Feb 7, 2016

Neil Gaiman's Sandman: The Goal of Every Journey

You know my history with graphic novels -- growing up with comic books, I keep wanting to like them, but they always turn out to be the depressing angst-ridden memoirs of Millennials, and immensely heterosexist, with The Girl as the goal of every journey.  

But I've heard so much about the Sandman series, by Neil Gaiman -- it's complex, woven in with mythologies, philosophical, cool -- “Expansive and atmospheric, jammed with brainy, contemplative moments and dry humor...stunning, gorgeous artwork."

And Joseph Gordon-Levitt is scheduled to play the Sandman in the movie version.

So when the "Overture" of the series came out recently, I bought it, figuring it would be a good introduction, plus something stunningly great.  So I forked over my $15.00, got the hardcover, read the cover blurbs: "Gorgeous from start to finish": "A sweeping and extravagant prequel."

And opened it.

Remember, I have almost a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature.  I speak three languages.  I've read James Joyce, William Faulkner, T. S. Eliot.  I know all about Derrida, Foucault, and Baudrillard.

I'm really, really smart.

So I opened it...and...


Terrible is not the right word.  Terrible implies that there's something to evaluate.  There's nothing here to read.   I can't make out the meaning of a single one of the images --- and there are hundreds of every page.  Or the self-important purple prose.

1. A planet full of sentient plants that never dream start dreaming of death.
2. In London in 1815, a businessman named Ian Stuart receives a mysterious visitor who tells him that he brings news, but not about his brother.
3. Destiny of the Endless (that's his name) gets a visit from his sister,  who is worried about Dream, a hundred galaxies away.
4. George Portcullis, who has a portcullis instead of a face, gets a mysterious visitor, the Corinthian, who he sends to see the Master, who tells him that he won't get a trial.
5. Sigmund Freud talks to a pumpkin-headed man.
6. Lucien is pulled "halfway across the universe in the one fraction of forever."  A group of people and a giant cat, who are all him, ask "What kept you."

And that's just the first ten pages.  It goes on like that.

All I can figure out is, something bad is happening in the universe.

And the goal of every journey is Hugging Naked Ladies.

The Dream of the Endless, and a giant cat who is also the Dream of the Endless, plus the daughter of a dead blue guy, go on a journey to...somewhere.  

Dream hugs and kisses a lady, whose name is Delight, and "makes a world" for another lady, who is also Delight.

Then a chapter happens with people talking.

Then Dream hugs another lady, named Dusk.

Then the giant cat talks to a giant bird lady.

And another lady, who is probably Desire and Delight and Dusk, discovers that "in the grand dance of creation and destruction, the worlds are ending and she is there for all of them."

Dream gets naked to roll around in agony in the endless night:  rather skinny, with a good sized penis.

Then "there is nothing but the circle and the dark"

And a grey alien lies "deep beneath the ground, in a room lit by candles," and "it begins."


I'd rather read a 60-year old Tarzan comic.

Or James Joyce.