Volume 92, Issue 20

Wednesday, October 7, 1998



Mr. Sandman cometh

The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes

Neil Gaiman

Vertigo/DC Comics


It's October and mid-terms are fast approaching. With nothing but all-nighters ahead from now until November – coffee, wake-up pills, cigarettes and Ritalin will no doubt be approached to help activate brain matter. But there is one other weapon available to any intellectual arsenal and it's called The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes – the smart kids' best kept secret.

As the initial entry into the saga of the Lord of Dreams, The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes, introduces readers to Morpheus, his world and its inhabitants. The story begins with the Sandman trapped in a glass bottle, where he has remained for the last 80 years. The first story collected in this book deals with his escape from the bottle and his retrieval of the tools and world which were once his. Along the way, we are introduced to a number of exciting things like living dreams, the Lords of Hell, a horrific 24 hours spent in a diner and finally, the Sandman's elder sister, Death.

It is perhaps surprising that in a visual medium such as comic books, the story takes centre stage. Within this volume, author Neil Gaiman sows the seeds of a new mythology that is viewed through the eyes of the Sandman.

Gaiman's main strength is his ability to ground the supernatural in reality. He accomplishes this through the development of even the most insignificant of characters making everyone important and everyone human.

The Sandman, however, is not human. He is not a god, but rather an embodiment of dreams and he takes his place in a pantheon of other personified aspects of life. From Death to Destruction and Desire to Delirium – this is his family. It is an ambitious task to create a modern mythology, but within this book Gaiman has staked himself to a solid foundation from which to build.

Aiding Gaiman in creating this book are artists Sam Kieth and Mike Drigdenberg. Both possess quirky styles which mesh well with Gaiman's stories. Their art never overshadows Gaiman's words, but instead puts form to idea in a compelling manner.

With The Sandman, Gaiman has propelled himself into the upper echelon of comic book writers and quite possibly into the ranks of the finest authors. He gives us a new set of glasses to look at the world through.

–Ira Udaskin

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazette.entertainment@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998