Entering Sandman: All You Need to Know About Neil Gaiman’s Classic

On August fifth, DC and Netflix are making all of our desires come true. It’s been over thirty years since Neil Gaiman’s masterwork The Sandman was first referred to as “the unadaptable comic”: a narrative too grand, too formidable, too sprawling to ever be faithfully tailored to display. Now, the unimaginable has lastly been realized—the sequence is getting a Netflix adaptation and also you’re realizing that it’s time to lastly dive in. Whether on display or on the web page, you’re prepared to expertise The Sandman for the very first time. And but, for a e book with such a reverent mythology all its personal, we are able to perceive the way you would possibly really feel a bit intimidated, anxious that you could be be lacking some form of clue or context which makes what you’re studying, or quickly watching, all of the richer.

So, right here’s what you want to settle for—you completely, positively are. No reader captures each factor of The Sandman on their first expertise. You’d have to be the author himself. The Sandman is a e book designed to be visited time and again like a beloved buddy, every new assembly enriched and knowledgeable by all you’ve discovered and skilled since. But we’ll do our greatest to tackle a number of the most urgent questions you may need right here.

Who Is This Sandman Guy?

The authentic Sandman was a gasoline mask-wearing crimefighter named Wesley Dodds, a founding member of the unique Justice Society of America who first appeared in 1939. He wielded a gasoline gun which might compel his enemies to inform the reality and put them to sleep. This story isn’t about him.

The subsequent Sandman, Garret Sanford, was created within the Seventies by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon as a superheroic guardian of the dreamworld, whose adventures usually concerned two dream-creatures named Brute and Glob. This Sandman was finally relieved in his responsibility by Hector Hall, a former member of Infinity Inc. who had been the Silver Scarab earlier than passing on to the dream world. This story isn’t about them, both.

Our “Sandman” is a being who hardly ever goes by that title. He is best generally known as Morpheus, ruler of the Dreaming, the shared subreality of all of the desires of all aware beings who ever are or ever have been. He has as many names as there are cultures with tales of desires. In a really actual sense, he’s the bodily embodiment of the idea of dreaming itself. He is a conceptual being, nearly like a deity, however who would by no means declare godhood. He is Dream of the Endless, certainly one of seven siblings. And, regardless of not being human, he’s a being with very human flaws who loves, and loses, and rages at that loss each time. We meet him at a time when he has been introduced low and should transfer mountains to rise once more. Morpheus should change, or he should die, and he’ll make his alternative.

Who Are the Endless?

You don’t want to know that simply but. (But search for extra on them later right here on the DC website.)

Johanna Constantine? What Happened to John?

Johanna Constantine, as she initially appeared in The Sandman, is an 18th century ancestor of the John Constantine you are doubtless aware of. One liberty that The Sandman Netflix sequence takes is double casting Jenna Coleman within the roles of each the previous Constantine and the present one. It’s symmetrical. (Also, perhaps a bit of little bit of a cheeky nod to the a number of variations of the identical character that she performed on Doctor Who, one other present which Gaiman has written for.)

What’s Up with that Raven?

Matthew, Dream’s speaking raven (voiced within the Netflix sequence by Patton Oswalt), really has a really wealthy and detailed backstory within the comics that predates The Sandman. He was as soon as Matt Cable, a authorities agent who would kind an advanced relationship with each his assigned goal, Swamp Thing, and their mutual romantic curiosity, Abigail Arcane. Complex circumstances led to Agent Cable’s dying presenting him with the chance to stay in The Dreaming as a substitute of crossing over, although not as he was. Matthew is the most recent in a protracted line of ravens which have served Morpheus up to now. (You’ll meet one other one within the very first episode of the Netflix sequence.)

But none of that is that vital to the story. If you hear Matthew soliloquizing on the person he was, that’s who he used to be. And for extra, you possibly can all the time learn Swamp Thing.

Is This Set within the DC Universe?

The Sandman sequence began earlier than the inspiration of the Vertigo comics imprint it could finally assist outline. As a rule, Vertigo sequence didn’t do a lot interacting with the mainstream DC comics. But as a grandfathered-in Vertigo sequence, you’ll see sure ideas from the DC Universe make their means into Sandman’s narrative. Take, for example, John Dee, an enemy you’ll meet on this first season. He was initially Doctor Destiny, a foe to the Justice League of America within the Silver Age.

In the primary quantity of the comics, Morpheus encounters Etrigan, Martian Manhunter and Mister Miracle. And whereas the story continues to be not about them, the Sandmen who preceded Dream had roles but to play. There’s all the time simply sufficient of the DC Universe in Sandman and its continued spinoffs to clarify that whereas there’s not very a lot interplay between the 2, there are components which preserve them in contact.

As for the present, all we’ll say is that a few of that is there, a few of it might not be. But bear in mind, the references are largely incidental and Sandman’s timelessness is rooted in how properly it stands by itself.

What Year is It?

The first challenge of The Sandman begins after a protracted absence by Morpheus from The Dreaming, within the 12 months 1988. Unlike most DC titles, however related to concurrent Vertigo titles on the time, time progressed kind of linearly from there, concluding because the sequence did in 1995. One of the key variations between the e book and the Netflix sequence is that the absence lasts only a whereas longer, till our present 12 months of 2022.

All Right, What’s the Best Way to Read this Thing?

Well, the excellent news is you can learn the primary eight points proper now without spending a dime on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE. All you have got to do is register. That’ll take you midway by way of the primary season’s story, which encompasses Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 of the unique sequence’ ten volumes.

But when you’re like us, then you definitely gained’t give you the chance to cease there. The Sandman has been collected in quite a few Omnibus and Absolute Editions, however in our opinion, these are greatest suited to collectors and book-lovers who need volumes to cherish after their first go-round. The greatest means to learn The Sandman as a first-time reader is to merely learn the numbered Volumes 1-10, which yow will discover in bookstores, comedian retailers, libraries and digital retailers. Don’t fear, they’ve been stored in print frequently since they have been first revealed and DC not too long ago launched thirtieth Anniversary editions for all of them.

There have additionally been fairly quite a few spinoffs and sequels because the authentic sequence, however you may learn these nonetheless you want so long as you learn these ten sequential volumes first.

By title, these volumes could be:

  • Preludes and Nocturnes
  • The Doll’s House
  • Dream Country
  • Season of Mists
  • A Game of You
  • Fables and Reflections
  • Brief Lives
  • Worlds’ End
  • The Kindly Ones
  • The Wake

I Found This Book Called The Sandman: Overture, Though. Shouldn’t I Read That First?

ABSOLUTELY NOT. In your book-shopping travels, chances are you’ll encounter a e book entitled The Sandman: Overture, a prequel to The Sandman launched for the sequence’ twenty fifth Anniversary. DO NOT READ THIS FIRST! You’ll need to at the least expertise these first ten volumes, and doubtless the “eleventh” quantity Endless Nights as properly, earlier than going again to the start with Overture.

I’m More of a Listener Than a Reader. Got Anything for Me?

If you’d like a extra auditory expertise, the primary six volumes of The Sandman comics have already been tailored right into a critically acclaimed Sandman audio drama, obtainable solely on Audible. The first two volumes of the drama cowl Volumes 1-3 and 4-6 of the unique comedian run, and a 3rd quantity is at the moment within the works. For a medium with out pictures, this Dirk Maggs-produced adaptation of The Sandman is an extremely reverent and loving translation of the unique sequence. And an all-star solid of actors like James McAvoy, Kat Dennings, Andy Serkis, Michael Sheen, David Tennant and Gaiman himself elevates the efficiency to a brand new stage.

Okay, But I’m Still Really Concerned I’m Going to Miss Something

If you’re completely decided not to miss a single level—though, as we warned, in your first learn you nearly definitely will and that’s wonderful—you is likely to be thinking about studying The Annotated Sandman, a painstakingly researched assortment with all the references you may presumably require.

And in fact, you possibly can all the time test into the DC Community, the place we’re all joyful to tackle no matter questions nonetheless linger and aid you uncover a deeper appreciation for this wealthy story. But whether or not you’re studying, listening or awaiting the primary time, The Sandman is in the end a narrative about tales and creativeness. All you really require earlier than your first Sandman expertise are your individual senses and an appreciation for a superb story.

Because you’re about to expertise among the best on the market.

The Sandman, starring Tom Sturridge as Morpheus, debuts on Netflix this Friday, August fifth. For extra desires, fables and recollections, go to our official Sandman TV web page.

Alex Jaffe is the writer of our month-to-month “Ask the Question” column and writes about TV, motion pictures, comics and superhero historical past for DCComics.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexJaffe and discover him within the DC Community as HubCityQuestion.


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