Readers’ Advisory 1: The Sandman: Endless Nights. Neil Gaiman

Quick Facts 

Author: Neil Gaiman

Illustrators: Glenn Fabry, Milo Manara, Miguelanxo Prado, Frank Quitely, P. Craig Russell, Bill Sienkiewicz, Barron Storey.

Genre: Graphic novel, Fantasy

160pp. ISBN: 978-14120-0893

Published by Vertigo, an imprint of DC Comics. 2003. $24.95 USA, $37.95 CAN

Available in print and eBook.

Why I Read It

Gaiman, while not a personal favorite, is reliable for an interesting tale. Though Endless Nights was published years after the conclusion of the original Sandman series, I wanted a quick peek into that world. Reading it has helped me decide if I want to read the original series.

TLL’s Tag

Neil Gaiman fulfills his promise to return to The Sandman series with stories of his siblings, The Endless.

The Rundown

Seven stories. Seven illustrators. One author. Each story stars one of the Endless, the siblings of the Sandman, including the Sandman himself. In the introduction, Gaiman writes that he’s wanted to work with these artists for years, but didn’t have the right stories to tell until now.

Here’s what I think

Endless Nights is very different from anything else I’ve ever read, period. Having seven artists, seven different artistic styles, seven takes on the same characters was jarring. I found myself picking my favorite depictions of each sibling. Two artists stood out for me. The first, Barron Storey, illustrated “15 Portraits of Despair,” for which Gaiman wrote fifteen little stories. It was the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen. It was easy to see that despair can arise in many different situations, but always lead to the same place: ALONE. The second, Bill Sienkiewicz, illustrated “Delirium: Going Inside.” Let me tell you, I have never seen artwork that so perfectly captured madness and made it coherent. It was the perfect melding of story and artwork. Readers of the original Sandman series will want this. It brings up a lot of questions that may be answered by the original series, while also probably providing answers that the original series brought up.

Endless Nights, though published after the original series, is a prequel. One does not, though, have to have read the original series to read this entry. For that matter, one does not have to read the original series at all. Each chapter stands alone, as enduring as its Endless subject.

Final decision

If you can’t tell, I really enjoyed this.

5Q–Hard to imagine it being better written

4P–Broad general or genre appeal

Readalikes, courtesy of NoveList Plus

Authors

Charles de Lint

Stephen King

Stephen Millhauser

Titles

Y, the Last Man, Brian K. Vaughn

Fray, Joss Whedon

Okko, Hub

Appeal Factors

Moody, Dramatic

Book Talk Notes

Death is a woman. p. 27

Desire comes in many forms. pp 43, 64

Dream (The Sandman) was in love. p. 60

Despair is. p. 81

Delirium is lost and needs to be found. p. 119

Destruction is protective. pp. 134-135

Destiny is chained. p. 148

All ways, always, and ever Endless. The siblings as you’ve never seen them before.

Book discussion questions

1) What do you think happened to Delirium?

2) Why do you think her name changed from Delight?

3) Why is despair an obese woman?

4) In the introduction, Gaiman says the Endless are not gods, because gods can be forgotten, but the Endless simply are. Discuss how Chapter 3 illustrates this concept.

5) Did any of the “15 Portraits of Despair” resonate with you? Which one and why.

6) Why do you think Destiny is chained to the book and vice versa?

Clues to the Future

Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, the Endless, different illustrators, two masks on the cover, creepy artwork

Awards and Lists

Locus Awards 2004, Nonfiction/Art

Links to the Author, Interviews, and Reviews

Author website: www.neilgaiman.com

NPR Interview: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1435177

Interview with Bookslut: http://www.bookslut.com/features/2006_10_010057.php

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Until next time!

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