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Preludes and Nocturnes

4.3 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 233 pages
  • Publisher: Turtleback Books (Dec 1 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1417651636
  • ISBN-13: 978-1417651634
  • Product Dimensions: 25.9 x 16.8 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews
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Product Description

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"Wake up, sir. We're here." It's a simple enough opening line--although not many would have guessed back in 1991 that this would lead to one of the most popular and critically acclaimed comics of the second half of the century.

In Preludes and Nocturnes, Neil Gaiman weaves the story of a man interested in capturing the physical manifestation of Death but who instead captures the King of Dreams. By Gaiman's own admission there's a lot in this first collection that is awkward and ungainly--which is not to say there are not frequent moments of greatness here. The chapter "24 Hours" is worth the price of the book alone; it stands as one of the most chilling examples of horror in comics. And let's not underestimate Gaiman's achievement of personifying Death as a perky, overly cheery, cute goth girl! All in all, I greatly prefer the roguish breaking of new ground in this book to the often dull precision of the concluding volumes of the Sandman series. --Jim Pascoe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Neil Gaiman is the most critically acclaimed comics writer of the 1990s and is the author of numerous books and graphic novels. He is the New York Times No. 1 bestselling author of American Gods and Anansi Boys, and won critical acclaim for his first feature film, Mirrormask, with long-time collaborator Dave McKean. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This review is directed mainly at those of you who are not widely experienced with modern (one can hardly use the word 'adult' without erotica coming to mind) comics, because I do not know many comics aficionados who are not familiar with the Sandman saga - the Citizen Kane of comics, or the Sgt. Pepper, or the War and Peace - and have not read, at the very least, this first installment in the series.
So - you haven't read comics in a long time, have you? Sure, you read it when you were a kid, like everyone else, but then you outgrew them. You went on to read real books with no pictures. But suddenly a couple of people tell you that there have been some interesting things going on in comics in the last twenty years, and you should check it out. You decide to give the ol' funnybooks a chance.
In that case, this book right here is one of the half-dozen masterworks you should start with to get a general idea of what comics are capable of, at least in the English speaking regions of the world (there are some fascinating things going on in Japan and France that I won't even begin to discuss). The Sandman, the ENTIRE Sandman saga, altogether ten books long - collected from magazine-form comics that were published regularly throughout most of the 90s - is one of the truly glorious, shining, perfect creations of, I'll say it, adult comics. That Preludes & Nocturnes, the first story-arch in the series, is the only one that can stand rightly by its own right, other than being a convenience for new readers which may make it easier for them to deal with the size of this saga, is a sure sign of the wisdom of the creator, the brilliant Mr. Neil Gaiman.
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By A Customer on July 8 1999
Format: Paperback
Preludes and Nocturnes is easily the weakest of the individual Sandman novels... but still better than most of the funny-books out there. The first chapter is a self-contained story dealing with Morpheus' seventy-year imprisonment by an amateur English magician, and his escape. The rest of the novel deals with his adventures re-claiming his three tools: his sand pouch, his ruby, and his helmet. The second chapter is set-up for the rest of the story, featuring DC Comics' horror mainstays Cain & Abel. The third story is one of the best in this book, guest-starring Hellblazer's John Constantine, whose ex-girlfriend is in possession of the bag of sand. Part four is one of my all-time favorite Sandman stories: "A Hope in Hell", where Morpheus goes to the pit, running into Lucifer Morningstar (one of the best characters in the series), and challenging a demon to regain his helmet. Parts five through seven involve a super-villain named Dr. Destiny (not to be confused with the real Destiny, Dream's brother) escaping from a madhouse, going on a murderous rampage in one of the most horrific stories I've ever read in a comic. Part six "24 Hours," especially so, where Dr. Destiny slowly drives the customers in an overnight diner mad, eventually killing each other. But chances are, if you're buying this, and you've heard of Neil Gaiman's Sandman before, it's for part eight, "The Sound of Her Wings", the introduction of the most famous (and nicest) member of the regular cast, Dream's big sister Death. She shows up to take her depressed brother with her for a hard day's work of taking people to the next life, quoting Mary Poppins all the while. This is a fine story, a nice promise of the kind of story that there are to look forward to later on.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Neil Gaiman, for me, has been a touch hit and miss. I didn't like 'Stardust', but I loved 'American Gods' and 'Neverwhere'. It wasn't until recently that I discovered that he had written a multi-volume comic in the DC Universe. And holy crap. It's good.

It's good for so many reasons. Particularly because it is smart and witty. There are no earth-shattering battles or titanic, hokey struggles. Someone doesn't die just to be resurrected in the next issue. There is no pandering or out of place fan-service.

However, if you don't like introspective writing, dry wit, or strong female characters, and instead go for the regular DC crap involving big breasted/muscled, leather clad, shallow characters and comics dedicated to illustrating crazy super powers instead of quality writing then this is simply not for you.

That being said, if the premise interests you and the reviews convince you and you're tired of empty and cheap thrills that suffuse this medium, then go for it! Please! It is fascinating!
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By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on June 6 2010
Format: Paperback
The world of comic books was a very different place before the Sandman came into being. Neil Gaiman revolutionized the graphic novel with "The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes," an exquisite story filled with shadowy realistic art and strange magical beings. This is one of those rare stories that tantalizes you with beauty and chills you to your core, all at the same time.

A group of occultists are attempting to summon and trap Death... but instead, they capture Dream and lock him in a glass orb. Decades pass, and countless people are locked in slumber -- unable to dream, unable to wake for long. One day, Dream escapes his prison and reenters the world, but loses the last of his power with his final act of revenge.

His Dreamworld palace has fallen into ruin, and his magical items have been scattered. To regain his power, he must get back his helm, his pouch of sand, and his dreamstone. His journey to regain them will take him across worlds -- to John Constantine and a woman destroyed by dreams, to the depths of Hell at a demonic club, and a ghastly madman who drives various people to depravity and death.

The world of "The Sandman" is a strange one -- it lightly interlocks with other graphic novel series, effortlessly slips from one world to another, and exposes both the beauty and ugliness of our own world. "Preludes and Nocturnes" is an excellent introduction to Neil Gaiman's strange, expansive world -- as well as his hollow-eyed anti-hero.

At its core, the story is rather simple, since it's basically a quest for Dream's three magical "tools." But Gaiman paints it with foreshadowing, nightmarish grotesqueries (flesh melting off bones, John Dee's drooling lipless face), and some zanily macabre humor (the Hellfire Club... in hell!).
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