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"A tale two decades in the making," The Sandman: Overture happily lives up to that challenge

February 17, 2016 - Uncategorized


See sample pages from this book at Wink.

The Sandman: Overture calls itself “a tale two decades in the making,” and happily lives up to that challenge. Overture is mainly a prequel to the original series, detailing the events immediately preceding Dream’s capture in Sandman #1. Yet author Neil Gaiman manages to sneak in references to the end of the series in a way that makes Overture something of a Sandman Möbius strip. His desire is for fans to read Sandman, then Overture, and then Sandman again, picking up new details on each reading. The interesting thing is despite Gaiman’s feelings, I don’t think Overture actually requires you to have finished Sandman before reading it. Those already familiar with the universe (and Gaiman has created a universe here, there is no doubt) will notice moments that refer to the original storyline, but there’s nothing in here asking you to know what those references mean. Even one moment in the second issue that chronologically takes place after Sandman doesn’t technically spoil anything because new readers won’t have any context to understand what is being spoiled. I truly believe you can pick up Overture and read it as if it were Sandman #0.

The story is about Dream of the Endless, Morpheus, the Dream King, the Sandman. After a version of himself is killed galaxies away, Dream has to uncover the truth of what happened, and his journey takes him to the corners of time and space, where he may just have to battle for the fate of the universe. Sandman as a series was known for epic stories that pushed the boundaries of comics, and Overture does its part to present possibly the biggest story yet.

I absolutely believe every comics fan should read this. The story is engaging and interesting, and the artwork creatively breaks the form of comics itself. In the introduction, Gaiman mentions asking the artists to draw “impossible” things, and that shows in the unique design work. Artist J.H. Williams creates pages that are more like collages than comics panels, while Dave Stewart uses color to create the most vivid dreamscapes yet seen in Sandman. There are even two large fold-out scenes in the book (the earlier one is pictured above) that are used not only to express the scale of the scene, but are actually story points in and of themselves. Almost every page features some moment worthy of stopping just to admire how Williams made it all connect together. Overture is like reading a dream.

As if all that weren’t enough, this collected deluxe edition also has about 50 pages of interviews with the artists and an exclusive gallery of additional artwork. This section covers the process from the writing, to the drawing, to the coloring, even down to the lettering of the speech balloons. You would be hard pressed to find another behind-the-scenes that covers so much in such detail. Comic fans will love it, and I think it’s likely to bring some new fans into the fold as well.

– Alex Strine

The Sandman: Overture

by Neil Gaiman (author) and JH Williams III (artist)


2015, 224 pages, 7.4 x 11.2 x 0.6 inches

$15 Buy a copy on Amazon

Source: Boing Boing

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