The Sandman: The Dream Hunters

sandman the dream hunters cover neil gaiman yoshitaka amano art
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Illustrations: 9/10

Great storytelling accompanied by great art

Story is more interpretational than some may like

 
Book Info

Book Name: The Sandman:  The Dream Hunters

Publisher: DC/Vertigo

Writer: Neil Gaiman

Illustrator: Yoshitaka Amano

Release Date:  1999

sandman the dream hunters fox badger yoshitaka amano art

Badger and Fox

A fox falls in love with a monk and agrees to sacrifice her life to protect him from demons sent by a noble.  While love mean sacrifice, a trip to the Dreaming could be the key to saving the monk’s life.  While the King of All Night’s Dreaming could provide salvation to the monk, there are some sacrifices that are too great to make…and the fox could learn this.

The Sandman:  The Dream Hunters is an illustrated novella by the Sandman’s creator Neil Gaiman.  It was released in 1999 and had painted illustrations by Yoshitaka Amano.  The book was well received and garnered the 1999 Bram Stoker Award for Illustrated Narrative and the 2000 Hugo Award for Best Related Book.

I love The Sandman and The Sandman was a great example of a finite comic book series.  Despite having a beginning and an end, The Sandman was open for room for exploration simply due to the fact that Sand is one of “The Endless” and in theory has years of stories tied to him that stretch from Earth to space.  The Sandman:  The Dream Hunters is a great example of one of the smaller Sandman stories that still holds its own weight.

The story of The Sandman:  The Dream Hunters feels like a fable or parable.  Set in ancient Japan, Gaiman initially claimed to base the book on a story from Y. T. Ozaki’s fairy tales, but no fairy was found leading reviewers to believe he had created it.  Regardless of its origin, the story does mesh well with the world Gaiman created in his long running Sandman series.

sandman the dream hunters yoshitaka amano art

Dream a little Dream…

The best part about The Sandman series is that the characters can mesh with a story without really making it a comic book story.  The story is not necessarily a Sandman story but it can be or it can stand alone.  References to Fiddler’s Green, Cain and Abel, the palace guardians, the raven, and the Sandman (or the King of All Night’s Dreaming as he’s referred to in the story) feel very real in this sort of tale…not intrusive or necessary for people who did not read the series.

Yoshitaka Amano’s art also gives the story weight and an Old World feel with traditional art and some more modern styles.  The story and the art play together, but the art in itself is also very interpretational for the readers.  I love some his versions of animals and characters and it is fun to just look at the panels for the book.  Fitting with the style of the story, the art has a very ethereal, wispy texture and depth.

The Sandman:  The Dream Hunters is a welcomed addition to the Sandman family, but can be enjoyed by those who have not read the comic book series (on a side note however, the Sandman series is the type of series that non-comic book readers also can enjoy).  It is a great example of art and story coming together to make an enjoyable tale.  Fans of fairy tales and of tales of the Asian origin will enjoy.  If the comic is more of your speed, The Sandman:  The Dream Hunters was adapted into a four issue limited Vertigo series in 2008.

Related Links:

The Sandman 1:  Preludes and Nocturnes

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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