7. Sandman: A Doll's House
by Neil Gaiman and various artists
Published by Vertigo Comics
Ah. I've been waiting to get to this one. This is the quintessential Neil Gaiman volume for me. Coming of age tale, a girl on the run, serial killers, misnomers, dry and dark wit, humorous violence, serious violence, all wrapped up in the mystery-enigma two-sided paper from the nice wrapping paper store, not the cheap stuff you'd find at the local dollar store.
This is Gaiman hitting on all the cylinders he really nails perfectly. It's the literary equivalent of a Gypsy Rose Lee dance number -- mesmerizing, embarrassing, titillating, vulgar, and undeniably compelling.
A Doll's House is Gaiman at his best, at his most at ease with himself as a storyteller.
To say more would be to spoil it, so I'll add just this: So many of the favorite Sandman characters to come appear in this volume, so it should not be missed -- yet it stands by itself beautifully even if you've never read any other Sandman volume.
Not to be missed.