Sandman Re-Blog: Issue #12 Playing House


Ok kids, things are really heating up in here!

Let's start with panel #3, on page one. In the background there are two faces that have already been presented to us in the Dreaming: the pumpkin head, and the smiley face in the top left corner. Stay tuned on these two. And the broom is perhaps a reference to the three witches?

The way it's all set up makes me think of a less ordered version of Desire's wall with the sigils. Which makes me wonder, of course Brute and Glob are Dream's creations, but are his creations prey in turn to his siblings? Can Desire manipulate the denizens of the Dreaming, or only mortals and her own family?


Brute and Glob are obviously not the obvious go-tos for creative solutions: I think I mentioned previously that they were sidekicks to the old Sandman character, and apparently that's the limit of their world. In their dream creation, they dream of another sandman superhero.

Speaking of creation, let's talk about the ultimate act of creation: pregnancy. Baby daddying in the Dreaming (band name!). I'm a little confused as to the metaphysics of it all: Lyta was pregnant in the Dreaming, and so Morpheus claims her son. But Unity Kincaid also gave birth while dreaming? Perhaps that is why Rose is the vortex...


I've tried to avoid overt hyperbole, because after all, why would anyone do a project like this if it weren't a labor of love? But I love how Gaiman undercuts expectations, or at least subverts them: just when Jed's foster parents start acting less like humans and more like Victor Hugo stock characters, Gaiman assures the audience of his ability with a single line, in the last panel of the page: "they just couldn't tell you why." These people act impossibly evil because they're not in control of themselves: what an optimistic philosophy this suggests about humankind!


There's an awful amount of paper wasted on seeing the Sandman prepare for his revenge; we already knew he's a vengeful god, and I think the point could have been better served by seeing his image creep up in the background gradually. Of course it does make sense that he would have admiration for his servants' cunning, and that's an important thing to get across about the character of Morpheus, but these scenes really interrupt the flow. You could have ended that sequence with the first panel: "I am coming," and the audience would have waited in suspense.

I guess what I'm trying to say that, after the initial scenes of how Morpheus travels back in "Passengers," it's not really interesting to watch him as he travels from A to B (I may take this back in subsequent issues, fair warning).


Of course we learn the story of Lyta is all a dream. But it's fascinating how Lyta's dream is filled with such real emotions, feelings of being undesirable, worrying about her relationship with her husband. Strangely normal emotions about someone who only exists in dreams! And yet her worldview is unnaturally innocent; his husband suddenly asks like a television father in the 1960's, talking about storks delivering babies.

Keep an eye on the guest list at the Cereal Convention hotel: we are clearly on page C, but the last clearly legible name is The Corinthian. And like so many bad dreams, we need but say his name for him to appear.

COMING UP: CEREAL KILLERS!!! Even Dexter would not feel at home in this crowd...

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One Response to “ Sandman Re-Blog: Issue #12 Playing House ”

  1. Well, we’ve met the maiden – for given values of ‘maiden’ – time for the mother.
    So there's this woman named Lyta Hall who married her childhood sweetheart and went to live in a dream house. She has all the dresses she can wear, and a husband who has a very important job. There's a baby on the way too. But as hollow dreams go, this one’s got an echo the size of Notre Dame.
    This is, after all, the doll’s house. It’s a mighty attractive plaything but it’s still lifeless and artificial.

    I’m just looking at the TV screens on the first page. The Annotations page has the full list, but the only ones I can make out clearly are the Watchmen smiley, Freud and Nietzsche. And is that Neil Gaiman in the the corner of panel 4?

    We’ve still got the ‘cereal convention’ to look forward to but this issue has a terrific blend of tragedy and farce. Hector Hall is so utterly clueless he’s a scream, until you remember he’s the resurrected shade of a dead husband being manipulated be a couple of AWOL nightmares. The sight of the square-jawed superhero squaring off against Dream of the Endless couldn’t be more comic, or more sad. And it reminds you that Morpheus really does look like an awful monster to plague the dreams of children.
    Incidentally, I do think Brute and Glob's plan is a good one. They need a dream-themed superhero to rescue Jed in his dreams, preferably one that's stupid and easy to control. Hector's just the ticket.

    Morpheus's reaction to the whole affair is typical. It’s for breaking the laws of his realm that Brute and Glob are condemned to the Darkness. He really doesn’t give a fuck about poor Jed Walker, or indeed the foster family who abused him for years. Nor does he spare a thought for Lyta Hall – as far as he’s concerned, she’s getting off lightly. Except, oh yes, that child? He’ll come for it one day. The career of Morpheus is a masterclass in creating terrible enemies.

    (IIRC, he claims the child because it's been gestating in dreams. Unity had Rose's mother in the real world, albeit while fast asleep.)

    Maybe by the time we finish this readalong I’ll be able to articulate why I love Rose Walker so much. For now, I just want it on the record.

    I see no reason why the Endless shouldn't be able to influence each other's creations; they can certainly influence each other, so I assume their power extends to everything that is.


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