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Preludes and Nocturnes

Preludes and Nocturnes is the first graphic novel collection of the comic book series The Sandman, published by DC Comics. It collects issues #1-8. It is written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III, and lettered by Todd Klein.

It was first issued in paperback in 1991, and later in hardback in 1995.

The next volume in the series is The Doll's House.

Some feel that Preludes and Nocturnes is a less mature work than the later installments in the series, and that The Sandman settles into the style it would reflect for the rest of the series with The Doll's House.

The Sandman was created by Gaiman, Keith and Dringenberg, but Keith left the series by issue #5.


In 1916, Morpheus is captured and encased in a glass globe in a failed attempt by a fictional Edwardian magician (very much in the vein of Aleister Crowley) named Roderick Burgess to bind Death. Refusing to answer Burgess' entreaties, Morpheus bides his time until Burgess dies, his son Alex taking over his father's prisoner. In 1988, when Alex's guards grow careless, Morpheus is finally able to escape and curse Alex to forever sleep with an unending series of nightmares.

The rest of the story concerns Morpheus' quest to recover his totems of power: a pouch of sand, a helm and a ruby, dispersed by Burgess following his capture. The pouch is being kept by a former girlfriend of John Constantine's (Constantine is a character from Alan Moore's series Swamp Thing). Once that is recovered, Morpheus travels to hell to regain the helm from a demon, where he incurs the wrath of Lucifer (which would play out later in the series). The ruby is in the possession of John Dee a.k.a. Doctor Destiny, a supervillain from the Justice League of America series. He has corrupted the ruby, so that using it hurts Morpheus. Dee destroys the ruby, thinking that it will kill Morpheus, but it in fact releases the power that Morpheus had put into the ruby, making him as powerful as he ever was.

The collection ends with the popular epilogue, "The Sound of Her Wings", which was the first story to feature Morpheus' elder sister, Death. Death is a prominent character in the series and is much beloved by many Sandman fans.