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Creating a thread for volume 1 in the Sandman series. I have this one currently out from the library and will be starting it tonight. Everyone else, feel free to join at your leisure throughout the year, or just peek in.
Since we haven't decided, as a group, if the individual threads for each volume should be spoiler threads I am going to suggest that any spoilers posted be clearly marked as such. That way it gives people a chance to stop reading the post if they want to avoid spoilers.
Edit to Add: This volume comprises the following titles:
Sleep of the Just
Dream a Little Dream of Me
A Hope in Hell
Sound and Fury
The Sound of Her Wings
My initial problem so far with the story was the way the story tends to zing around from one character/scenario to another without a lot of connectivity for the reader to grab onto. I am far enough in now that it doesn't come across so random in nature but it is not reading material that I can sit down and plow through in one sitting.
I absolutely love the graphics for the various title pages, more so than the artwork for the story itself but I do think the illustrations marry well with the text to convey the story.
These are just some initial thoughts as I continue to read this one.
Not my favourite volume, too much embedded in the Marvel world (no clue or interest) but it does do horror in a great variety of styles and I have a huge soft for 24 hours, one of my favourite shorts. I think however the last is a great indicator to what the rest of the series is like.
What's everyones favourite episode?
"All Bette's stories have happy endings. That's because she knows where to stop. She's realised the real problem with stories - if keep them going long enough, they always end in death"
> #6 - I agree. By the end of the volume, the various pieces started to come together and make some sense. Some parts still confuse me, but I am chalking that up to my lack of understanding of the Marvel/DC characters that show up here.
> #7 - I have to say, I was really hoping the artwork would improve, considering it sounds like the rotated through a couple of different artists over the 8 stories. It won't score high for artwork when I do get around to rating it.
As for my favorite story in the volume .... Humm ....let's see..... darn it, I need to think about that some more. I will be back once I figure it out.
Yes, please, continue with "first impressions" posts! It was such a long time since I read it for the first time that I can't possibly remember what I thought - apart from an overall awe, I suppose. For example, I don't find "Sleep of the Just" confusing at all, but it's obviously because I already know who the characters are and what will happen.
It is the messiest of the installments - in the next ones, I think the direction is much clearer.
Had to laugh at this! There are a few places where even the printers must have gagged at what came out. Look at Rachel's house - looks like somebody caked it in thick layers of mud. I really don't think, considering what the material is supposed to be, that anyone was happy with that coming out of the printer. :)
I've been drooling after those editions for a while now, but can't justify the cash since I already own all of them, gunky colors and all...
My favorite story in this installment must be "Dream a Little Dream of Me," if for no other reason than that Constantine manages to get Dream to show a bit of heart when he's mainly consumed with Revenge. "The Sound of Her Wings" comes in at a close second, because I remember what an impact she made on me when I first read it - she was nothing like I would have thought she would be (especially since I had thought she'd be a man, and one devoid of a sense of humor at that).
As a copy and paste, here are my thoughts that I included in the review:
While some of the literary allusions and pop culture inclusions worked for me, others didn't - Thank you, Neil, but I really didn't need the song "Sweet Dreams" running through my head again.
I still don't get the purpose of the inclusion of the whole Cain and Abel angle in Imperfect Hosts but I did like how the three witches - sorry Fates.... I mean witches... whatever - were presented.
Dream a Little Dream of Me is my favorite episode in this volume. I like the gritty, sarcastic 'take the world head on' John Constantine character. I also liked how we start to see behind the facade of Morpheus, the Sandman as we glimpse inside his more complex soul here. I also started to notice a somewhat cleaner presentation to the artwork.
I have mixed feelings about A Hope in Hell. I loved the story - absolutely loved it - and completely hated the artwork. This was one of the times where they either just got too experimental with the whole idea or the team wasn't working as a team. Overall effect dampened my enthusiasm for what could have been a perfect story.
Passengers was alright, but nothing to write home about. I found the whole Justice League angle somewhat cheesy and not well done, given the wealth of material they could have borrowed from. Again, back to the weird, experimental artwork that didn't work for me.
24 Hours was too much of a hard core horror for my tastes for me to really want to spend anymore time then I had to to read it. No stellar artwork to make me want to linger over it longer, either.
Sound and Fury was another example, after A Hope in Hell, that trades on a version of the classic theme, good versus evil. For the record, I seriously do not get the dude at the asylum - obviously one of the literary allusions that is lost on me.
The Sound of Her Wings is my second favorite episode in this volume. By this point, I am fascinated with Sandman and the human qualities that Gaiman has given this other than human being. The introduction of Death is well done and a good balance to the Sandman. The artwork is clean and 'uncluttered' compared to the other episodes. The story does feel like the epilogue Gaiman classifies it as and more philosophical in nature.
Cain & Abel figure heavy as one of the first stories & so appear quite a lot as members or Dreams world. Not sure why they were introduced so early!
My favourites were 24 hours and of course The sound of her wings which is when you realise that your on a very special story journey
All the superhero stuff left me a little cold (although Dr Dee seemed to work oddly) and felt a bit anachronistic which is odd considering and oh boy that artwork - especially in the first 3 stories, ugh
Edited to add: Although Sandman is set in the DC so this does continue to happen throughout.
I'm rather new to graphic novels, or at least to modern graphic novels, having read only a few in the past couple of years. However, I was a huge fan of comics (especially Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman) as well as Asterix and TinTin when I was a kid. It's interesting to see the ways the genre has changed.
Still, better than most GN:s out there. Will review today or tomorrow.
>24 clfisha: I kind of like Super hero cameos, when it's well done. The problem with this volume is that (apart from Doctor Destiny, who is rather cleverly woven in I feel, even if this sweaty-toothed incarnation of him really looks crap), it really never feels organic. I seem to recall much better examples from further into the series. The best super heroes of this first volume remain "The amazing Herschel and Betty" :)
One thing I was curious about reading it this time around was the dog who dreams of a past life on the ocean (one of the dreams Morpheus hitches a ride with in "Passengers"). It seems specific to me, but I don't get the allusion. Does anyone know if this refers to something?
> 25 - I am also one of the readers that grew up on Tintin and Asterix. The genre is changing, that is for sure!
> 26 - Beelzebub as a pair of bug eyes with feet. I mean, COME ON!!! How did I miss that ?!?! LOL! Superhero cameos work for me when I understand the connection... in a way, I am kind of glad that I didn't have the superhero background to reference to. Yes, it made some parts of the stories a kind of 'huh?' moment, but it didn't detract from my reading like anger at how a known superhero was incorporated into the story would have.
It makes sense, though, doesn't it? If it was my series, you can be sure Lönnerberga Emil would show up as an imp somewhere. :)
-31 got to wait for me to get to it until beginning of February, although my resolve to read one a month is faltering...
I think I'll move onto the Mike Carey Lucifer series after I complete Sandman
I've read the second volume of the Absolute Sandman as mentioned above by reconditereader and others, and I can attest that it is lovely ~ still waiting to get my hands on the first volume.
This group is making me want to reread the series again.
My favourite stories from this volume were "Dream a Little Dream of Me" and "The Sound of Her Wings." Looking forward to moving on to Volume 2, which I hope to start in February. (I have a few other books I really need to finish first!)
I tried the Lucifer series and couldn't get into it. It just seemed to lack the depth-psychological and mythological imagination and turned into more plot-driven storyline.
I read all the Sandman series last year, but most of them with such rapid suspense that I didn't let it soak in. So this time I read volume 1 and lingered over the beautiful art. I especially loved the poem about Death:
"Death is before me today:
Like the recovery of a sick man,
Like going forth into a garden after sickness.
Death is before me today:
Like the odor of myrrh,
Like sitting under a sail in a good wind.
Death is before me today:
Like the course of a stream,
Like the return of a man from the war-galley to his house.
Death is before me today:
Like the home that a man longs to see,
After years spent as a captive."
When I first discovered Sandman, perhaps in 2009, I only read the first volume, but I photocopied the pages with this poem on them and put it on my wall. Brilliant stuff.
shrouded in mystery' which has piqued my interest in this format so I am interested to give The Sandman a try
#11 Yep, my Absolute Sandman is definitely a big improvement on my original paperback. So much better quality.
...part of the reason why I'm posting late is that I'm currently stalled at "24 Hours" - sorry clfisha et al, I'm afraid this is the single Sandman story out of the whole bunch that I actively dislike. It's just too, well, gruesome for me. (The reason I'm stalled is that I've been re-reading before going to bed at night and I've had a lot of late nights recently - I don't want that to be the last thing I read before sleeping - not because I get nightmares (I don't really) but because I don't like to go to bed on such a negative note.)
My favourite in the volume - and the point at which, for me, the Sandman series properly kicks off - is "The Sound of Her Wings". Everything prior to that feels more like an introductory tie-in.
On the other hand, I don't mind the DC comic references - I don't get half the allusions, not having been much of a comic reader until I read Sandman (having run out of Neil Gaiman novels to read after Stardust before American Gods was published), however I quite like the glimpses you're given. "Dream a Little Dream of Me" is probably my second favourite in the volume and it has always made me want to go out and explore Hellblazer (although I never seem to get round to it - anyone - is it worth it?).
> 41 - I am really looking forward to seeing how the series opens up and develops. Vol. 1 was an interesting way to start off, and like you say, it is uneven. Vol. 2 doesn't take the scattergun approach to story telling like Vol. 1 so you can look forward to a more even read in that one.
I usually end up saying to people that even if they're not blown away by/don't enjoy the first volume, they should power through to at least the next one before giving up on it....
#43 Thank you, I shall look Hellblazer out - any recommendations with where to start?!
I don't know who these people are. I don't know what they are doing. The illustrations are awful!
I do love the graphics on the title pages and I have to say that I did like The Sound of Her Wings which seemed like the first part of the book that actually was a story.
I will keep going though, since a lot of you make reference to the fact that it does become clearer as we go along.
I'm currently in volume four and finally I get why Cain and Abel are in the story.
I'll definitely keep going. My son and my daughter-in-law both really like this series!
I personally didn't find it very gruesome, but I might need to add to that that I'm a long-time horror fan, so the occasional blood and gore doesn't really shock me much. I do really like the athmosphere of the work, mysterious and creepy, even without always relying on gory images.
I personally thought the Justice League could have been left out, they don't really seem to add anything. I did like Constantine and Dr Destiny... And I'm also puzzled by Cain and Abel, but I guess I'll just keep going and see where it all leads.
Anyway, I'll definitely continue with the rest of the series; I'm borrowing them from a friend of mine, so my reading speed will also be partly determined by how often I see him...
I'm not a comic/graphic novel person. I enjoyed the european kid's comics when I was a kid, but never got the Marvel/DC stuff.
I'm more used to the simple horizontal panels flowing left to right, so this is sometimes hard to follow the narrative, especially because my eyes wander and jump ahead anyway.
All that aside, the story is intriguing. I did my best to keep away from any spoilers and other commentary, so there are probably a lot of references I'm not catching yet. Of course I know Batman, but the JLA/JLI thing is passing me by.
To be frank, sofar I don't yet see why this has become such an icon yet. Perhaps later.
Gaiman does have a way with words and I missed loads of stuff in Vol. 1 so I was very happy the group was able to explain things... and that they continue to explain things as the series progresses.
Have fun with your Sandman reading and look forward to seeing further postings from you on the group threads!
The first time I read Sandman, I was so entranced by the artwork and plot that I didn't even think about the novel itself. So this time around I am beginning to see details, artistic genius, little things I missed before. I'm always floored by Gaiman and amazed when I find people who have read American Gods but don't know about Sandman!
ETA: Looking forwards to seeing new comments on the Sandman stories! Everyone seems to find different aspects that attract them (or repel them).
Finally got started tonight . . . almost through Sleep of the Just. I'll admit I was a bit concerned/put off by the fact that the two girl characters were put to sleep whereas the two boy characters couldn't sleep . . . and could have done without the rape of Unity while asleep . . . but then it seemed that the sleeping sickness was more of an equal opportunity affliction . . . so we'll see where it goes.
(As someone who lives with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I find it interesting how many books involve children/young people with various "sleeping sicknesses" . . . not sure exactly what this means or how I feel about it . . .)
Back to reading . . .
My old boss had fibromyalgia, which I understand has symptoms in common with CFS - terrible stuff, that!
BTW, Shadow Theives is the first of a trilogy written for young people that incorporates classical mythology . . . I loved all of them!
I think I reviewed both Shadow Thieves and the first of the PJ series on LT . . . if you're interested.
I have noticed a trend in Gaiman's novels (graphic and otherwise) to have some amount of objectification of women. Having just read volume one again, I noticed the unnecessary half-naked demon females in hell. The only non-young, non-attractive female in the volume is "Mad Hattie."
I read all of these last summer and I'm excited to get back into them. I remember the hypnotic effect they had over me. I actually wanted to go to sleep and enter the dream world. The second time around I notice the details. Gaiman's art is gratuitously gorgeous; lots of little sidebars with ornate decorations that add to the tale.
I could not read the chapter set in the cafe with the lunatic. It was too disturbing the first time around. I didn't need to see that again.
On a related and, in my opinion more important issue though, generally, personality-wise, I've found that he has a pretty broad spectrum of characters, with women/girls coming off just as well (or as badly) as the men/boys, by which I mean, there are some pretty nasty or weak willed characters of both sexes, but plenty of strong willed and complex people who are neither good or bad - and in being more complex, they're all the more believable (and interesting).
I definitely agree, flissp. I appreciate that he can make even the most minor character a complex personality.
I just read volume 2 and it is better - not EVERY woman is young and gorgeous and partially/fully unclothed in at least one panel, lol.
Ha! I'm only at this point in the discussion, but I was pointed in the direction of this group, as I just finished reading this volume.
I'm not a fan of the superheroes, so I didn't know many of the characters, and was confused (like many others, it seems!). My favourite story was the one about Death. My next-favourite was the Diner horror story. I found I was more interested in any part of the volume that focused on the humans.