Wednesday, January 6, 2016

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 251: Read the complete Neil Gaiman “Sandman” graphic novel series

“The Sandman” comic book series has been around for a while, and more than a few of you will remember when it first came out and continued on as a regular, ongoing series. It seems like a long time ago, but it really wasn’t that long ago that you could actually buy the latest issue in the series in the Walden Books stores in Mobile. I was a teenager then, and “The Sandman” series (as well as Walden Books) are no more.

What didn’t disappear over the years was my long-running desire to read, from start-to-finish, the complete “Sandman” series, which is considered a classic of the comic book genre. My interest in this series received another kick in the pants in November 2012 when one of my favorite Web sites, “The Writers Almanac ( discussed “The Sandman” series and made it sound so awesome that I actually placed “Read the complete Neil Gaiman ‘Sandman’ graphic novel series” on my “life list.” For those of you unfamiliar with the series, here’s a little background.

In the late 1980s, Gaiman, a British writer, was selected by DC Comics to revive “The Sandman” comic book series. Before he was done with it, he’d turned it into an award-winning series that was 75 issues long and ran from January 1989 through March 1996. Since then, the complete series has been collected and republished in a 10-volume series of graphic novels called “The Sandman Library.”

In March 2013, I took the first step toward reading the entire series when I finished reading the first volume, “Preludes and Nocturnes.” Over the next two years and nine months, I continued to check off the volumes in the series and finally finished reading the last one on last Thursday, which also happened to be the final day of the 2015 calendar year.

Now that I’ve read the complete series, I’m left wanting to read it all over again. Each individual book in the 10-volume is a relatively quick read, and if a person read just one a month, he could read the entire series in less than a year. Similarly, if you read one volume a week, which is very do-able, you could read the entire collection in about 2-1/2 months.

I want to re-read the series because I get the feeling that there is so much more to the series that meets the eye in an initial reading. The “Sandman” series is a true work of art with layers of meaning and story, which is one of the reasons it is so highly regarded. I may try to tackle a volume a month throughout the rest of the year to get a better feel for the series, and I know without having started that it will be time well spent.

In the end, how many of you out there are fans of Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” comic book series? How many of you have read the complete series? What did you think about it? Have you read anything else that measures up to it? Let us know in the comments section below.

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