The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes
Neil Gaiman

Is that how you credit authorship of comics? I don’t quite know. There are artists involved, and I’ll leave it at that for now. But yes, that means I’m reading comics now.

I’ve never been a comics reader. Sure I read some comics as a kid. Asterix and Obelix and Footrot Flats were both pretty important to me. I’m pretty sure I’ve read them all. I also read the occasional Tintin, and there was one dark single issue comic Where the Wind Blows that I discovered in high school that was pretty damn good. But I never read seriously the Marvel and DC comics involving Spiderman, Batman, etc, etc.

Sure I’d get hold of a comic here and there. But it would usually be issue 23 out of 148, then several months later I would read 92, then 5, then the grand finale. Overall, the story didn’t make a whole lot of sense…

I have always been a big fantasy reader, and for the last five years of so I’d been hearing a lot about Neil Gaiman. Very popular, very well regarded. But when I looked into him I found he’d only written a couple of novels and a collection of short stories. Strange. It usually takes a long line of novels and an epic series or two to build this kind of cult following. Looking closer he was always credited as ‘gaining his following through the cult 1990’s comic series The Sandman.’ Interesting…

After talking to friends, reading blogs and then reading Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, my interest in comics, especially the more modern darker ones was lifted. For example, I thought the V for Vendetta movie was pretty damn good, and apparently the comic was significantly better.

So, on finding Kings Comics on Pitt St, here in Sydney I decided to start with The Sandman. This is the first volume and so far I’m impressed enough to go back for the next. It’s a dark, kind of gothic horror fantasy story. I can’t review this as any sort of expert comic reader, but I enjoyed the stories and the artwork. Most importantly for me, the character of the Sandman was one that interested me. He is not clear cut. Not a hero, not a villain and not always someone you appear able to trust.

For me so far, comics are looking good. I want to read more Sandman, V for Vendetta, and as my girlfriend of the time also bought volume one of The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, I’ll be checking that out as well. Any other recommendations?