Vertigo Comics has released a 560-page hardcover collection that is sure to have fans of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman drooling all over themselves. It’s titled “The Annotated Sandman, Volume One” and is composed of issues #1 through #20 of the critically acclaimed comic book series. This is the ultimate book for any fan of the celebrated character.
“The Annotated Sandman, Volume One” begins the story of Dream, the Lord of Dreams. This humanlike representation of dreams is known by many different names, like Morpheus, Oneiros, the Shaper, the Shaper of Form, Lord of the Dreaming, the Dream King, Dream-Sneak, Dream Cat, Murphy, Kai’ckul, and Lord L’Zoril. After being held prisoner by a group of occultists for 70 years, Morpheus finds a way to escape and takes vengeance on his captors. Now he must rebuild his fallen kingdom, which has deteriorated because of his long absence.
Sandman completists are never going to believe this collection. It is a page-by-page, panel-by-panel breakdown of the first 20 issues of the comic book. It’s set up with the black and white comic pages in the middle and black borders on the side. Almost every page features Gaiman or editor Leslie S. Klinger commenting, referencing, or sharing hidden meanings in the storyline and artwork. Klingor takes hours of conversations with Gaiman and intertwines them with his commentary on the scripts to bring new depth to this literary masterpiece.
It features a foreword by Gaiman and an introduction by Klinger. There’s also a preface and essay titled “The Context of the Sandman.” It features a detailed bibliography of different sources for the book as well.
Klinger is well known as the editor of two of the greatest literary characters of the Victorian era: Sherlock Holmes and Dracula. He is the editor of the Edgar Award-winning “The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes,” which is a three-volume collection of short stories and novels. He also worked on the critically acclaimed “The New Annotated Dracula.” Klinger compiled “The Annotated Sandman, Volume One” with help from Gaiman and using the actual scripts for the comics.
There are really only two complaints, and I think they can both be addressed with the simple answer, “It wouldn’t have been cost effective.” I’m fine with that. The book is fully black and white when the original comics were colored. That really does take away from the original feel of the artwork. In addition, usually these books come with glossy pages to highlight and brighten the work; this is just dull regular paper. I can completely understand why Vertigo would take these two shortcuts because 560 full-color glossy pages is a ton of money when you’re talking about printing, especially when it’s a deluxe, oversized hardcover edition.
“The Annotated Sandman, Volume One” is the first of four volumes Klinger and Gaiman are putting together. The book measures 12 inches by 12 inches by 1.5 inches and weighs over 5 pounds. This is definitely worth the cover price of $49.99. Honestly, upon receiving it and giving it a look, I figured it would retail for easily around $100.00.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
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Eric Shirey is the founder and editor of Rondo Award nominated movie and comic book news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other national entertainment websites. Besides his three decades long obsession with everything sci-fi, horror, and fantasy related in TV and movies, Eric has what some would call an unhealthy love for comic books. This has led him to interviewing and covering legendary writers and artists in the medium like Geoff Johns, Scott Snyder, Steve Niles, Bernie Wrightson, and Howard Chaykin.