The Sandman Companion Paperback – Jul 1 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
*What it is - There are excellent summaries of each of the ten graphic novels, sidebars pointing out details not to miss, black and white sketches scattered throughout, commentary by the artists who drew the series, and in-depth interviews with Neil Gaimen on each book. Gaimen, in particular, is very insightful about the creative process, including the Alan Moore-like research he put into the backround of many of the stories. All of these were not only fascinating to read, but also gave added depth and perspective on future readings.
*What it is not - "The Sandman Companion" does not clear up backstory, fill in plot ambiguities, nor spell out what is only hinted or implied in the books. It stays fairly true to what you are given on the printed page, and from that standpoint, there is nothing "new" in this book - its all about what already IS. So if you are one who dislikes the amibiguities or open-endedness of some parts of the plot, you won't find much help in this book.
I'd recommend this for fans of the Sandman series who simply want a glimpse of what went on behind the creative process of one of the greatest comics in history.
Sadly, Neil Gaiman concluded The Sandman after 75 issues. The good side of that is The Sandman is so superbly crafted that repeated readings yield new insights into the characters and their histories. I've read the series three times, so I figured The Sandman Companion would just reaffirm things I already knew.
Turns out I HAD caught a lot of the hidden subtexts, but a lot more had slipped right by me. I still haven't had my #1 Sandman question answered (What WAS the favor Morpheus wanted from Loki in exchange for his freedom in "A Season of Mists"...?), but I learned so much more that I didn't know that I feel like reading the series yet AGAIN! Hy Bender tackles the series by collection, giving a comprehensive overview of each arc, following that up with interviews with Neil Gaiman and the various other contributors. The book is packed with information, and is done in such a breezy style that I never wanted to put it down. Also, the hardcover is just beautifully designed. It's truly a great package, and I can't recommend it highly enough- Not just for Sandman fans, but for anyone who wants to get into the creative processes of a talented Author.
Then right afterward I read _The Sandman Companion_. I thought it would reveal greater depth in the work. More explanations of the mythologies Gaiman drew from. More explanations of the symbolism he used. More explanations of plots that were not entirely clear. (Like, why was Rose given back her heart late in the series?) Even endings of stories that were not fully told. (What happened with Cluracan and his Nemesis?)
That's not what _The Sandman Companion_ is about. It's for fans. It's not for analytical readers. Much of it consists of dull summaries of plots that readers who have read Sandman are thoroughly familiar with. Most of the rest consists of trivial details like, which acquaintance of the author or an artist served as a visual model for which character in which comic. They do not support the depth and power of the Sandman story. Really they have nothing to do with it. Bender seems to be catering to fans so hungry for any further connection with the work and its author that they feel privileged to "overhear" his "intimate" interview. Which actually, seems to be merely very carefully calculated publicity.
Each Sandman collection is discussed, one at a time, with insightful essays by Hy Bender, and then the Neil Gaiman interviews. There really is a lot of new information. For every issue, almost, there's some neat fact you didn't know before, or a comment from Neil. (For example, it's no coincidence that "Three Septembers and a January" sounds like "Four Weddings and a Funeral", although the comic was released before the movie!) Even if I had known everything in this book already, Neil's interviews are always fun to read.
The book includes an excellent introduction and "Frequently Asked Questions", with questions such as "Why should I read a comic book?" The answer to this question is the perfect thing to show someone who turns their nose up at comics. Yes, comics can be worthy literature, and not only that, they have potential for artistic effects that can't be achieved through film or words alone.
The Sandman Companion is also well illustrated. With the text, there are black-and-white illustrations by Sandman artists, including panels from the comic, trading card art, and proposal sketches--early ideas for what Dream should look like.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I am really happy with this purchase! I thoroughly enjoyed the book and all the extra information about the Sandman series. Read morePublished on Sept. 20 2012 by reader_J
This book provides essential insight, not only into Neil Gaiman's storyline and characters, but into his path to literary fame. Read morePublished on May 10 2004 by Paul S. Brittain
A great read, and lots of insights about the Sandman series. Highly recommended for all Neil Gaiman fans!Published on Feb. 16 2004
This book is packed with behind-the-scenes information about the wonderful Sandman series, but also provides terrific insights about the writing process. Read morePublished on Jan. 6 2004
A good "companion" book to Sandman would tell you about Neil Gaiman's thousands of sources for his stories. Who is Lyta Hall in the DC universe? Who is Element Girl? Read morePublished on June 13 2003 by WeHaveSixFeet
This book really sheds new light on every story in the sandman continium - if you have ever read an liked any of the sandman stories I highly suggest you read this book - you will... Read morePublished on Oct. 31 2001
'Companion' books are often no more than a way to milk a few more dollars out of completist fans and trainspotters, but Hy Bender's book is well worth the money. Read morePublished on Oct. 10 2000 by Geoffrey Brent
I found this book quite by accident in a comic shop about a year ago. Being skeptical about companion books, I was QUITE surprised at this book. Read morePublished on Sept. 7 2000