Graphic Content: The Sandman

List Item:  Read half of the 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die
10/501the sandmanTitle: The Sandman
Author: Neil Gaiman 
Year: 1989-1996
Country: USA

Originally, when setting the ground rules for how many issues I would read before considering it crossed off, I would only need to read 36 of the 75 issues of The Sandman. I read until the very end. In fact, since I was reading this in two rather stressful  weeks in January, the train trips to and from work became a real highlight of my day.

What starts out in the first few issues as a horror comic quickly becomes rather intellectual and philosophical. The main character, Dream, evolves so much over the course of the issues. This is mainly due his 70-80 years of confinement in the beginning, but once you start to see the transformation there is no way to not finish this series of comics. He is a rather emo, but you grow to support him really quickly.


Whilst there are many times in the series where the character of Dream can sometimes be a bit brooding and unrelatable, the character of Death has found herself in my personal list of favourite characters. In a number of ways she is very much like Death in the Terry Pratchett books. She is very responsible and appears to care deeply about her job and for the humans that she ferries over into the afterlife. Also, being an anthropomorphic personification that has existed since life’s beginning she is incredibly insightful.

Mix these similariries with a slightly Egyptian-gothic look, a warm sense of humour and expert level abilities to call people on their shit… well you’ve got Death. When I get around to it, I will be seeking out the limited run comics where she is a central character.


That brings be to the rest of Dream’s family aka the Endless. Other than Dream and Death, the only other sibling we really get to know is Delirium. Where Dream is a tragic hero, Delerium is plain tragic. She takes near-centre stage in the Brief Lives arc, my favourite arc of the entire comic series. Why? Because it the only arc that focuses mainly on the Endless family. That and The Wake.

I think that whatever comic/manga/graphic novel is going to have an uphill battle to my affections now that I have finished The Sandman. As such, I will be putting off getting the spin-offs and sequels and maybe move back to regular literature for a while.

The thing that truly astounds me is that each character and every seemingly throwaway storyline has a long-term purpose. I mean, how well planned can you get where all these strands come together and then flow apart over the course of 75 issues. Even a number of crazy homeless people end up being rather important in this universe.

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