Since I have been reading comics I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing many fantastic story lines as well as some completely abysmal ones but the only series I can safely say that had me hooked from the first issue to the very last is that of the Sandman.
Conceived and written by one of the great geek Gods Neil Gaiman ; The Sandman chronicles the story of Dream or Morpheus (who as one of the Endless is an aspect of the Universe) a supremely powerful personification of dreams who rules the land of dreams and nightmares. After being imprisoned for 70 years by an aging occultist who tries to use Morpheus to achieve the secret to immortality, Morpheus escapes to avenge his capture on his prisoners and must reclaim his objects of power as well as returning to his realm to reclaim his kingdom which has fallen into disrepair in his absence as well set right the world of dreams.
The journey to reclaim his totems takes him through many areas of the DC universe while still in a weakened state, confronting an addict to his dream powder, the legions of Hell, and an all-powerful madman (Doctor Destiny) whilst also encountering heroes and villains such as Martain Manhunter, John Constantine, Scarecrow and even a cameo by Batman.
Morpehues begins the series a lofty God who is both haughty and cruel nature begins to soften as the story moves forward but the challenge of undoing past sins and changing old ways is an enormous one for a being who has been set in his ways for billions of years.
In its beginnings, the series is a very dark horror comic. Later, the series evolves into an elaborate fantasy series, incorporating elements of classical and contemporary mythology, ultimately placing its protagonist in the role of a tragic hero but it’s the relationship with his siblings that makes the series stand out head and shoulders above most other comics out there.
Dream is one of the Endless seven siblings who represent aspects of the Universe and all begin with the letter D; Dream, Death, Delirium, Destiny, Despair, Destruction and Desire. It’s in his relationship with his sister’s Death and Delirium that define him the most and he shares a close, reciprocal bond of dependence and trust with his elder sister, Death who always seems to appear when Dream is at his lowest and helps to lift him back onto his feet and see things for what they are.
The Sandman is collected into 10 separate graphic novels which all deserve to be experienced as the series is hands down one of the best I have ever read. Even now almost 10 years after I first read them and over 20 years since they were first published, the series is still the benchmark to which I compare every future comic to.