Saturday 7 January 2012

Mini-review: The Sandman, Vol.3: Dream Country, Neil Gaiman

I started reading Neil Gaiman's celebrated graphic novel series, The Sandman, last year. The first volume, Preludes and Nocturnes, I reviewed here, and concluded that, although the quality and style was patchy, while Gaiman was still finding out what sort of a series Sandman was, his voice shone through, and left me thinking. The second volume, The Dolls' House, was a continuous story, and the art was brighter and cleaner-looking, more pleasing to my comic-novice eyes. 

Neil Gaiman's work has a habit of lingering, of making sense of the world through story, putting into words the thoughts that hover at the edge of one's mind. His Sandman comics are no exception to this. Dream Country is a shorter volume than the first two, with only four stories, self-contained stories in comparison with the longer narrative of The Dolls' House. Gaiman has also included a copy of his original script for one of the stories, for those readers with an enquiring mind and interest in behind-the-scenes. In his stories, we see the horrific lengths to which a writer goes to banish writers' block in "Calliope" - and Dream's revenge. (Be careful what you wish for!) Neil tells us what cats dream - "I wonder what cats have to dream about...The way it's twitching about, I think maybe it's hunting something...some small animal, I suppose.[...]it's really cute." , and the story behind A Midsummer Night's Dream. And finally, we meet Death again when she visits someone cursed with immortality. A haunting, unforgettable chapter in the Sandman saga.

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