Impressions of Neil Gaiman and J.H. Williams’s Sandman: Overture #1

 

[Note: I’ve decided to buy 1 comic a week from my local comic shop, Matt’s Cavalcade, here in Corvallis, OR. Therefore, as time allows, I’ll be writing up on those every Wednesday. Sometimes I may just write about a single issue from a series and that’ll be it if I’m not a fan, hopefully that doesn’t happen too often though.]

            I first encountered Gaiman’s Sandman series through it’s standalone anthology Sandman:Endless Nights that contained seven graphic art stories about the titular character, aka Dream aka Morpheus, and his six siblings. They all make up the Endless: a group of beings who ARE and are also responsible for their own dominion covering Destiny, Death, Destruction, Dream, Delight (later Delirium) Desire, and Despair. Reading that anthology as my entry point gave me only a hint of the richness of Gaiman’s universe, one that was bursting with depth, beauty and horror.

Later I collected the 1st half of Gaiman’s original Sandman run in DC’s gorgeous Absolute volumes and found myself loving that series even moreso than the anthology for Gaiman’s talent of telling a serial narrative while creating self-contained issues and arcs that explored the realms of the Endless and those whom interfere with them. Unfortunately, I was too spoiled by those volumes to read the latter half in another format, and finances have not allowed me to make that purchase yet.

However, after reading the first issue of Overture, I now need to track down those remaining volumes and read them however possible because the end of Overture’s first issue threaten to completely change my perspective on the mythos of the Sandman series in the most fantastic of ways [no, I ain’t spoiling a fantastic cliffhanger here, but he does not end up where you might think if you’re thinking bout the original’s run’s opening].

Occurring prior to the events readers find Dream in the first issue of the original Sandman run, we find dream at the opening of the issue being summoned towards a meeting we only find out about at the end. With the little time he has remaining, Dream carries out last minute errands, getting a visit from one of my favorite villains of the original run and stopping by his throne room to pick up some familiar items. With J.H. Williams on art, we’re treated page after page of beauty with Williams doing amazing work with his panel layouts, capturing the discomfort that the normally morose Dream King is feeling. The series also benefits from Williams’s versatility as he is draws each world within Dream’s realm with distinct styles that all indicate an otherworldliness. And then we get to that last page where Gaiman and Williams lay it all bare.

Matt's Cavalcade Comics plus my bike
Matt’s Cavalcade Comics plus my bike

I was intrigued by the launch of this new series because I thought Gaiman had explored this universe as much as possible and told all the stories he had wanted to. I was also wary about thanks to the debacle that was the Before Watchmen series earlier this year. However, given that the original creator was behind it and supported by one of the best artists, I thought I’d give it a shot. I’ll be reading Overture to the end and I’m excited to see what Gaiman puts Morpheus through before he ends up trapped in the original series.

 

 

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