The Sandman

Dated Aug 14, 2021; last modified on Mon, 11 Apr 2022

The Sandman (1989 - 1996) by Neil Gaiman. Image from

The Sandman (1989 - 1996) by Neil Gaiman. Image from

Path to comic: Lucifer (Netflix) -> Lucifer (Comic) -> The Sandman (Comic)

Netflix is also adapting the comic, so interested in how it deviates from the source. Ser Brienne of Tarth will be Lucifer. Hype!


Dream: Sister – you know how I felt for Nada one. What I feel for her still. But she defied me. I gave her due earning, and she still spurned me, so… Death: So you sentenced her to hell.

I like it when the main character is also flawed. In this case, Morpheus sending Nada to hell was unfair.


Urania Blackwell is a metamorphae (made into one by Ra) who wants to die.

Urania Blackwell: I only have two kinds of dreams: the bad and the terrible. Bad dreams I can cope with. They’re just nightmares, and they end eventually. The terrible dreams are the good dreams. In my terrible dreams, everything’s fine. I’m still with the company. I still look like me. None of the last five years ever happened. Sometimes I’m married. Once I even had kids. I even knew their names. Everything’s wonderful and normal and fine. And then I wake up, and I’m still me. And I’m still here. And that is truly terrible.

Typically, nightmares are the bad dreams. But that bears an implicit assumption that the dreamer’s waking life is desirable. Urania flips this script.


Death: When the first thing existed, I was there, waiting. When the last living thing dies, my job will be finished. I’ll put the chairs on the, turn out the lights and lock the universe behind me when I leave.

The end of the universe is a tantalizing topic. What happens in the end? Gaiman explores a linear universe with an end in sight. Others claim a cyclic universe, where the end of one universe births another. Both interpretations make for interesting fiction, e.g. Galactus being a remnant of a previous universe .

Dream: He heard long ago, in a dream, that one day every century Death takes on mortal flesh, better to comprehend what the lives she takes must feel like, to taste the bitter tang of mortality: that this is the price she must pay for being the divider of the living from all that has gone before, all that must come after. He broods on this tale, but has never questioned her about its truth. Perhaps he fears that she would answer him.

Second time I’m encountering the idea of immortals assuming mortal lives for empathy. Christianity has God living a human life as Jesus.

[Sexton] If they never existed, who are the people in the photographs? [Death] That’s just the universe’s way of making me feel more comfortable. Technically right now I’m about three hours old.

The idea of the universe re-writing itself retroactively also appears in Leg Guin’s Lathe of Heaven , and in Tynion IV’s The Department of Truth .


Lucifer: “The Devil made me do it.” I have never made one of them do anything. Never. They live their own tiny lives. I do not live their lives for them. And then they die, and they come here (having traversed against what they believed to be right), and expect us to fulfill their desire for pain and retribution. I don’t make them come here.

Aside the idea that the Devil doesn’t cause evil in the world, going to hell for self-punishment is unsettling, e.g. a guilt-free murderer doesn’t go to hell. Goes against the more comforting idea of a supreme entity (God) who fairly judges all.

The Creator [through Remiel]: Hell is Heaven’s reflection. It is Heaven’s shadow. They define each other. Reward and Punishment; hope and despair. There must be a Hell, for without Hell, Heaven has no meaning. And thus Hell must be.


St-Just: We are remaking the world, woman; we are creating an age of pure reason. We have taken the names of dead gods and kings from the days of the week and the months of the year. We have lost the saints and burnt the churches. I myself have inaugurated a new religion, based on reason, celebrating an egalitarian supreme being, distant and uninvolved.

is set in the French Revolution where the revolutionaries, after killing the aristocrats, are now going after the remnants of magic, because that goes against the new religion of reason.

The revolutionaries are presented as being a shade of grey, instead of being all-good. Is it misinformed to quip, “Bring back the guillotines!” in discussions about the society’s elite?

Caeser Augustus: But you should fear me. Not because I’m fast. And I am fast. And not because I’m strong. And I am strong. But because if I gave the word tonight, you would disappear, and no one would even date to mention that you had ever existed. And no one would dare complain. Because the alternative to me is chaos.

Hypothesis on how some tyrants commit atrocities, and no one bats an eye.

On a matter of linguistic style, Augustus’s dialogue has a rhythm to it.


October knew, of course, that the action of turning a page, of ending a chapter or shutting a book, did not end a tale. Having admitted that, he would also avow that happy endings were never difficult to find: “It is simply a matter,” he explained to April, “of finding a sunny place in a garden, where the light is golden and the grass is soft; somewhere to rest, to stop reading, and to be content.

- from The Man Who Was October by G.K. Chesterton/ Library of Dreams

G.K. Chesterton’s real book was titled “The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare”.


L’esprit de l’escalier : a French term used in English for the predicament of thinking the perfect reply too late.

Ennui : a feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction.


  1. The Sandman, Vol. 2, #20: Fa├žade. Neil Gaiman. Oct 1, 1990.
  2. Galan (Earth-616). . Accessed Aug 14, 2021.
  3. The Sandman (TV series). . Accessed Aug 14, 2021.
  4. The Sandman, Vol. 2, #21: Season of Mists: A Prologue. Neil Gaiman. Nov 1, 1990.
  5. The Sandman, Vol. 2, #23: Season of Mists: Chapter 2. Neil Gaiman. Feb 1, 1991.
  6. The Sandman, Vol. 2, #27: Season of Mists: Chapter 6. Neil Gaiman. Jun 1, 1991.
  7. The Sandman, Vol. 2, #29: Thermidor. Neil Gaiman. Aug 1, 1991.
  8. The Sandman, Vol. 2, #30: August. Neil Gaiman. Sep 1, 1991.
  9. Death: The High Cost of Living. Chapter 1. The Spirit of the Stairway. Neil Gaiman; Chris Bachalo; Mark Buckingham. 1993.