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The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman

The Sandman: Overture (2015)

by Neil Gaiman, J.H. Williams, III (Illustrator)

Other authors: Todd Klein (Letterer), Dave McKean (Illustrator), Dave Stewart (Colorist)

Series: The Sandman (prequel)

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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Firstly, this is a beautiful comic book. Gorgeous drawings, crisp lines, etc.

Secondly.... I definitely think I should have started with THE SANDMAN regular, and not this, despite it being a prequel. (Damn you Hershey Library not having the regular SANDMAN and only this! *shakes fist*).

I will say, it left me a bit lost... but I caught up, but I think there would have been a lot more to this *IF* I had read the original comic run first, and then come back to this. (As which is apparently recommended by everyone on here, if I had bothered to look here first.) ( )
  BenKline | May 14, 2017 |
The story is merely ok, but the art is glorious. ( )
  igorken | Mar 9, 2017 |
A new Sandman slots in between the first and the last, to explain why the Lord of Dremes was able to be captured so easily in the first volume by a bunch of two-bit magicians in England. It is executed in phanstasmogorical colours and includes various fold-out pages. We are introduced to Father Time and Mother Night, and a panoply of living stars, aspects of Dream and orphaned alien races. Overall it's a reasonably successful return to the Sandman universe. ( )
1 vote questbird | Dec 4, 2016 |
Gaiman returns to the character that made his name to tell the tale of what happened to Morpheus, Lord of Dreams, one of the Endless, before issue #1 of Sandman.

With glorious artwork by J.H. Williams III this six issue mini-series is everything you'd want it to be. Magical, grand, doomed, tinged with madness. We have cameos by Dreams' sibling, the other members of The Endless, as well as characters, such as The Corinthian, who play a part later in the story of Sandman.

All in all a stunning return. Anyone who loves the original Sandman comics will enjoy this. ( )
  David.Manns | Nov 28, 2016 |
Access a version of the below that includes illustrations on my blog.

There have been a lot of Sandman spin-offs over the years. This is the 32nd one that I have read, not counting independent ongoings like Sandman Mystery Theatre, Lucifer, or House of Mystery. But this is probably the only one people were ever really asking for: what was it that left Dream depleted and powerless enough to be captured by a human sorcerer before the events of issue #1 of Gaiman's series? Finally that story is being told.

Overture, first and foremost, is a beautiful book. J. H. Williams III is always a dependable artist, but it seems unlikely to me that he'll ever surpass the work he's done here. And it's not just beautiful, as Williams uses the layouts and form of his art to really tell a story.

Something that made the first half of The Sandman difficult for me to read was the lack of personal connection to Dream; I often felt like I was connecting to basically every character in the story except for its protagonist. It wasn't until Brief Lives that things clicked. I don't know if Overture remedies that per se, but it does explain a lot of it: this is probably the most character-focused story about Dream aside from The Kindly Ones. Basically, a star has gone mad, the universe is going to end, and it's all his fault. Dream has to go on an incredible journey to save reality, where he is accompanied by himself but in the form of a cat, ends up in a Western, talks to his parents(!), befriends a girl named Hope, visits the City of the Stars, and is imprisoned in a black hole. The end result is a lot of conversations between Dream and others, or between Dream and himself, where we learn how he views himself and his responsibilities. The ending, especially, sets up the antipathy between Dream and Desire in a way that will drive a lot of the conflict in The Sandman proper. Like the best prequels, it just doesn't "explain" what we've already seen, but recontextualizes it; I look forward to rereading The Sandman with the events of this series in mind.

In addition, Gaiman includes some crowd-pleasing moments: the prequel status precludes an appearance from my favorite Sandman character Matthew the Raven (he's not yet born, much less a Raven, in 1915), but my second-favorite Marv puts in a brief appearance, as do Lucien, Mad Hettie, and most of the Endless. And, actually, despite the book being a prequel, we do get a brief appearance by Daniel, the second Dream, because events don't have to happen sequentially when you're the embodiment of an abstract universal concept that spans time, space, and continuity.

That said, the ending is not quite as good as it ought to be; in typical Gaiman fashion, it feels like a rabbit has been pulled out of a hat that no one had been seen wearing in the rest of the story. I was willing to accept the solution because of the weight of what came before it, but I wish it felt a little less arbitrary. Most of it worked (I'm trying to avoid spoilers here, because this is a semi-recent work, unlike most of what I review), but some aspects of it I wish had been set up better.

But "weight" is good word for what this book has. Between the art, the fact that you know this book leads to a 75-issue of series, and the sheer cosmic scale of events, it feels dense: you pore over ever word and every image. It's an immersive, rewarding, exhausting read, and immediately takes its place as a key part of the Sandman corpus.

Neil Gaiman's The Sandman Spin-Offs: « Previous in sequence | Next in sequence »
  Stevil2001 | Oct 9, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gaiman, NeilAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, J.H., IIIIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Klein, ToddLetterersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McKean, DaveIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stewart, DaveColoristsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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For Karen Berger. You made it happen.
And for the SANDMAN periodical editorial team, who scribbled down my corrections and caught up with me in strange places between 1988 and 2015: Art Young, Tom Peyer, Alisa Kwitney, Lisa Aufenanger, Shelly Bond, Jenny Lee, and Shelly Bond again.
You were the dream team, and you did your work in the shadows. I'm grateful. - Neil
I dedicate the work in this book to my ever-enchanting wife, Wendy Williams. Many have little understanding that such a thing as SANDMAN: OVERTURE could not possibly exist as you see it here without her.
She is the stuff of dreams. - J.H.
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