All Things Sandman
Dream a Little Dream: All Things Sandman
Greetings from the surf and turf of Del Mar, CA fellow CBSI members. I have read that above quote several times from Gaiman as it’s a profound way to reflect on something we really all will be faced with at some point, our own mortality. This subject among many is brought into the brilliant world created by Neal Gaiman known as The Sandman. This universe, and complexity finally will be shown its vision within the small screen on Netflix. With this, it’s time to take a dive into The Sandman and educate ourselves on the story, key appearances & books, and interesting facts.
Alright, I will start by saying it would be remiss of me not to first of all give a huge thank you to Mike Morello and Topher for their fact checking, usage of time, personal comics, and overall expertise on tackling this vast subject. With something of this size and scope, it truly needed a group effort. The CBSI community is greatly appreciative to the great minds it has on all things comics. The Sandman is not an easy subject to navigate as it’s intricate in details, and elaborate in meaning. So how do you describe just what The Sandman is about without rambling on and just confusing an audience more? Well, just go directly to the source. Mr Gaiman was asked himself just how the hell do you summarize what this is about in under 25 words?
Neil’s response that only he could say so eloquently was:
“The Lord of Dreams learns that one must change or die, and makes his decision.”
Now, a more expanded version? Well, The series tells the story of Morpheus, who is the anthropomorphic personification of dreams. It begins as he breaks out of magical captivity after decades of imprisonment and begins searching for the lost relics of his power. The series' mythology spans human history and also includes the creation of the Endless, a group of ancient beings who are the living embodies of Dream, Death, Destiny, Desire, Despair, Delirium, and Destruction
Okay on with the show —
*Photo courtesy of Mike Morello’s personal copy
OA (Original Art) for 2nd Ad
1st appearance Morpheus aka Dream
The following breakdown is provided in volumes with a brief synopsis of the storylines and panels to give an idea of the flavor of this specific content. It is vague for a reason as to not give away key plot occurrences, etc.
The first eight issues are under the volume Preludes and Nocturnes Issues 1-7 form the More Than Rubies story line. The eighth issue, The Sound of Her Wings, acts as an epilogue. “In 1916, the magician Roderick Burgess attempts to attain immortality by capturing the embodiment of Death. Mistakenly, he binds Death's brother Dream instead. Fearing retribution, Burgess keeps Dream imprisoned. In 1988, after Burgess has died and his son Alex has been charged with watching Dream, Dream is able to escape. Dream punishes Alex by cursing him to never dream again.”
The second volume Issues 9 – 16 consists of The Doll’s House. The overarching story, the guts of The Doll’s House, from Sandman #10-16, is the saga of Rose Walker, young woman with rainbow-colored hair. By the end, we learn that we’ve been following Rose through her journey because she’s central to Dream. She’s the “vortex,” and that means she’s going to have to die. The vortex “destroys the barriers between dreaming minds; destroys the ordered chaos of the Dreaming” the myriad of dreamers are caught in one huge dream. Morpheus’s pursuit of Rose Walker, the vortex, and the eventual decision about her final fate all are keys to this second arch.
The third volume of the Sandman Dream Country issues 17 – 20 is a series of four short comic book stories. In each of these otherwise unrelated stories, Morpheus serves only as a minor character. Here we meet the mother of Morpheus's son, find out what cats dream about, and discover the true origin behind Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night Dream
The fourth volume Season of Mists consists of issues #21-28. The fourth collection belongs with the first as perhaps one of the two collections most focused on Morpheus himself.
The fifth volume issues 32-37 is titled A Game of You. The central character of A Game of You is Barbie, introduced as a resident of the house where Rose Walker stayed during the events of The Doll's House
Gaiman often characterizes Sandman stories as “male” or “female” A Game of You, dominated by female characters and points of view, is one of his female stories. Gaiman described A Game of You as “probably” his favorite volume in the series, “because it's most people's least favourite volume, and I love it all the more for that.”
The sixth volume issues 29-40 titled Fables and Reflections is a story from Vertigo Preview #1. It concerns a theatrical author/director who is afraid of the consequences of his new play, be they success or failure
The seventh volume issues 41-49 titled Brief Lives. The story revolves around Delirium's wish to reconcile with her brother Destruction. To this end, she first contacts Desire and Despair, each of whom refuse to accompany her on her quest; and finally persuades Dream.
The eighth volume issues 51-56 titled Worlds End Like volumes 3 and 6, Dream Country and Fables and Reflections, Worlds' End is a volume of predominantly single-issue short stories, often only obliquely related to the principal story of the series
The ninth volume issues 57-69 titled The Kindly Ones belongs with the second collection, The Doll's House, and the seventh, Brief Lives, in that it finishes off a story that mostly originated in these collections; but includes elements of Season of Mists and the story of Orpheus, told mostly in Fables and Reflections
The tenth volume issues 70-75 titled The Wake. The conclusion of the series, wrapping up the remaining loose ends in a three-issue “wake” sequence, followed by three self-contained stories.
*No panels provided as there is a zero chance in spoiling the conclusion!
Key issues and appearances
Great reference to the “Newcastle incident” with John and asking The Sandman for help with the nightmares
1st appearance of Lucifer
1st appearance of Mervyn Pumkinhead (Unnamed)
1st appearance of Death
1st appearance of The Corinthian
1st appearance of Despair
1st appearance of Desire
Despair and Desire
1st appearance of Matthew the Raven
1st appearance of
Ancestor of John Constantine
1st appearance of Calliope
– Mother of Orpheus,
whom was fathered with Dream
1st appearance of Delirium
1st full appearance of Mervyn Pumpkinhead
1st appearance of Daniel Hall
1st appearance of Mazikeen (Maze)
1st appearance of Bast
1st appearance of
Dead Boy Detectives
1st appearance of Orpheus (Dream’s only child)
1st appearance of Destruction
1st appearance of Destiny
Other books of interest
1st appearance of Death in DC Continuity
Dream cameo appearance
Death cameo appearance
Dream cameo appearance
Matthew the Raven appearance
Dream word bubble appearance
Dream cameo appearance
Comics Interview Sandman Special
Sandman # 8
Karen Berger Editorial Error
This issue was first planned with an introduction by Karen Berger entitled “The Stuff that Dreams are made of…” on the inside front cover and a next issue teaser on the inside back cover. However, according to CBG (Feb 9, 1990), DC decided not to use these and instead went for a main print run with a Jenette Kahn “Publishorial” on the inside front cover and an American Cancer Society ad on the inside back cover but, unfortunately, DC omitted the copyright info with the revisions.
Pages 18 & 19 were printed out of order
Well that’s it folks! A long journey thru the world known as The Sandman. Although we covered a ton of material, don’t let this intimidate you from reading one of the very best comics of all time. A suggestion would be to pick up a TPB and give it a shot. It was a great time gathering all this information together in order to bring you the most detailed, relevant content on all things The Sandman. Although this was quite long in length, the subject material deserved this treatment. and frankly was necessary to help articulate just what is going on within the panels.
As news of characters, storylines, etc. come to the surface with the Netflix series, keep this as a good reference. Undoubtedly if it becomes a reality within the TV series, it was probably covered in the above. At the very least it prevents having to comb through thousands of pages of material. Hell, consider it the Cliffs Notes!
Oh and thanks again gents (Mike and Topher) for your help! These guys give you a big salute too as they did a movie about dreams too right?!?
Finally, my sincere appreciation to those who continue to read these weekly column.