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Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes

By Neil Gaiman (author), Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III (illustrators)

> Review by Carolyn Marcille

First published in 1988, Preludes and Nocturnes was considered a groundbreaking achievement in the comic book world, and not just for its genre-defying, stunningly beautiful layout. The book recalls Greek mythology, effective from its infancy for allowing people to experience their reality through engagement with the divine. In modern society, our love for superhero stories presents us with much the same concept—a way to see our foibles and triumphs reflected back at us through idealized forms. No one attains this glorious purpose better than Neil Gaiman. Gaiman achieves positive notoriety by combining characters old and new, in the spirit of endless time, with the gift of deathless forms. After a seventy-year imprisonment, Dream hunts for the sacred objects that give him his power, crossing paths with a laundry list of DC favorites including Doctor Destiny, John Constantine, the Scarecrow, Mister Miracle and the Martian Manhunter. Further story arcs contain a glamorously androgynous Lucifer, as well as some of Gaiman’s Endless characters, which famously include Dream’s sister Death (yes, that Death) in perhaps the figure’s most whimsical interpretation. The characters form a modern pantheon that shows us the graphic novel form is endlessly mutable and permanently relevant.

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