The Sandman #1: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

Read: 22 May, 2013

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard people talk about how great Neil Gaiman is, or how wonderful his books are, but I’ve somehow managed to avoid ever reading any of it. Finally, though, I decided that it was time to give The Sandman a try, and I grabbed it from my local library.

Maybe it’s because the series has been so built up, but I found myself somewhat disappointed. The art style is very “meh.” It’s messy and inconsistent (characters can look quite different from one panel to the next), and the colouring is blocky and lacks any kind of subtlety. That may be more indicative of the series’ age than anything else, but I still found it unappealing.

The writing was fine, but I wasn’t wowed. At least I was kept interested throughout.

I didn’t realize that The Sandman takes place in the DC superheroes universe (not to mention the appearance of John Constantine). I think that Constantine’s treatment was superficial, which would have been fine for fans of the comic, but left me feeling like there was a lot of unexplored material. Same with the superheroes, I’m just not into those narratives so I think that I missed a lot of the contextual, implied story.

I do think that I would have enjoyed The Sandman a lot more if my expectations hadn’t been built up so much. Then again, with the quality of the artwork and my lack of reference for the story, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up at all – let alone finished it – if I hadn’t been trying to find what people love about it so much. Especially compared to the graphic novels I’ve been reading recently, like Unwritten and Anya’s Ghost, I felt that The Sandman just kind of fell flat.

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