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The Sandman: The Dream Hunters

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Sandman: The Dream Hunters (1999) Neil Gaiman & Yoshitaka Amano

The Dream Hunters is my favorite Sandman story. It’s not a comic proper, but is instead an illustrated story.

And the illustrations are gorgeous. I tend to do little more than glance at illustrations, but the art here is impossible to ignore.

Based on a Japanese folk-tale “The Fox, the Monk, and the Mikado of All Night’s Dreaming,” Dream Hunters tells of a Monk who tends a Temple at the top of a mountain, and the Fox who wagers with a Badger and attempts to trick him away from his Temple and Home.

Familiar Sandman characters appear, but not in their usual guises, the Kindly Ones, Cain and Abel, the Raven (although this raven is not Matthew, but an earlier raven). I very much like Yoshitaka Amano’s idea of these characters. In the Sandman series, we saw that Dream and his realm change in response to the expectations of those who are perceiving him, and so the changes here are not disconcerting, but are expected, for these characters would not see the Goth like Dream of Preludes and Nocturnes, but would instead see a Dream of their own time and place and kind.

But as with all of Neil Gaiman’s stories, it is the writing that I adore the most.

Then (the monk) made his evening devotions, although he made them with slightly less enthusiasm than usual. It is one thing to pray; it is another to pray to entities who might not only be listening, but who will search you out on the road and beat you across the head with sticks if you say something that offends them.

And I love the fox. It seems to me as if he has gotten the Fox just right.

A fly alighted on the fox’s forehead, and walked, slowly, down to the tip of her muzzle. She resisted the urge to snap at it; instead she just lay there, eyes unfocused and blank, a dead thing.

For only a trickster creature, a wild creature of strong will, could achieve such stillness.

The writing on its own is fantastic and the artwork is gorgeous. Combined they create a book that is one of my favorites.

If you are not familiar with Sandman and would like an introduction to the character, this would be a good place to start. If you are a fan of Sandman, then you have probably already read this story, but if you have not, this is definitely a book you do not want to miss. It is certainly one that I enjoyed reading again and again.
Rating: 10/10

Categories: 10/10, Fantasy, Graphic Novels     Comments (0)    



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