Blogging The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes, Part 1
When Josh asked me if I wanted to blog Sandman, these were my initial thoughts:
- This involves three of my favorite things—Neil Gaiman, reading, and sleeping!
- This also involves one of my least explored interests—comic books. Steven Romano is going to judge me!
- Methinks I’m going to get some Geeky Girl Glam inspiration out of this. Little Miss Death, anyone?
- This art is mad 90s. Like, totally wicked.
- This all takes place in the same universe as my beloved boyfriend, Batman. Win!
After reading the first chapter, The Sleep of the Just, these were my subsequent thoughts:
- This story has absolutely nothing to do with the tranquil, happy sleep that is my favorite. Yikes.
- Steven Romano assures me comic book enthusiasts are not as snobbish as one might think. Phew!
- If the Sandman curled his hair into an incredible writer ‘fro, he’d be Neil Gaiman’s twin.
- Still waiting to see this Death lady I’ve heard so much about. Though apparently she’s the sister of the Sandman. I suppose that would make her Neil Gaiman’s sister as well, since we figured out the Sandman and Neil Gaiman are twins.
So, we begin with a brooding magician named Burgess attempting to trap the embodiment of Death in a fancy orb in order to obtain immortality. How could this possibly go wrong, eh? Well, he botches the summoning spell and ends up with Death’s brother, Dream. Dream stays in that little ball of imprisonment for decades, during which a vast disturbance of sleeping ailments plague the Earth. Some people sleep for years at a time, others never seem to wake at all, and there is even a zombie-esque man left somewhere between slumber and consciousness, resembling myself in the morning without coffee.
Could you imagine a world filled with suddenly decaffeinated people? Terrifying.
Finally, Burgess dies, leaving care of the captive Dream in the hands of his son, Alex. Alex tries to shirk responsibility, since it was his father’s idea to catch Dream in the first place, but still leaves Dream down in the basement of their mansion. When Dream finally escapes, he curses Alex with eternal waking. Now, “eternal waking” initially sounded like insomnia, and that would be hell enough for most of us. But no, eternal waking is something much, much worse. You know when you have a dream within a dream, and you wake up only to find out you’re in a nightmare even worse than before? Well, Alex got that sensation over and over again—eternally. What do we learn from this? Mr. Dream is not one to forgive and forget.
Oh Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream, but please don’t ever curse me with eternal waking!
Dream is now free, but his powers are weak. He travels to his own realm, the world of dreams, but the journey takes it out of him. An adorable green gargoyle named Gergory finds him and takes him to his owners, Cain and Abel. Yes, that Cain and Abel. These two are a little twisted, especially Cain, as you might imagine. Apparently he has a habit of repeatedly killing his brother Abel for the slightest annoyances, seeing as in the dream world you can apparently be killed more than once.
I guess old habits die hard.
This odd family of bickering siblings and gargoyles nurse Dream back to health. During this time of recuperation, Dream expresses his desire to return to his castle upon recovery. In what seems to be his signature style, he does this with a furrowed brow, a dramatic monologue, and a theatrical recollection of how he “stumbled through the fringes of dreamtime” to get here. Something tells me you can’t just have a casual “Hi, hope you’re feeling better since you got stuck in a crystal ball for the better part of a century,” conversation with this guy.
How will he gain his powers back? What does his fancy dream castle look like? Is it true that you can never go home again, even if you’re the flippin’ Sandman? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.