I've found my fifth nominee for Best Graphic Story. In retrospect, I don't know why it took me so long to pick this up - I generally like Neil Gaiman's writing, even if I'm not as wowed by him as the hardcore fans are (I went to a book signing with him on the very day I started this livejournal); and a return to Sandman, which was the first extended work I wrote about when I started bookblogging.
I guess I was worried that it could have been pretty awful. I'm glad to say that it isn't; it's a thoughtful coda and prelude combined for the ten volumes of the original story, mostly centred around a new plot of Morpheus and a rogue star, with a young girl called Hope as a key ally, which culminates in his becoming weak enough to be captured by a second-rate British magician. Numerous characters from the previous volumes, including Dream's siblings, make appearances, some more substantial than others. If that were all, it would be a satisfying addition to the Sandman canon.
But that's not all. Gaiman is often at his best when running up against other creators, and the art here is gorgeous. I'm happy to list Williams, Stewart and Klein as co-creators, because the picturescapes they create will linger with me possibly longer than most aspects of the plot.
I think I'm still voting for Lovelace and Babbage. Or The Sculptor. But I'm not sure, and if this is a finalist and the other two aren't, I think it may be an easy enough decision.