The Absolute Sandman, Volume 1

( 24 )

Overview

Written by Neil Gaiman, art by Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Chris Bachalo, Michael Zulli, Steve Parkhouse, Kelley Jones, Charles Vess and Colleen Doran, cover by Dave McKean.

The Sandman, written by New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman, was the most acclaimed comic book title of the 1990s. A rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama and legend are seamlessly interwoven, The Sandman is also widely ...

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Overview

Written by Neil Gaiman, art by Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Chris Bachalo, Michael Zulli, Steve Parkhouse, Kelley Jones, Charles Vess and Colleen Doran, cover by Dave McKean.

The Sandman, written by New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman, was the most acclaimed comic book title of the 1990s. A rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama and legend are seamlessly interwoven, The Sandman is also widely considered one of the most original and artistically ambitious series of the modern age. By the time it concluded in 1996, it had made significant contributions to the artistic maturity of comic books and become a pop culture phenomenon in its own right.

Now, DC Comics is proud to present this comics classic in an all-new Absolute Edition format. The first of four beautifully designed slipcased volumes, The Absolute Sandman Vol. 1 collects issues #1-20 of The Sandman and features completely new coloring, approved by the author on the first 18 issues, as well as a host of never-before-seen extra material including the complete original Sandman proposal, a gallery of character designs from Gaiman and the artists who originated the look of the Sandman, and the original script for the World Fantasy Award-winning The Sandman #19, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," together with reproductions of the issue's original pencils by Charles Vess. Also included are a new introduction by DC President and Publisher Paul Levitz and an afterword by Gaiman.

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Editorial Reviews

Dave Itzkoff
As a new collection, The Absolute Sandman: Volume One, demonstrates, many of the stylistic elements that would define Gaiman’s later fiction were well under his command two decades ago. In the first 20 issues of the series collected in this lavish hardcover edition, one can already see an author with a voracious appetite for literature and an accompanying taste for the occult, prone to frequent references to high and low culture, capable of rendering truly brutal acts of sadism, and fond of cats.
— The New York Times
Library Journal

In 1988, Gaiman began writing the series that was to make him a star in the fields of comics and fantasy: The Sandman. This first lavish (and heavy) oversized hardcover of four planned volumes reprints the first 20 issues, which were previously collected in trade paperback (Preludes and Nocturnes, The Doll's House, and Dream Country). With artwork by cocreators Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg, plus Colleen Doran, Charles Vess, and others, and improved coloring in the first 18 issues, this features the first appearances of Dream as he escapes after 70 years of captivity and moves to regain his power and dream kingdom. Also included is the World Fantasy Award-winning "A Midsummer Night's Dream," a tale of Shakespeare and the faery folk; the complete script and pencils form part of the 78-page appendix. Filled with wonder and strangeness, this dark fantasy for older teens and adults is one of the most celebrated comic series. Essential for every library, this "Absolute" edition is absolutely its best presentation yet.
—Steve Raiteri

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401210823
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Series: Absolute Sandman Series , #1
  • Edition description: Slipcase
  • Pages: 612
  • Sales rank: 120,391
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 15.60 (h) x 2.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman
Novelist Neil Gaiman has sent a British businessman tumbling into a fantastic underworld and had a devil and angel comically conspiring to thwart the Apocalypse. He found his biggest success, though, in Death, Dreams and Destruction -- and the four other similarly named siblings who controlled the reins of the human race's emotional impulses in his graphic-novel series The Sandman, a wholesale rejuvenation of graphic fiction that had everyone from Tori Amos to Norman Mailer spinning with, yes, Delirium.

Biography

Neil Gaiman thought he wrote comic books. But a newspaper editor, of course, set him straight.

Back when he was riding the diabolical headwinds of his popular series of graphic novels, The Sandman, the author attended a party where he introduced himself as a comic-book writer to a newspaper's literary editor. But when the editor quickly realized who this actually was -- and the glaze melted from his eyes -- he offered Gaiman a correction tinged with astonishment: "My God, man, you don't write comics, you write graphic novels." Relating the story to theLos Angeles Times in 1995, Gaiman said, "I suddenly felt like someone who had been informed that she wasn't a hooker, that in fact she was a lady of the evening."

Gaiman's done much more, of course, than simply write graphic novels, having coauthored, with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens, a comic novel about the Apocalypse; adapted into hardcover the BBC miniseries Neverwhere about the dark underworld beneath the streets of London; and, inspired by his young daughter, put a horrifying spin on C.S. Lewis' wardrobe doors for Coraline, a children's book about a passageway into a magical, yet malevolent, land.

But it is The Sandman that is Gaiman's magnum opus.

Though he had told a career counselor in high school that he wanted to pen comic books, he had a career as a freelance journalist before his first graphic novel, Violent Cases, was published in England in 1987. DC Comics discovered him and The Sandman was born. Or reborn, actually. The comic debuted back in 1939 with a regular-Joe crime fighter in the lead. But in Gaiman's hands the tale had a more otherworldly spin, slowing introducing readers to the seven siblings Endless: Dream, Death, Desire, Destiny, Destruction, Despair and Delirium (once Delight). They all have their roles in shaping the fates of man. In fact, when Death was imprisoned for decades, the results were devastating. Richard Nixon reached The White House and Michael Jackson the Billboard charts.

Direction from newspaper editors notwithstanding, to Gaiman, these stories are still comic books. The man who shuttled back and forth between comics and classics in his formative years and can pepper his writing with references to Norse mythology as well as the vaudevillian rock group Queen, never cottoned to such highbrow/lowbrow distinctions. Comparing notes on a yachting excursion with members of the Irish rock band U2, the writer who looks like a rock star and Delirium and the rock stars who gave themselves comic-worthy names such as Bono and The Edge came to a realization: Whether the medium is pop music or comic books, not being taken seriously can be a plus. "It's safer to be in the gutter," he told The Washington Post in 1995.

In 1995, Gaiman brought The Sandman to a close and began spending more time on his nongraphic fiction, including a couple of short-story collections. A few years later he released Stardust, an adult fairy tale that has young Tristan Thorn searching for a fallen star to woo the lovely but cold Victoria Forester. In 2001, he placed an ex-con named Shadow in the middle of a war between the ancient and modern dieties in American Gods. Coming in October 2002 is another departure: an audio recording of Two Plays for Voices, which stars Bebe Neuwirth as a wise queen doing battle with a bloodthirsty child and Brian Dennehy as the Angel of Vengeance investigating the first crime in history in heaven's City of Angels.

Gaiman need not worry about defining his artistic relevance, since so many other seem to do it for him. Stephen King, Roger Zelazny and Harlan Ellison are among those who have contributed introductions to his works. William Gibson, the man who coined the term "cyberspace," called him a "a writer of rare perception and endless imagination" as well as "an American treasure." (Even though he's, technically, a British treasure transplanted to the American Midwest.) Even Norman Mailer has weighed in: "Along with all else, Sandman is a comic strip for intellectuals, and I say it's about time."

The gushiest praise, however, may come from Frank McConnell, who barely contained himself in the pages of the political and artistic journal Commonweal. Saying Gaiman "may just be the most gifted and important storyteller in English," McConnell crowned Sandman as the most important act of fiction of the day. "And that, not just because of the brilliance and intricacy of its storytelling -- and I know few stories, outside the best of Joyce, Faulkner, and Pynchon, that are more intricate," he wrote in October 1995, " but also because it tells its wonderful and humanizing tale in a medium, comic books, still largely considered demimonde by the tenured zombies of the academic establishment."

"If Sandman is a 'comic,'" he concluded, "then The Magic Flute is a 'musical' and A Midsummer Night's Dream is a skit. Read the damn thing: it's important."

Good To Know

Some fascinating factoids from our interview with Gaiman:

"One of the most enjoyable bits of writing Sandman was getting authors whose work I love to write the introductions for the collected graphic novels -- people like Steve Erickson, Gene Wolfe, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, Mikal Gilmore, and Samuel R. Delany."

"I have a big old Addams Family house, with -- in the summertime -- a vegetable garden, and I love growing exotic pumpkins. As a boy in England I used to dream about Ray Bradbury Hallowe'ens, and am thrilled that I get them these days. Unless I'm on the road signing people's books, of course."

"According to my daughters, my most irritating habit is asking for cups of tea."

"I love radio -- and love the availability of things like the Jack Benny radio shows in MP3 format. I'm addicted to BBC radio 7, and keep buying boxed CD sets of old UK radio programs, things like Round the Horne and Hancock's Half Hour. Every now and again I'll write a radio play."

"I love thunderstorms, old houses, and dreams."

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    1. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 10, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portchester, England
    1. Education:
      Attended Ardingly College Junior School, 1970-74, and Whitgift School, 1974-77
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 24 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 7, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Awesome

    Neil Gaiman is a fiction genius and a real wordsmith. These stories are for anyone who is looking for a great read. They are comics with enough story and heart to be seen as full novels.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Simply the best.

    Before laying my hands on Sandman I just didn't know that "comics" could be so wonderful. I had been a collector for many many years, and Spawn had been my favorite comic series since I first purchased issue #1 so many years ago. I used to prefer the detailed realism of the Spawn art work, but now I've come to appreciate the subtle minimalist approach seen in Sandman. It is much more surreal and seems to me now to be artistically superior.

    Aside from the art, the story line is about as complex as I've seen in any graphic novel. This series deals with poignant subjects and I often find myself thinking about what I've just read even after I'm finished. This piece definitely gives you plenty of food for thought and topics for discussion with others who have read it. Definitely a mature comic that deals with mature subject matter, I wouldn't recommend this for small children who might still believe in Santa.

    Thus far it is simply the very best graphic novel, or comic, that I've ever had the pleasure to read. From an eye towards both the writing and the art, Sandman is a masterpiece without equal. I have also recently read Watchmen, after the book coming heavily recommended by several friends of mine, and while Watchmen is exceedingly well done, I feel that Sandman blows it out of the water in terms of story, nuance, art, expression, poignancy...everything really.

    If you're thinking about reading Sandman, and are totally unfamiliar with the series, I say do yourself a favor and dive in as soon as possible. If you're already a fan there is little left for me to say except that this Absolute edition is wonderfully done and most certainly does the work justice. Now, I'm off to purchase the next tome in the series!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2008

    A reviewer

    I don't know if anyone can possibly get more inventive than this. The series of the Sand Man is the definition of thinking out side the box. How someone can take the many Gods of myth, along with the Devil and angels of Christianity, and other characters from the bible, 'Cain and Able, were great characters in these stories' mix it all together with deities who were before all of them 'Dream, Desire, Despair, Destiny, Death etc' and create a story that connects them all and runs smoothly till the perfect ending is so amazing to me. Only Gaiman has done this so well and I recommend everyone checking this series out, for this will be a remembered classic in literature for years to come.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2013

    I rate B & N a zero! I have not received the book yet! DO NO

    I rate B & N a zero! I have not received the book yet! DO NOT order this unless you have a LONG time to wait for it.
    I am done ordering from this company online. This was a Christmas present, but I have no book to give. 
    I was given the runaround about my order, too. And I was told by a bookseller at the store that, get this, 
    the online store is "a different company" from the brick and mortar stores. Good luck if you order this. Inwish 
    I could get my money back and go to a comic book shop. At least they have products on the shelf!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    BUY IT

    BUY IT

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    BUY IT

    Highly Recommended, AWESOME

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    The Mythology of Neil Gaiman

    The Sandman series of graphic novels is a display of one of the most fully realized mythologies in literary history. Neil Gaiman's work deserves to sit on a pedestal no further from JRR Tolkein than it should be from Homer. Some might look at the price and begin to inch away from this book. Though I can promise you that if you decide to buy this series "book by book," which I subsequently did, you will buy each one. Neil Gaiman writes like the best actors act. While some actors play off the archs of their own individual emotions, Neil Gaiman gets lost in his characters. These characters being: Dream, Destiny, Desire, Despair, Delirium, Destruction and at long last Death. I assure you, the soon to be reader, that if you read these books you will know these characters and feel for these characters just as much as you did for Hermione and Harry. One of the benefits of reading this series is that Neil Gaiman doesn't feel tied down to any one genre. While it is true most "comic books" tend to be written for 12 year old boys enjoying drawings of explosions, the work of Neil Gaiman is by turns funny, heart breaking, heart-stopping and is filled with it's own soul. I highly recommend Neil Gaiman's Sandman Series, not for being one of the best fantasy graphic novels of all time but one of the best novels of all time period.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2010

    I ordered this before Christmas and still have not recieved

    Delivery service and availability poor

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted March 20, 2009

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