The Neil Gaiman Sandman Reader 1989-1996


The following articles provide a summary and review of Neil Gaiman’s run on the DC/Vertigo comic book “Sandman.”  The read-through of these issues was performed using the Absolute Edition and Trade Paperback collections of the material.  The articles correspond to roughly the contents within each major story arc.

  1. The Sandman Reader for Issues #1-8
    • Covering “Preludes & Nocturnes”
  2. The Sandman Reader for Issues #9-16
    • Covering “The Doll’s House”
  3. The Sandman Reader for Issues #17-20
    • Covering “Dream Country”
  4. The Sandman Reader for Issues #21-28
    • Covering “Season of Mists”
  5. The Sandman Reader for Issues #29-31, 50
    • Covering “Distant Mirrors”
  6. The Sandman Reader for Issues #32-37
    • Covering “A Game of You”
  7. The Sandman Reader for Issues #38-40
    • Covering “Convergence”
  8. The Sandman Reader for Issues #41-49
    • Covering “Brief Lives”
  9. The Sandman Reader for Issues #51-56
    • Covering “World’s End”
  10. The Sandman Reader for Issues #57-69
    • Covering “The Kindly Ones”
  11. The Sandman Reader for Issues #70-75
    • Covering “The Wake”
  12. The Sandman Reader: Conclusions & Miscellany




I didn’t care much for Morpheus, the titular protagonist of Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman.”  At least not until I was many issues into the series, certainly well past the first couple of story arcs.  Certainly, the ultimate story of Morpheus’s redemption was not entirely expected from a series protagonist who had started off so prickly.

The purpose in writing this book was to track that redemption while tying together the many different story threads that made up Gaiman’s 75 issues on “Sandman.”  This book isn’t as authoritative as some official or unofficial annotations projects but it offers some similar nuggets.  The goal was to appeal to the general reader, the comic book fan who may have heard about “Sandman” with a passing curiosity or maybe the reader who had given the series a try but felt intimidated or discouraged by it.

This would basically be a person like me.  I finally started reading Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” after keeping it in mind for the past 15-20 years that I should ‘read it sometime.’  In many ways, it was more-rewarding to have waited since a certain amount of life experience helped to shape my reaction to the work versus how I might have responded to it as a teenager.

Even though I had not read Gaiman’s “Sandman” work, he had certainly been a fixture of my comic book collecting life since nearly its beginning.  I’d actually met Neil Gaiman a couple of times over the years, as he lived on a farm in the upper Midwest, not far from where I lived.  As such, those of us in his general vicinity have been fortunate to have him pop in from time to time for signings and speaking engagements.  He’s very entertaining in person, but easy to take for granted if given a certain familiarity. Every time his name has come up though, I would be reminded that I should probably read the “Sandman” series.

Soon after “Sandman” began publication as a conventional comic book series, it began to be reprinted in a number of ways.  First came reprints of the story arcs in trade paperback and hardcover version.  Later came the larger ‘Absolute’ and ‘Omnibus’ reprint editions.

The many different reprint options that featured the series spoke to its growing popularity, a popularity that was predicted by no one.  A reader discovering “Sandman” today is able to read the entire saga and see the developing skill of a writer who would later come to the forefront of an intersection between fantasy, horror, and science fiction.  This was where Neil Gaiman made his name and readers hopefully enjoy the front row seat.

D.S. Christensen
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