Monday, September 20, 2010

The Sandman: Fables and Reflections

What better way to begin this year's R.I.P. Challenge reads than with an installment in Neil Gaiman's amazing Sandman series?  I am reading them - slowly, to make them last as long as possible - in order, and I've been saving up this one for some atmospheric autumn reading. 

This fifth Sandman collection consists mainly of standalone stories, although several of them build upon events that occurred in earlier volumes.  I love both the single stories as well as those that continue the overarching storyline, so I'm easy to please.  There stories here are mostly historical (one is set during the time of the French Revolution, for example; one is set in ancient Rome during the reign of Emperor Augustus; another takes place Greece, and so on) but there is at least one modern-day one, and all have that fantastical, mythical feel that I've come to expect and enjoy.

We follow the adventures of a napping toddler, a conflicted emperor, a brokenhearted widower, and an Arabian ruler.  We witness the games the Endless play, as Despair provokes her brother, Dream, with a bet he knows better than to accept but somehow can't help himself.  I love how the Endless travel in and out of time, from nineteenth-century San Francisco to the time of the Greek gods and goddesses, and I love the way the stories are reflections of the archetypes the Endless represent, yet human nature, despite the epoch, never really changes.  These are stories that resonate with mythology and folklore, with characters so realistic that, no matter the era they inhabit, they feel real and immediate to me.  These are books I know I will read over and over again, and each time I will notice something different, catch an allusion I missed before, and, depending on what's going on in my life, I will see certain things in a completely different light. 

Books in the Sandman series:
1. Preludes & Nocturnes (collects The Sandman #1-8)
2. The Doll's House (collects The Sandman #9-16)
3. Dream Country (collects The Sandman #17-20)
4. Season of Mists (collects The Sandman #21-28)
5. A Game of You (collects The Sandman #32-37)
6. Fables and Reflections (collects The Sandman #29- 1, #38-40, #50, Sandman Special #1 and Vertigo Preview #1)
7. Brief Lives (collects The Sandman #41-49)
8. World's End (collects The Sandman #51- 56)9. The Kindly Ones (collects The Sandman #57-69)
10. The Wake (collects The Sandman #70-75)



The Sandman: Fables and Reflections (#6 in the Sandman series) by Neil Gaiman (DC Comics, 1993)

Source:  My local public library

Also reviewed at:
Graphic Novels, Comics and Mangas:  ""Ramadan" is just pure genius. The collection would be worth its price if only that one story were in it. "Fear of Falling" is another highlight, although no one ever mentions it."
The Wertzone:  "For my money, it may be the best of the Sandman collections; certainly some of the stories in here qualify as among the very best things Neil Gaiman has ever written."

6 comments:

  1. I really need to get back to this series. I have only read the first one and that was a few years ago now.

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  2. Kailana - I stopped for years after reading the first one, though I'm not sure why. I enjoyed it, but I think the subsequent ones are even better.

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  3. I still haven't read these though they too are on my reading list. At least I know I'll love it...

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  4. Ladytink - Sometimes it's nice just to know there's something you're sure to like waiting out there for you, isn't it?

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  5. I read this series with the Absolute Editions from the library, and each volume was beautiful. Now I'm working on purchasing the individual TPBs, and while it's definitely not the same, the story's are still just as wonderful.

    Nice review.

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  6. Logan - I wish my library owned the Absolute Editions! Heck, I wish I owned them. :-)

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