The Sandman Companion
Hy Bender & Neil Gaiman
Rapidshare.com | DC Comics | Pub. Date: Dec 1999 | ISBN: 1563894653 | 273 pages | 89 MB
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 41 people found the following review helpful:
4 Stars - Great Interviews; Good Summaries; about the Creative Process, January 12, 2003
This review is from: The Sandman Companion: A Dreamer's Guide to the Award-Winning Comic Series (Sandman (Graphic Novels)) (Paperback)
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.
5 stars - Essential for Sandman fans, May 3, 2000
By Thessaly (the Dreaming)
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. Then there's a great full-color section with more trading cards, and cool stuff like Sandman statues and posters (Now that I own picures of them, I don't feel so bad about not being able to get my hands on the actual items), foreign-language editions of the comic, and even some of Dave McKean's Vertigo Tarot (Mad Hettie as The High Priestess, Dream as The Hierophant, Delirium as Temperance, Destiny as The Wheel of Fortune, and Death as...well, Death).
This is a very well-done companion book to the Sandman series, readable and constantly interesting. I really recommend it. The hardcover price may be a bit much for the casual fan, but any serious Gaiman fanatic (like me!) should buy this as soon as possible. I'd suggest that after you've finished the Sandman series at least once, read the Companion as you re-read each volume. That's what I'm doing--it's like discovering the series all over again.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
4 stars - A fine book, December 22, 1999
By A Customer
Okay, The people at DC Comics are sqeezing the Gaiman/Sandman phenomenon to the last drop. Toys, posters, spin offs - and now an Official Companion? ARGH! Well, actually its a very interesting and readable book. It works both as a sort of Neil Gaiman biography/interview and as an definitive overview of one of the most important graphic novel series of the 90'ies. Most people will need this guide if they want to fully appreciate all the weird details and in-jokes in the series. Oh, and the HUGE Gaiman interview could also work as a sort of introduction to some important story telling techniques of the comic book medium.
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