What am I missing in Sandman?

I’ve read the whole series but it was more because I thought I should than because I liked it. Everyone raves about how good it is, and I did like Gaiman’s American Gods so am I missing something or could it be that Sandman just isn’t my cup of tea?

It could be that Sandman isn’t your cup of tea, or you may not like the graphic format. Would you mind elaborating as to what you didn’t like about Sandman?

I guess you’re missing a soul.


If you’ve read the whole thing, I don’t think three’s anything to explain. You’re obviously just not wired in a way that it speaks to you. I think it’s wonderful – it builds up a character so you really care about him and puts him in such peril, and it’s no consolation that it all makes sense. Plus the side characters and stories are so interesting.


It just seemed that nothing was defined enough. The only thing that seemed to stop Morpheus being omnipotent was Morpheus himself and that robbed most of it farily meaningless to me. It all just seemed very random and pointless, both the single issue stories and the multi part ones.

I don’t think it was the graphic format though as as long as there’s an ending I don’t shy away from comics for the sake of being comics and have enjoyed Transmetropolitan, Preacher, Y - the Last Man, and Ennis’ run on Hellblazer.

Interesting–Sandman is far and away my favorite of Gaiman’s works. American Gods worked pretty well for me, up to the ending; but Sandman’s ending made me weep.


You’ve just demonstrated that you recognize an important insight into Morpheus’s tragedy, so I can’t understand how you can dismiss it as meaningless. Morpheus’s tragic flaw was his inflexibility, his insistence on playing by a set of self-defined rules, his haughty, self-centered sense of honor. He was his own worst enemy.

He doomed himself–knowing full well he was doing so–when he left the Dreaming at a crucial time just to honor a trivial obligation when he answered Nuala’s call.

I hate to tell people to force themselves to try to like something they don’t like to begin with, but maybe a re-reading of the series will make clear more of the extensive thematic and symbolic connections that permeate the series. Very little in the series is really “random” or not “defined.”

I was given copy of one of the collections to read several years ago. From what I recall, the story centered around The Fates. I didn’t enjoy it much and never bothered to pursue the series.

That would be The Kindly Ones the next-to-last volume, and the climax of the whole series. Definitely not the place to start.

Whoever gave you that collection – if he was trying to get you to like Sandman he had his head up his ass.


Count me as another Sandman non-fan. The few issues I did read just screamed “pretentious artsy-fartsy pseudo-intellectual crap,” and I gave it a wide berth from then on. And I’m perfectly fine with that.

I’m similarly nonplussed by Starman. I bought the first issue when it came out, hated it, never picked it up again. Of course, for the ensuing years I continued to hear raves about how double-plus super fantastic it is. So a when a friend gave me a gift certificate to a comic store a couple of Christmases ago, I picked up the collected edition of the first 9 or 10 issues of Starman, just to see if I really had been missing anything. I didn’t even finish it, it was so boring (not to mention hard on the eyes).

Scumpup- though most of Sandman can stand all right on its own, the last two volumes- “The Kindly Ones” and “The Wake” really require that you’ve already read the rest of them. You might still like it if you pick up another volume earlier in the series.

Silentgoldfish- you gave it a try, you didn’t like it. I’m always astonished when other people don’t like all the same things I do, but I guess that’s because we all have different personalities and stuff. Ya know. No big deal.

Just because something is very popular doesn’t mean everyone is going to like it. I loved virtually every part of the Sandman series, and a lot of other things that Gaiman has written, but I can understand that others won’t like the style and/or story.

I don’t think that trying to explain why I liked the story will be useful at all; it’s kind of like trying to explain why I find a joke funny.

I wish you luck in finding comics you like (I can’t trust myself to recommend any to you, though, you didn’t like Sandman/I loved it, you liked Ennis on Hellblazer/I disliked his run).

I was disappointed as well. Due to what I’d heard I expected to be blown away. Instead I was ‘meh.’ I certainly don’t have a problem with comics (other than not owning enough of them). I started at the beginning (Preludes & Nocturnes, then A Doll’s House). But still my reaction is occasionally finding something clever or amusing rather than being awed by Gaiman’s brilliance or becoming deeply emotionally involved with the characters.

I did make a friend foot-long key to Hell though.

Did you finish, Doc? It builds. (Specifically, it builds walls around you.)


I put off reading Sandman for YEARS because I thought it was prententious, artsy fartsy crapola as well. Stuff that shallow comic people read to feel smarter. When I’d ask them to describe it, they’d say “It’s literary!” Bah! Well one day I gave it a try. It took a little effort to get through the first few chapters (issues), but by the time I got to 24 Hours, I was hooked. I consider Seasons of Mist one of the best single TPBs ever.

I have read all of the original TPBs and I loved them. But put me down in the odd category of those who loved it but really didn’t care about Dream. To me, he was just Rod Serling presenting a series of bizarre stories.

I saw Sandman as more of a wonderful anthology of stories that sometimes only included Dream because the title of the series was “Sandman.” Of course, I am always the guy complaining that Vertigo series lose focus when they sacrifice small story arcs to explore the “big story” too much.

One thing I was terribly underwhelmed by in the series, though, was the Midsummer’s Night Dream. Kinda…uninspired… I get it. They’re doing Shakespeare. I coulda just read Shakespeare. Why that got all of the awards over other arcs and issues, I don’t know.

SilentGoldFish, there is nothing to say really. You gave the series its due. You read every TPB and you came away unimpressed. You didn’t “miss” anything. You just didn’t like it. (Plus, Cliffy doesn’t believe in the soul, anyway…)

Licentious Ectomorph, on the other hand, can I appeal to you to read at least one more volume of Starman? I bought the first three TPBs in one purchase due to overwhelming recommendations, and after reading the first volume, Sins of the Father, as you did, I was terribly disappointed. It was just…boring.

Starman started kinda slow for me. I find it usually takes a little bit for me to get interested in a series, so I often buy two TPBs before I’ve even sampled the first.

It was only because I had bought the other two volumes that I read the second installment.

That became my favorite series of all time (besides the Giffen JL of course…no one can compete with nostalgia!)

So, it definitely gets a LOT better.

No. None of my friends have all the tradepaperbacks. What I have read never grabbed me enough for me to buy them myself.

Wil, you are truly a man of wealth and taste. Of all the comics I love, Starman and the Giffen-era League are my favorites as well.

I collected the entire series as it came out but rereading it a few years ago I find it very hit or miss. Gaiman has a preciousness that can grate. Some of his stories are clearly classics, but some of his prose is so cloying that it makes me gag.

The first two story arcs, I think, hold up pretty well.

Different people have different tastes. It’s not that you’re “missing” anything in Sandman. It’s just that it doesn’t click with your taste in art/comics and I firmly believe that you can’t be taught or forced to like a certain comic.

A while ago I posted a thread stating that I hated superhero comics and asking people if I should give them a chance. I got a lot of helpful reccommendations, and I tried to read some superhero comics, including Superman: Red Son. Guess what? I still don’t like superhero comics. I thought Red Son was cool at first but then I realized it was just because I was trying really hard to get into it. I’ve tried to read a few other superhero comics and I could not get into them at all. They felt too serious, not connected enough to everyday life, and I didn’t enjoy it.

I still feel that underground comix are the only comics with heart. Everything else just seems too dense and serious and “square.” I’ve been a huge R. Crumb fan ever since I was a little kid sneaking a peek at his books at the Bookmobile. He and the other “comix” artists who I later discovered, for me, are the best. It’s just my personal taste. I have a lot of respect for any artist who can keep up consistently good art in Marvel or DC comics, but the whole thing just does not capture me at all.

Same goes for Sandman. I tried it and I couldn’t get into it. It was too dense and too serious…for me. That doesn’t mean it’s that way for everyone. Just me. Maybe you. Maybe not.

Regarding Sandman…

The first time I read “Ramadan,” I hated it. Too much text, too little story, too slow-moving, not connected to the arc at all, why am I reading this piece of crap?

The second time I read “Ramadan,” in a different mood, I was enthralled. At the end, I cried.