The best Sandman stories to read after watching the Netflix series

Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman is a many-splendored marvel. One half pulp horror, one half city fantasy comedian replete with Shakespearean and mythological cameos, the comedian covers loads of floor with a bunch of characters each mundane and otherworldly. What begins as a narrative about Morpheus, the immortal King of Dreams, and his quest for redemption step by step evolves into one thing even bigger: a narrative about the nature of stories themselves and their important relationship to humanity.

The unique 75-issue series, together with its assorted constellation of spinoff series and books, is a multifarious anthology of fantastically illustrated and brilliantly advised stories that run the gamut from bone-chilling to soul-stirring.

In celebration of the long-awaited live-action TV adaptation of The Sandman, which premiered this weekend on Netflix, we’ve put collectively a listing of a few of our favourite volumes and points from the comedian for these wanting to discover the universe of the unique series in additional element. Sweet goals, and glad studying.

24 Hours (Issue #6)

Image: Neil Gaiman, Mike Dringenberg/DC Comics

The Sandman began its life as a horror comedian earlier than it turn out to be one thing far more. “24 Hours” is the horror model of Sandman at the peak of its powers: imply, haunting, and skin-crawlingly upsetting, a one-act play the place diner patrons slowly go mad collectively.

The story is generally stand-alone: John Dee, a D-List DC Comics villain, has obtained Dream’s ruby, which accommodates a lot of his powers to understand the goals of others. Already a twisted soul, Dee is additional corrupted by the ruby, which warps his physique into its present ghoulish look. Recently free of imprisonment, Dee slinks right into a diner and makes its patrons his first victims — utilizing the ruby’s powers to manipulate their wishes and warp them into monsters, or subdue them into servitude and adulation.

From the very begin, Sandman makes it clear that goals and nightmares come hand in hand, and one can not exist with out the different. “24 Hours” applies that rule to the kind of goals we now have when awake: secret ambitions, wishes, and fame. They are the stuff we construct our lives on, however in addition they our undoing — and the most scary factor about them is that we don’t want the merciless supernatural push of John Dee to be consumed by them. —Joshua Rivera

The Sound of Her Wings (Issue #8)

A page from issue #8, “The Sound of Her Wings,” from The Sandman.

Image: Neil Gaiman, Mike Dringenberg/DC Comics

No different situation of The Sandman stands out as extra definitive in my thoughts than situation 8, “The Sound of Her Wings.” This has little or no to do with the particulars of the story itself, which alone registers as a kind of minor apart in the bigger story of Dream’s return to energy after a century of imprisonment. “The Sound of Her Wings” is critical as a result of it marks the level through which the then-fledgling fantasy comedian lastly discovered its personal voice, or reasonably, the second when Neil Gaiman stopped making an attempt so arduous to write a DC Comics story and as an alternative allowed himself to totally write a Neil Gaiman story. Take it from Gaiman himself, who stated in a current interview, “I’m incredibly fond still of ‘The Sound of Her Wings,’ the first meeting of Death, because that is the first time I felt like I sounded like me.”

The situation follows Dream who, listless in the wake of his mission to get better his misplaced symbols of workplace, follows his sister — the anthropomorphic personification of loss of life — as she performs her obligation of ushering the not too long ago deceased into the “sunless lands” of the afterlife. It’s a medley of tones, without delay whimsical and melancholic, macabre and life-affirming, heartrending and achingly poignant. “The Sound of Her Wings” is a the story of an immortal being gaining perspective by means of an up-close commentary of humanity and a reaffirmed grasp of the worth and which means of each life and loss of life. —Toussaint Egan

Men of Good Fortune (Issue #13)

A three by three panel page from Men of Good Fortune, issue 38 from The Sandman.

Image: Neil Gaiman, Michael Zulli/DC Comics

“Men of Good Fortune” has one among my favourite premises for what’s basically a fairly primary quick story: In 1389, Robert “Hob” Gadling, a loud, brash tavern patron, is boasting to all who will hear about his newest concept. Death, he says, is “a mug’s game,” one thing that individuals solely do as a result of everybody else does it, and so they’re all suckers for it. But Hob Gadling, he’s no sucker like the remainder of us. He’s simply not going to die.

Unbeknownst to him, Death and her brother Dream are in the tavern as nicely, and so they determine it could be amusing to see Hob stick to his phrase. So Dream sits down and calls Hob on his bluster, saying if Hob intends to not die, he’ll have to inform Dream about it, and meet him at the identical pub in 100 years. So that’s what they do, for hundreds of years.

Brought to life by Michael Zulli, whose wealthy pencils would reappear all through The Sandman’s run, “Men of Good Fortune” does one thing The Sandman’s stand-alone quick stories have been uniquely good at: taking the cosmic eternal scale of the Endless and utilizing it to make smaller stories resonate that rather more. For all of his energy and marvel, Dream’s story is barely compelling for the methods it intersects with ours, even when all he does is stroll right into a bar and exit with a good friend. —JR

Seasons of Mists (Vol. 4)

Image: Neil Gaiman, Kelley Jones/DC Comics

Spoiler alert for a possible upcoming season of The Sandman: Casting Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer is a fairly positive signal that the artistic crew is hoping to do extra with the character. And that may imply stepping into the stellar Season of Mists storyline, the place Lucifer kicks everybody out of hell, demons and souls of the damned alike, then locks it up tight and palms Dream the key. It’s a very subtle revenge scheme, aimed straight at Dream’s unbudging sense of obligation: He can’t stroll away from the duty of proudly owning hell, however because it seems, it’s a beneficial piece of unreal property, and everybody from defunct godly pantheons to the forces of Chaos desires it, and desires to bribe or blackmail or homicide him to get it.

The means Dream navigates the scenario over the Season of Mists assortment tells us much more than we knew beforehand about who he’s and the way he handles his tasks and his realm. But the actual pleasure of the arc is studying a lot extra about the Sandman cosmos — about the key gamers, how they work and what they need, and what intrigue between heaven, hell, and the courts of Faerie appears like. —Tasha Robinson

Brief Lives (Vol. 7)

Dream, entering his sister Delirium’s realm in The Sandman: Brief Lives.

Image: Neil Gaiman, Jill Thompson/DC Comics

There are very, only a few duds in the 10 volumes that make up the full Sandman, and every of them is barely completely different. But none of them combines the best of all facets of the comedian as vol. 7, Brief Lives. There’s Endless household drama. The Waking World. Old gods in fashionable settings. Amusing and disturbing interactions between mortals and immortals. A speaking severed head and a sarcastic canine.

Best of all, it’s a highway journey story about two estranged siblings in search of a 3rd, and the siblings are concurrently nigh-omnipotent beings past the ken of man and don’t understand how to drive a automotive. —Susana Polo

An Epilogue, Sunday Mourning (Issue #73)

A page from issue #73, “An Epilogue, Sunday Mourning,” from The Sandman.

Image: Neil Gaiman, Michael Zulli/DC Comics

The best character in The Sandman is Hob Gadling, the Englishman from the 1300s who swore he would by no means die after which didn’t. Both of his characteristic points are nice in their very own means. But there’s a particular place in my coronary heart for the last situation through which he seems, the place this man who was born in precise medieval occasions goes to a Renaissance faire and is grumpy and homesick about each single factor he sees. Of course there’s an emotional core to the story about Hob’s unflagging zest for all times and his personal grief at outliving everybody he’s ever cherished — but in addition, each time I am going to a Renaissance faire, I’ve Hob Gadling in my head, complaining that the beer is served chilly, nothing is roofed in shit, and there’s nobody strolling round with untreated face tumors. —SP

The Sandman: Overture (Limited Series)

Double page widespread layout from issue #2 of The Sandman: Overture.

Image: Neil Gaiman, J.H. Williams III/Vertigo

While the six-issue restricted series The Sandman: Overture serves as a direct prologue to the first situation of Sandman, it’s best read as an epilogue to the 10-volume series. Overture particulars the story of the “great battle” that left Dream in the weakened state we discover him in “Sleep of the Just,” chronicling his journey to a distant galaxy to examine the homicide of one among his facets by a renegade star whose insanity has metastasized right into a “dream vortex” that threatens all of existence.

It’s a sweeping odyssey throughout an unlimited cosmos teeming with primordial oddities and unusual allies, rendered by means of the impeccable visible storytelling of J.H. Williams III (Batwoman, Promethea), whose grandiose widespread panels and layouts evoke the sum whole of the unique series’ creative ambitions in breathtaking element. The Sandman: Overture is a fantastic elliptical bookend to a saga over 1 / 4 century in the making and an excellent capstone to Neil Gaiman’s magnum opus. —TE


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