Tales and Dreams: Enter Sandman

  • Posted on: 12 August 2022
  • By: Sandman

Enter SandmanPreludes and Nocturnes

Six days ago, The Sandman came to life on screen, with a big budget, under the close and careful management of its creator Neil Gaiman.

Sandman was a comic that ran from 1989 to 1996. It was later released as a complete graphic novel series, followed by numerous special editions and lavish omnibus printings. It changed the shape of the industry; Gaiman's story won countless awards, and became one of the first comics to earn a spot on the New York Times bestseller list. 

Originally conceived as a horror comic (many of the promo posters included the chilling line "I will show you fear in a handful of dust"), Sandman ultimately became one of the most important properties in the dark fantasy genre. 

Questions and Answers

It's no secret that Sandman is dear to my heart. For months, friends and colleagues have been asking me questions:

Should you read the books first?

You don't have to. The show is masterfully done - there are some minor changes from the comics, that make it extremely accessible to new fans (without modifying the story in the least). 

What's it about?

Dream, Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium, and Destruction. I'm not being flip; the names of the Endless are also a great description of the theme of the story. 

How scary is it? Can kids watch / read it?

It's rated M for a reason. 

What about the drama from fans over casting?

That's stupid. Neil knows what he's doing and I trust him entirely. 

Heidi Sandman Death CosplayHas Neil visited your shop?

No. I wish I could say yes! We met him at a signing in 2013 and he made a kind comment about Scott's Sandman Books t-shirt, but he's never been here. I've always had a fantasy that he might just happen to stop by one day. I keep my personal collection of Gaiman books in my office at the shop... just in case. 

Dream's HelmSandman Cosplay 

I've been cosplaying Death (the Sandman's sister) in various forms since 2004, and this year is the debut of Scott's Sandman costume (which I am super excited about). I'll share better photos once I have them; it's been hectic and we haven't really had time to give them the attention they deserve.  

"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow truths that will endure when mere facts are dust, and ashes, and forgotten."

Recommended Reading

NeverwhereNeverwhere by Neil Gaiman (1996)

"Richard Mayhew is a young man with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk. His small act of kindness propels him into a world he never dreamed existed. There are people who fall through the cracks, and Richard has become one of them. And he must learn to survive in this city of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels, if he is ever to return to the London that he knew." #ClassicSciFiFantasy · #StaffPick

Good OmensGood Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (1990)

"According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner. So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth's mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist..." #BookToFilm · #StaffPick

StardustStardust by Neil Gaiman (1999)

"Go and catch a falling star...

Tristran Thorn promises to bring back a fallen star for his beloved, the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester—and crosses the wall that divides his English country town from another, more dangerous world of lords and witches, all of them in search of the star. Rich with adventure and magic, Stardust is one of master storyteller Neil Gaiman's most beloved tales." #BookToFilm · #StaffPick

The Ocean at the End of the LaneThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (2015)

"A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse where she once lived, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy."

American GodsAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman (2001)

"The story of Shadow - released from prison just days after his wife and best friend are killed in an accident - who gets recruited to be bodyguard, driver, and errand boy for the enigmatic trickster, Mr. Wednesday. So begins Shadow’s dark and strange road trip, one that introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own. For, beneath the placid surface of everyday life, a storm is brewing - an epic war for the very soul of America - and Shadow is standing squarely in its path." #BookToFilm · #StaffPick 

Anansi BoysAnansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (2005)

"God is dead. Meet the kids.

Fat Charlie Nancy’s normal life ended the moment his father dropped dead on a Florida karaoke stage. Charlie didn’t know his dad was a god. And he never knew he had a brother. Now brother Spider is on his doorstep - about to make Fat Charlie’s life more interesting... and a lot more dangerous." #BookToFilm · #StaffPick

Smoke and MirrorsSmoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions by Neil Gaiman (1998)

"The astonishing and impressive first collection of short stories from New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman
An elderly widow finds the Holy Grail beneath an old fur coat in a second-hand store . . .
A stray cat fights and refights a nightly battle to protect his adoptive family from an unimagiable evil . . .
A young couple receives a wedding gift that will reveal a chilling alternate history of their marriage . . .
Beneath a bridge by the railroad tracks, a frightened little boy bargains for his life with a most persistent troll . . .
Such miraculous inventions and more await within Neil Gaiman’s first collection of short fiction, a gift of wonder and delight from one of the most unique literary artists of our day. In his capable hands, magic is no mere illusion, but a powerful means to reveal the nature of our humanity obscured in the smoke of our fears and anxieties and reflected in the funhouse mirrors of our dreams."

Fragile ThingsFragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman (2006)

"Fragile Things showcases the distinctive storytelling genius that has made Neil Gaiman one of the most admired literary artists of our time. The thirty-two gems of prose and verse in this astonishing collection stretch the imagination and engage the intellect even as they illuminate the vagaries of human experience. Whether he’s conjuring a mysterious traveling circus, exploring the rarefied tastes of an exclusive epicurean club, or visiting a strangely altered Victorian England, Gaiman reveals how the ordinary and the fantastical are transmutable and intertwined."

Trigger WarningTrigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman (2015)

"In this wide-ranging collection of short fiction, Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath. This rich compendium features stories and poetry that transport us deep into the realm of imagination—where the fantastical becomes real and the everyday incandescent—including an original American Gods novella in which Shadow Moon finds himself drawn into the dark and murderous mystery of the “Black Dog” in the English Peak District. Horror and ghost stories, speculative fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and verse—all combine to illustrate the strength and breadth of Gaiman's storytelling mastery and cement his reputation as one of the finest writers at work today."

Make Good ArtMake Good Art by Neil Gaiman (2013)

"In May 2012, bestselling author Neil Gaiman delivered the commencement address at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, in which he shared his thoughts about creativity, bravery, and strength. He encouraged the fledgling painters, musicians, writers, and dreamers to break rules and think outside the box. Most of all, he encouraged them to make good art."

Neil Gaiman and PhilosophyNeil Gaiman and Philosophy edited by Tracy L. Bealer, Rachel Luria, and Wayne Yuen

"Neil Gaiman is the imaginative wizard behind the best-selling novels American Gods (soon to be an HBO series) and The Anansi Boys, the graphic series The Sandman, and popular children's books like Coraline and The Graveyard Book. Neil Gaiman and Philosophy looks at Gaiman's work through a philosophical lens. How does fantasy interact with reality and what can each tell us about the other? Do we each have other selves who embody different personal qualities? If the unknown influences the known, is the unknown just as real as the known? What makes people truly valuable?"

Neil Gaiman Coloring BookNeil Gaiman Coloring Book by Jill Thompson

"Printed on sturdy paper, this 96-page coloring book for adults and sophisticated kids will be welcomed by Neil Gaiman fans and artists. Makes an excellent gift for the Gaiman addict in your life. Perfect for at-home creative time."

Norse MythologyNorse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (2017)

"In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki—son of a giant—blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose, these gods emerge with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again."

CoralineCoraline by Neil Gaiman (1990)

"While exploring her new home, a young girl named Coraline unlocks a door to reveal a hidden passage. Intrigued, she ventures deep into a mysterious mirror realm, a world eerily similar yet darkly different from her own. Before long, the miraculous turns sinister, and Coraline must use her wits and courage to save herself―and the other trapped souls she finds along the way. Filled with enchantments and terrors alike, this winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker Awards is a dazzling feat of imagination from a modern literary master." #BookToFilm

InterworldInterworld (series) by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves(2002)

"The story of Joey Harker, a very average kid who discovers that his world is only one of a trillion alternate earths. Some of these earths are ruled by magic. Some are ruled by science. All are at war. Joey teams up with alternate versions of himself from an array of these worlds. Together, the army of Joeys must battle evil magicians Lord Dogknife and Lady Indigo to keep the balance of power between all the earths stable."

Odd and the Frost GiantsOdd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman (2008)

"Odd, a young Viking boy, is left fatherless following a raid. In his icy, ancient world there is no mercy for an unlucky soul with a crushed foot and no one to protect him. Fleeing to the woods, Odd stumbles upon and releases a trapped bear…and then Odd's destiny begins to change. The eagle, bear, and fox Odd encounters are Norse gods, trapped in animal form by the evil frost giant who has conquered Asgard, the city of the gods. Now our hero must reclaim Thor's hammer, outwit the frost giants and release the gods…"

Fortunately, the MilkFortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman (2013)

"An absolute delight of a madcap story for the young (and young-at-heart) by New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman, with equal parts pirates and piranhas, adventure and aliens, oddity and love. Find out just how odd things get in this hilarious story of time travel and breakfast cereal, expertly told by Newbery Medalist and bestselling author Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Skottie Young."

Graveyard BookThe Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (2008)

"IT TAKES A GRAVEYARD TO RAISE A CHILD. Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family. The Graveyard Book is the only work ever to win both the Newbery (US) and Carnegie (UK) medals." 

M Is For MagicM Is For Magic by Neil Gaiman (2007)

"Master storyteller Neil Gaiman presents a breathtaking collection of tales for younger readers that may chill or amuse, but that always embrace the unexpected."

Hansel and GretelHansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman (2014)

"Best-selling author Neil Gaiman and fine artist Lorenzo Mattotti join forces to create Hansel & Gretel, a stunning book that's at once as familiar as a dream and as evocative as a nightmare. Mattotti's sweeping ink illustrations capture the terror and longing found in the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Gaiman crafts an original text filled with his signature wit and pathos that is sure to become a favorite of readers everywhere, young and old."

The Sleeper and the SpindleThe Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman (2014)

"In this captivating and darkly funny tale, Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell have twisted together the familiar and the new as well as the beautiful and the wicked to tell a brilliant version of Snow White's (sort of) and Sleeping Beauty's (almost) stories."

CinnamonCinnamon by Neil Gaiman (2017)

"A perfect read-aloud picture book by the Newbery Medal-winning and New York Times bestselling author of American Gods and Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman, and illustrated in bold colors by Divya Srinivasan. A talking tiger is the only one who may be able to get a princess to speak in this beautiful picture book set in a mythic India."

Pirate StewPirate Stew by Neil Gaiman (2020)

"Long John has a whole crew of wild pirates in tow, and—for one boy and his sister—he's about to transform a perfectly ordinary evening into a riotous adventure beneath a pirate moon. It's time to make some PIRATE STEW. Marvelously silly and gloriously entertaining, this tale of pirates, flying ships, doughnut feasts and some rather magical stew is perfect for all pirates, both young and old. With a deliciously rhyming text from master storyteller Neil Gaiman and spellbinding illustrations by the supremely talented Chris Riddell, this is the picture book of the year! "

The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two GoldfishThe Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman (1997)

"The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish is a wry adventure and was the first book for younger readers from the acclaimed author and illustrator of the New York Times bestsellers The Wolves in the Walls and Coraline. Chosen as one of Newsweek magazine's best children's books of the year, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish is the sort of picture book that works for readers of all ages."

InstructionsInstructions by Neil Gaiman (2010)

"In this breathtaking jacketed picture book, Neil Gaiman's lyrical poem guides a novice traveler through the enchanted woods of a fairy tale—through lush gardens, a formidable castle, and over a perilous river—to find the way home again. Illustrated in full color by Charles Vess, Instructions features lush images of mythical creatures, magical landscapes, and canny princesses. Its message of the value of courage, wit, and wisdom makes it a perfect gift."

Chu's DayChu's Day by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex (2013)

"Chu is a little panda with a big sneeze. When Chu sneezes, bad things happen. But as Chu and his parents visit the library, the diner, and the circus, will anyone hear Chu when he starts to feel a familiar tickle in his nose? Chu's Day is a story that reflects upon how young children aren't always listened to…sometimes to calamitous effect."

Chu's First Day of SchoolChu's First Day of School by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex (2014)

"Chu, the adorable panda with a great big sneeze, is heading off for his first day of school, and he's nervous. He hopes the other boys and girls will be nice. Will they like him? What will happen at school? And will Chu do what he does best? Chu's First Day of School is a perfect read-aloud story about the universal experience of starting school."

Chu's Day at the BeachChu's Day at the Beach by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex (2016)

"Chu and his family are going to the beach! Chu is excited. He will get to play in the sand and wade in the water. But what will happen if Chu sneezes at the beach? And what will happen if he doesn’t? A perfect read-aloud story about a summertime adventure!"

The Wolves in the WallsThe Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman (2003)

"Lucy hears sneaking, creeping, crumpling noises coming from inside the walls. She is sure there are wolves living in the walls of her house."

Blueberry GirlBlueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman (2009)

"A much-loved baby grows into a young woman: brave, adventurous, and lucky. Exploring, traveling, bathed in sunshine, surrounded by the wonders of the world. What every new parent or parent-to-be dreams of for her child, what every girl dreams of for herself."

Crazy HairCrazy Hair by Neil Gaiman (2009)

"Bonnie makes a friend who has hair so wild there's even a jungle inside of it! Bonnie ventures through the crazy hair, but she may need more than a comb to tame her friend's insane mane."

Out of Print

Who Killed Amanda Palmer (2009) · The Dangerous Alphabet (2008) · Don't Panic (1988) · Ghastly Beyond Belief (1985) · Duran Duran: The First Four Years of the Fab Five (1984)

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