We’re finally getting a Netflix adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel The Sandman and it’s hard to keep our excitement at bay! Needless to say, fans are waiting eagerly to start binging when the episodes drop on August 5, 2022.
If you’re a beginner, you might be wondering if it’s a good idea to watch the much-hyped upcoming series, especially if you’ve not seen much of DC yet or have heard too much about Sandman.
I was in your place one day, so I do understand that feeling. So, for your convenience, I’ve tried to make a short beginner’s guide to The Sandman, so you can enjoy watching the series in case you’re interested.
There’s a lot to know about The Sandman, and no matter what, it is always okay to start a series without researching about it and simply try to enjoy it for fun. Not everything is about references. But if Sandman’s history and personality intrigue you, this article is for you!
Here’s everything you need to know (or if you’re a fan, it would be a good idea to revise) before reading the much-acclaimed comic series or watching the Netflix show.
1. The Sandman from DC and Marvel Aren’t the Same Person
Before anything else, if you do not already know, both Marvel and DC have a character called The Sandman and they are not related or similar in any shape or form.
The Sandman from Marvel is an antihero or supervillain who can change himself into sand at will. He is an enemy of both Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, and a founder of the supervillain team, Sinister Six.
However, in DC, The Sandman as a title has been used for several characters, among which Neil Gaiman’s Sandman remains the most popular one. The Sandman is also known by many other names, such as Dream, Lord of the Dreams, and Morpheus. He is an anthropomorphic representation of dreams.
He is one of the seven elements of the Endless, or entities that have existed since the beginning of time. He is a cosmic entity who has magical powers. He is not a conventional superhero we’re used to seeing, but a cosmic, mystical entity.
Gaiman’s Sandman is a unique character, and the upcoming Netflix series is based on Gaiman’s work, where Dream aka Sandman is the protagonist. So, do not confuse the two Sandmen at any cost.
In fact, DC itself had other heroes who were called Sandman before Morpheus came in. They, too, are different from Morpheus.
2. How Sandman is Different from Other Superheroes
Sandman is different from other superheroes whom we are generally used to seeing, such as Marvel’s Iron Man and Captain America, or DC’s Superman and Batman. He is not a god, demigod, or humanoid.
Sandman is more of a personification of the metaphysical entity of dreams and has a magical feel to him. He is not exactly divine, but rather a force of nature personified. His powers are much more enhanced than those of a regular superhero.
Moreover, unlike other superheroes, his mission in life is not to save the world or kill bad people or villains. He has his own complexities to deal with. So, before reading or watching, do not expect the regular DC or Marvel comic feel.
This one will be different, and hopefully, better. That is for you to decide.
3. Neil Gaiman Aas Inspired by the Mythical Sandman
You must be wondering why the Sandman is called that. Basically, the title dates back to a mythical character in European and Scandinavian folklore.
The sandman in folklores puts children to sleep by sprinkling sand on their eyes and encouraging beautiful and peaceful dreams. Gaiman’s protagonist, also known as Dream, is also responsible for the dreams of people and has an endless supply of sand.
Using black sand, he can plunge people into a state of eternal nightmares, or help give them a good sleep. He can read minds and manipulate reality. So, he is almost an omniscient being.
4. The Sandman Has Various Names
One important thing before delving into the world of Sandman is that he has several names. For starters, there’s Dream, Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, the King of Dreams, Lord Shaper, and Dream of the Endless.
Each name has a different story and reason behind it, which you will eventually learn as you read the comics. But just so you don’t get confused, they’re all the same guy.
5. A Short Synopsis Before You Begin
Before you begin reading or watching anything, I guess the first thing we all want is a synopsis of the storyline so we know what to expect.
In the series, Morpheus, the King of Dreams is captured in an occult trial. He was held captive for 106 years, after which he escaped and set out to regain his lost kingdom, the kingdom of Dreaming.
After that is done, he spends the latter issues of the comic series going around doing his job, which is to control and oversee dreaming and storytelling for all living beings in existence.
The Sandman is a pretty complicated story and has a lot of layers to it. So, have patience and try to begin reading or watching with an open mind.
6. Where to begin reading or watching?
A very important and pertinent question. If you want to read Neil Gaiman’s original works, it is going to be a long journey (but worth it, so don’t count this as discouragement!)
The Sandman was originally published by DC Comics as a monthly thing and ran for 75 issues from 1989 to 1996. But if you’re starting today, you have the entire set at your disposal.
There are 10 individual softcover volumes, beginning with Preludes and Nocturnes and ending with The Wake. This is the right choice if you want to go one step at a time. Try going with Preludes and Nocturnes first, and if it suits you, you can buy the others.
If you’re ready to go all out and are confident that you would love to read about Morpheus, you can go for The Sandman Omnibus, which has two massive hardcover volumes, covering the entire story. You can also buy four hardcover volumes, which is the annotated edition.
These are expensive and massive, so make sure you’re ready to commit if you’re going for this one.
And above all, remember to enjoy and have fun. If you don’t want to go through all that hassle, just switch on Netflix and jump into it. Everything else will fall into place. Happy reading/watching!
7. About The Sandman
The Sandman is an American fantasy drama TV series based on the 1989–1996 comic book written by Neil Gaiman and published by DC Comics. The series was developed for Netflix and is being produced by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television.
The first season adapted the first two comics in the series, Preludes & Nocturnes and The Doll’s House. In 1916, Dream, the king of Dreams and Nightmares and one of the seven Endless, is captured and imprisoned after an occult ritual. After being held captive for 106 years, he escapes and sets out to restore order to his kingdom of The Dreaming.
The Sandman stars Tom Sturridge as Dream, with Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbrook, Charles Dance, Asim Chaudhry, and Sanjeev Bhaskar in supporting roles.