I personally am not at any end I am aware of, but this T.S. Eliot quote sums up my feelings about this upcoming The Sandman re-read project …”And the end of all our exploring/
Will be to arrive where we started/And know the place for the first time.”
Update, 6/7/11 0- a giant thank you to Neil Gaiman for not only retweeting our link, but sending it out again with well wishes the very next day. Truly, we are amazed and giggling and crying and laughing and grateful.
I finished the written tale of Morpheus, I’ve lived and learned and now I am returning to revisit The Sandman’s world with new knowledge and understanding of Neil Gaiman‘s inspirations, the Dream King’s intentions and history/literature in general. Proffitt has her reasons, but why do I recommend a re-read of The Sandman? Simple answer is it’s a brilliant piece of literature worth reading again and something so complicated- you’re bound to have missed something the first/second time around. I’ll also tell you why you should read The Sandman if you are one of the very few geeks who haven’t.
The story story Gaiman tells is big. In fact it’s massive. It’s our entire history as humankind and if it’s possible, even more.
I was lucky enough to start reading The Sandman in high school while it was still in production and got to finish the story out in college. To date myself, I believe it ended my senior year. The higher my learning, the more I got out of Gaiman’s world. On occasion I would go back and revisit the early years but in college, there really isn’t a lot of time for repeat extracurricular reading. There are brilliant new things being written daily that deserve our attention. Speaking for myself, I haven’t visited the original world of the Endless in probably over 11 years. (I don’t include the two works featuring those characters Gaiman did upon the final chapter of The Sandman series). However, I’ve always kept one toe in the Endless’ world; any time I cross paths with an avid reader, I always ask them if they have read Neil Gaiman and I recommend The Sandman eagerly -inevitably explaining- ” But it’s not a comic like you think, it’s won literary awards!” Sometimes they are convinced, other times not so much. I’ve never met anyone who regretted reading Gaiman though.
While reading The Sandman, or any of his fictional* writing, there was never any doubt that Neil Gaiman knows a lot about a lot of things. The depth of his knowledge seemed impossible at times, unusual, and most disheartening. Sometimes it still does. I am ready to delve into the story again- with fresh eyes and a mind full of more things than before. But I also know there is more in those stories than I even know right now. I’ll be researching, remembering, and questioning friends. I’m certain too there will be enough uncovered ground to plan a re-read project in another decade.
Now why should you introduce yourself to the world of The Sandman? Some of you may have read Gaiman’s novels but think comics aren’t your thing, or it’s too much of a financial investment to gather them all. Gaiman’s novels are good reads; entertaining, still full of his mind blowing jeez is there anything this man doesn’t have in his head-ness. But The Sandman was special, is still special. I would argue it’s timeless and will be relevant 500 years from now as really good stories will always be. The story Neil was able to tell in 27 pages with brief sentences in bubbles each month and some illustrations is astounding. More is said in The Sandman than all of Gaimans novels put together, and with much fewer words.
There are seven Endless siblings who are all older than gods and each have their own realm- Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, the twins: Desire and Despair, and my favorite, Delirium. They have different relationships with each other and with Dream as well as with people. The stories are about dreams, deaths, destinies, different worlds, witches, Shakespeare, mythology, nightmares, sibling relationships, love, passion, hate, change, forgiveness, humankind and more. It’s all encompassing, far reaching through time and history, fact and fiction, almost every literary genre. There are characters you love, ones you love to hate, characters you need time to understand, characters whose stories are told in their entirety and those whose stories are merely hinted at. Questions are answered and some are left open like in the real world.
We hope you go on this journey with us, back into the Endless’ world or visiting it for the first time. Be ready to shed some tears, grip the pages tighter, let go a little laugh and go running for Google, Wikipedia, old school encyclopedia or whatever your favorite research tool is. And make note of what you like, what you don’t like, what moves you, if there’s anything you notice that you missed the first time around and share that with us.
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*Yes, I specify fictional because, well, as thrilling as his Duran Duran biography may have been, it’s not exactly brilliant now, is it?
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