Neil Gaiman & Yoshitaka Amano – Sandman: The Dream Hunters
Length: 128 pages
Genre: Short Story, Fantasy, sort-of-graphic-novel-y.
Started: 21 March 2009
Finished: 21 March 2009
How long has it been on my TBR pile? N/A
A fox, a monk, and
gorgeous pictures of Dream make
this tale come to life.
Bah. Not one of my better haikus – which seems even worse, given that it’s for a book based on a Japanese legend.
Summary: The Dream Hunters is a lavishly told and gorgeously illustrated take of the Japanese folk tale “The Fox, The Monk, and The Mikado of All Night’s Dreaming”, set in the Sandman universe. In it, a fox falls in love with a monk who lives alone in a remote temple, and she is willing to sacrifice her life to save his – even if it means invoking the Dream King’s help. The tale is told in prose, not in typical graphic-novel format, but Yoshitaka Amano’s ethereal illustrations adorn every facing page.
Review: A beautiful little book that should be enjoyed by Sandman fans and non-Sandman fans alike. While a fair bit of this does take place in the Dreaming, and several familiar faces other than Morpheus make an appearance, it would certainly be understandable and enjoyable without having read the ten volumes that make up the “main” Sandman canon. It’s a lovely tale, and I loved how Gaiman retained the Japanese folk-tale feeling while still working it into the Sandman universe – particularly when Cain and Abel showed up. The artwork similarly treads the border between the two worlds, giving us a vision of the Dream King who is simultaneously recognizable yet new, and who acts a reminder of the universality of the emotions if not the experiences of the tale. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: An excellent introduction to Japanese folklore, the Sandman universe, or Gaiman’s storytelling in general. It’s a fast read, and so lovely that it shouldn’t be missed.
First Line: A monk lived in solitude beside a temple on the side of a mountain.