'The Sandman': Celebrating the Neil Gaiman comic's 20th anniversary

Sandman_lI’ve been finding it difficult to write this post, in the way that it’s always hard to write about something you love. This month marks the 20th anniversary of The Sandman, writer Neil Gaiman’s revolutionary comic book series. In case you don’t know of The Sandman — and, it’s okay, I’ll still talk to you — one could describe it as the adventures of Dream of the Endless. (The Endless being seven entities — Dream, Desire, Destiny, Despair, Destruction, Delirium, and Death — older than gods and more powerful than heroes, who were here when the universe first opened its eyes, and will lock the door when it’s all said and done.) You could also call The Sandman a construct through which Gaiman could tell a kaleidoscopic variety of tales, some about Arabian princes and transgendered protectors and fallen angels and cats and Death herself, others about fear and hope and redemption and love and loss and laughter in the face of it all

But, to me, The Sandman is about the transforming, transportingpower of story itself. About how what we read, hear, or tell bothdefines the world around us and dictates how we relate to that world.It’s a beautiful idea, really, that words shape our existence — whetherit’s true or not.

There are a few remembrances of The Sandman floating around outthere in the ether — io9.com listed the Five Ways That Sandman Changed The World (whichthen elicited a response from Gaiman, in which he pretty much dismissedthem) — but I just wanted to mark this occasion in some way. I startedreading The Sandman at a time when I wasn’t sure, precisely, what Iwanted to do with my life. And, now, I’m a writer. I tell stories for aliving. Make of that what you will.

For More on Neil Gaiman and The Sandman:
Neil Gaiman’s Top 10 New Classic Monsters
Scott Brown’s Neil Gaiman Profile

Comments (14 total) Add your comment
  • Fiddler’s Green

    It changed my life on 3 occasions.

  • NPH Fan

    gaiman is a genius

  • Krisitn

    When I read Sandman I never want it to end. I always put down the last volume with a sigh. Congratulations on 20 years of amazing storytelling!

  • MurrayTheSkull

    Sandman, for me anyway, is what turned comic books from pulp storytelling into literature. An amazing piece of work that will never lose its wonder.

  • Comixchick

    I remember walking into my comic shop and having the owner tell me, “Hey, you should check out this new book. It’s the kind of stuff you like.” And that afternoon, my mind was blown. My comics guy was a very wise man. I can’t believe – 20 years! Gawd…

  • Ragna

    I am sad to admit that I just started getting into the series six months ago. I don’t usually like comics done back in the 80s but for some reason these comics are timeless. I own the first two trade paperbacks and I plan on getting the rest and all the other related titles (yes, even “Lucifer” and “The Dreaming” series). They’re amazing stories and I don’t think comics would truly be the same without them. Thank you, Neil. Thank you very much.

  • George

    I love the series and all, but calling it “The Sandman” is just pretenious…it was mostly called “Sandman”. Then again, we live in an era where people are too embarrassed to admit they read “comic books” so in order to appear more arty, we have to start calling them “graphic novels”. Please.

  • Sadie

    I read this as a teen and I still love it. I discovered so many wonderful comics and books at that age…I can’t believe kids today would rather read Twilight!

  • Jordan T.

    i was in 8th or 9th grade when i picked up my first issue of Sandman, the penultimate chapter of The Kindly Ones. i had no idea who these characters were or what all had happened in the series or story up to that point. and all the same, i was hooked. i’d been reading comics since i was 9 years old and this blew my mind apart as to what you could do with the medium. over the next few years, i collected the rest of the series in its collected format and moved on to the Death minis and anything else i could grab up with Gaiman’s name on the cover. it absolutely changed my life and the way i look at the world around me. cheers to 20 years of brilliance.

  • Shasta

    When I was a teenager, my friend and I found ourselves at a very small comic book convention. She called the boy she had a crush on from the pay phone (pre-cell phones, don’t you know) to ask him what we should look out for. “Sandman,” he said. That’s all it took. Neil Gaiman rocks.

  • tori

    If you need me me and Neil’ll be hanging out with the Dream King.

  • j

    ive been reading comics since i was a kid, and technically, i still am(im 14, can y0u believe it?!?). But back then, i was a naive f0ol who didnt kn0w who Neil Gaiman was, or any of the great w0rks he has c0ntributed to the w0rld of literature and the c0mic b0ok/graphic n0vel medium. Now, ive accumulated quite a little c0llecti0n of Mr. Neil’s works, and having read them, i can safely say with0ut the shadow of a d0ubt, that Neil Gaiman is one of the greatest writers in hist0ry. He brings new meaning to the words imagination, creativity, awe, power, emotion and magic. THANK YOU NEIL GAIMAN. CONGRATULATIONS ON Y0UR 20 YEARS.

  • ccross

    Thank you Neil, for blessing us with not just Sandman, but Neverwhere, Good Omens, American Gods/Anansi Boys, and a wealth of short stories, among other wonderous gifts. Thank you for sharing that extraordinary, breathtaking imagination of yours.

  • Scott

    I was at Atomic Comics in Phoenix when I dished out a hundred bucks on the first Absolute.
    I was Absolutely a 100 years behind reading comics.
    I’ve read all of Sandman Absolutes within a year of the Absolutes being published and wished I had discovered it when it was being published. I could only imagine a first issue published and following such a grand story for years.
    Thank you for your story.

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