Blogging The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes, Part 2
Once upon a time, I was blogging Sandman. Guess what? I still am!
I just had to take a moment to do these things:
- Throw a massive Doctor Who party.
- Count my eyebrow hairs. I have 356, and my sister has 482. She always gets more stuff than me. That little twerp.
- Defend the universe from feline control. They just formed a fierce Hemingway (polydactyl) unit. Cats with opposable thumbs will be our downfall, I tell you.
- Write a song about my love for a Turian named Garrus. Seriously, his sexy voice made me forget about Alistair from Dragon Age altogether.
But now, I must formally apologize to Mr. Gaiman for neglecting his masterpiece and carry on. I’m all yours Neil!
When we last left the Sandman, he was recovering from inter-dimensional travel in the company of two psychotic brothers and a large, green reptile. His powers are nearly depleted, and even though he has escaped imprisonment, the whole ordeal has completely cramped his style.
Then all at once, there is this fabulous moment when I turn the page to see the words “Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane” scrawled across the page and my heart starts thumping. My brain kicks up a flurry of shadowy images—men in capes, pointy ears, utility belts, and two brooding Bruce Wayne eyes.
“Calm down, Allison,” I say. “This isn’t that comic book.”
It’s okay, though. I’ll get over it. This Dream guy is pretty brooding, even if his brooding is a little less sexy than Batman’s. And he may not have a pointy bat hat, but he does have a fantastic head of hair.
Unfortunately, nothing too snazzy happens in the Asylum at this point. A 90-year-old lady calling herself Ethel Dee arrives to visit her son who is a patient. Ethel Dee, hmm? I seem to remember that Burgess had a mistress by the same name who ran off with Sykes years before, taking some important artifacts with her. Upon seeing her son, John, in his cell, we learn that he is “quite debilitated,” sleepless, and unable to dream. From the looks of his zombified face, I’d say “debilitated” is a very mild term for whatever he’s got.
Back in the Sandman’s fancy land, Dream is distraught over the condition of his home, spouting monologues as only the lord of dreams can. Lucien, a spindly fellow with a trinity of ginger tufts upon his bespectacled head, greets Dream at the ruins of the castle. We gather that Lucien is some kind of attendant to Dream as the two of them mourn the decay of Dreamworld.
At Lucien’s urging, Dream summons a trio of freaky spirits for help, who manifest themselves as three witchy women named Cynthia, Mildred, and Morrigan. Well, maybe. They did list those names within a slew of other pseudonyms, so who really knows what they’re called?
In the hopes that he will find the three artifacts needed to regain his power, Dream asks the ladies for assistance. However, being the mysterious enchantresses that they are, they can’t give him three straight answers. Instead, they give him three clues as to what happened to each artifact, giving him some starting points for the hunt:
- The Pouch of Sand was last sold to a man named John Constantine. I do believe that guy has his own series, Hellblazer.
- The Helm was traded to a demon long ago, according to the middle-aged lady. However, she refuses to specify the demon with which it was traded.
- The Dreamstone was passed from a mother to her son, who used its magic for his own gain. Then the Justice League took it away from him, and with it, his ability to dream.
You guys. YOU GUYS. There it is on the bottom right corner of the page. Behold, the pointy ears and swooping cape of my boyfriend, Batman! Oh, I’m so excited!
Then the Sandman says, “Thank you, weird sisters.”
And I think, “You actually called them that? Like, to their faces?”
Then I thought of Macbeth and Scandinavian myths, and flashbacked to those college days when we used words like “alexandrine” and “marginalia” in actual, oral conversation.
“Ooooooooh, those Weird Sisters. I gotcha, Gaiman.”
I try to tell myself I’m smart for remembering things like that.
- Are owl pajamas conducive to safe dreaming, or is that just an old wives’ tale?
- Dan Bergstein gives out homework assignments at the end of his Potter posts. I am now that cool teacher who doesn’t give out homework and makes obscure references to strange cat behaviors. Success!
- I wonder how many eyebrow hairs Dream has.
- Fun fact! Neil Gaiman’s wife Amanda Palmer has exactly zero eyebrow hairs. I wouldn't lie to you about something like this.