The Sandman, Volume 1: Preludes and Nocturnes

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Overview

A wizard attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. Fearful for his safety, the wizard kept him imprisoned in a glass bottle for decades. After his escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On the way, Morpheus encounters Lucifer and demons from Hell, the Justice League, and John Constantine, the Hellblazer. This book also includes the story "The Sound of Her Wings" which introduces us to the pragmatic and perky goth...
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Overview

A wizard attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. Fearful for his safety, the wizard kept him imprisoned in a glass bottle for decades. After his escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On the way, Morpheus encounters Lucifer and demons from Hell, the Justice League, and John Constantine, the Hellblazer. This book also includes the story "The Sound of Her Wings" which introduces us to the pragmatic and perky goth girl, Death.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563890116
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Publication date: 12/28/1993
  • Series: Sandman Series , #1
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.64 (w) x 10.16 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

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
( 51 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 52 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Sandman Series: Preludes and Nocturnes

    Title: Preludes & Nocturnes
    Author: Neil Gaiman
    Published: 1995 Pages: 235
    Genre: Graphic Novel, Horror
    Rating: 3/5

    Preludes & Nocturnes is the first novel in Gaiman's Sandman series. A graphic novel, P&N introduces readers to Morpheus, the Master of Dreams. Imprisoned for decades by a power-hungry man, Morpheus frees himself and attempts to retake various trappings of his profession. Other stories, related directly or indirectly, are interwoven into the narrative.

    I was intrigued by the foundation this novel sets up, but I'm not rushing to go out and buy the second. I probably will as I am a bit curious to see where the story goes. I will say this: There is a mini-story in the novel called 24 Hours that is absolutely horrifying. I was so disturbed I read it twice - I like being disturbed; what can I say?

    The more I write and think about this novel, the more I find myself feeling kindly towards it if that makes sense. For instance, I just flipped it open and caught this passage:

    "People think dreams aren't real because they aren't made of matter, of
    particles. Dreams are real but they are made of viewpoints, of images, of
    memories and puns and lost hopes."

    A wonderful philosophy. So I will go buy the next and see what happens.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2008

    At a Lost for words on just HOW GOOD THIS BOOK IS!

    I've been a fan of comic books for years, as well as other areas of literature. However I have never been able to be captivated by fantasy stories...until I read this first volume of Sandman. I still cannot believe just how GREAT THIS BOOK IS! The stories are outstanding, and the ART is beyond Outstanding! I reccomend this book for anyone who was like I was...always being told how good this series was, but for whatever reason kept waiting to read it. Believe me, after reading this first volume YOU WILL want to read more!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    One of the most interesting

    Neil Gaiman is at his best. A MUST BUY

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  • Posted July 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic Introduction to Graphic Novels.

    I just finished my first graphic novel, Preludes and Nocturnes. It is the first volume in the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. There are several reasons why I decided to try this book. One of my groups is doing a seasonal challenge where we are asked to read books outside of our normal genres. One of the genres I chose was graphic novels, and since the last few books I have read were not that good, I thought a short one would help get me back into reading. Finally, I have a friend who LOVES graphic novels and she recommended this series as one of the best. Since I like Neil Gaiman's books, I thought I would give it a chance. The reason that I don't usually read graphic novels is because, for some reason, I find the "comic book" style format very hard to read. That still held true for this book, especially since the page flow was not consistent from page to page. At times the pages were configured in columns, some of them in rows, and still others in more creative formats. To me, that interferes with the flow of the story. Another interesting aspect of this book was the different fonts used for each character. At first that took some getting used to, just like the page formats, but in the end, I actually liked this. The separate fonts seemed to give each character their own voice. Negating the above, though, my difficulty with the format was more than overcome by the story. The beginning novel deals with the story of Dream and how he is trying to rebuild his life after being held captive for decades. I found the references to old comic book heroes, mythology and religion, and magic really helped the story develop. In addition, the characters were interesting, and just enough was revealed about them to leave you wanting more. One of the most fun things, too, was the inclusion of all of the Dream/Sandman themed songs from through out the years. What does it say about me that I was familiar with most of them? All in all, I am putting this one in the win column, and plan to continue the series and see how the story develops

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Not your average graphic novel.

    I had heard of the Sandman comics before, but I had never heard enough of them to go out and buy them. I stumbled across this Volume One when I was surfing the B&N page and thought, since it contains several episodes from the comic, why not buy it and see what all the fuss was about? I didn't know what to think of it at first because the art was strange and felt more than a little old, but it seemed to get better as I read (or I just got used to it). The art work is erratic, at any rate, and always keeps you on edge with its shifting styles. As for the plot, it changes from volume to volume and, though some subjects may be a bit overused, the delivery is always original. There is nudity, violence, sexuality and "drug" use throughout the series -I would rate it at a light 'R'. It may also be offensive to Christians (the fourth volume deals almost exclusively with Lucifer evacuating Hell, Morpheus delegating over a meeting between people who want to buy Hell from him, and God sentencing two good angels to be lords of Hell in place of Lucifer, besides some other handling of Biblical "characters" in other volumes). This first volume is by far my favorite of the series.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2008

    Their is none other...

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2006

    wow oh wow

    jeez gaiman is a perfect artist. i mean i heard of him when i was reading another book and a goth girl was described by 'typical goth. gaiman obsessed' so i picked one up. he is outstanding

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2005

    Gaiman Is A Master

    When I first forced myself to pick up a copy of Neil Gaiman's work, I was afraid. The feeling of anxiety was there due to the fact that I was not familair with him, I wanted to read something that was compelling and rich, something that was related to mystery and horror with a small grain of fantasy and adventure on the side. And I must say that I was blown away by Gaiman's work, his stories create a feeling of realism, and that builds a very strong personal bridge between the reader of the characters. Gaiman is brilliant at what he does, and he is able to combine individual elements, chilling plot lines, and excellent verbage. I love this book, it is a must read for all book lovers.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2005

    Sandman Review

    This is easily the best comic I have ever read in my life. I absoulutly love the story and the artwork! Even if you dislike comic books everyone should like SANDMAN.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2004

    neil gainmain virgin

    This was the first Gainman book that I read and let me tell you I could not put it down. When i finished it I had to start another one to see what happends next. This is a Great Book and I highly Recommended this book. Trust me I will add more Neil Gainmains books to my new collections of his work.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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