Held Captive by The Sandman
It’s no secret that among many other things, “DC All Access” co-host Tiffany Smith is a really big fan of The Sandman. Knowing this, we thought it would be fun to invite Tiffany to contribute to 25 Days of Sandman. We gave her a blank slate, encouraging her to write about whatever part of The Sandman canon she would like. She chose to share some of her first experiences with Morpheus and with the very first Sandman trade collection, The Sandman v. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes.
If I’m going to talk about The Sandman, I have to start at the very beginning with The Sandman v. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes.
Sandman was not one of the first comics I read, though it’s still one of my favs and impacts how I read almost everything else. Prior to Sandman, I was used to reading much, shall we say, softer super hero stuff. So when a friend of mine said The Sandman was his all time favorite and that nothing else on the racks compared to it, I figured I’ll give it a shot and jump into the deep dark darkkkk deep end of comic books.
Holy moly, was I blown away!
If you’ve never read The Sandman, it starts with Morpheus being imprisoned by black magic for 70 years and stripped of his most prized and powerful possessions. We experience a progression of time throughout the story, and the build-up of anticipation to Dream’s escape and eventual quest to regain his power—Neil Gaiman just did it so incredibly well. I mean, when Dream utters his first word to his captor: “No.” And his second: “Soon.” They just carried so much weight and I felt so much empathy for him. I couldn’t wait to see what his payback was going to be, which speaking of dark stuff… ummm, eternal waking? Ain’t nobody wants that!
It wasn’t just Dream’s story that tugged at my heart. Seeing Cain and Abel’s dysfunctional relationship and Constantine’s love for Rachel affected me too.
I try to imagine how the conversations went to get the art that is in some of those darker scenes. Like in the diner… Just wow. The way they play with the fonts and frames, and how they chose what we do and don’t get to see… It’s horrifically beautiful, two words that don’t really go together, but here they do perfectly. I read a lot of Edgar Allen Poe and Anthony Burgess, and reading that kind of elegant horror is one thing, but seeing what someone else imagined takes things to a whole other level.
There is one section where Dream is saying how he can hear the world breathing and sleeping soundly—in, out , in, out… Neil had me in the palm of his hand literally breathing in and out as I read the words. And don’t even get me started on Death and her introduction in, “The Sound of Her Wings.”
So, the guy who suggested I read The Sandman… Yup, we dated for a little while after that. Good comic suggestions go a long way in my book! Though that relationship didn’t last, well… Me and Dream, we’ve got a good thing going. ;)
Be sure to catch Tiffany in the latest episode of “DC All Access,” which you can see by clicking here.