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Sandman: Annotated Sandman vol 2 h/c

Sandman: Annotated Sandman vol 2 h/c back

Neil Gaiman & Leslie S. Klinger


Page 45 Review by Stephen

Second hefty 12” x 12” black and white hardcover reprinting SANDMAN #21-39 in full, with extensive panel-by-panel annotations on either side.

You will learn secrets, direct from the horse’s mouth, for there are excepts here from Neil’s original scripts which illuminate both key moments in the comics and Neil’s thinking behind them, plus minutiae you may never have known were worth looking for. Little details, like the first glimpse of Morpheus’s gallery as his siblings assemble – all bar one whose portrait is shrouded. Go check: it really is! Also, did you realise that unlike the rest of the family, Death is never called “Death” by her fellow Endless, only “sister”? This was entirely deliberate, and I do like the explanation proffered by Hy Bender.

But it’s Neil’s descriptions to his artists I found particularly fascinating this time. Hell, for example, is far from the one presented almost ubiquitously in fiction. (Well, where else would it be presented? I’ve certainly seen scant signs on Ordinance Survey maps, though I do tend to steer clear of Mansfield.) Gone are the labyrinthine, midnight caverns illuminated only by the fiery pits below.

“Let’s look instead at what hell means to us: for me it’s concentration camps – endless bleak camps of flat, jerry-rigged buildings, ‘shower rooms’ which are gas chambers, huge ovens for burning bodies: Hell is living there, Hell for me is knowing that one day you’ll go for your shower, Hell is really knowing what’s going on in Auschwitz, or Dachau, or Belsen, but pretending to yourself that you don’t because that makes it easier to get through the following day.”

As to Delirium, there are suggestions for haircut and clothing, for sure, but these are almost parenthetical because, tellingly, Neil turns what could have been a simple series of descriptive notes… into a story! And it is no mere yarn of Delirium herself, but an extrapolation, a sideways glance of who she might be if mortal. It is a tale of underage sex, drug use and police busts; of parental nostalgia and denial. It is absolutely fascinating.

For a more detailed overview of the sort of contextual, social and literary material you can expect in these editions, please see ANNOTATED SANDMAN VOL 1.

For an overview of the series itself, please see SANDMAN VOL 1: PRELUDES AND NOCTURNES.
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