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The Annotated Sandman, Vol. 1 (The Sandman Annotated 1)

4.46  ·  Rating Details ·  536 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews

Meet the Endless, a family of immortals that govern all aspects of life and death throughout the universe. However, one of theirown lays captured--Dream, the Lord of Sleep. As Dream makes his escape and returns to his duties after 70 years of imprison-ment, he encounters countless characters from myth, legend and comics, from Lucifer himself to t
Hardcover, 560 pages
Published January 10th 2012 by Vertigo (first published January 27th 2011)
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Oct 23, 2016 Angela rated it really liked it
There are things I absolutely love about The Annotated Sandman , and things I am enormously disappointed with.

I am hugely disappointed with the lack of commentary on most pages, especially as this was sold as Gaiman's way of jotting down his reasons for writing The Sandman, and his driving inspirations for the stories. Given what a landmark series The Sandman was and what an influence it continues to be, I expected more profound notes than the history of British rock bands or song lyrics to sho
Jan 16, 2012 Rick rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, horror
When Sandman, written by the then-unknown Gaiman with images by Sam Keith and Mike Dringenberg, launched in January 1989, very few comics required annotations. Gaiman, much like his mentor Alan Moore, littered the series with obscure reference and marginalia. The DC title proved to be one of the most popular and endearing of the 90s, running 75 issues and spawning several spin-off series. Eventually Sandman garnered three deserved Eisners and is the only comic book to win a World Fantasy Award. ...more
Paul Bonamy
Dec 04, 2013 Paul Bonamy rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent collection, presenting all sorts of tidbits about the history of the Sandman, and, more interesting in my mind, clues about many of the allusions built into the series. There are also little asides dealing with inspiration for the art, or other little details. For example, in Issue 13 - Men of Good Fortune - the exchanges between Shakespeare, Marlowe, and the Sandman are all in Iambic Pentameter. There's plenty here to fascinate the fan of the Sandman.

The first volume provid
Dave Logghe
May 18, 2013 Dave Logghe rated it really liked it
I'd been wanting to get into Gaiman's Sandman for quite a while so I was really excited to see that the university library had a copy of the annotated volume 1 (Issues 1-20). The annotations were really helpful in keeping me from getting lost. Gaiman draws from so many different sources of inspiration that without this little road map, I don't know that I would have felt the full effect of the writing. I really loved the first 16 or so issues, the continuing stories were really interesting and t ...more
Aug 13, 2013 Randall rated it it was ok
Essentially, graphic novels/comic books are somewhat lost on me. I am awful at slowing to appreciate the artwork and its contribution to the story.

I'd long been curious about Gaiman's Sandman due to it having long been lauded as an exemplary piece of the art form.

I don't get it.

"It" not being whether Sandman is a major milestone in its genre's lifespan, rather the entire endeavor altogether. I kept getting the idea in my head that were this same story being related in the form of a novel, I'd
Feb 16, 2015 Heather rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
To be completely honest, reading The Annotated Sandman, Vol. 1 was both brilliant and problematic. The problem, first of all, is it was the only way to read beyond the first compendium; I've had the Annotated one sitting idly by for a while as I thought I'd accrue the rest of the smaller, coloured compendiums - but when you're a student, they're kind of dear, and the second volume was never around when I sporadically bought books.

So, it was more to read more of the story in black and white than
Jun 28, 2015 Pallida rated it really liked it
5 stars really. Why don't I give it 5 then? I think my head is averaging out story arcs. Sandman as a concept character, realised character, the Endless- all their D names, the inclusion of myth and archetypes and multi-cultural Pantheons, (also DC back-catalogue, which is where annotations came in handy, me being raised on Marvel), the look of Death (brilliant) and Dream (Robert Smith and the Crow's lovechild) and then Gaiman's pathos, humour, wisdom, classical, cult and goth leanings. Gorgeous ...more
Lára  Arnarsdóttir
Jan 08, 2016 Lára Arnarsdóttir marked it as kannski
Ive seen this one in my bookstore and gonna buy it next week. So happy tho. ...more
Jessie Jacobs
Jan 04, 2017 Jessie Jacobs rated it it was amazing
An excellent way to start 2017. I received this as a Christmas Eve gift from my husband. (He knows me so well!)

The annotations made for a deeper reading than when I had simply read the Absolute Sandman a couple years ago. And I loved the bits of humor and personality that shows through in the script excerpts (I never read through the scripts in the absolute edition).

As with my initial reading of Sandman I love seeing the early work of Gaiman. My first Gaiman experience was American Gods, and I
Jan 04, 2017 Rhianna rated it really liked it
Happy to finally read this...if only the library's copy wasn't missing a bunch of torn out pages.
Jun 02, 2016 Derek rated it it was amazing
This is my first real re-read of SANDMAN since the days I bought it as a monthly. It's interesting to read it more as a whole, as the storylines hold together really well. Gaiman is, of course, one of those writers whose shadow has grown to a gigantic level since he first wrote these issues. But, for me, the stories hold up very well. The characters act in unexpected ways, and seem much more well-rounded than the typical comic book fare. I'd also forgotten how much of the SANDMAN mythology didn' ...more
Seth Madej
Nov 14, 2015 Seth Madej rated it really liked it
I surprised myself at how ridiculously much I enjoyed re-reading these stories. I also surprised myself for having this book on my shelf for two years and never realizing that the reprints are in black and white. But that's okay, because The Sandman -- especially these early, true horror issues -- should be read at night in bed with as little light as possible, and the lack of color makes the pages blend into the shadows.

Unfortunately, Leslie Klinger, whose The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes I ad
Amy Keeley
Jul 22, 2013 Amy Keeley rated it liked it
This series showed me I'm too used to comics/manga with long arcs.

The world is beautiful. I'm too used to the simple, amazing elegance and motion of manga drawing, so I feel I can't comment on the art. There were some memorable panels, and some beautiful designs, but most of it just didn't grab me, I'm afraid. That said, the concepts themselves are amazing, both strange and compelling. Dream's portrayal is amazing and watching him deal with various issues in his kingdom was always a joy.

Ian Drew Forsyth
Jun 19, 2016 Ian Drew Forsyth rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
My rating reflects the annotations, not the sandman story itself (which i've already rated separately on my first reading):
The opening essay may be the best thing about the whole annotated series: a broad overview of comics.
First off it took me awhile to adjust to it being entirely in black and white, i understand it must be to save printing costs, or maybe it's to be less distracted and absorbed in the narrative? likely the former.
The annotations themselves are sometimes illuminating, in a his
Mar 05, 2015 Connolly rated it really liked it
The endless are a family of immortals who govern every aspect of life. They behave just as any siblings do, the bicker, the laugh, they cause wars, and occasionally go missing. The eldest is Destiny, he knows everything that has and will come to pass. Death, who contradicts any so called stereotype for a character of her powers, dresses like a teenager, and consoles those who have not yet figured out that they are dead. Dream is known by many names and can travel by the dreams of humans. Desire ...more
Alexandra Flores
Mar 29, 2014 Alexandra Flores rated it really liked it
I love that this is printed in black and white. I've never read it in its original form, but I looked some of the issues up online and I feel pretty comfortable saying I prefer it this way. The line art is a little busier (not the technical term, I'm sure) than I normally like, but I think it suits the atmosphere of the comic--though I will say that sometimes the more detailed backgrounds blend together and can be unintelligible, and I suspect that coloring would fix some of that.

The story itsel
Dec 27, 2013 josh rated it it was amazing
Zomfg! I read the first issue and was kind of confused at how fast it blew through nearly 70yrs and tried to keep tabs on all the new characters / how their stories were woven together. The second issue was a little more of the same, but started to come together for me. By the time I was at the end of the 4th issue I was really getting into it. I fell hopelessly and utterly in love with Death when we met her in issue 8 - and knew that I need to read her mini-series. The story of the Vortex was f ...more
Kurt Rice
Mar 05, 2015 Kurt Rice rated it it was amazing
Mainstream graphic storytelling has reached near-literary levels in the last 50 years, and the shuffling off of a purely juvenile focus and the limitations of the self-preservative comics code has much to do with that. Those already immersed in the medium understand The Sandman's influence and quality, but for those who are interested in checking out some "comic books"I recommend Gaiman, Keith, and Dringenberg's, dare I say it? Masterpiece. I would give the basic series a solid 4 stars, but the ...more
Niklas Pivic
This is a black-and-white first volume of the first 20 issues of "The Sandman", an epic series written by Neil Gaiman.

Leslie S. Klinger has annotated this volume, and will annotate the rest as well. The annotations range from historical - e.g. information on William Shakespeare's name and the versions of it - to clerical, the arcane but foremost the explanative, i.e. sorting out everything that surrounds The Sandman canon, i.e. the characters, the places and places.

My first edition actually cont
Serge Pierro
Apr 17, 2014 Serge Pierro rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
As great as it was to read these stories once again, I couldn't help but think that this could have been an even better book! The annotations seemed to be sparse throughout, and it should come as no surprise that the best background information was provided by Gaiman himself. It seemed that too much attention was paid to the biographical material of "minor" historical characters mentioned throughout the book. Although interesting, it was not what I was hoping for. (More Gaiman insight wanted!!) ...more
Charlotte Conley
Nov 12, 2014 Charlotte Conley rated it it was amazing
I really love the dark and whimsical way Gaiman has with his work. The artwork is it's own style; it features interesting character designs reminiscent of 80's goth.
My only complaint is the physical book itself has a weak spine in comparison to the size and weight of the book, meaning that you need to be a little more careful with it. Also the large size and weight of the book means that you can't really take it anywhere and may be difficult to handle when trying to find a comfy reading positio
Aug 18, 2012 Cale rated it liked it
I've been slowly going through this for about a month. It includes the first 20 issues of Sandman (good), in black and white (not so good). The annotations are occasionally insightful, but they're fairly sparse (several issues have less than a dozen, and half of those are notations as to where ads were in the original publication), and some are pointless (who cares if a similar phrase was used as the title of a song 13 years AFTER the book was published? was it inspired by Sandman? No? then not ...more
Nico Reznick
Dec 29, 2015 Nico Reznick rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, as you may imagine. The artwork really works in black and white, and the notes contain loads of lovely little insights into Mr Gaimain's creative process and the ideas that drove the series, as well as providing additional information about the events and characters in the story and pointing out references and details you may not have noticed on previous reads.
It's a great way of revisiting this gorgeously mythological work, although first-time readers may want to start out with an u
Feb 24, 2013 Lindz rated it did not like it
Love the Sandman, was thoroughly disappointed by this book. Page after page without any annotations, and the annotations that are in there are repetitive and uninteresting, while parts that I would be interested in aren't included. Why would you include a note for every part of the story that is followed by an ad page, but not comment on things like who the issue was dedicated to and why, and other bits that can't be found out by googling?

Not to mention - I realize this was a big book, but there
Nov 01, 2014 Mat rated it it was amazing
One major point you can't understand until you're in possession of this monster. This is a huge and heavy book, a 'sit at a desk because the book could hurt you if furniture wasn't supporting it,' book.

Thousands of reviews exist for Sandman so I need not really review it and add to the cluttered praise. It's good, read it.

I do want to praise the annotation and compilation of this volume. The annotation added a feeling of reading a grimoire with notes scribbled in the margins. It adds to the ex
Aug 26, 2013 Travis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Wonderfully enchanting. This has been my first graphic novel, and in truth I was intrigued because my sweetheart loves Gaiman, but also because this edition is annotated. The idea never occurred to me. These stories are inventive and complex. For relative newbies like me (I had thumbed through an old roommate's copy of the first story arc) to old fans, this should be a joy. The black and white illustrations make the stories more dream like than color versions I've seen, and Gaiman's original not ...more
Feb 15, 2016 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Seeing Neil Gaiman's annotations, thoughts, & notes accompanying the stories from Sandman was pretty interesting. If you haven't read the comics, I would not recommend these volumes, as the annotations give spoilers. Disappointingly, these are also black &'ll want to read the comics in color. I can appreciate that printing these tomes would have rendered them exorbitantly expensive.
Jul 19, 2016 Denise rated it really liked it
4.5, really, but there wasn't an option for that. Lyrical in places, super dark. I prefer his novels, as I prefer novels in general and Gaiman's writing is superb--but of graphic novels, this is definitely the best I've read. Absolutely not for kids (and too dark for many adults), but also very powerful and emotional and beautiful in many places.
Jan 24, 2012 Lonnie rated it really liked it
This is actually the first time I've read Neil Gaiman's Sandman, and this beautifully produced annotated edition enhanced the experience superbly and was a fine introduction to the Sandman mythos.

While the black & white art did not detract from the book, I would have liked to experienced the original color artwork.
Apr 24, 2014 Joshua rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
The story is brilliantly written and I love Gaiman's constant tie ins and references with DC, classic literature, etc..
The annotations on the other hand were rather disappointing. They helped to fill in some gaps and references, but they were rather thin and many of them seemed unnecessary or not interesting.
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Other Books in the Series

The Sandman (10 books)
  • The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes
  • The Sandman, Vol. 2: The Doll's House
  • The Sandman, Vol. 3: Dream Country
  • The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists
  • The Sandman, Vol. 5: A Game of You
  • The Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables and Reflections
  • The Sandman, Vol. 7: Brief Lives
  • The Sandman, Vol. 8: Worlds' End
  • The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones
  • The Sandman, Vol. 10: The Wake

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“Sometimes, in interviews, I am asked whether The Endless are a dysfunctional family. I do not believe i have ever observed a "functional" family, families are comprised, in equal measure, of unquestioning and undeserved love and of unquestioning and cruelly undeserved irritation: we muddle along s best we can. And that's the best that can be said for us.” 0 likes
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