Year of Publication: 1991
Number of Pages: 238 pages
Genre: Horror, fantasy
Summary: The Sandman is Morpheus, also known as Dream, one of a family of immortal beings known as The Endless. After decades of being trapped by an evil occultist, a severely weakened Morpheus escapes but finds that his realm, The Dreaming, is in ruins. However, to restore order to his world and the dreams of humans, he needs to regain his tools which were stolen from him: A helmet, a pouch of sand and a ruby. In his quest to regain them he teams up with cynical occult detective John Constantine, has to fight a super-powered psychopath and enter Hell itself.
Opinion: This book is the first compilation of stories from the classic comic book The Sandman, collecting issues one to eight. Now, The Sandman is one of the greatest comic book series of all time, blending horror, fantasy, past, present, history and mythology with dark humour to create a genuinely powerful, artistic and literate saga. It's fair to say though, that this book does not present the best of The Sandman. It's fairly obvious that they weren't sure at this point in which direction to take the story, and it is very much a horror comic. That is not to say that it is not good though. The stories are imaginative and well written and the artwork (by Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III), while not as good as it would later become in the series, suits the stories and provides plenty of memorably grotesque images. This is the best place to start off your Sandman experience, aside from introducing the character, the storylines echo throughout the rest of the series. Fans of DC Comics will probably enjoy the appearances from other characters from the DC Universe, such as John Constantine (from the Hellblazer comics, and the 1995 movie Constantine where the blonde Englishman was played by the dark-haired American Keanu Reeves) and there is also a brief appearance from Jonathan Crane, aka The Scarecrow, (from the Batman comics).
"Never trust a demon. He has a hundred motives for anything he does... ninety-nine of them, at least, are malevolent."
- The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman