Mark Reads ‘Sandman’: 1×03 – Dream A Little Dream Of Me

In the third issue of Sandman, Morpheus joins up with John Constantine to find his pouch of sand. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Sandman.

“Dream A Little Dream Of Me”

Oh, there is absolutely no way I’m going to dislike this. There’s not! Unless the next seventy-odd issues are about Morpheus being a dirty racist bigot or something, this is already such a rad concept for me. And look, I’ve read a few John Constantine storylines before. He’s not my favorite DC character and I’m only somewhat familiar with him. (I do like that he actually ages.) Still, I admit to being floored with his inclusion in this story, and the fact that Gaiman writes from his perspective with a respect for how Constantine actually talks. That sort of attention to detail is really satisfying to read, you know?

Even if this is a short issue, there’s so much to enjoy here. I love the way that it’s framed, starting with Rachel but not telling us how she got the pouch of sand. We just know that John Constantine doesn’t have it. So Gaiman takes us through the man’s head instead of focusing on Morpheus. I’m imagining what this must have been like to get each of these issues as they were released, too, and it’s really exciting to me. I MISS OUT ON ALMOST EVERYTHING. But it’s clear to me that even this early on in the series, Gaiman was willing to change the way this story would be told. I’m looking forward to any other variations in narration in the future if this can happen in the beginning!

But let’s get to this story. I get a much better idea of how the Sandman/Morpheus actually works, and I see now how powerful that pouch of sand is. Gaiman draws from the mythological history of the Sandman tale to give us a character who uses sand to give people sweet dreams. It helps explain why the world was sent into chaos and ruin when Morpheus was imprisoned for over seventy years. He served an incredibly importantly role in the world, and there was no one to do it for him when he disappeared. This is how Morpheus comes into contact with John Constantine, who at one point had possession of the pouch of sand.

It’s pretty damn clever that all the songs that play in the background of this issue have to do with dreaming or sleeping (I TOTALLY GOT THAT). Even though we know that Morpheus will show up, it’s a way for the world to hint at the Sandman’s arrival. Mad Hettie tells him outright (how is she two hundred and forty-seven???), and the days before they meet are full of signs that things are about to change for him. When Morpheus finally does confront him, I really appreciated the dynamic between the two. Constantine doesn’t really challenge Morpheus’s identity, and he just accepts that the Sandman is standing before him. Well, to be fair, it’s not like John Constantine hasn’t seem some weird shit in his time. But there’s a sort of respect the two have for one another that’s never spelled out, and it’s only barely implied.

I think the real treat of this issue, though, is the spectacle of the power of dreams. As the two of them arrive at Rachel’s house upon the realization that she probably has the pouch, both the writing and artwork converge in a splendid scene of tension and visceral horror. I’m seeing now that Sandman has the potential to be extremely creepy, and I’m hoping that there are parts of it that explore the horror genre. This issues seems to hint at what is to come, and then it also makes me want this to be a horror story. Honestly, I didn’t even know what genre Sandman fell under when I started it. I still don’t, and I AM PERFECTLY FINE WITH THIS. I know it can seem ridiculous at times, but I honestly love not knowing about a fictional world and discovering it on my own. I think that I’m more open-minded to appreciating fiction now than I ever have been, and that’s probably why I’ve liked pretty much everything I’ve picked for Mark Does Stuff. Obviously, I’ve liked some stuff (His Dark Materials) more than others (Looking For Alaska, which I did like, but it wasn’t the GREATEST NOVEL EVER WRITTEN, but that’s also because John Green’s best novel is clearly The Fault In Our Stars). I know reading things one at a time is pedantic and agonizing, but I really enjoy taking time to appreciate the smaller details. That also means it’s a billion times more entertaining for y’all when I can’t see the forest for the trees.

So that’s why I was disgustingly unprepared for this issue. There’s a man being eaten alive by dreams in Rachel’s house. (Is that what happens when Morpheus isn’t around to fix things?) Constantine is sent to a fucked up dream when he touches something wet on the walls, which turns out to be the remains of Rachel’s father plastered in the room oh and he is still alive. Yeah, Neil Gaiman? Thanks. Thanks for this. I actually couldn’t look away from that entire page for a while because I was transfixed by the grossness and the concept. Like, the pouch of sand can do this. What the fuck else can it do? Apparently it can manifest a hallway of a living green substance, and it can keep a woman barely alive while making her addicted to dreams and the image of her in that bed is just SO TERRIFYING.

There’s something touching, though, about what Morpheus does for both Rachel and Constantine at the end of this issue. We’ve seen his capacity for revenge, but now we see the Sandman’s ability to be compassionate. He gives Rachel a peaceful end with a dream of meeting up Constantine before she passes on. He also helps John with a nightmare that’s been plaguing him “since Newcastle,” which is probably a reference to a storyline I’ve not read involving him. So perhaps this isn’t all going to be about revenge, then. Hmmm. Morpheus is a lot more complicated than I thought he was going to be. I approve of this.

Mark Links Stuff

- Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr. Follow away!
– I go on tour THIS WEEK. This is the master post with all dates; each city name links to the RSVP page on Facebook. I will be in 15 cities in the western half of North America. Posts will continue uninterrupted while I’m tour! If you live near any of the cities I’m coming to, all events are free and will be a blast. Come support me and BE ENTERTAINED.
- I am reading bad fic/novels on video to raise money for my AIDS/LifeCycle ride in June. Contribute money or vote for what you want to see me read!
– You can purchase eBooks or physical books from me to support what I’m doing! I’m now selling original short stories for $1 each twice a month. “Hell” is now out!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in The Sandman and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Mark Reads ‘Sandman’: 1×03 – Dream A Little Dream Of Me

  1. araniapriime says:

    I’ve been waiting for Mark to get to this issue. John Constantine is my favorite comics character of ,i>all time. 😀

  2. araniapriime says:

    I’ve been waiting for Mark to get to this issue. John Constantine is my favorite comics character of all time. 😀

Comments are closed.