I’ve been putting off this one for a while because…well, The Sandman is THE gateway comic book. It is a work of art, a masterful story with breathtaking artwork. It sucks in the casual reader and the literary analyst alike. It is highly recommended for anyone who likes to read, anyone at all.
Many of you are probably familiar with Sandman’s author, Neil Gaiman. This was his first big publication, and it led to all of his famous novels; I’m sure you’ve probably heard of at least some of them: Neverwhere, American Gods, Anansi Boys, Stardust, Coraline, The Graveyard Book… Gaiman tends to deal in myth and fantasy and dabble in a little horror as well, and Sandman is true to those topics.
The main character is the Sandman himself, or as he is more often known through the books, Dream. He is one of the Endless, the old powers that govern the universe. His brothers and sisters are each the embodiment of a different endless power: Destiny, Desire, Delirium, Despair, Destruction, and Death. The story mostly follows Dream, but all the other Endless family members get their fair share of page time. At the beginning of the books, Dream escapes from a long imprisonment. He has to regain a few objects of power that were lost or stolen during his imprisonment, and then he returns to his home in the Dreaming, which he also has to set right again. The plot follows Dream trying to hold his family together, find his lost brother Destruction, defend the Dreaming, amend wrongs he’s done in the past…oh, and make sure he keeps up with his responsibilities to people’s dream-selves.
It’s a beautifully written story. It’s complex and haunting, occasionally funny and always engaging. A bevy of talented artists worked on the series, too, so it’s always gorgeously illustrated. Bonus: if you love Dream’s sister Death as I do, she got her own very short series, too. And Lucifer (yes, that one, the fallen angel in Hell) also gets a spin-off series, not written by Gaiman but also very good. I seriously think that everyone who reads these books will love them, comic fans or not. DO IT! READ THEM NOW!