Well guys, I realized to my immense sadness and horror that it has almost been a full ten years since I first picked up Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes on the whimmiest of whims, and fell in love with an entire universe forever.
Deep in the throes of Tori Amos obsession, I wanted to know more about "Neil and the Dream King", until then merely characters in one of my favorite songs, "Tear In Your Hand." (Though I had already read Neverwhere a year or two before at the insistence of my high school librarian, and somehow forgot about Neil Gaiman since.)
Well the Tori obsession has faded (albeit slightly), while Neil Gaiman's star has risen to stratospheric levels since I first encountered his work.
My friends have dressed as various members of the Endless, in countless costume parties. The memory of the characters is fully alive, but I realized, sadly, that I had forgotten much of the Sandman story, the details, the episodes.
And so I begin again. Starting at the beginning.
#1 - Sleep of the Just
The purpose of this issue is to introduce Sandman himself. It's a fantastically clever introduction; we learn about Dream's importance through the impact caused by his absence; he influences many key events in the 20th century.
Dream has been captured and imprisoned by a coven of magicians who were actually seeking to capture another immortal, Death, in order to secure their own immortality (I would dearly, dearly love to see a follow-up series where it is in fact Death who is imprisoned for 100 years).
The magicians have no idea how to access Dream's power, so they just lock him up and periodically beg and/or torture him to work for them.
In Dream's absence, of course all manner of shenanigans occur between the humans -- love affairs, power plays, and the ill effects of old age. Vigilantes step up to fill in the vacuum left by Dream's imprisonment. But there's a terror lurking behind everything: what happens when Dream is finally freed? It all builds up to this moment, and you know that his revenge will be tremendous.
There's not much to say in the way of analysis, as this is the introductory chapter to the Universe. But we are introduced, if only by mention, to the broader mythology of the Endless. We are embarking on the journey of getting to know them. And I cannot begin to express how excited I am. On some level, I'm glad I waited this long, as I'll be seeing so much of it with fresh eyes again.
See you next issue!