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The Sandman Companion [Paperback]

Bender Hy
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1 2000 Sandman (Graphic Novels)
The most comprehensive work ever on Neil Gaiman's masterpiece series, now available in paperback. This entertaining read will appeal to both long-time fans as well as being accessible and welcoming to the newcomer. A chapter is devoted to each of the 10 volumes in the saga, with plot summary and extensive interview material with the creators. There is also full analysis of the major characters and evolving themes of the series plus full creator credits, Sandman related story details, and CDs, articles, books and websites that carry Sandman information.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Neil Gaimen's "Sandman" series has long since transcended the comic book genre (it was the 1st monthly comic to win a literary award)and earned a cult following of loyal fans who find added enjoyment with repeated readings. "The Sandman Companion" caters to those fans.
*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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read for Sandman Fans! Sept. 20 2002
When DC released the first issue of The Sandman, I picked it up because the concept seemed cool. I hadn't read any of Writer Neil Gaiman's previous work except Black Orchid, but I thought I'd give it a try. Little did I know that I was about to step into one of the most well-told stories I've ever read.
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.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A Book for Sandman Fans June 17 2001
By A Customer
I recently read the entire Sandman series for the first time, as the books rather than the comics, and in order. And I liked it a lot. I thought Gaiman did a very good job of balancing stories with timeless appeal, that echoed familiar myths, fairy tales, and folk tales (even superhero comic books), with modern references to club Goths, pop stars, pop psych concerns, and so on. (Actually the pop-culture references seem a little too geared toward increasing sales among teenagers, but I was usually able to ignore them.)
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for Sandman fans May 3 2000
I was hoping that the Sandman Companion wouldn't be too much of a repeat of the Sandman Annotations online, and, happily, it isn't at all. There's definitely enough new stuff to make it worth the cover price. Besides that, some things many fans are already familiar with from rumors and/or interviews are clarified here, like the origin of Death, and the connection between Delirium and Tori Amos.

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.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful buy!
I am really happy with this purchase! I thoroughly enjoyed the book and all the extra information about the Sandman series. Read more
Published on Sept. 20 2012 by reader_J
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for Gaiman fans
This book provides essential insight, not only into Neil Gaiman's storyline and characters, but into his path to literary fame. Read more
Published on May 10 2004 by Paul S. Brittain
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading
A great read, and lots of insights about the Sandman series. Highly recommended for all Neil Gaiman fans!
Published on Feb. 16 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for writers
This book is packed with behind-the-scenes information about the wonderful Sandman series, but also provides terrific insights about the writing process. Read more
Published on Jan. 6 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Tells you little you couldn't get from the comics.
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 more
Published on June 13 2003 by WeHaveSixFeet
5.0 out of 5 stars Things that make you go 'hmmm'
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 more
Published on Oct. 31 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent companion
'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 more
Published on Oct. 10 2000 by Geoffrey Brent
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Compendium for a Great Series
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 more
Published on Sept. 7 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars A must have for the visitors of the Dreaming
For avid fans or initiates to the world of Neil Gaiman- this book is a definite must have.
It's gives us a glimpse into the realms of dreams (as well as nighmares) and it's... Read more
Published on Aug. 22 2000 by Arthur Kevin Rabago
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