11 January 2013

Faster than a DC Bullet: The Sandman Spin-Offs, Part XXX: The Sandman Companion

Trade paperback, 274 pages
Published 1999
Borrowed from the library
Read December 2012
The Sandman Companion
by Hy Bender

This is it: the last Sandman spin-off out there, until Sandman: Year Zero finally comes out. Hy Bender's book looks back at Neil Gaiman's series, breaking it down by story arc, and providing plot summaries and analysis, with box outs on art. I don't get the reason for the summaries: if you didn't read these stories already, you wouldn't care; if you have, you'd get bored. It was over two years ago that I read The Sandman, and I still remembered enough to find these boring. There are occasional nuggets of insight in them, but that makes it all the worse, because you know you're missing out!

Aside from that, this was a pretty good book. The analysis is definitely driven by Bender's extensive interviews of Gaiman himself, and Gaiman remembers a surprising number of small details. Lots of great bits about what Gaiman was thinking, and Bender asks some good questions. (Though a couple of them feel like obvious setups.) If you're that into The Sandman, or you're just a completist like I am, it's worth picking up.

It did make me think that there's not really a lot of comics guidebooks out there, like there are for TV shows. (I have ones about Blake's 7, The Prisoner, Sapphire & Steel, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Torchwood, not to mention tons and tons of Doctor Who ones.) I wonder why that is? Would no one buy a guide to all (for example) Green Arrow comics?

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