The Overture

The Spectatorial

smSpoiler disclaimer: this post discusses certain events in The Sandman (although it doesn’t divulge the ending).

The Sandman, Neil Gaiman’s seminal dark fantasy graphic novel series, which ran 76 issues from January 1989 to March 1996, is finally over.

It might seem strange making that statement now, in 2015, but it isn’t. From 2013 until this past September, The Sandman had returned to us in the glorious form of The Sandman: Overture, a prequel to the original stories.

In the first issue back in 1989, Morpheus, the lord of dreams, was captured by humans. The story alluded to some great cosmic struggle that had weakened his powers and allowed for his capture, but the series never touched on the backstory more than that. This is the story that Overture endeavours to tell, and it does so with majesty.

The problem with prequels is that they usually have nothing…

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Sandman : Handful of Dust

The Spectatorial

sandman shushes me Image from empireonline.com

When a young Neil Gaiman first approached Vertigo comics about The Sandman, he was pitching a simple revival of the 70s series of the same name by Joe Simon and Jack “The King” Kirby. But DC editor Karen Berger insisted that while they keep the name, Gaiman should create a new character.

And thank goodness he did, for otherwise the world would have been robbed of something beautiful. Running from 1989 to 1996, for a total 75 issues collected in 10 volumes, The Sandman managed to create its very own expansive self-contained mythology.

The original artists Mike Dringenberg and Sam Kieth fashioned the title character after Gaiman himself. The Sandman, also known as Morpheus or Dream, and by many other names, carries with him an aura of inhumanity. While early issues exist in the DC comic universe with appearances by The Martian Manhunter and John Constantine…

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A Good Land for Myths

The Spectatorial

Throughout Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel American Gods, many different characters state that “America is a bad land for gods.”  The novel argues that when many beliefs sail across the ocean to reach our continent, they struggle to survive.

While I cannot say whether America is in fact a good or bad land for gods, I can be very confident when I say that America is a very good land for myths and legends.

Today’s culture is filled with modern interpretations of ancient myths. Marvel comics has depicted characters such as Thor, Ares, and Hercules fighting alongside masked avengers as superheroes, even bringing their version of Thor to life on the big screen. DC comics also has attempted to pull stories from myth, occasionally linking the hero Wonder Woman to the Greek gods. Vertigo comics also saw several adaptations of ancient mythologies represented in the comic The Sandman (another…

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No Capes! An Introduction to Comics and Graphic Novels of the Non-Superhero Variety

The Spectatorial

If you’ve read my previous articles for TheSpectatorial, you may have picked up on the fact that I like comic books. I think the graphic novel is a fantastic vehicle with which to tell or devour stories. But there is one thing that prevents a lot of people from being sucked into this great medium: capes. There is an idea that comic books are about superheroes, and superhero stories might not be for everyone. That’s okay! I’m here to tell you that there are entire worlds of books out there for you to explore! There are literary graphic novels! Independent, creator-owned comics! And they’re great.

The literary/alternative graphic novel is not exactly new, and whether you know it or not, has been seeping into the public conscious for years. If you haven’t come across the books themselves, then you have almost certainly come into contact with their small/big…

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