It’s Friday, which means the weekend has arrived! You know what that means, right? It’s time get ahead on some household chores, catch up on some organizing, and maybe take care of some of the work you have for the week ahead.
Naaaaaaaaaaahhhhh! Just kidding, we all know that’s not going to happen.
The weekend is the time to lounge around the house and binge some good comics. Thanks to DC UNIVERSE INFINITE there are thousands of titles to choose from, but if you need help deciding, might we suggest you try The Sandman? The Netflix series based on this iconic fantasy title premieres today, making it the perfect time to check out the original source material. The first eight issues, which comprise all of The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes, is available to read on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE.
The one who controls our dreams is known by many names. Some call him the Sandman, others call him Dream, or Morpheus. Either way, he’s seen better days. The story begins when Dream is imprisoned by a demonic cult. After spending multiple generations in captivity, Morpheus escapes. During his absence, his kingdom falls into disrepair and his powerful tools fall into the wrong hands. Preludes and Nocturnes follows Morpheus as he rebuilds his kingdom, and hunts down those who have stolen his possessions. The journey takes him everywhere from a 24-hour diner to the darkest pits of hell. And would you believe me if I told you the diner was actually the scarier of the two?
Let’s Talk Talent
The series is written by Neil Gaiman, one of the most celebrated fiction writers in the world, and it isn’t hard to see why. The Sandman is pure literature. Gaiman’s scripts somehow feel simple, like a bedtime story or a campfire tale. They also can be beautifully complex at times, thanks to all the worldbuilding and deep-cut references. Gaiman weaves it all together, creating one of the greatest pieces of 20th century literature.
Preludes and Nocturnes is penciled by Sam Kieth for the first five issues, with Mike Dringenberg taking over afterwards. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine these early issues drawn by anyone else. Kieth is responsible for Dream’s eerie look, the gothic world that he lives in, and many of The Sandman’s most memorable sequences. In fact, some of his panels have been faithfully recreated in the Netflix series. Dringenberg’s penciling enhances Gaiman’s scripts wonderfully. Take a look at the first few pages of issue #8, “The Sound of Her Wings.” The pencils do so much to compliment the pacing of the script. Gaiman also has moments of silence, trusting the artwork to communicate the character’s emotions. The trust pays off, and the result is breathtaking.
A Few Reasons to Read
- This is the comic medium at its highest art form. The Sandman is so revolutionary, it transcends traditional comic book storytelling. The comic is a part of some college curriculums alongside William Shakespeare and Geoffrey Chaucer. It’s not hyperbole to say that it’s one of the most important comic books ever published. Check it out for yourself to see what the fuss is about.
- If you’re into horror, fantasy and stories that build on deep lore, then The Sandman will become your latest obsession. The worldbuilding in this book is phenomenal, and you’ll love learning more about the Endless as each page turns. This is long form storytelling with deep mythology that rewards the readers for sticking around.
- “24 Hours” (The Sandman #6) is one of the most disturbing comics ever published, and if you’re a horror fan, you’ll likely love every minute of it. The story chronicles how patrons spend their day inside of a diner. How scary can it be? Pretty chilling, especially when one of the patrons begins manipulating the others. In fact, the web show DC All Access ranked it as the scariest DC story of all time.
- From horror to wholesome, “The Sound of Her Wings” (The Sandman #8) closes out the first volume, ending things on an uplifting note. The story follows Dream as he spends the day with his sister Death. Morpheus observes as his sister visits mortals who have reached the end of their lives. It might sound like I’m describing a horror story, but “The Sound of Her Wings” is a story of love and compassion. This isn’t the Death you’ve heard about during campfire tales, and the story might just change the way you think about living and dying.
Why it’s Worth Your Time
The Sandman is not a typical comic book. This series helped comic book storytelling evolve to a higher artform, helping the medium reach new heights. I would tell you that the premiere of the Netflix series makes it the perfect time to begin reading the source material, but honestly any moment is the perfect time. The Sandman has stood the test of time and is an enjoyable series no matter when you discover it. The characters and their stories will live in your dreams for years to come.
The eight issues that comprise The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes are currently free to read with registration on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE. You can stream the first season of Netflix's Sandman series starting today.
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.