The Sandman 1 : Preludes and Nocturnes

sandman volume 1 preludes and nocturnes cover trade paperback
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Art: 9/10

Great start to a great series

Re-reading is better than the first read since there is a lot you can miss

Comic Info

Comic Name:  The Sandman (Volume 2)

Publisher:  DC Comics/Vertigo

Writer:  Neil Gaiman

Artist:  Sam Kieth/Mike Dringenberg/Malcolm Jones III

# of Issues:  8

Release Date:  1991


The Sandman (2) #1

Reprints The Sandman (2) #1-8 (January 1989-August 1989). Morpheus, Dream, Lord L’zoril, Kai’ckul…some of the many names for the Lord of Sleep. When Dream is ripped from his kingdom in by a man trying to capture Death, Dream finds himself trapped for decades. Escaping his prison, Dream finds himself weakened and in search of his magic sand pouch, his helm, and his ruby to restore his power. It is a different world for Morpheus and he finds himself in league with John Constantine and the Justice League International as he faces down Doctor Destiny and Lucifer himself.

Written by Neil Gaiman, The Sandman Volume 1: Preludes and Nocturnes kicks off the award winning series. Originally strictly a DC title with a mature reader warning, The Sandman became a member of Vertigo when the company formed in 1993.  The Sandman (2) #8 (August 1989) is often included in The Sandman 2:  The Doll’s House collection also and The Sandman 1:  Preludes and Nocturnes has also been collected as part of The Sandman Absolute Edition.

Gaiman really started something special with The Sandman. This volume is probably the closest tied to the actual DC universe with John Constantine (then a DC Universe player), the Justice League, and Doctor Destiny showing up in this volume. The story also reincorporates the DC horror anthology hosts Cain, Abel, and their gargoyles (from House of Mystery and House of Secrets), Lucien (of Weird Mystery Tales), Eve (of The Secrets of Sinister House), and the Three (the witches of The Witching Hour). Later issues have other DC characters, but it often feels more detached than here. Gaiman also is one of the earlier writers to establish the story arc that works well with collections…something today’s modern comics write almost exclusively.


The Sandman (2) #8

Despite being more “DC” than other storylines, Gaiman starts to set up his Sandman mythology in here. It is what makes The Sandman great. He drops hints and seeds to future storylines like Unity Kincaid who becomes a player in The Sandman 2: A Doll’s House. Judy of “24 Hours” speaks to Rose Walker (Unity’s granddaughter) and Donna her girlfriend who goes by the name Foxglove and who all end up having stories of their own. Morpheus encounters Nada in The Sandman (2) #4 (April 1989) who sees him as in Hell and has her story told in The Sandman (2) #9 (September 1989). The comic is very layered and worth rereading for fans of the series.

The Sandman starts to show its real potential in an issue like “24 Hours” in The Sandman (2) #6 (June 1989) by demonstrating a style that Gaiman continued throughout the series. The book becomes an almost anthology comic by focusing on side characters while the Sandman is pushed to the backburner. The story fits in with the overall plot of the collection, but is really more of a writer’s showcase which demonstrates Gaiman’s ability to turn a secondary villain like Doctor Destiny into something new, interesting, and scary. As the series continues, other issues feature side characters and these are often the best issues in The Sandman.


Death is introduced!

Another high point of The Sandman has to be his family the Endless who don’t make much of an appearance in this volume.  Destiny does have a small cameo in The Sandman (2) #7 (July 1989), most of the Endless really appear in the second collection of comics. The only member of the Endless who appears here is the high popular Death in the great stand-alone issue The Sandman (2) #8. The fun-loving Death’s popularity soared with this first appearance, and Death herself became the star of multiple mini-series herself.

The Sandman 1: Preludes and Nocturnes is a great read and continues to be a great read even twenty-five years later. Be warned however, if you read this collection, you will want to read more so free up some time for the other volumes. The Sandman is a special trip and some argue it is one of the greatest achievements in comics. With a plan for the story and character, Gaiman helped change the face of comics with The Sandman and with other writers and titles which showed comics were not just for kids. The Sandman 1: Preludes and Nocturnes was followed by The Sandman 2:  The Doll’s House.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @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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