice and getting the Absolute volume instead. Yes, it's a little more money, but it's definitely worth the price, whereas this edition is not.
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