On Friday, I started reading The Sandman for the third time. I felt it was an appropriate time to revisit my favorite graphic novel of all time (and one of my favorite anti-heroes) as the story’s finer details have blurred enough to make it new again. I read through my back pain, through sleepless nights, and anticipated going home to continue while I was at work.
On Tuesday, I was done.
I’ve written about the Sandman a few times before so this one is not a review. Reading Neil Gaiman’s masterpiece always gives me mixed feelings; each of the Endless’ representations is felt by the reader. Dream as one starts, Desire to know, Delirium from joy, Destruction of inhibitions, Despair from Death, and musing on one’s Destiny.
There is relief and desire to rest as his sister, Death, hesitantly takes Morpheus’ hand for the last time. After billions of years, he is exhausted by his responsibilities. The reader grieves from Morpheus’ death. But, just as he said, he is merely a facet–a point-of-view–and not the complete embodiment of Dream. His successor, Daniel, is a new point-of-view, perhaps a kinder, more sympathetic version of the old.
While the novel mainly centers around Morpheus, there is a small part at the end where we see Daniel in his role as Dream. I’m quite proud of him. Daniel admits that though he carries the age, memories, and timeless power of Dream, he is still inexperienced. In the short tale involving Marco Polo, Daniel offers a vision of a future.
While the end of the novel is heartbreaking, the epilogue shows that there is also hope.
I also read The Sandman: Endless Nights, a spin-off with vignettes of each of the Endless, for the first time. The stories are set in the past, before the events of The Sandman. Despair and Delirium’s parts were almost incoherent but the others were really good. I liked Desire’s tale of Kara and Danyal most of all, Dream’s story involving Killalla and Sto-Oa wasn’t bad either. Death’s and Destruction’s stories follow them and Destiny’s, the last, is unique and thought-provoking. Endless Night is a showcase of art; the stories are almost an afterthought. But it was nice seeing the creepiest, coolest siblings once again.
Before I end this, I have to say that I’m curious about one thing: Morpheus’ relationship with Alianora. He refers to her several times and hints of a traumatic incident. Alianora is featured very briefly as she leaves the island Dream made for her. I hope Gaiman makes another spin-off.