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_The Annotated Sandman_, v.1, ed. & notes by Les Klinger
Bar Harbor
alexx_kay
I admit going into this book with bias. I have been working on-and-off for some years now on a scholarly paper about Neil Gaiman's various uses of DC continuity in _Sandman_, and had some concern that this annotated edition would render it redundant. Not so much, as it turns out.

I'm only a few issues in (having very constrained reading time right now due to crunch time at work), but have already seen enough to confidently render a verdict. While these annotations contain much that is interesting and useful, they also have an unfortunate amount of errors and omissions. Within the first few pages, there are multiple incorrect cross-references to other notes. While he correctly sources Cain, Abel, and Lucien, the fact that the Witches Three also hosted a horror anthology is completely overlooked (nor does he mention Alan Moore's treatment of Cain and Abel, which hugely influened Gaiman's). When Lucifer mentions recent political shifts in Hell, the notes tie them directly to _Crisis on Infinite Earths_ in a way that skirts the line between misleading and outright false. Perhaps most infuriating, some of the most interesting information he presents, such as a biographical sketch of Roderick Burgess, includes no source citations, leaving one somewhat at sea if wanting to verify or look deeper into that detail.

The production values are sort of middling. It's a large volume, with an impressive Dave McKean cover. The contents are printed at full size, but in black and white, which seems a poor compromise. You wouldn't want to read the story this way, but it still takes up a huge amount of the page. When several pages in a row go by without any notes, the feeling that one has overpaid starts building up.

Despite my complaints, I can still recommend the book for some audiences. If, like me, you consider yourself a Sandman scholar, then the book contains enough original, interesting material to be indispensible. If you enjoyed Sandman, but feel you missed a lot of obscure references, then this will be an enjoyable read. Contrariwise, if (like many of the my friends) you were a reader of DC Comics in the late 80s and early 90s, and have had a liberal arts education, then you won't get a huge amount out of these annotations that you didn't already know.
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I presume you're asking about my work-in-progress? I haven't given a lot of thought to its publication. If I ever actually *finish* it, I was considering seeing if anyone was putting together another Gaiman-centric academic anthology (there have already been a few, and are likely to be more). But if that doesn't work out, I suppose I'll probably just put it on-line with a tip jar.

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