I’m finally starting to work my way through the rest of The Sandman anthology. I’ve now hit the second volume, The Doll’s House.

At this point, we’re hitting a stark contrast in styles. The last issue of the first volume showed the change in artwork, but now you’re really seeing it in a full volume. It’s a cleaner, more polished look. The book is still very gritty in its tone, but it’s less of a hazy dream.

Gaiman et al. are now starting to hit their stride. The story becomes more cohesive, so it’s a little easier to follow where everything’s going.

As creepy as Gaiman’s work can be in general, this really upped the creep factor because he started dealing in serial killers, which is a bit much to take in. And more astonishingly, he does it with genuine humor. Imagine laughing at a Charles Manson-type character. It’s weird.

For those of you not familiar, The Sandman follows Morpheus who is one of the endless (also includes Death and Desire, among others). The series follows his involuntary hiatus from his duties. He’s like a god, except not (and the Endless are actually described as something else, something longer-lasting). He’s an emo entity. The books are different in that the central character really seems to operate on the fringes of the story, especially in the second volume. Morpheus isn’t as central even though it’s his arc that we’re following in the long run.

Overall, I’m liking the series. The one downside is knowing the 10-volume set means there are actually 2 more volumes that are out there, so I’ll have to figure out if they count as canon and where they fall in the timeline (judging from the inscrutable Wikipedia, they seem more like add-ons and prequels, so maybe I only go for them if I’m really jonesing for more of his take on the Endless).

If you like comic books, you probably have already read this. If you’re not a comic books person, but you like Gaiman, I’d definitely give this a try. It’s a completely different format, and it requires a higher cost than buying regular books, but it’s a cool way to tell a story.

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