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The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes Paperback – December 7, 1993

4.3 out of 5 stars 473 customer reviews
Book 1 of 12 in the Sandman Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Wake up, sir. We're here." It's a simple enough opening line--although not many would have guessed back in 1991 that this would lead to one of the most popular and critically acclaimed comics of the second half of the century.

In Preludes and Nocturnes, Neil Gaiman weaves the story of a man interested in capturing the physical manifestation of Death but who instead captures the King of Dreams. By Gaiman's own admission there's a lot in this first collection that is awkward and ungainly--which is not to say there are not frequent moments of greatness here. The chapter "24 Hours" is worth the price of the book alone; it stands as one of the most chilling examples of horror in comics. And let's not underestimate Gaiman's achievement of personifying Death as a perky, overly cheery, cute goth girl! All in all, I greatly prefer the roguish breaking of new ground in this book to the often dull precision of the concluding volumes of the Sandman series. --Jim Pascoe

About the Author

Neil Gaiman is the author of the best-selling Trigger Warnings, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, The Graveyard Book, Coraline, The Sandman series, and many other works. His fiction has received Newbery, Carnegie, Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and Will Eisner Awards. His novel American Gods is being made into a TV miniseries to air in 2017. Originally from England, he now lives in the United States. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo (December 7, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563890119
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563890116
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.4 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (473 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #505,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This review is directed mainly at those of you who are not widely experienced with modern (one can hardly use the word `adult' without erotica coming to mind) comics, because I do not know many comics aficionados who are not familiar with the Sandman saga - the Citizen Kane of comics, or the Sgt. Pepper, or the War and Peace - and have not read, at the very least, this first installment in the series.
So - you haven't read comics in a long time, have you? Sure, you read it when you were a kid, like everyone else, but then you outgrew them. You went on to read real books with no pictures. But suddenly a couple of people tell you that there have been some interesting things going on in comics in the last twenty years, and you should check it out. You decide to give the ol' funnybooks a chance.
In that case, this book right here is one of the half-dozen masterworks you should start with to get a general idea of what comics are capable of, at least in the English speaking regions of the world (there are some fascinating things going on in Japan and France that I won't even begin to discuss). The Sandman, the ENTIRE Sandman saga, altogether ten books long - collected from magazine-form comics that were published regularly throughout most of the 90s - is one of the truly glorious, shining, perfect creations of, I'll say it, adult comics. That Preludes & Nocturnes, the first story-arch in the series, is the only one that can stand rightly by its own right, other than being a convenience for new readers which may make it easier for them to deal with the size of this saga, is a sure sign of the wisdom of the creator, the brilliant Mr. Neil Gaiman.
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Format: Hardcover
... at least not if you're only getting started in comics. I say this because the Sandman series is among the finest comics you will ever find.
In fact, "comic" is too small a word. So is "graphic novel," which is most often used by adults who are trying not to feel silly about reading comics. Sandman is one of those rare comics that transcend the medium. This is no mere comic book.
This is fiction, with artwork. This is visual storytelling, a modern descendent of humanity's earliest art forms. Don't let the "comic book" label fool you. This is a full-fledged book.
The entire 10 volume Sandman series centers around Morpheus, the Dream King. One of The Endless, he is one of seven eternal beings who are the embodiments of abstracts. Dream's older sister Death makes an appearance in the final chapter in this volume.
Other reviewers have criticized this volume for not being very representative of the series on the whole, and that is true. But this volume is a supremely important one becuase it lays the groundwork for everything that follows.
Not only that, it's very entertaining in it's own right. Chapters like A Hope In Hell, The Sound of Her Wings, or 24 Hours are extraordinary examples of comics at their best. Any one of those stories makes this volume worth owning, but you get all three of them, plus five more chapters as well.
If you already read comics, then by all means buy this book (and the other nine volumes, too). But if you're just getting started in comics, you should seriously think about starting somewhere else.
Because once you've read Sandman, you're going to be spending a lot of time in a mostly fruitless search for more books that are as good as this series.
Seriously. It's that good. 10 out of 10
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Format: Paperback
I love this series and am slowly acquiring all the books in it. It's fairly expensive, but, if you like the Sandman series, it's a lot cheaper than buying each individual comic. This book isn't the best in the series, but it's still very good. It's not like most comic books. There's no superhero intent on defeating an evil supervillain for the good of mankind. A group of magicians want to capture Death but instead capture Dream. He stays caged for decades, and, when he finally escapes, he has to find his tools (a bag of sand, his helm, and his Dreamstone).
This first book relies too much on guest appearances made by DC characters, but Gaiman does manage to move beyond that by the eighth issue, "The Sound of Her Wings". I really enjoyed that issue, which has the first appearance of Death. She's the reason I started reading the Sandman series. I'd read The High Cost of Living, and I loved the idea that Death could be a perky goth girl who you could really get to like. Mike Dringenberg, who does the pencils for the eighth issue, does an excellent version of Sandman and Death. I don't really like Sam Keith's version of Sandman that much, but his depictions of horrific things, like Hell, are wonderful. I also liked "Dream a Little Dream of Me", in which Dream has to find his bag of sand and is getting help from John Constantine, and "24 Hours", in which Doctor Destiny has Dream's Dreamstone and is driving the world mad. I consider both of those issues to be top horror. It's definitely worth it to get this book.
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