Neil Gaiman – The Sandman: Endless Nights
32. The Sandman: Endless Nights by Neil Gaiman, Glenn Fabry, Milo Manara, Miguelanxo Prado, Frank Quitely, P. Craig Russell, Bill Sienkiewicz, Barron Storey, Todd Klein, Dave McKean (2003)
The Sandman, Book 12 (could in theory be read at any point after about halfway through, but there are some spoilers if you haven’t read the whole series)
Length: 160 pages
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Started: 21 March 2009
Finished: 22 March 2009
How long has it been on my TBR pile? N/A
Each of the Endless
gets their time to shine in this
Summary: A series of seven short pieces (I hesitate to call all of them “stories”), each featuring one of the Endless.
In Death and Venice, illustrated by P. Craig Russell, a young man meets Death on an island in the Venice lagoon, where a bubble of time has existed deathless for 200 years. In What I’ve Tasted of Desire, illustrated by Milo Manara, a woman gets what (and who) she truly wants, although like all of Desire’s gifts, it comes with a cost. The Heart of a Star, illustrated by Miguelanxo Prado, is Dream’s story of love and betrayal, although it shows the Endless millenia earlier than we’ve seen them before… including Delight, and the first Despair. Fifteen Portraits of Despair, illustrated by Barron Storey, is more like poetry than a story, and gives a haunting look at the Endless who exists “on the other side of every mirror.”
Going Inside, illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz, involves a rescue mission, orchestrated by Daniel, to save Delirium from the depths of herself. We get more of Delirium in On the Peninsula, illustrated by Glenn Fabry, although the story is mostly about Destruction, and his involvement in an archaeological dig that seems to be uncovering artifacts from the future. Finally, Endless Nights, illustrated by Frank Quitely, is a quiet, meditative portrait of Destiny, walking in his garden with his book.
Review: It was pretty much inevitable that I was going to enjoy this book – I’ve grown to love the Sandman universe, and the Endless, and their family relationships, have always been my favorite part of it. The artwork is quite varied – from more traditional comic book styling, to the near-abstract paintings of Despair, to the manic mosaics of Delirium – but all of it is gorgeous, and all of it is seamlessly matched to the tone of the piece. The most interesting story was easily Dream’s, as it gave a radically different look at characters we thought we’d known, and the most affecting story was Despair’s – although it wasn’t so much a portrait of her as it is of us. Death’s story didn’t have enough of Death in it, and Delirium’s story was, by its nature, somewhat hard to follow, but all in all, this is a lovely addition to the main Sandman series, and a quick, thoroughly enjoyable read. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: This could serve as an introduction to the Sandman series for neophytes (although there are some things that could be considered spoilers for the end of the main series), but it gains poignancy once you already know the characters, and can see how they’ve changed.