Book Reviews, Graphic Novels

Neil Gaiman’s the Sandman: Overture (2013 – 2015)

a limited series of six issues

It took nearly 20 years for Morpheus to return with a proper follow-up to his final farewell. Overture‘s is a six-issue tale bridging the gap between issue one’s ambitious, faulty start and the present-day doings of Daniel. Just as well, Overture thematically follows in familiar footsteps to long-time readers, delivering a strong sense of closure for the mythos while answering many lingering questions (like, why exactly does Morpheus don that dorky helmet as battle-gear?).

The Dream Hunters (1999) provided a stunningly-beautiful fairy tale that just happened to feature Morpheus, and Endless Nights (2003) gave us a collection of mostly-cute short stories complementing the Endless’ original run rather than building upon it. Overture is more successful in connecting the loose threads that have hung over the series ever since we first spent those 72 years locked in an occultist’s basement. It’s both fitting as a conclusion, and a posthumous introduction for Morpheus’ maxiseries.

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Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Short Stories

Neil Gaiman’s the Sandman: Endless Nights (2003)

Like Gaiman’s other short story collections, Endless Nights has its share of ups and downs. Each of its seven stories are quick snapshots into the Endless’ everyday, and each one sticks around just long enough to give some insight into individual personalities. Some are connected, most aren’t. Some aren’t even stories, but descriptions, ideas, atmospheres. It’s a nice idea, but certain members of the Endless aren’t exactly known for their character, and some of these stories subsequently don’t do much to change that.

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Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, YA

A Sandman spin-off to avoid: Dead Boy Detectives (2014 – 2015)

a limited series of 12 issues
plotted with artist Mark Buckingham

These detectives really need to be put to rest. Ed Brubaker’s one-shot, “the Secret of Immortality,” let readers know that two prepubescent ghost detectives didn’t provide a lot of material to entertain Vertigo’s target audience. Nor did Jill Thompson’s manga-style run with the characters. Neil Gaiman’s original the Sandman series provided an interesting set-up for the characters, but every time they’re dug up, they’re stripped of all characteristics except their English accents and crammed into crummy stories written, somewhat confusingly, for ‘mature audiences.’

The characters and the stories are geared towards the YA market, but then the occasional nudity and gore — blatantly adult content — likely contributed to this series’ low sales and fast cancellation. This short-lived series, about two dead 12-year-old boys who solve supernatural mysteries with a young girl named Crystal and two halves of a philosopher ghost-cat, ends up feeling as scatterbrained as the setup sounds.

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Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Novels

Neil Gaiman’s the Sandman: The Dream Hunters (1999)

Three years after the Sandman called it quits, and just over 10 years after issue #1 hit the stands, the Dream Hunters was the best return the King of All Night’s Dreaming could’ve asked for.

I was nervous about this story: It’s structure is a departure for the Dreaming, being a novella with accompanying illustrations instead of a ‘comic book.’ I didn’t expect it could capture Dream’s trademark twinkle nearly so well — and I was wrong. This is the Sandman, and it’s one of Dream’s most powerful stories. Gaiman spent years evoking the style of myths of all colors to tell stories about — well — stories, and this is him exercising that experience to pay homage to Japanese and Chinese folklore.*

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Book Reviews, Graphic Novels

Neil Gaiman and Matt Wagner’s Sandman Midnight Theatre (1995)

Teddy Kristiansen’s artwork is incredible.

That’s about the only positive, and it’s a really big positive. Most of this crossover between Wagner’s Sandman and Gaiman’s more modern Sandman is hurt by being so incredibly boring. Nothing is gained, nothing’s learned by the characters. They meet, and then go back to their respective worlds.

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