Sandman: Overture

The Sandman: Overture Deluxe Edition - Neil Gaiman, J.H. Williams III

[I received a copy of this book through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.]

Seldom have I regretted having only a PDF copy instead of a paper one—I can usually shake off the regret and unease easily enough. My bank account will NOT love me in weeks to come, all the more since I am now also sorely tempted to get the Sandman omnibus.

I discovered the Sandman comics when I was 18 or so. I used to get French translations from a second-hand books store whenever I had the money (same with the Death comics), and even though I never owned many of them, and ended up selling them later because I 1) had to move, 2) wanted to get them in English instead, I also never stopped wanting to go back time and again to this world.

"Overture" doesn't disappoint. Gathering the six issues of the eponymous story, it's a festival of different styles, whether in drawing, colouring, layout or lettering, working all together to create that peculiar yet delightful atmosphere of being in a dream, thrown into ever-changing landscapes where reason always comes with madness, or is it the other way round? Paradoxical staircases. Panels rotating until they come full-circle. Characters in full colour on one page, then switch to pastels or whites on the next, to accomodate a change in the narrative... or—again—is it the other way round?

And however, if you pay closer attention, you realise that it all makes so much sense, and isn't merely a blend of nonsensical scenes "meant to look like a dream". Colours, images and forms echo each other, reminding you of something from the previous chapter, or foreshadowing a chapter yet to come. It is truly fascinating. Also, my neck hurts now, because not being able to turn a book around in my hands, I turned my head downwards to look at my screen. I kid you not.

Noteworthy as well is how the book echoes other Sandman stories, in another of those going-full-circle structures I mentioned aboves. Chronologically-speaking, "Overture" comes before "Preludes & Nocturnes", and can be read independently; but knowing what happened in the Sandman-verse in general, even roughly, will definitely help enjoy this comics even more, as the latter references quite a few characters, events and scenes (I'm positive I missed more than one, too). Remember the crazy ole lady. Remember the Dream of a Thousand Cats. Remember that final word of 'Hope'. Ever wondered how Dream came to be so weak that he could be imprisoned, in the very first comics? Right. And so many others.

I need this book in physical form. Plain and simple.

As a side note: it also contains a few add-ons in the shape of interviews and Q & As about drawing and lettering, among other things. Those are worth reading just as well, as they cast light on the artists' choices.