- Series: The Sandman
- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Vertigo; Deluxe ed. edition (November 10, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1401248969
- ISBN-13: 978-1401248963
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 11.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (257 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Sandman: Overture Deluxe Edition Hardcover – Special Edition, November 10, 2015
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Amazon Book Review: Author Q&A
Graphic Novel Friday: Q&A with Neil Gaiman
A great story takes time, and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman fans have been waiting a long time to find out the answer to one of the biggest questions in this universe: what led to the imprisonment of Dream? Now, almost 27 years after Sandman #1 published in 1988, Neil Gaiman and artist J.H. Williams III answer the question in The Sandman: Overture—and spectacularly so. The very busy Mr. Gaiman had time for three key questions from us regarding the writing process in Overture and his collaboration with the artist. (Bonus! J.H. Williams III shares an exclusive image from his sketchbook below.)
Amazon Book Review: The events that occur in Overture lead directly into Dream’s first story, Preludes and Nocturnes. Did you always know what was going to happen in Overture’s events—or once you began writing it, did anything change from your initial plan?
Neil Gaiman: Well I always knew exactly how it was going to end. I knew the last page, and I was pretty sure of all the pages before then. Other than that, I had an idea of—I sort of knew the high points. It was the equivalent of going, okay, if you’re driving from New York to Los Angeles, you kind of have an idea of the places you’re going to visit on the way, but you don’t know what’s going to happen on the journey, and you don’t know the diversions.
So, you know, I always knew, for example, that we were going to have that amazing gathering of dreams at the end of issue one. I knew we were going to be meeting the parents. I knew that we were going to be understanding things that happened a long time ago and were referred to in Sandman but were never actually explained, so things like the original dream vortex. Those kinds of things would be explained, would become real, would become solid, and I knew that he would survive everything I threw at him. That stuff I knew. But what was going to happen page to page, I had absolutely no idea and it was a delight to find it out.
ABR: How different an experience is it for you as a writer to know the ending, and to know the reader knows the ending?
NG: It made it really interesting. People ask me how Sandman Overture fits into Sandman. Should they read it before or should they read it afterwards? And I say it fits like a weird little Mobius strip that actually attaches the back of Sandman to the front of Sandman again, because you should absolutely read it having read all of Sandman. Then, having read it from beginning to end, you should read all of Sandman again, because things are going to be different. There will be scenes that will mean different things, there will be moments where you go, “Oh my God I know what they’re talking about.” There are things that happen in Overture that resonate into Preludes and Nocturnes, solidly into The Doll's House, and show up again in places like Brief Lives. It’s like, if we were going to give it a number, I don’t know if this is the eleventh book of Sandman or if you just want an infinity symbol on its side indicating that you could just keep going with this one. It’s Sandman #0 and Sandman Infinite.
It was very strange because when I finished writing the very last issue of Sandman Overture, and then I sat down and re-read, trying to pretend I’ve never read them before, you actually now understand the condition he was in, the shape he was in, what happened to him in Sandman #1 and also how completely trashed he is at the beginning of Sandman #2
ABR: Where did your script end and J.H. William III's work begin in terms of overall design, page layouts and effects work?
NG: I would write the script, and then he would go down the rabbit hole. And sometimes he would be doing things I had asked him to do, and a lot of the time, he would have decided that he would create a page bordered with teeth, that kind of thing, but then there was also a weird feeling of ping pong, table tennis, because I would write something that I would think, “He’s never going to be able to pull this off, but let’s see what he does.” Then he would do something that took that beyond what I had asked. I would start going, “What else can we do?”
For example, the thing where you have to actually turn the page over to read it in the middle of Sandman #4, that was actually me, but that was based on seeing the kinds of glorious things J.H. was doing anyway and knowing that he would enjoy it. Also, there’s a certain amount of mischief in the idea of saying, “Okay let’s look at some of the things you can do in paper comics that are going to be a lot less fun digitally.” I kept thinking, the whole idea is that you can’t turn over an iPhone, you have to put it on a table and walk around it. There’s a little bit of that, too. I would ask him to do the impossible and he would always do something weirder than I’d asked for.
The Sandman: Overture releases November 10th, and Gaiman’s complete Sandman works can be found here. Our thanks to Mr. Gaiman, DC Comics, and Vertigo for this opportunity.
“Expansive and atmospheric, jammed with brainy, contemplative moments and dry humor…. Gaiman’s vivid, wild imagination is grounded in Williams’ and Stewart’s beautiful, captivating artwork…. Sandman fans will surely be elated not only by the return to the story but also by the stunning, gorgeous artwork, which outshines the original.”—Booklist (starred review)
"Dream is a long way from his realm, but for me reading this comic feels exactly like coming home."—The Guardian
"From the first page to the last, The Sandman: Overture #1 is an eruption of hallucinogenic artwork and unreal storytelling."—VICE MAGAZINE / MOTHERBOARD
"Sandman: Overture may go down as one of the best-drawn chapters in Sandman's already legendary run."—Newsarama
"Entering a Neil Gaiman story world is like stepping into a dream, where reality unravels and gives way to an eye-popping blend of the mythical, the fantastic, and the plain old strange. His magnum opus, of course, is a story about dreams--and despite breaking every rule in the book, it's one of the greatest graphic novels ever published."—TOR
About the Author
Creator of THE SANDMAN and one of comics' most accomplished writers, Neil Gaiman is also the New York Times best-selling author of the novels Anansi Boys, American Gods, Stardust and Coraline, as well as the short story collections M Is for Magic and Smoke and Mirrors and the multimedia creation Neverwhere. He also co-wrote the Jim Henson Productions film MirrorMask with longtime collaborator Dave McKean, illustrator of the Gaiman-written graphic novels MR. PUNCH, Violent Cases and BLACK ORCHID. Among his many awards are the Hugo, the Nebula, the Eisner, the Harvey, the Bram Stoker and the World Fantasy Award. Originally from England, Gaiman now lives in the United States.
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Top Customer Reviews
Also, for this I suggest if you are on the fence about getting the physical version vs a digital copy, get the physical version. There are double spread pages in the physical copy, which has a very cool effect when opening. Plus, there's one page where the words fall like a circle, and end up upside down. Holding the physical copy, I was easily able to turn it upside down, but I think that would be harder to do with a tablet or mobile device that reorients itself.
It's a great book.
But is it any good?
By which I mean was it readable, was it memorable, did it have meaning, did I like it? And well... yeah, but not much.
Overture is a prequel set just before the events of the first issue of Sandman telling the story of how he was captured and the mysterious mission he was returning from. In the process many questions are answered, many things are explained. Maybe too many, Did we need to know the secret origin of Morpheus' helmet? Did we gain or lose something when once one of the best lines in the original series gets a back story?
I'm not sure this story needed to be told. And with the ending a forgone conclusion it was hard to get too concerned about the goings on.
It's a great ride, full of the wonderful creative throw-aways that mark Gaiman's Sandman books and a fun return to a fondly-remembered series.
But I wasn't left with a particularly strong impression except maybe that I'd like to reread Sandman.
In the book, Dream is made aware of the fact that an aspect of him has died. He also finds out that the end of everything is near. Overture follows his quest to avert that catastrophe, which was going to occur due to a mistake he made in his past. Along the way, the reader meets up with some old favorite characters, including many of the Dream's siblings, the Endless. We also meet his parents. Woven throughout Overture are threads connecting it to the greater story told in the original Sandman series, leading right up to the event that starts that series. In fact, a reread of the series might be a good idea to see just how the events of Overture link up with the original series.
I don't rightly know how to judge any Sandman story; they are the highest example of what comic books can be. The art, by J.H. Williams, is beautiful and atmospheric. Gaiman tells another wonderful story, which, like the previous Sandman books, seems to be about so much more than what it appears to be. One of the things I enjoy so much about these books is being to think about them after finishing, discovering the depth they contain.
In addition to the story, the deluxe edition of Sandman Overture also contains many nice extra features. There are interviews with the various members of the creative team, highlighting their thoughts and the creative process that went in to the book. These provide a cool glimpse behind the curtain.
Overall, I highly recommend Neil Gaiman's Sandman Overture. The entire series is fantastic, and this latest story is actually a good place for new readers to begin. Reading it is well worth your time.j
I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lovely, lovely pictures.
The Lady of Night is big and sparkly and beautiful. Also, not inclined to help Morpheus out.Read more