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Talkin’ About Comics, The Gushing Praise Edition: The Sandman

Today, at six in the morning, I want to talk about the comic that has literally changed my life.  Lets talk about Neil Gaiman’s, “The Sandman.”  I came across this book whil  It is, in my opinion, the greatest comic that was ever written and I have not come across its equal.

Within the pages of the ten Sandman graphic novels, Mr. Gaiman manages to   weaves a story that somehow leaves you with a sense of wonder.  Even today, I’ll read one of them, finish it and then just stare off in space for a minute or two, just taking it all in.  Its that sense of wonder that makes Gaiman’s writing so special, something about his touch, the texture of the story and the pictures together that weave together in a nigh perfect way.  Gaiman’s novels, which are all good reads, also possess this quality but to a lesser extent, the comic’s art gives his words space to breath.

You can of course dissect the book and level criticism at it.  It is not an example of perfection.  It is very narration heavy, entire pages can give way to blocks of expository text and other minds have argued that the stories are predictable and follow the same old get the mcguffin narrative structure of “normal” fantasy stories.  But I find when you are reading the book it any imagined flaw tends to slip through your fingers, like sand itself.  A friend of mine once told me that he keeps telling himself he’s not a fan of Gaiman’s work, that the retelling of old myths as mordern tales has been done a hundred times before.  He then confided that this attitude last until he finds one of Gaiman’s books in his hands and then he remembers why that really doesn’t matter.

Within the pages of Sandman, Mr. Gaiman weaves a myth that is so compelling that the reader wants to believe in it.  That knowing that a flawed but noble being watching over our dreams would be a comforting thought.  The Sandman is a at once a terribly fickle entity and completely human at the same time.

As trite as it is, reading “The Sandman” is what made me realize that comics really were not just about strips and capes.  Comic can tell any story and with a vividness that can truly suck in the reader.  It made me want to create comics and started me on the path to create Walking the Lethe.  It is my greatest of hope to some day tap into that same sense of wonder the Mr. Gaiman’s writing inspires with my own writing.

Where do you find your wonder?

(Image Copyright DC comics)

4 Comments

Wanted to drop a line here, since I found your entry resonant and in many ways similar to my own life in theme. Like you, I’ve always found comics to be a great way to tell a story, although I am a fan of Batman and his related characters rather than Sandman; I find The Dark Knight, however, to be “a flawed but noble being,” as you put it, and his watch over Gotham is always a fascinating study in… I guess it could be termed doomed loyalty in a way, since Gotham is perpetually falling apart at the seams under the corruption inherent in its criminals, and in most of its city officials (with the notable exception of the Gordon and Wayne families). Unlike you, however, I’ve always found my greatest escapes to be in the world of fantasy fiction, and I’ve used that as my outlet for creative expression since I was a teen. I’m 28 now, and still enjoying the types and kinds of books (albeit these days with a darker and more adult bent) that I did when I was 14. This story looks promising, although I can tell that it’s just beginning; don’t give up on it. A dream is always worth following, and a good story is always worth telling.

–Tomas


Thanks for the comment.

And I agree about Batman, there is just something about the dark knight that grabs you by the collar and won’t let go. To be fair I haven’t read many batman comics. If I was to read a single Batman story which would it be?


Either “The Killing Joke”, or “The Dark Knight Returns”, IMO… in the first one, you find out Joker’s background and why he is the way he is, and in the second one it’s an interesting alternate history look. Both are seriously engaging.


I Think exactly the same about Sandman, it gives you that feeling were you really want to believe the stories and wonderful characters are real. That only happens with the best stories. I never was such a great fan of standar comics, but neil gaimans are awsome stories beyond the way they are told. It talks to the most beautiful parts of our souls.

Also, i enjoyed the killing joke, and Arkham Asylum, from batman. They are the only batman stories I read, but they are really good ones.


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