I have a hit and miss relationship with Neil Gaiman. The first book of his that I ever read was American Gods, and while I was in sweaty, churning love with the premise the execution was less than satisfying. Conversely, I didn't have many expectations when I picked up Coraline. It was fantastic! Just the right amount of creeptaculous spookiness (and great illustrations...I love Dave McKean).
In a last ditch effort to finish up the Once Upon a Time II challenge, I picked up The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes, the first in the much praised Sandman series of graphic novels. This one has been on my shelf for years. YEARS. Like six years or something. When I first got into graphic novels I heard endless praise for this one as it seems to be something of a new classic. I started it a few times, I put it back down, I flipped through. Finally, I stuck with it.
And was it a hit or a miss?
I'm of mixed opinions on this one. The likes: it's structurally interesting both in the way Gaiman tells the story and the way the images are constructed. It's a much more dynamic graphic novel than many American or British works. In fact, the layouts often reminded me of manga with images criss-crossing the pages and exploding here and there. Really interesting stuff structurally.
The dislikes: Gaiman's storytelling just sort of gives me problems! There's much to "get" in this graphic novel. References to Shakespeare, superheroes, etc. etc. etc. And that's nice; I dig intertextuality. However, it seemed almost like Gaiman was trying to pull EVERY SINGLE TRICK out of his hat at once, and it really got in the way of my giving a flip about the characters. I realize this series takes off in a bazillion ways in the bazillion other installments, and I will definitely give them a try, but this one left me less than tickled.
In short, I think I'd really like studying The Sandman, but I'm not sure it'll blow my skirt up for pleasure reading purposes. My rocky relationship with Neil continues.
Challenges: Once Upon a Time II and Dewey's Graphic Novel Challenge