If you’re an avid comic book reader/collector and one of those few people who find a sense of calm in fantasy when things become too rough reality-wise, it is very likely you’ve come across Neil Gaiman and his comic series known as The Sandman.
Gaiman is a complex writer. But in a majority of cases, readers find his writing style to be digressive and long-drawn. They find that the writer constantly gets lost in his own narrative over and over again, only to come back to his initial point but by then the reader has already abandoned the book.
He has written many books. From the much acclaimed American Gods which is being adapted into a television series, Coraline – a successful animation movie and Neverwhere – a critically-acclaimed BBC Radio drama. Most of these books have been bought, attempted to be read but eventually given up by most of the avid readers that I have come across. And I would not be wrong if that is the case anywhere else. Being frightened of a book, which is very possible, is however not something that should last. If so, you are missing out.
But, at the end of the day, it is just a book-well, a series to be honest, which won’t kill you or banish you to the fiery pits of hell to suffer eternal damnation. If you’re one of those people who had taken up one of Gaiman’s many novels or comics and abandoned after reading the first three pages, I implore you, give it another try. Read it with an open and curious mind and you will not be disappointed.
The Sandman series was written by Gaiman with the assistance of artists such as Sam Keith, Mike Dringenberg, Jill Thompson, Shawn McManus, Marc Hempel and Michael Zulli. It tells the story of Dream of the Endless, who rules over the world of dreams. The original series ran for 75 issues from January 1989 to March 1996, with Gaiman’s contract stipulating that the series would end when he left it.
It would be foolish to write a synopsis to the series and a task both impossible and not worth undertaking. One must simply read the entire series.
There are few things that made the series great as it is. The characters, the backdrops, the overall story and especially the way the story is written is what has pushed the series to create its own niche in history. Dream or Morpheus (among other names) is the anthromorphic personification of dreams. He has God like abilities, but he is more human than god. He is deeply flawed, confused and even desperate as a human at times, in the story. Immortality and power aside, he is human as any other average Joe.
This is one among the many reasons the Sandman series is exceptionally great. It creates characters that you can empathise with. The genre of fantasy is filled with characters so over the top and challenging that a reader finds it hard to empathise with. This series is an exception. After the first three to five pages, you will discover that you are falling in love with these characters.