For over thirty years, Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman has been counted as a definitive traditional of the comedian ebook medium, increasing the storytelling boundaries of precisely what comics can do. For a lot of its run, The Sandman was revealed below DC’s former mature-readers imprint, Vertigo. One factor Vertigo was identified for, other than its subject material, was that the titles it revealed usually had little to do with the DC Universe, the place DC’s superhero comics share their world.
Because of these elements, it’s typically assumed that the Sandman comedian has no DC Universe connection. But from the very first subject, Gaiman attracts on lore from DC historical past as a lot as the different mythologies and cultural traditions from our personal world to form the Dreaming. But that is the “DC House of List-ery,” so let’s take a look at some examples. Here are six other ways the world of The Sandman crosses into the DC Universe.
Of Sandmen Past
Dream of the Endless just isn’t DC’s first Sandman. Or even the second, or third. Those prior bearers of the title, extra akin to conventional superheroes in their very own proper, are every addressed via Gaiman’s narrative in their very own manner. The unique Sandman of the Golden Age, the fuel mask-wearing Wesley Dodds, seems in Sandman’s very first subject. At a time when Dream is imprisoned, we take a second to test in on Wesley as a person impressed via his desires to combat injustice. Though it had by no means actually been a characteristic of his character earlier than Gaiman launched it, from right here on out, one of Dodds’ definitive traits could be his prophetic desires which grant him a wider perspective on the universe.
In 1974, Jack Kirby and Joe Simon created their very own reimagining of Sandman, a person named Garrett Sanford. After an accident traps Sanford in the “Dream Dimension,” the collective unconscious realm the place all desires happen, Sanford resolves to develop into his new dwelling’s resident superhero. As Sandman, Sanford patrolled the dream world with the assist of dream creatures Brute and Glob, and a younger dreamer named Jed Paulsen.
In Infinity Inc. #50, we be taught that Sanford had dedicated suicide as a way of granting himself launch from the Dream Dimension. Brute and Glob changed Sanford in his duties with not too long ago deceased Infinity Inc. member Hector Hall, who’s allowed to enter the Dream Dimension along with his residing spouse and fellow Infinitor, Lyta Hall. At the time they entered the Dream Dimension, Lyta was pregnant with Hector’s youngster.
As it seems, greater than some other occasion, this being pregnant is the most related story element from the DC Universe to the narrative of The Sandman. The true nature of Garrett Sanford and Hector Hall’s association with Brute and Glob is revealed in The Sandman: A Doll’s House. Lyta’s being pregnant would resolve in the start of Daniel Hall, a human youngster born in the Dreaming. Because of this, Dream claims Daniel as his personal. Lyta just isn’t on board.
The Horror Hosts
In the second subject of The Sandman, we have now our first go to to the Dreaming—the realm the place Dream holds courtroom over the desires of all residing, pondering creatures. As it occurs, followers of DC’s Bronze Age horror titles will acknowledge many acquainted faces amongst its topics.
The quarrelsome Cain, Abel and Gregory the Gargoyle: hosts of the long-running twin titles of The House of Mystery and The House of Secrets. The reclusive, cave-dwelling Eve: host of Weird Mystery Tales and Secrets of Sinister House. The Fashion Thing was as soon as the Mad Mod Witch, host of The Unexpected. In a much-upgraded position, Lucien the Librarian was previously host of the short-lived Tales of Ghost Castle. The three fates with whom Dream consults are Mildred, Mordred and Cynthia, hosts of The Witching Hour. Even Dream’s eldest brother, Destiny, originated as a number of Weird Mystery Tales in 1972. Through the Dreaming, The Sandman connects the beforehand disjointed traditional horror titles of the DC Universe, constructing a wierd and appropriately sinister neighborhood between them.
A Spiritual Swamp Thing Sequel
Like so many comedian luminaries, Neil Gaiman owes his success in the subject to a mentor who confirmed him the ropes at the begin of his profession. In Neil’s case, that mentor was none aside from Alan Moore, who confirmed Gaiman the artwork of turning a narrative into a comic book ebook script from soup to nuts. If you’ve learn Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, the storytelling model of The Sandman might really feel acquainted to you. That’s no coincidence. Swamp Thing was Gaiman’s bible in studying how one can craft a narrative for comics.
With that, you could find connections to Moore’s Swamp Thing all through the Sandman saga. Gaiman’s descriptions of Hell in Preludes and Nocturnes and Season of Mists are taken proper from Swamp Thing’s personal journey via the underworld in Swamp Thing #50. An early look by John Constantine, and later his ancestor Johanna Constantine, are each tributes to Moore’s personal nasty piece of work. And then there’s Matthew the Raven, Dream’s fixed companion, who in a former life was Swamp Thing’s good friend and romantic rival, authorities agent Matt Cable. The very blueprints for the idea of the Dreaming itself, actually, are straight taken from Moore’s Swamp Thing #33, when Abby Arcane encounters Cain and Abel as she visits the House of Secrets in her sleep. It’s no exaggeration to say that with out Swamp Thing, there could be no Sandman.
Much of the first quantity of Sandman, which we’ll see lined on this first season of the Netflix sequence, is anxious with Dream monitoring down his Dreamstone, a ruby imbued with an infinite portion of his energy. As Dream would be taught, his Dreamstone had been co-opted years in the past by a foe of the Justice League of America: the skeletal Doctor Destiny, whose “materioptikon” (actually, the dreamstone) allowed him to control the desires of his enemies.
In The Sandman, we discover John Dee in Arkham Asylum, enduring the soliloquies of the Scarecrow earlier than he makes his escape and unleashes the full energy of his ruby on the world. In searching down his Dreamstone, Dream encounters the late ’80s up to date Justice League. Dream grants peaceable relaxation to Mister Miracle, who suffers nonetheless from nightmares of Apokolips, and seems to Martian Manhunter in a facet as an historical Martian god of desires—demonstrating to us that to every tradition all through the cosmos, Dream takes a special type.
The Forgotten Elements
As The Sandman finds its footing, references to the DC Universe fade additional into the background, permitting the ebook house to discover its personal established mythology. But sometimes, a visitor star will proceed to poke their head in to remind you simply the place that is all going down.
In The Sandman #20, we be taught the unhappy destiny of Element Girl, former accomplice of Metamorpho, whose existence in obscurity is a waking nightmare. The Sandman #54 encompasses a retelling of the Prez: Teen President sequence of the Nineteen Seventies, impressed by the life and legacy of John F. Kennedy. When Lyta returns to the waking world, her authorities liaison is Eric Needham, former Gotham vigilante Black Spider. Sandman’s fourth quantity, Season of Mists, options an array of gods and cosmic authorities of every kind vying for Dream’s favor, together with Doctor Fate’s Lords of Chaos and Order, and a Norse collective with a bottled occasion of Ragnarok ceaselessly being fought by the Justice Society of America (as seen in Roy Thomas’s 1986 JSA finale The Last Days of the Justice Society of America).
Perhaps the most fascinating of all The Sandman’s cameos is an look late in the run by Batman and Superman in the Dreaming—the place we be taught that the ’50s and ’60s Superman and Batman TV exhibits all really passed off inside the desires of their respective heroes. (Martian Manhunter, for his half, claims he’s by no means had desires like these…however we will solely think about that nowadays, when J’onn sleeps, he desires of Supergirl.)
Sandman ended its unique run in 1993, however Dream and his siblings have continued to affect the DC Universe ever since. Follow-ups reminiscent of Endless Nights and The Sandman: Overture revisit Sandman’s place in DC’s cosmology in methods so fascinating that it will be a disgrace to spoil them right here. (If you get the probability, ask Dream’s sister Despair a while about the destruction of Krypton.)
Apart from Neil’s personal work, different writers have sometimes gotten the alternative to take the Endless for a spin. Dream performs a major position in JLA #22-23, “Perchance to Dream,” the place the Justice League battles Starro on two fronts of actuality and the Dreaming. Kevin Smith’s Green Arrow options the similar occult order that ensnares Dream in The Sandman’s first subject. Geoff Johns’ JSA gives the return of Hector and Lyta Hall, selecting up proper the place The Sandman left them. In Mark Waid’s The Brave and the Bold, Supergirl is charged with discovering the misplaced Book of Destiny. In the aftermath of Blackest Night, Lex Luthor’s quest to harness the energy of the Black Ring brings him nose to nose with Dream’s sister, Death. And most not too long ago, Dream appeared to Batman in Dark Nights: Metal to enlist his assist in a disaster which threatened all worlds each actual and imagined.
“The Sandman is pretty much its own thing,” eh?
As you may see, the actuality isn’t so easy. Yes, Morpheus and his world largely exist independently of the higher DCU, however actually not faraway from it. Sandman is a piece all its personal, and but Sandman is a piece of DC. And as DC’s multiverse continues to increase, it’s solely pure that sometimes, its denizens will stumble upon the realm of the Endless. After all, even heroes dream. And what are desires—and comedian books—however tales.
Perhaps the “D” in DCU really stands for Dream?
DC House of List-ery runs each Wednesday right here on DC.com.
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 creator of our month-to-month “Ask the Question” column and writes about TV, films, comics and superhero historical past for DCComics.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexJaffe and discover him in the DC Community as HubCityQuestion.