The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes

Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III

In PRELUDES & NOCTURNES, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.

status Copy #1 (49): in
genre Fantasy » Urban Fantasy
publisher Vertigo
publish date Dec 7, 1993
popularity checked out 57 time(s)


  • By David Zhang -

    A favorite of mine since high school…

  • By Strangely -

    Okay, where to start on something like this? On the one hand, the entire narrative is penned by one of my favorite living British authors and thus I can recommend the entire 10 Volume saga (and some of the ancillary materials) heartily and without question. And yet…

    One of the selling points of this series has always been a point of contention with me. Every issue/arc (sometimes artists return) is illustrated by a different artist, and the results are (while always a cut above average) predictably, all over the map. In some ways this is a wonderful thing, as it got me reading funnybooks drawn by people who’s work I probably would never have encountered, and yet, these books lack the cohesion and depth that can be achieved by a truly collaborative effort between artist and writer. In some ways this sort of process makes the characters seem a bit less grounded, which I guess works for a series about the Lord of Dreams.

    Aesthetic Quibbles aside, this series is a must-read and a truly affecting, emotional journey. This first Volume finds Dream of the Endless trapped in a magical prison by a sorcerer in England for a human lifetime. Eventually he gets out and, boy howdy, is he ever pissed off. What follows is a whirlwind tour of the universe he’s going to inhabit for the forthcoming series, as Dream collects the accoutrements that were taken from him during his imprisonment. With stops as varied as Constantine’s L.A. and the Justice League watchtower as well as Hell itself it’s hard not to get swept up in the grandeur and scope of it all. We also learn that as one of the Endless, Dream has responsibilities which must not be neglected, and dire consequences have arisen in his absence, consequences which will resonate throughout the series till it’s final pages.

    Also included in this volume is the first Sandman “One-Shot” in which we meet the sorcerer’s original intended victim “Death.” She is Dream’s older sister, and the artistic choice to portray her as a cute, punky Goth chick may seem to instantly date the series to it’s late 80’s origins but give Gaiman some credit for making her THE Goth Chick. Somehow Death and Dream, in a fashion that was never quite right with the rest of the Endless in later books, transcend their appearances and portrayals to become archetypes totally fitting of the intention of the stories. This little tale, more-so than the four issue series that preceded it, really sold me on what this series was going to be, epic yes, but even more so it was going to be emotional.

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