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Annotated Sandman Vol. 1 Hardcover – January 10, 2012
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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.Read more ›
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.
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).Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A stunning addition to the Sandman, this is the not the edition for beginners. This is for fans of Sandman who want to know more about the rich and varied sources for Gaiman's... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Hannah Heidt
It's in black and white, not color. Amazon should have noted this in their description (or allowed a peek inside). So many more will be disappointed.Published 23 months ago by D. Claps
I love this series, and Mr. Gaiman's works in general. This particular book is absolutely fantastic, and the annotations are interesting and insightful.Published on April 28, 2014 by Isla Schanuel
Great book and I just love the notes.
Wish it was in color (no idea if the originals were or not).
In my opinion this is the best, most cost effective way to read the sandman comics. Another plus is that it feels like you are holding a great tome of knowledge when you carry it... Read morePublished on November 4, 2013 by Fintago
This is a beautifully designed package and a must-have for Sandman completists.Maybe too pricey for casual fans but compelling stuff nevertheless.Published on September 11, 2013 by Graphic Reader
I can only echo the other reviewers; there are interesting here but the downsides are overwhelming. First, the book feels cheap in terms of binding and paper. Read morePublished on June 4, 2013 by reading guy
It's the awkward phase of Sandman, when superheroes existed in the same world and Gaiman had not found his voice yet. Read morePublished on March 20, 2013 by Rodolfo S. Filho