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Sandman Overture # 1 - Neil Gaiman J.H. Williams III

Written by Arion on Monday, January 13 2014 and posted in Blog
Sandman Overture # 1 - Neil Gaiman J.H. Williams III
Something compels me to come here, to this place that doesn’t exist in the “real” world to talk about the dreams of others and, sometimes, about my own. Whatever art we possess is born in dreams. And there is no art that fascinates me more than comic books. Nevertheless, some of you might notice that I haven’t reviewed the most important graphic novels of the past 30 years. Perhaps I’m too cautious or –I hope not– too much of a coward. I dare not talk about Alan Moore’s Watchmen and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. So much has been said about these two seminal masterworks of the ninth art that I simply refuse to believe that I could shed a new light on this topic.

And yet, here we are, talking about Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. Only this time it isn’t the Sandman you knew or read about. In 2013 we celebrated the 25th anniversary of Gaiman’s creation. It was in the late 80s when the legendary British writer dreamed of the Endless and Morpheus, the lord of the oneiric realm. And dreams never die, although sometimes we forget about them when we wake up in the morning.

This time, however, awake or asleep, we’ve all been invited to dream on. Now we celebrate the beginning of Sandman Overture, a miniseries that explores Sandman’s past. What was the Dream King doing before he was imprisoned in the 20th century? What happened with his helmet, his amulet and his pouch? As Gaiman explained “People have often asked me what happened to Morpheus to make it possible for him to be captured in THE SANDMAN #1. And now they get to find out. And finding out, they get to learn secrets of the Endless that I've kept to myself for 25 years. Family secrets”.

And the secret starts to reveal itself at the edge of the universe, in a planet that reminds us that the Endless only look human to us because we are humans. The mystery increases as the Corinthian excitedly seeks to murder a young man. And the family enigma is still stronger than any other family tie: Destiny and Death share their opinions about Dream. “The book is the universe, and only blind Destiny sees how the universe shapes itself into stories. Perhaps he is the only one who reads all the stories the universe forms. It is chained to him, whether for protection, or to prevent him escaping from it, or to indicate that Destiny and the book are one and the same”.
Sandman Overture # 1 - Neil Gaiman J.H. Williams III
Even teeth can be panels / hasta los dientes pueden ser viñetas

In the pages of the first issue we all get reacquainted with old friends. Lucien is still there, taking care of an infinite library filled with books that nobody actually wrote and that exist only in dreams. Merv Pumpkinhead continues to be as mischievous as ever. It’s been almost two decades since the last issue of Sandman was printed. And yet, in a matter of minutes, we more than make up for the lost years.
Sandman Overture # 1 - Neil Gaiman J.H. Williams III
Destiny meets Death / Destino se reúne con Muerte

The key for this smooth transition between yesterday and today is no other than J.H. Williams III. It’s rare to find so much beauty, elegance and perfectionism in the same page. And every page in this book is even more beautiful and elegant than its predecessor. With unprecedented creativity, the illustrator turns teeth into panels, draws a never-ending image of Destiny’s hand holding his book and emphasizes Sandman’s majesty as he soars above the Dreaming. And the final four page foldout (with dozens of alternative versions of Dream) is a masterpiece. 

Algo me empuja a venir aquí, a este lugar que no existe en el mundo “real” para hablar de los sueños de otros y, a veces, de los míos. Cualquiera que sea el arte que poseemos, nace en sueños. Y no hay ningún arte que me fascine más que los cómics. No obstante, algunos de ustedes podrán haber notado que no he reseñado las novelas gráficas más importantes de los últimos 30 años. Tal vez soy demasiado cauteloso o –espero que no sea así– demasiado cobarde. No me atrevo a hablar sobre el "Watchmen" de Alan Moore y el "Sandman" de Neil Gaiman. Tanto se ha dicho sobre estas dos influyentes obras maestras del noveno arte que simplemente me rehúso a creer que podría añadir algo más a la discusión. 
Sandman Overture # 1 - Neil Gaiman J.H. Williams III
In the realm of the Dreaming / en el reino de los sueños

Y no obstante, aquí estamos, hablando sobre "Sandman" de Neil Gaiman. Sólo que esta vez no es el "Sandman" que ustedes conocen o sobre el que tanto se ha escrito. En el 2013 celebramos el 25 aniversario de la creación de Gaiman. Fue a fines de los 80s cuando el legendario escritor británico soñó con los Eternos y Morfeo, el amo del reino onírico. Y los sueños nunca mueren, aunque a veces nos olvidemos de ellos al despertar en la mañana. 

Esta vez, sin embargo, despiertos o dormidos, todos hemos sido invitados a seguir soñando. Ahora celebramos el inicio de "Sandman Overture", una miniserie que explora el pasado de Sandman. ¿Qué estaba haciendo el Rey de los Sueños antes de ser apresado en el siglo XX? ¿Qué pasó con su casco, su amuleto y su alforja? Como explica Gaiman “La gente me pregunta a menudo qué pasó con Morfeo para que fuese posible que sea capturado en THE SANDMAN #1. Y ahora podrán averiguarlo. Y al averiguarlo, descubrirán secretos de los Eternos que he guardado durante 25 años. Secretos de familia”.

Y los secretos empiezan a revelarse al filo del universo, en un planeta que nos recuerda que los Eternos sólo se ven humanos porque nosotros somos humanos. El misterio aumenta cuando el Corintio planea emocionadamente el asesinato de un joven. Y el enigma familiar todavía es más fuerte que cualquier otro lazo de familia: Destino y Muerte comparten sus opiniones sobre Sueño. “El libro es el universo, y sólo el ciego Destino puede ver cómo el universo toma la forma de las historias. Tal vez él es el único que lee todas las historias que el universo forma. Está encadenado a él, ya sea por protección, o para prevenir que escape, o para indicar que Destino y el libro son una y la misma cosa”.
Sandman Overture # 1 - Neil Gaiman J.H. Williams III
Infinite worlds, infinite Dream Lords / mundos infinitos, infinitos amos del sueño 

En las páginas del primer número nos volvemos a encontrar con viejos amigos. Lucien aún está allí, al cuidado de una biblioteca infinita llena de libros que nadie ha escrito y que existen solamente en sueños. Merv Pumpkinhead continúa tan travieso como siempre. Han pasado casi dos décadas desde que el último número de Sandman fue publicado. Y no obstante, en cuestión de minutos, recuperamos los años perdidos. 

La clave de esta suave transición entre el ayer y el hoy es J.H. Williams III. Es raro encontrar tanta belleza, elegancia y perfeccionismo en una misma página. Y cada página de este cómic es incluso más hermosa y elegante que su predecesora. Con una creatividad sin precedentes, el ilustrador convierte dientes en viñetas, dibuja una imagen sin fin de Destino sujetando su libro y enfatiza la majestad de Sandman mientras sobrevuela sus dominios. Y la cuádruple página final (con docenas de versiones alternativas de Sueño) es una obra maestra.

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About the Author - Arion

Arion, who is either from Chile or New York (it’s not really clear) writes a blog that the Outhouse steals on a regular basis.  Arion is by far the nicest of all the staff writers and the most well behaved only having been banned from one country.  One thing we really appreciate about Aroin is that he writes his reviews in English and Spanish and we hope someday he’ll translate this blurb for us.  We’re not so good at languages, just look at how well we write in English if you need proof.  You should bookmark Arion’s blog - – and actually look at it.  There will be a quiz at the end of every month.


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