The Sandman Omnibus (Vol. 1) by Neil Gaiman

details
Title: The Sandman.
Volume: 1.
Writer(s): Neil Gaiman.
Illustrator(s): Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Chris Bachalo, Michael Zulli, Kelley Jones, Charles Vess, Colleen Doran, Steve Parkhouse, Shawn McManus, Bryan Talbot, Matt Wagner, Mark Buckingham, Dick Giordano, George Pratt, P. Craig Russell & Stan Woch.
Colourist(s): Daniel Vozzo, Steve Oliff & Zylonol.
Letterer(s): Todd Klein & John Costanza.
Publisher: Vertigo.
Format: Hardcover – Omnibus.
Release Date: September 3rd, 2013.
Pages: 1040.
Genre(s): Comics, Fantasy.
ISBN13: 9781401241889.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

thoughts

The fear of the unknown has led humankind to try to give meaning to the unexplainable throughout history. While science has deciphered many of life’s greatest mysteries, religion remains a universal means for some to understand life and its myriad of gifts and misfortunes. As you venture in these mythical grounds looking to discover the greater schemes at play, you might also encounter supernatural entities who are wielders of terrifying powers, powers that might be at the heart of their own essence but will play a surreal and unforgivable role on all who live and breathe, whether it’s love, pleasure, pain, fear, or death. There is one being whose grasp might extend beyond humankind, leading gods, demons, muses, and mystical creatures to enter his realm: Dream. Established as one of the greatest series of graphic storytelling, legendary writer Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman is an unparalleled foray into a hallucinatory landscape brimming with standout figures from all kinds of periods and realms.

What is The Sandman Omnibus (Vol. 1) about? This extraordinary hardcover omnibus collects the first 37 issues (first five volumes) of the groundbreaking masterwork, as well as Sandman Special #1, and follows Morpheus, Lord of the Dreaming. After his 70-year imprisonment due to an occultist mistakenly capturing him instead of his older sister Death, he is now off to reacquaint himself with his otherworldly realm while hunting down ancient and lost relics possessing his power. His journey also leads him to discover that his universe of dreams and nightmares leaked into reality, forcing him to venture to the human plane to take matters into his own hands and make difficult decisions. As if matters could not get any worse, The Endless, formed of his immortal family, invite Dream to fix a wrong he once committed as he’s forced into an expedition to Hell where reigns the fallen angel Lucifer, with whom he has a shaky relationship. The intervention of Dream is, however, eternal and absolute, as the omnibus wraps up on a deadly tale that sends unlikely heroes into a mysterious dreamworld. There is simply no story in life where Morpheus does not play a quintessential role in its denouement.

“What power would Hell have if those imprisoned here would not be able to dream of Heaven?”

— Neil Gaiman

Without an overarching story-arc tying together the many stories delivered in the first half of this franchise’s saga, it is the metaphysical nature of the narrative that carries the weight of this story to the end. By simultaneously exploring Morpheus’s personal and divine facets of his persona, writer Neil Gaiman allows readers to be immersed in a story where the celestial elements take over and where the emphasis is especially put on the mythological and philosophical accord. While at times you learn more on Dream’s raison d’être, exploring his very purpose among other entities, you’re also invited to tag along on his most challenging quests pertaining to his domain, weighing the faiths of all against their respective destinies. The variety of tales recounted in this omnibus allows the reader to grasp the complexity of dreams and their role on a personal, social, and historical level that only a creative mind like Neil Gaiman’s could ever fancy.

Despite the choppiness of the narrative, especially when the omnibus gets to the story-arcs collecting short stories, there’s an attractive and mesmerizing quality to writer Neil Gaiman’s incredible world-building that keeps you around. The characters he progressively introduces to this world all come with a shining and unforgettable personality that will also leave you craving for more of their presence. From Death to Lucifer, this omnibus sees to the birth of icons that will always leave a lasting impression on the reader. The artwork, unfortunately, will require the reader to let it grow on them. It is rough, it focuses on characters, and unleashes the illustrators on a creative frenzy that ultimately gives readers a psychedelic reading experience. Nonetheless, the artistic vision of this series is incredibly cohesive and consistent, making it easy for readers to be immersed in this universe.

The Sandman Omnibus (Vol. 1) is a foundational tour de force demonstrating the art of creation through the exploration of mythology and storytelling.


EXHIBITA

Fans and curious minds alike can now listen to a multi-part audio series adaptation of the classic comic book now on Audible with James McAvoy in the title role!

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35 comments

  • Man, what a beast of a book!😊 The cover alone looks amazing! I had heard of course of this series, but I never quite knew what it was about. Now having read both the premise and your review for this series, I’m certainly very curious and not to mention interested in find out more about this. As I’m currently swamped in stuff to read, I’m not going to buy this one yet. But well it might make a cool birthday present next year😊 Terrific review Lashaan! Thanks for pointing this one out!😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right? I absolutely love this edition! There are 2 more to complete the whole series and additional content too. It’s definitely one of those comic book series considered a classic in the world and that’s worth checking out just to see what’s up. You could always just try the first paperback to get an idea too if you’re not too sure but it would indeed make for a brilliant birthday present! 😀 Thanks for reading, Michel!

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  • Not for me. Gaimans American Gods was enough of a taste of his metaphysics for me. I know I’d spend the entire time I spent on this going “Nope, that is wrong. Nope, can’t be. Nope, what an idiot”. So it’s better to save myself the aggravation and just skip it 😀

    On a positive note though, that volume is absolutely gorgeous looking! I bet it would look gooooooood on a shelf. A “Trophy Book” 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  • Sandman is one of those classic series I never managed to read. I didn’t get interested in Gaiman’s work until he was writing prose, and that’s when I found out he was the author of Sandman. Ever since I’ve been curious to give it a try. Not sure if I’d want to jump right into one of these larger collections or start with just the first volume to get a feel for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely think it’s better for you to give the trade paperbacks a try first, to get an idea of what kind of stories/art you get. It’s how I started too and then committed and got these beautiful omnibuses! Hope you’ll get the chance to try this series out someday, Todd! Thanks for reading, as always! 😀

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  • As you know the art is very important to me and here letting it grow on us…well that won’t make for an enjoyable experience. Great review as usual Lashaan!

    Liked by 1 person

  • When I first heard of the audio adaptation, I thought of downloading it, but I’ve heard many people saying it makes most sense of you are already familiar with the stories. So I guess I’ll skip it. Glad you enjoyed the omnibus!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Love the cover not the graphics 😦 Looks kinda ‘rough’. And judging from your review, the story doesn’t sound promising either. Gonna skip this! Brilliant review as always, my friend! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • Wow the book looks beautiful! And its story fascinating. I like how sometimes we stick to a fiction not necessarily because of the story but because of the characters themselves. Fantastic review as always, Lashaan 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  • The Sandman is my all time favorite comic. This book have taught me to understand comics from a new point of view different that the superheroes perspective or the Disney or Archie perspectives.
    Neil Gaiman explores different ideas in his comics and dares to visit the dark corners of our minds and offers them without hesitation. He successfully personifies our fears and desires into relatable characters that are so unforgettable!

    I do understand your point of view on the drawing style but I do find it different and very suitable to the story and the era.

    But we can’t talk about the art in Sandman without addressing the volume covers artworks. Each cover is something extraordinary.

    I don’t have the omnibus but I have recently purchased the new booklet collection and I love everything about it. Can’t wait to read it all for the 3rd time! and to start reading the new series “The Dreaming”

    Also, the audiobook adds to the experience! I recommend everyone to listen to it after reading the comics!

    (I apologize for my over excitement XP … but this book is a masterpiece and has made history!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • No worries at all! I’m actually incredibly thrilled to hear such an enthusiastic response to my review from a fan! I would personally put this high in my recommendations as an all-time must-read comic book series for all the reasons you stated. While I did find the artwork unique and rough compared to other more modern series nowadays, I grew to love it quite quickly and found it perfect for the stories that Neil Gaiman wanted to tell here. I’m already quite excited to pick up the 2nd omnibus myself! 😀 I’m glad to hear that audiobook was a very complimentary experience for you. That is very, very promising! 😀 Thank you so much for passing by and for sharing your thoughts with me!

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  • Oh man! I saw you show this book on IG and was really impressed by it. I haven’t yet tried the Sandman comics, but I have the first one. If I end up liking them, I may need to get my hands on a copy of this.

    Liked by 1 person

  • This is a series I’ve wanted to get into for so long now. As a teenager I remember reading Jill Thompson’s little manga off-shoot with Death as the main character and it of course featured characters from this series in it but I’m sure it’s a far cry from the source material. 😛
    Excellent job reviewing this, and what a gorgeous collection this is!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhh yes! It’s a much more child-friendly take on Death although Death remains just as fun in this original version hahah I can only recommend dipping your toe in this world, at least in its trade paperback version, to discover Neil Gaiman’s greatest comic book work and his wild imagination! 😀 Thank you so much for reading this!

      Liked by 1 person

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