Friday, 22 June 2012

Book of the Month Club - June 2012 - SANDMAN vol 1 - PRELUDES & NOCTURNES!

Since March of 2009, myself and a group of like minded comic enthusiasts have been meeting each month to discuss a book that has been picked by a member of the club to be read that month. We have read and discussed a variety of titles including; Watchmen, Preacher, Daredevil - Guardian Devil, Superman - Red Son, Judge Death - Boyhood of a Superfiend, Bakuman, A Right to be Hostile, GI Joe vol 1 and Neverwhere.
I would like to invite you all to join us, either physically each month if you live in the Kettering area and can attend the meetings, or virtually via this blog by reading the chosen book and voicing your opinions in our comments section. Each month I will post our thoughts on the pick as well as posting the name of the next months book.

This months pick...

SANDMAN vol 1 - PRELUDES & NOCTURNES - (w) Neil Gaiman (a) Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III

An intricate tale of the lord of Dream, Sandman volume 1 tells the story of Morpheus, trapped for decades by an occult group trying to capture Death instead. Once escaping their clutches, a powerless Morpheus must repair his decaying dreamworld by regaining his missing tools; his helm, his dream stone and his pouch of sand. Along the way he encounters John Constantine, Dr Destiny and his sister; Death.
All is not what it seems in a tale that may seem simplistic from this brief write up, is in fact the beginning of a ten volume saga that is considered by many to be a comic book masterpiece.

Our thoughts on the book...

Mario - I love this book and the remaining nine volumes that follow. It is a beautifully crafted piece in both the words that Gaiman manipulates like a master potter playing with clay, as well as the art from Kieth, Dringenberg and Jones, which is a mixture of dark gothic tones and psychedelic bursts of bright colour.
The characters and their individual mannerisms are constructed with flawless details and the individual stories within each tome are gripping and thrilling. This book genuinely has had me in laugh out loud moments and then swiftly followed by heart felt tears.
The two part Dr Destiny story in this particular volume is a twisted macabre tale of horror that gives relevance back to a character that may have previously been looked at as hokey.
This is one of the few books that I can easily read over and over, discovering something new each time and will probably still be reading regularly until the day that Dreams sister comes for me. 10/10

Alex - Really liked the book as a whole (and Gaiman in general as an author) and I enjoyed the mythological/gothic tone of the book. There were bits of it that I found unpleasant to read (Dr Destiny in the Cafe), but they were unpleasant because they were well written and were genuinely disturbing.
Only minor things I can hold against it are- I am not sure the Justice League quite works in the context (though I did like the inclusion of Etrigan, Sandman and Constantine as they suited the tone and feel of the book). The only other thing against it is its not quite my favourite of Gaiman's works, that being reserved for American Gods, but Sandman is still superb in itself. 9/10

Megan - Always have and always will love anything that Neil Gaiman comes up with: so it is a given that I love Sandman. I love that it hasn't really aged in the way that some other comics from the same time have, and the way that Gaiman's writing can transform concepts (like Dream and Death) into multifaceted characters that we feel attached to. Major love for this series. 10/10

Stephen - I read this twenty years ago when it first came out and was one of the pioneering titles of the Vertigo movement. It is well written and the great art compliments the text well. It is a great introduction to the character as well as an introduction to comics for more mature readers. As a mainstream comics reader I was impressed in the balance between mainstream and independent sensibilities. 9/10 

Martin - I dove into Sandman with high expectations, seeing as this is one of Neil Gaiman's works (previously read Marvel 1602, which is also awesome). From the get go I was spellbound. The story to me was instantly captivating and just got so much better as I got further into the book.
Many story arcs were touching and quite sweet, such as Constantine’s story and Morpheus’s reunion with his sister. Others were difficult to read, making me feel disturbed and uncomfortable. The notable arc in question is Doctor Destiny’s stop at a small cafĂ©. However, this is only credit to Gaiman's writing; being able to create such a dark, twisted scenario whilst making it captivating and engrossing.
The artwork was also brilliant. I felt it really suited the story that was being told. It's both equally beautiful and messy, incorporating that sort of dream-like state.
Overall, I found this to be one of the best graphic novels I have ever read. An enjoyable and engaging read from page one. 9/10 

James - Sandman is a decent book done by a great writer and a good artist. My kind of work, magic, slightly dark but with a sense of humour, on the edge of the DC universe so you can see repercussions but you won't see Supes running in any time soon. Definitely gonna get the rest when I have some coin. 8/10 

Frankie - I love sandman, Neil Gaiman is a genius. Volume 1 is dark, elusive, intriguing and funny. Death is my favourite character ever, full stop. Its aged really well too, doesn't feel dated. 10/10 

Lee - There is not much to say about Sandman. It's a simple story with a large impact on the reader. The art is colourful and invokes the feeling of what a dream is like, shapelessness with form. Cameo appearances from John Constantine, Martian Manhunter and Doctor Destiny make great use of the DC universe.
Best line "I have a secret stash of oreos of which you are welcome to partake." 8/10 

Louise - I picked Sandman as I love Neil Gaiman's work especially his ability to blur the lines between myth, reality and religion whilst keeping the audience engaged.
The artwork fits the story which is as relevant now as when it was written.
I love this book and would recommend it as one of my favourites. Very solid 9/10

So there you have it. This is what our club members thought of Sandman volume 1. Please leave your comments in the box below to give us your two cents or if you live in the Kettering area, why not pop along to our next meeting on the 23rd of July (message me for more details). Next months book is The Immortal Iron Fist vol 1: The Last Iron Fist Story!


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