Sep 10 2009 4:00pm

Sandman Re-read Index is proud to present a complete re-read of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, by Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Introductory Post


Preludes and Nocturnes

# 1 - “Sleep of the Just”

#2 - ““Imperfect Hosts”

#3 - “Dream a Little Dream of Me”

#4 - “A Hope in Hell”

#5 - “Passengers”

#6 - “24 Hours”

#7 - “Sound and Fury”

#8 - “The Sound of Her Wings”


The Doll’s House

#9 - “Tales in the Sand”

#10 - “The Doll’s House”

#11 - “Moving In”

#12 - “Playing House”

#13 - “Men of Good Fortune”

#14 - “Collectors”

#15 - “Into the Night”

#16 - “Lost Hearts”


Dream Country

#17 - “Calliope”

#18 - “A Dream of a Thousand Cats”

#19 - “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

#20 - “Façade”













Season of Mists

#21 - “Prologue”

#22 - “Chapter 1”

#23 - “Chapter 2”

#24 - “Chapter 3”

#25 - “Chapter 4”

#26 - “Chapter 5”

#27 - “Chapter 6”

#28 - “Epilogue”


A Game of You

#32 - “Slaughter on Fifth Avenue”

#33 - “Lullabies of Broadway”

#34 - “Bad Moon Rising”

#35 - “Beginning to See the Light”

#36 - “Over the Sea to Sky”

#37 - “I Woke Up And One of Us Was Crying”








Fables and Reflections

#29 - “Distant Mirrors - Thermadore”

#30 - “Distant Mirrors - August”

#31 - “Distant Mirrors - Three Septembers and a January”

#38 - “Convergence - The Hunt”

#39 - “Convergence - Soft Places”

#40 - “The Parliament of Rooks”

#50 - “Distant Mirrors - Ramadan”



Brief Lives

#41 - “Chapter 1”

#42 - “Chapter 2”

#43 - “Chapter 3”

#44 - “Chapter 4”

#45 - “Chapter 5”

#46 - “Chapter 6”

#47 - “Chapter 7”

#48 - “Chapter 8”

 #49 - “Chapter 9”


Worlds’ End

#51 - “A Tale of Two Cities”

#52 - “Cluracan’s Tale”

#53 - “Hob’s Leviathan”

#54 - “The Golden Boy”

#55 - “Cerements”

#56 - “Worlds’ End”





The Kindly Ones

#57 - “Part 1”

#58 - “Part 2”

#59 - “Part 3”

#60 - “Part 4”

#61 - “Part 5”

#62 - “Part 6”

#63 - “Part 7”


#64 - “Part 8”

#65 - “Part 9”

#66 - “Part 10”

#67 - “Part 11”

#68 - “Part 12”

#69 - “Part 13”


The Wake

#70 - “Chapter 1, Which Occurs in the Wake of What Has Gone Before”

#71 - “Chapter 2, In Which a Wake is Held”

#72 - “Chapter 3, In Which We Wake”

#73 - “An Epilogue, Sunday Mourning”

#74 - “Exiles”

#75 - “The Tempest”

1. Alex_sc11
Will this be ongoing or you were just teasing us? I thought the first and only issue was brilliant
2. Aliosha
Was it a false alarm? I have been re-checking this page compulsively, I was so looking forward to Teresa's comments.
3. favve
I was enjoying this so much! probably Teresa is very busy, hopefully she will keep this on :( I have my Absolute copy and haven't read more, I'm waiting for the next publications.
Eirin Saeves
4. Eirin
*Kicks tires, pokes at stuff*

So ... this thing working?
5. The Knife
I'm not giving up!

I'm sure there's a reason for the delay, and so let's just rap about #2 - “Imperfect Hosts” on the 15th December.

Short of giving an annotated summary (not really qualified to do so, IMHO), I guess I'll just talk about stuff that stands out (to me) and we'll see where the thread takes us.

Who knows what Duchovnian tangets we'll ride?!
6. The Knife
And so, with #2 - “Imperfect Hosts”, we find Morpheus on the doorsteps of The House of Mystery. He's tired and hungry, and even more so thanks to his final act of vengeance against John Dee just before escaping. So much for vengeance being served cold.

Adrift among the currents of the Dreamscape, he finds his way to the home of Cain and Abel, who have their own issues. If you can call re-committing the first murder over and over again in new ways that.

While the two brothers tend to their master, Morpheus talks about how he's spread himself too thin in creating artifacts with his power, and he resolves to recover his posessions. To take stock, if you will, of what it all amounts too after his long imprisonment.

His return home is heartbreaking. It's gone. The stories are gone. Dreams are lost, and the Lord of Dreams realizes that he can't get it back. But he can still get his 3 artifacts back, and to do it he summons The Hecateae.

Are they The Fates? Are they the three witches from MacBeth? Whatever they are, they give Dream just enough information to begin his recovery quests while telling him that his troubles are just beginning.

And so we who've read Sandman know we're at the beginning of an end. Ah, Foreshadowing, you vindictive bitch.

In issue #3 we mix it up with John Constantine (rhymes with "wine") and find out what happens to some dreams when they lack supervision.
7. The Knife
Ah, to be John Constantine. The adventure and excitement. The riches. The women. The night terrors that bring everything and everyone you've ever f@cked up back to the forefront of your memory. And each morning to boot, too!

With a musical soundtrack affixing the tongue of Issue #3 - “Dream a Little Dream of Me” firmly in cheek, another denizen of the Vertigo imprint sets off to encounter and aid Morpheus in his quest to recover a lost artifact.

That the Lord of Dreams can hide in plain sight as a brooding goth dude, much in the way that his sister used to appear as a cheerful goth chick, used to amuse the hell out of me when these books first came out. I used to know a few goth kids in school, and we were cool, but now I look back fondly and chuckle to myself that maybe one of them was one of the Endless just hanging with the mortals for what would be a blip in their own existences. I still amuse myself that way anytime I see someone in all black with a shock of black hair. What can I say? I have a lot of free time.

So with Chas at the wheel, our duo make their way to the home of the father of a woman Constantine used to go with. She being the last to have known of and coveted the pouch of magic sand that Morpheus seeks and the most likely to have stolen it given her past of substance abuse and theft.

As Dream easily wrangles his truant minions back into his fold, growing stronger with the retrieval of his sand pouch, we're shown the fate of Constantine's ex-girlfriend Rachel: as a husk of a person kept going only by the dreams she sucks from Morpheus' pouch. The byproduct of which has since infested her father's house with a sentient after-shock of dreams that more absorbed than killed her father and was in the process of doing the same to a random burglar when Dream and John arrived.

In an act befitting a bittersweet love story, John gets Rachel a painless death and snags a wipe of his nightmares from the Dream Lord in the process.

For services rendered, of course.

Next time: Why I hate Issue #4.
Sam Kelly
8. Eithin
Issue #3 - I love Cain & Abel. More so later in the series, when they get some more subtlety and depth, but here too. Cain's line, Purveyor of penny dreadfuls, shilling shockers, blood and thunders, and fust-rate nightmares is a lovely introduction, and reminds me a lot of (the late, the great) the King of Pain later on. He's obviously murder-with-a-human face, in opposition to the arbitrary horror of the Corinthian - the extravagant friendliness to his brother, the domineering attitude, the flashes of murderous temper. I would say, Remind you of anyone?, but then they're both aspects of Dream anyway, and he's eternal-victim as well as eternal punisher.

Our first introduction to Lucien; the librarian, currently without a library, but still keeping watch over the Dreaming, and the first to greet "the incarnation of this dreamtime" on his return. That's an interesting phrase - "Dreamtime" is a very culturally specific term, and not one either Lucien or Dream should be using from the looks of them. On the other hand, this was 1988, when it was good just to be aware of other traditions, and it's a good shorthand for the Jungian collective unconscious nature of the Dreaming. With Morpheus gone, the library turns to blank books and disappears; the Raven Woman (rot13:Rir, we later find out) "lives only in nightmares", the palace servants (specific faces of the collective unconscious?) have disappeared, and Cain's relationship with Abel has been getting more and more violent. As we see from the main panels on that page - Dream & Lucien's conversation literally arches over Cain's controlling anger and murderous fury, and the child-gargoyle's incomprehending little "arwk?" as Abel's blood flies over him. The blood splatters pull us to turn the page to find out where they're coming from - and Dream is uncreating his palace, pulling it back into himself. Which makes me wonder why he's restricting himself to uncreating objects, rather than entities; I suspect the answer lies with rot13:Royvf B'Funhtuarffl in The Wake.

Lucien suggests to Dream that he summons "the Three-in-One", and it's clear that the various feminine triples through mythology are names for (or aspects of) the same entity. This is a very Graves way to put things (I used to be a really big fan of The White Goddess, shortly after I discovered Sandman; I'm still quite fond of it, even though a lot of its assertions have been disproved by evidence) and I'm really not sure that Urd/Skuld/Verdandi map onto Clotho/Lachesis/Atropos (or Alecto/Megaera/Tisiphone) in any meaningful way. Of course, they keep shifting about, so they don't have to map one-to-one.

The Hecateae (which might be Gaiman's coinage to fit into the rhyme scheme - though Hecate's often depicted with three bodies, I can't find any reference to her being addressed in the plural other than this) actually list "Diana, Mary, and Florence" in their list of names. I'm wondering whether that refers to Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole, and Diana Windsor - all famous for bringing comfort to the sick, in very different ways.

"We haven't helped you," they say. The thing is, they're half right... it's all part of Morpheus's Batman Gambit against himself.

The issue ends with Abel coming painfully back to life; Dream walking out through the Gates of Horn and Ivory (which look an awful lot like how we'll later see the gates of Dream's palace) and then Abel telling Irving a story about a kind, happy family to try and comfort himself.
9. The Knife
"What power would Hell have if those here imprisoned were not able to dream of Heaven?"

And with that question, the Lord of Dreams was able to stroll out of Hell unharmed from a potential double-cross, with his helm of office retrieved, and with his dignity enhanced.

We learn more of Morpheus' personality in Issue #4 - “A Hope in Hell”, namely, that he can be a vindictive god and lover, as Etrigan reveals to us via his detour past Dream's ex-lover's cell. That Etrigan is crafty. Maybe with his increase in demonic rank he's also gained the ability to pierce the Fourth Wall and tell us something.

Etrigan is a cool character that I first "met" in issues of old DC Comics Digests from the 70's and 80's. A great read and a great value for 25-cents each at the used bookstore where I was introduced to them as a kid while looking for books on my mandatory summer reading list from school. Comic book stories dealing with the occult were new for me then, but that he and Jason Blood often teamed with the long-underwear heroes provided new and exciting reads that also infuenced my future non-comic book choices. Anyway, we learn more about Etrigan's rhyming speech in a later issue.

Why is Hell such a beauracracy in the Vertigo imprint? I mean, a triumverate? Lucifer is diminished? (Not sticking up for the dude, it's just that he's supposed to be The Baddy, and now he's just a shareholder?) Geez, next we'll probably meet the Dread Lord of Accounts Receivables!

You'll probably already have an idea of what I think about the issue where ol' Lucy abdicates.

I guess except for a few panels depicting Dis, Hell didn't seem, well, very Hell-y, at least by what the Big 3 religions will tell you. Lucy's just a bored warden with an axe to grind with Dream, and apparently there are wars and power struggles among demons and angels all the time.

I know, I know. "Hey, you're reading a Vertigo comic about some 'Lord of Dreams' and THIS is what you can't get past?" What can I say? When it comes to damnation I have scruples.
10. alChandler
Diana, Mary and Florence refers to The Supremes.
The Knife
11. TheKnife
Much like Alan Moore did when he began writing Swamp Thing, with Issue #5 - “Passengers” Gaiman firmly, um, roots The Sandman in the mainstream DC Universe with this tale of Dr. Destiny's escape from Arkham Asylum and Dream's attempt to recover the Materioptikon amulet with the assistance of not only the Justice League but The New Gods' Scott Free aka Mister Miracle.

Great word: Armaghetto.
Great artis/creator: Jack Kirby. Those panels showing Scott's dream are drawn in homage to Kirby's style.

We see yet another avatar of Morpheus' in the way he appears to Martian Manhunter. Our boy gets around. I passed up reading the whole Justice League International series while it was out way back when, and I regret it, because a lot of key characters and subplots from it have been playing major roles in the DC Universe for the past 2-3 years as far as universe-ending crises go. Even the Martian Manhunter is dead in current continuity. Insert tangent regarding his "undeath" .

The paths of both Dream and John Dee lead to a town called Mayhew, where the object of their desire, the ruby amulet is being stored. And both travel via rather unconventional means: Dee via a hostage driver and Morpheus via our dreams. Along the way we learn about the Ruby's power.

Dee's tweaks to the amulet cause to incapacitate the Dream King, but what did Dee do to him between the time he retrieved the amulet and went to the diner?!

I'll be supremely disappoionted if the next issue isn't a page turner.
The Knife
12. TheKnife
#6 - “24 Hours”

"Dude, what the hell? This issue is like a f@#ked up version of the detention scene in The Breakfast Club! Mixed in with something that reminds me of Robert Cormier's _I Am the Cheese_. That part in the end when the truth starts getting revealed."

Or at least that what I remember thinking to myself when I first read this issue, which was also the last time I'd read it until yesterday. Glad I got the holidays underway first. Happy Happy to all, by the way.

Sometimes I wonder if diners weren't invented just as plot vehicles in the way that D&D adventures almost invariably begin in taverns around a table of mead.

So Dr. Dee has his way with the world over 24 hours, and we realize that small town diner's can be wondrous places of pathos and intrigue - with just the regular patrons! Who knew? Gaiman knew.

But the diner denizens' experiences serve as samples of what's going on all over the planet in various shapes. Wonder how Scott Free and the JLA coped?

But for me, it was all just a build-up to the main event: Dream vs. Dee, with the Dream King coming in as the clear underdog.

I always root for the underdog.
Irene Gallo
13. Irene
The Knife - Thank you for your summaries. I only just read Sandman this past fall and have become the worst kind of evangelist for them -- telling all my friends that they Must. Read. Now! For fear that they may perish without ever having expierienced Sandman. (Mind you, most f them had the good sense to have read them ages ago and just kinda roll their eyes at me.)

But I'll admit that I rushed through the first volume before settling into the series in volume two. So your reminders are helpful and make me want to go back and revisit the beginning a bit more carefully this time.
The Knife
14. TheKnife

Thank-you much!

I hope you and others will contribute to this page with more cool stuff.
The Knife
15. TheKnife

Forget "Lord of Dreams", this guy oughta be called "Lord of Luck"! Neil, you sure Dream wasn't wearing a spandex uni under the black coat? Because that was one of those villain-self-foiling-superhero-saves if I ever saw one.

Seriously, Dream must have smoked a giant four-leaf clover right after he picked himself up from the floor of the storage unit before making his way to the diner where Dee was holding court.

Needless to say, the fight between Dee and Morpheus I was expecting to see in #7 - “Sound and Fury” didn't go as I thought it would. And I have only my own literary programming to blame. I mean, he is one of the Endless after all, so it was only foolish of me to project my own conflict-resolution plot limitations on him.

Although I have to give Morpheus some credit at the outset of the face-off by changing the venue to the Dreamscape. Somewhere I remember reading ("The 5 Rings"?)that when facing an unconventional opponent, and by extension a more difficult foe, one should employ more conventional combat methods. I could see how this could equate to Dream drawing his adversary to more familiar surroundings. And so the home field advantage was probably what saved him.

It was all too civil. Dream asked Dee to stop. Upon Dee's refusal, he retreated to the Dreamscape where he remained elusive until Dee threatened to lay the realm to waste.

Interesting to see some cameos among some of the fight's audience: Cain, Abel, Eve (yeah, The Eve), and Destiny. I still can't figure out why, but in seeing these latter two characters, who I didn't know yet in their Vertigo contexts, I got a sense that things were just only getting started, as far as the series was concerned, in terms of the wondrous, fantastic, and unconventional.

All this was flitting through my mind as Dream called out in pain under the force of Dee's power. It looked bad for a while there, folks. But with a "WHOOMPH!" Dee crushed the amulet and released all the power and essence within it, leaving it free for the Dream to take back.

And once fully restored, what does the Nightmare King do to the interloper? He lets Dee off on an insanity charge! He's even compassionate to the guy! I mean, I wanted fire and brimstone-like retribution. Maybe a stop at ol' Lucy's place on the way back to the castle. But that was my programming kicking in again. I expected something again when I should have known better. In the end I guess it signifies nothing.

Slowly, though, I was realizing that the only thing I should expect with this series was the unexpected.
The Knife
16. TheKnife
If Death ever tells you to cheer up and snap out of it, it'd be prudent of you to snap the hell out of it.

That being said, I love a good Mope. Not a mope, but a Mope. With the capitalization it deserves.

I make a day of it, getting out of bed at the crack of 10 after lying around for about an hour replaying the events that led up to the Mope in my mind. I play out different scenarios in my mind, wonder what I could have done differently to nullify or offset my current desolation. In the end, it's a day of crawling from one fast-food drive-thru to the next that starts the Mope off in full swing.

You're probably wondering, "Gee, TK, where do find time to do a Fast Food Crawl in between all of your trips to the gym?" I make the time, folks. I make the time.

And while I prefer Starbucks to camp out out with a notebook and the girliest Frappaccino I can get as I look down my nose at any other pretentious types there, we find Morpheus at a park feeding pigeons in #8 - “The Sound of Her Wings” for his Mope session.

"Wah, wah, sis. I survived all this stuff. I lost all this stuff. I got some back. But now I don't know what I wanna do." (It's fiction, folks. Allow me to mock a god.)

Outburst aside, Death shows Dream two major things as he accompanies her on her rounds: 1) that there is suffering everywhere, namely, in death, and that despite his travails it's something he's avoided (so far) and 2) that as the King of Dreams not only does he rule but that in doing so he also serves. There's work to get back to and obligations to fulfill. Ultimately, that's all we can do after any trying time.

But that doesn't stop me from ending the day with Chinese take-out and a viewing of "Enter the Dragon".

Happy New Year!
The Knife
17. TheKnife
Well, I guess I'll read The Doll's House next...
The Knife
18. TheKnife
Somewhere between the two sides of a story lies the truth. On either sides of it: veils of bias.

In #9 - “Tales in the Sand” we hear the guys' version of what went down between Morpheus and the doomed Nada. And the doomed Morpheus, if you think about it.

After all, we learn through Nada that the Endless live longer than lower-case gods, and that their mating with mortals results in doom.

I'm thinking that ol' Etrigan knew something we didn't when he took us and Dream past Nada during his last visit to Hell. Was Neil showing us a possible catalyst to Dream's destruction that pre-dated his visit to Hell by some 10,000 years? Such a time could be a drop in the bucket for one of the Endless.

So Morpheus was a jilted lover, but in the way that the reader feels sorry for the girl, who acted out of self-sacrificial wisdom.

Did she really refuse him thrice? There is no part of the official story that answers it. All we can do is guess.

And then we hear it: "But the Dream Lord is a proud one."

And out there, maybe three entities became Furious.
Roland of Gilead
19. pKp
Okay, what's up with the reread ? We're waiting...
The Knife
20. TheKnife
#10 - “The Doll’s House”

A lot goes on in this issue as we're introduced to many new people and many plot lines are begun.

We meet two more of the Endless: Desire and Despair, and it's revealed that Desire had a role in Dream's tryst with Nada. One of the many games that the younger Endless play. But their conspiring leads me to think that there's more to it than just tormenting a sibling as a means to pass the ages. What do Desire and Despair really...want?

Pop Quiz: Who are the 3 Elder Endless?

But we don't know yet how many Endless there are in total and who the "missing" one is if Dream is back from his captivity.

We're able to see Morpheus in more regal settings within his castle. As a god of dreams and the night, his home seems vibrant and luxurious compared to Desire's, with its sparse minimalism and black-and-white backgrounds with just some splashes of color here and there. It also looks quite lonely there at Desire's.

Old Lucien takes a census of the Dreamworld, and four Major Arcana are noticed missing, one of whom is The Corinthian. From the last page of the issue, he's not the nicest guy.

This issue's artists Dringenberg and Jones III deserve a shout for the atypical layouts in this issue. From changing panel orientations mid-page to shifting perspectives drastically in the same scene (like when Dream speaks with Lucien), they really keep the reader on their toes.

I especially liked the scene where, as Rose, Miranda, and Unity are taking, the artists slowly bring the reader in on the doll house and we get to see Tiny Morpheus pleasantly looking on as three generations of women meet for the first time and Rose slowly begins to learn of her significance in our cosmos.

It's not fully explained yet what a dream vortex is, but we're shown, through an abrupt re-assignment of the view from the Fourth Wall by Neil, that Rose can practically travel through the Dreaming and even sit in in on audiences with its lord.

But who's Jed, Neil? And why can't the 3-or-1 being(s) of whose many aspects one can be The Kindly Ones ever give us a break and just spell out what's going to happen? And why do I think you'd even read this or even answer?

Are you there, Neil? It's me - aw that's too easy!
21. Joe Merchant
Ok - So the first installment was in September 2009. It's now the end of Jan. 2010 with nothing new added.

Not nice. What? This is just a tease?
22. DeezyG
I'm making my way through Sandman. I find this, have my mind blown by how incredible the first issies re-read is, and find out it's been like a year and a half since it "started", with only one done. Great. Did the author die, or give up or something:/
Looked it up just to make sure it wouldn't haunt me, aaaand Teresa's not dead. Just checking.
24. moe99
well it was a good idea....
26. moe99
This was a great idea.

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