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Posted January 28, 2012
Not what I expected...
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. There are also a plethora of page where "In Issue --, this page was followed by an ad page" is the only commentary listed.
Powerful stuff, I know. 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.
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). Seeing the Endless, especially Dream and Death, rendered this way, almost makes it feel as though this is how the stories should've been presented in the first place. It is beautiful, and it is haunting in a way that the bold, stark colors are not. I can't wait to see future issues (Season of Mists, The Kindly Ones and Michael Zulli's visually stunning The Wake, in particular) rendered in this stark style.
On a side note: Readers may want to be careful with the pages when thumbing through this book. The black paper is highly absorbent and shows fingertip oils very very easily.
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