Tyler Hill's Reviews > The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 1

The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 1 by Neil Gaiman
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Feb 23, 11

bookshelves: read-in-2011
Read in February, 2011

Sandman is one of those series that I've been meaning to check out for years now. It's critically acclaimed, and one of the major touchstones of contemporary comic literature. That said, I've been largely turned off by the fawning throngs of Goth kids that have embraced it for years. In addition, like many Vertigo titles, the majority of the art featured on the title didn't really grab me. So, it wasn't until stumbling across this Absolute edition at a local library that I finally decided to take the plunge.

I'm happy to say that it lives up to most of its hype, and I found it much more engrossing than I had speculated I would. First off, while I can see the "goth" appeal, I thought that it was notable for not just being one goth cliche after another. Sure, you have the basic designs of both Dream and (more specifically) Death, but the universe and tales the surround them are surprising varied, ranging from the horrifying diner sequence, to a cat-centric issue that manages to avoid feeling precious, to Shakespeare performing to faerie folk, Gaiman covers a lot of ground here. But, surprisingly, despite the variety, the thing comes together as a whole.

I will say that the second half of this volume is stronger than the first. And, more to the point, the title is stronger when it avoids the trappings of the greater DC universe. Hopefully, as the series progresses, Gaiman and his host of illustrators will continue to play to those strengths.
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