He's Out of His Cage
June 6, 2022 10:51 AM   Subscribe

 
and he's doin just fine
posted by dismas at 10:55 AM on June 6 [7 favorites]


Please don't suck, please don't suck, please don't suck.


Also, The Corinthian.....AGHHGHGHHGHGHG
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 10:59 AM on June 6 [32 favorites]


On my sister's birthday, no less. How dare.

(Me, internally: *endless-heehee-squeeing*)
posted by Kitteh at 11:08 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Thank goodness it has a fixed endpoint that can be wrapped up in two seasons.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:13 AM on June 6 [14 favorites]


I wish the trailer looked a bit better. Not predicting doom or anything, just saying a wow show could have a wow trailer. And this trailer... didn't wow me.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:15 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


It certainly looks like a Netflix show.

The Sandman means a lot to me & I am, of course, going to binge this. I don't particularly have an expectation it will be good, though, but I do hope it will surprise me.
posted by edencosmic at 11:17 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


I have a feeling this will be weaksauce. Sandman was a product of the same fevered mindset that created Constantine (the comic) and I don’t think one can recreate that without an X rating.

I think this will be on par with The Watch, which was a goddamn insult to Terry Pratchett. Similarly, I have yet to see an adaptation of Gaiman’s work that isn’t just totally lacking.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 11:20 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


Thank goodness it has a fixed endpoint that can be wrapped up in two seasons.

Even if they stick with just the original series, that's 75 issues. No way that's done in just two seasons. And if they really want to stretch it out using just source material there are specials, a later sequel miniseries, a few graphic novels, the Death minis, etc. They could really keep this going for a long time if it proves successful.
posted by star gentle uterus at 11:21 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Sandman was a product of the same fevered mindset that created Constantine

I'm confused by this -- Neil Gaiman wrote only a few issues of Hellblazer, and he certainly didn't create John Constantine. Unless you're referring to a kind of general creative mindset existing in the Vertigo Comics writing and editorial staff at the time?

Also, Stephen Fry as Gilbert is such a good call. Hoom hoom indeed!
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 11:31 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


Specifically, Alan Moore created John Constantine in his run on Swamp Thing, which presaged but predated the Vertigo line.
posted by Gelatin at 11:34 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


I love how they've genderflipped the original John Constantine/Morpheus meet-up that happens in the first issues. That will be cool. (And I love Mad Hettie.) My guess is that we are going to focus the first season on Nocturnes & Preludes trade, maybe The Doll's House too because I know the Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook is a beautiful casting choice), Rose Walker, and Gilbert were cast as well.

I am going to watch it. Sandman profoundly changed my life when I was sixteen. I am tired of cynicism right out of the gate. Times are quite crap all around but as Lord Morpheus himself said playing the oldest game, "I am hope."
posted by Kitteh at 11:34 AM on June 6 [19 favorites]


I have found that if you don't watch a show immediately or even when it is a running production and ignore the fans and withhold judgement and wait until it comes out on dvd/blu-ray and then most likely you live alone.
posted by NoThisIsPatrick at 11:45 AM on June 6 [8 favorites]


I do feel like we're due for a Goth Renaissance, or at least a new wave of angsty teen media. The 2000s had the emo scene and stuff like Twilight, I feel like there hasn't been a big cultural current in that vein in a while.
posted by star gentle uterus at 11:48 AM on June 6 [16 favorites]


On a scale from Beowulf to Stardust, I kind of expect Sandman to come in at about the level of Good Omens: mostly entertaining and yet somewhat disappointing.

But, we'll see.
posted by Foosnark at 11:50 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


"The price of getting what you want.... is getting what you once wanted......"
posted by lalochezia at 11:52 AM on June 6 [22 favorites]


Similarly, I have yet to see an adaptation of Gaiman’s work that isn’t just totally lacking.

I thought the first season of American Gods was amazing and then they made it boring somehow for the future seasons.

As for the Sandman: The audio dramatization from a couple years ago was really solid
posted by JDHarper at 12:04 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


I noped out of American Gods once Bryan Fuller stopped being involved. That first season was gorgeous and incredible.
posted by Kitteh at 12:18 PM on June 6 [13 favorites]


@The Pluto Gangsta: I’m thinking the general mindset. It taps into a certain grimly cynical mind that just doesn’t exist anymore and wouldn’t make sense to the current generations of viewers. They’ll get lost in the cutesy and the romance and all that, but never see the fact that it’s all turds all the way down.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 12:36 PM on June 6


I thought the first season of American Gods was amazing and then they made it boring somehow for the future season

Oh, good -- I was worried it was just me & my wife. We thought the first season was great but then after about the 2nd or 3rd episode of the 2nd season we just...stopped watching it? Not due to hate or anything, but it just stopped wondering "what's gonna happen next," and we didn't completely understand what was going on, so it fell out of our nightly TV schedule. Note: we hadn't read the book.
posted by AzraelBrown at 12:38 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


The audio dramatization from a couple years ago was really solid

I have mixed feelings on that one. Adaptation is complicated, and The Sandman just has so much going on, visually. There are a lot of panels where background elements are there to be appreciated or taken in passively or missed entirely, at the reader's discretion, and in the audio drama everything which was visual in the original has to be one or the other: if the narration mentions it, it's foreground, and if it doesn't, then it's not there at all. It had good voice acting, and some imaginative effects, but pretty much every narrative description of a scene ended up annoying me somewhat, because the scene descriptions really do feel like more like "instructions to the illustrator" than "an evocative text description of a space".
posted by jackbishop at 12:41 PM on June 6


It taps into a certain grimly cynical mind that just doesn’t exist anymore and wouldn’t make sense to the current generations of viewers.

If anything's about to make a comeback in 2022, it's grim cynicism.
posted by mmoncur at 12:46 PM on June 6 [9 favorites]


The @Netflix_Sandman account just posted some stills in a couple of tweets.

Johanna Constantine's coat looks way too clean and new. But I'm cautiously hopeful.
posted by indexy at 12:49 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


wouldn’t make sense to the current generations of viewers. They’ll get lost in the cutesy and the romance and all that, but never see the fact that

Positing a generation-wide falloff from previously held standards is apparently an activity that never gets old. People been doing it since the dawn of literature and apparently haven't gotten bored with it yet.
posted by Ipsifendus at 12:50 PM on June 6 [11 favorites]


I've been thinking about cancelling my Netflix account for a while - clearly that's not happening yet now.
I... am cautiously optimistic, but I can't get my hopes up too high; Sandman was incredibly formative for me in my late teens and I really, really want this to not only not suck, but actually be great and bring new readers to the series.

Fingers and toes crossed. Please oh please be good.
posted by widdershins at 12:54 PM on June 6


My understanding from reasonably informed sources suggest that Gaiman himself is happy with it, so there is that, at least.
posted by jscalzi at 1:08 PM on June 6 [26 favorites]


Peachy keen!!
posted by Gray Duck at 1:11 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]


It taps into a certain grimly cynical mind that just doesn’t exist anymore and wouldn’t make sense to the current generations of viewers.

I think there's probably a lot in this for Hellblazer, but less so for Sandman. Hellblazer, to me, feels like it lives in the penumbra between the John Wagner influenced gleeful cynicism of 1980s British comics and the gloomy cynicism that took hold in US comics over the decade (already influenced, of course, by the post-Wagner generation of British writers themselves drawing on US influences). The only way you could possibly do a good Hellblazer adaptation would be to go full 80s period piece: Space Invaders, Happy Eater restaurants, striking miners and Maggie, Maggie, Maggie! Out, Out, Out! Fuck it, I'd set an entire episode at a Red Wedge event and blow the budget on digitally de-ageing Billy Bragg.

But Sandman is an oddity. Gaiman didn't really know what he was doing, so he did what he does: take the influences, blend them up and redistribute them in a way that suggests a rich and meaningfully defined world*. He is, of course, most influenced by Moore, but Moore himself is already one step out of the truly cynical mindset of 1980s British comics. Gaiman seems like a British writer reflecting American comic book culture at a time of unparalleled cross-pollination in comics between the US and UK. I don't think that Sandman, nasty though it is in places, ever really relates itself to the Viz–2000AD continuum, and is fundamentally soft-hearted in a way palatable in modern contexts, while Hellblazer is much crueller. The outcomes for Constantine and Rachel in Preludes & Nocturnes, e.g., are merciful in a way hard to imagine in a mainline Hellblazer story.

Moore one made Gaiman so queasy describing the "Nettley, lights" (or whatever) bit in From Hell that Gaiman had to leave the restaurant where both were dining and sit outside for fresh air. He then followed Gaiman outside (presumably for a bifta) and mocked Gaiman about the contrast between his dark reputation as writer and essentially kittenish demeanour (it's worth finding audio of Gaiman telling this story, if only because he does a better weirdly archaic Northampton accent than any actor I've ever heard try). IMO Gaiman was always the soft lad of gritty comics, and is generally much the better for it.

*it's an incredible trick, and I love to see him do it, but it is very much his main trick.
posted by howfar at 1:44 PM on June 6 [21 favorites]


I am here for Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer and that’s pretty much all I care about.
posted by skycrashesdown at 1:45 PM on June 6 [13 favorites]


"Thank goodness it has a fixed endpoint that can be wrapped up in two seasons"

American Gods?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 1:48 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


I hope this means they were will be motivated to get the 3rd part of the audio adaptation out on Audible. James McAvoy makes a great Morpheus.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:55 PM on June 6


it's worth finding audio of Gaiman telling this story, if only because he does a better weirdly archaic Northampton accent than any actor I've ever heard try

Go one better - here's a video of him talking about it, during which Neil also shares the fact that Moore teased Neil by giving him the nickname "Scary Trousers".

Something he DOESN'T mention in this clip, but which he has in other retellings, is that at one point when he was sitting outside, a very old woman passing by thought he was a homeless guy sleeping rough on the street and tried to give him some money. He refused as politely as he could - but then later on used that moment during an opening scene of the show Neverwhere.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:07 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


I really hope this is good. For so long I'd banged the drum to the tune of:
Y'know what this trend for miniseries would be really good for? An updated take on American Gods. Or maybe (even) the first couple thousand years of The Boat of a Million Years. Y'know - before the literal Reaganaught Astronaughts.
And then, well, yeah, so. Hmm. About that.

please don't suck or have production issues or what not. kthnxbye.
posted by mce at 2:16 PM on June 6


@howfar: fair enough. I was reading them both at the same time and there’s a lot of overlap in my head canon. It’s like the time I watched 1984 and Brazil one after the other and they both amplified each other (I’ve since untangled the two).

I still think that today’s generation is still giddily and undeservedly optimistic, though.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 2:19 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: mostly entertaining and yet somewhat disappointing
posted by kirkaracha at 2:25 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]


MetaFilter: still giddily and undeservedly optimistic
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 2:27 PM on June 6 [11 favorites]


It's a pity it's on transphobe-platforming Netflix. As such, Hell will freeze over before I give them any money.
posted by acb at 2:33 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]


On re-watch of the trailer and looking at some of the stills, I like everything I see except for the main character.

Morpheus should be unsettling. This looks like dollar store Timothée Chalamet, just a white guy with fluffy hair. He's not intimidating; he looks like Edward Cullen. No one would mistake him for Death.

I mean I'll give him a chance but this just doesn't resonate for me based on what I've seen so far.
posted by JDHarper at 2:41 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


Well that was disappointing.

I just finished up Lucifer too, and was reflecting on how perfect Tom Ellis was for that character. So far Tom Sturridge is not floating my boat.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:48 PM on June 6


"soft lad of gritty comics"

As a person who is in the early stages of a Sandman reread (partially timed because of the Netflix series but also because of other life reasons), this puts the perfect phrase to the absolute truth of Neil Gaiman's comics work.
posted by edencosmic at 2:51 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


"The only way you could possibly do a good Hellblazer adaptation would be to go full 80s period piece: Space Invaders, Happy Eater restaurants, striking miners and Maggie, Maggie, Maggie! Out, Out, Out! Fuck it, I'd set an entire episode at a Red Wedge event and blow the budget on digitally de-ageing Billy Bragg."
@howfar

Well that's the British Stranger Things spin off sorted out for worldbuilding, then.
posted by aesop at 2:59 PM on June 6 [14 favorites]


If I want to read The Sandman, what thing or series of things should I buy? I was left confused by the Wikipedia page. Are the original 10 trades the way to go?

(Assume I'm not poor, but I don't have a lot of avocado money.)
posted by Horkus at 3:12 PM on June 6


Horkus, just start with a bundled collection of Preludes and Nocturnes. You'll know if you like it within the first two chapters.

100% unsure if reading it new now would be the same without my nostalgia. Death seems very much of that period.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 3:28 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Horkus, just be aware that it's very 80s in that rape/sexualized violence is present. And there is a trans character whose treatment is sympathetic yet definitely not that informed.

I was ok reading it through but it ended up giving me that sort of sick-to-the-stomach feel of so much of that era/genre, where bad shit just happened to women, it wasn't necessarily approved of, but also portrayed in graphic ways that were pretty rough on your average female reader, especially if she had also had bad shit happen to her already.

Anyway, maybe this take doesn't hit that stuff as hard, but also I'm not giving Netflix my cash, speaking of trans people, Gaiman's allyship notwithstanding.
posted by emjaybee at 3:41 PM on June 6 [12 favorites]


A friend of mine was a producer working to bring this to life in the early '10s. It was being developed as a feature film. He was the only person familiar with the comics. The other people on the project wanted to turn it into a superhero film, give him a bunch of powers and make him quippy. They basically wanted to turn it into a Marvel film. This will definitely be better than that would have been.
posted by rednikki at 3:42 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]


I would start with Dream Country, which is the 3rd volume but just single stories. You may need to know a bit (like mostly, who the characters are in a general way) but it's mostly standalone. You'll get enough of a taste for what The Sandman is (and also more what it can be). It's the point where Gaiman figured out what he was doing.

Then if you like that, go back and read the first two volumes. Preludes and Nocturnes is a bit rough because it's a comic figuring out what it was doing. It's good and it's interesting but I don't know if it's fully representative of The Sandman as a whole.

The Doll's House is fine (and was actually collected before the first 9 issues were) but I do feel like you need the context of the other issues (although the intro explains it all).
posted by edencosmic at 3:42 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


Netflix also teased Guillermo Del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities today, which damn well better have a Pappy McPoyle episode.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 3:56 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


I started reading with the Prez issue from World's End that the library had and then much later on picked up The Doll's House TPB and then worked my way backwards and forwards as funds and issues were available. I think Season of Mists may have been the last bit I got around to. I'll be happy if this does well but if the whole thing ends up sucking I'll be fine with that too. I still have the source material in multiple formats at home to read.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 5:03 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


My understanding from reasonably informed sources suggest that Gaiman himself is happy with it, so there is that, at least.

Yes. I was at his San Francisco "Evening With Neil Gaiman" and he was very enthusiastic and he said that if he hadn't been it wouldn't have happened because he had a great deal of control.

I'm hopeful for Sandman, but not optimistic. All the bits of it seem fine (Charles Dance in the trailer is perfection), but I thought the bits of Good Omens were fine and the combined whole was just... okay, it was good. It was fine. It didn't quite take off for me, but was still enjoyable. Sandman, however, is a much harder job with many more moving parts and ways for things to go wrong. The effort that got us "good bits and generally okay" for Good Omens isn't going to be sufficient here.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 5:33 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


If I want to read The Sandman, what thing or series of things should I buy? I was left confused by the Wikipedia page. Are the original 10 trades the way to go?

Depending on where you are, your local library may carry the collected graphic novels. Even in the 90s, when the Toronto Public Library had a much smaller graphic novel collection, Sandman was included because it is so significant and acclaimed.

I follow Gaiman on Twitter and a) he's closely involved, b) very happy with the results and c) I really liked the Good Omens adaptation, so I am happily looking forward to this.
posted by jb at 5:44 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


The issue 24 Hours feels unfilmable to me. Curious to see what they do.

I'm a little sorry they didn't take the approach of the recent Watchmen TV show and just do new stories set in the Sandman universe. Hire Gaiman to write them, write things that are intended for the television medium.
posted by Nelson at 5:45 PM on June 6 [7 favorites]


Having just recently (like last week!) reread "24 Hours" ... I think if they keep a lot of the worse stuff off-screen and just imply it, it can work. As with a lot of comics, my brain filled in the gaps with that one and so my memories of it are worse than what is actually on paper.

That issue really messed me up as a teen (as did the following issue) and now, I dunno. They're still pretty messed up but given, you know, everything, "24 Hours" seems a little ... tame, almost, maybe.

I am really curious how they pull it off without alienating basically everyone who was going to be on board with everything otherwise.
posted by edencosmic at 5:59 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


The issue 24 Hours feels unfilmable to me. Curious to see what they do.

Well, you know... (Link to full short film in comments.)
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:59 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


I am 100% here for this and have been since I picked up issue #1 almost entirely by chance when it first came out. This is going to be wonderful, and I’m resubscribing to Netflix solely for it. Peachy keen indeed!!!
posted by cupcakeninja at 6:39 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


I would start with Dream Country, which is the 3rd volume but just single stories

I agree. The series had hit its stride at that point. If you like it then go back and pick up one and two.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:46 PM on June 6


Wow, I always felt like I was missing out not reading Sandman back in the day. But, just reading the synopsis of 24 Hours, if it was that kind of edgelord bullshit I guess I didn't miss anything after all. I also had the impression that it was really set apart from the rest of DC continuity, but that doesn't really appear to be the case either.
posted by rikschell at 8:13 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


> Wow, I always felt like I was missing out not reading Sandman back in the day. But, just reading the synopsis of 24 Hours, if it was that kind of edgelord bullshit I guess I didn't miss anything after all. I also had the impression that it was really set apart from the rest of DC continuity, but that doesn't really appear to be the case either.

I wouldn't call that story typical for Sandman, honestly - the earliest issues had both more horror and more explicit DC tie-ins than much of the rest of the series did. I can think of two or three other stories you might dislike as much for similar reasons, but they're not really close to the core feel of the series (and if they were, I would've like the series much less.)
posted by ASF Tod und Schwerkraft at 8:26 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


As far as starting points, A Game of You was my first collected book, and I started at Brief Lives in the monthly issues, and honestly, coming in halfway was pretty great, with constant mystery, and not really knowing what was going on.

BUT (pedantry)

What the fuck? Why can we see his eyes? Why aren't they pools of black, filled with stars shining in their infinite depths? What's this fleshy-colored person doing there? Morpheus shouldn't ever look like a person who was vaguely adverse to getting a tan. Enthusiasm, cautiousnessed.

I'm looking forward to it, but like mentioned above, Morpheus should be deeply unsettling to those he encounters. He's not a god, he's a fundamental concept of existence and consciousness.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:03 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]


Why aren't they pools of black, filled with stars shining in their infinite depths?

Well, the glib answer is that a TV budget doesn't have room for lots of good CGI.

But I'm with you. Even within the financial and technical constraints, the people making this should understand that these details matter to the people who care. And if they're willing to half-ass it for ease of production, it makes you wonder what else they're compromising on.
posted by star gentle uterus at 11:37 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


Part of the joy of sandman was the different art styles, the introduction of other characters as the main viewpoint, coming into contact with Dream, an unknowable god-like force. And then flipping that, and having Dream be a protagonist for a while. I don’t think that fits with “bland Toronto TV show production values”.
posted by The River Ivel at 1:26 AM on June 7 [5 favorites]


My guess is the way they'll handle 24 Hours is they won't do it, lol. It's certainly filmable in a world that produced, say, The Sadness (trigger warning: everything), but it's probably not the vibe Netflix is going for, or indeed a vibe Gaiman would go for if the book were being written today, I think. In the first year or so of the series, you can see him working in different genre shadings, and the horror is generally darker and gooshier here than it is later on. Leaving aside the occasional severed face or whatever, horror from Season of Mists onward is a pretty lite rock affair in The Sandman, as it's clearly not Gaiman's cup of tea, and perhaps more importantly not really what most of the audience was there for.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:25 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the first Sandman issues are Gaiman playing in the DC sandbox because they wanted him to play in it while introducing Morpheus as his own thing. Again, The Sandman doesn't really become The Sandman until The Sound of Her Wings and Death's first appearance. After that, it evolved into its own beautiful thing.

The Sandman, I feel, is an particularly important comic series in that it really became the mainstream comic book that appealed to women, LGTBQ folks, generally folks who were most decidedly not being courted by DC and Marvel. The Sandman was my gateway into comics, mostly indie ones alongside my Vertigo faves. I did not feel welcome in comic spaces of yore--and that probably hasn't changed much online, tbh--and Neil definitely gave me what I have always loved most: being told stories by someone who clearly loves stories. So I am willing to cut some slack on the series because I never thought I'd see it come to life (and I am probably one of those rare fans who was indifferent to the possibility either way). Like, I am still stunned by the vitriol towards the casting of key characters because apparently comics fans who literally read ridiculous outlandish fun content on the reg can't somehow wrap their heads around Death being a black woman instead of the perky white Goth version.
posted by Kitteh at 4:48 AM on June 7 [8 favorites]


Why aren't they pools of black, filled with stars shining in their infinite depths?

Neil addressed this on Tumblr.

"We did a lot of make-up, contact lens and CGI trials, tests and experiments starting out, and reluctantly came to the conclusion that we didn’t want to lose Tom’s eyes, because when we did we diminished the magic of his performance."
posted by merriment at 4:50 AM on June 7 [8 favorites]


Thank you, merriment, and while it's nice to hear it from him, it still sounds a bit "we couldn't figure out how to make it work." No matter how, ahem, dreamy the lead actor is.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:56 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


The Sandman, I feel, is an particularly important comic series in that it really became the mainstream comic book that appealed to women, LGTBQ folks

Welllllll...I mean, the Claremont X-Men would like to have a word about that, I'm sure, but yeah, Sandman was definitely a big mainstream comic that did this.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:21 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Morpheus should be unsettling. This looks like dollar store Timothée Chalamet, just a white guy with fluffy hair. He's not intimidating; he looks like Edward Cullen. No one would mistake him for Death.

This. The rest of the casting seems pretty good, from this and other things I've seen but Tom Sturridge seems to be a bit of a charisma vacuum. The last thing I saw him in was Far From the Madding Crowd, where he played the supposed-to-be ridiculously fascinating Sergeant Troy, and I kept forgetting what he looked like when he was off the screen.

They should have got Tilda Swinton...
posted by Fuchsoid at 5:33 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Welllllll...I mean, the Claremont X-Men would like to have a word about that, I'm sure, but yeah, Sandman was definitely a big mainstream comic that did this.

Yeah, but this is what I mean by female-friendly. I wouldn't have known, bought, or been aware of Claremont's X-Men without some sort of vicious learning curve that would likely have me interact with guys who wanted to teach me about the X-Men, instead of just lending me issues. (I was 16 when I started reading The Sandman, my gateway comic.) Again, mainstream superhero comics were not friendly to women readers. That is not to say that there weren't or aren't women readers of those comics, but honestly those kinds of comics aren't really my jam, then or now. The Sandman was its own thing for a lot of non-traditional comics audiences. I am one of those.
posted by Kitteh at 5:39 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


He's not a god, he's a fundamental concept of existence and consciousness.
... Now, supposing a man- that is to say a-'

'Anthropomorphic personification,' said Ronnie Soak. 'But I've always
preferred the term "avatar".'

Lu-Tze's brow wrinkled. 'You fly around a lot?' he said.

'That would be aviator.'

'Sorry. Well, supposing an avatar, thank you, who was perhaps a bit ahead of his time thousands of years ago, well, supposing he took a good look around now, he might just find the world is ready for him again.' Lu-Tze waited. 'My abbot, now, he reckons you are the bees' knees,' he said, for a little reinforcement.


Terry Pratchett, 'Thief of Time'
posted by mikelieman at 5:54 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Oh, I realized I sounded fighty. I didn't mean to sound fighty. Sorry about that!
posted by Kitteh at 5:57 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Not a problem at all! I know that Sandman was indeed what got a lot of women and queer folks reading comics; I'm just saying it wasn't the first such gateway. Ironically, what the X-Men had turned into by the time The Sandman was popular was somewhat off-putting to everyone who wasn't willing to spend a fortune every month to understand what was going on in 27 different books, and it felt a lot more adolescent-young-dude besides. But the initial revival of the series (the basis of most of the movies) was more welcoming than probably any other superhero comic being published, and its audience in many ways foreshadowed Gaiman's.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:13 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


if it was that kind of edgelord bullshit I guess I didn't miss anything after all

Other people have already jumped in to make the point that this one issue isn't really at all representative of the whole, but I'd just like to add that this line of inference might lead you astray. You read one plot summary and decide on that basis that something isn't for you? Wouldn't it maybe make more sense to try to understand the series as a whole? Figure out why it's as widely beloved as it is? Perhaps glance at the wikipedia article, if one was genuinely curious?

I mean, glancing at that article, one would learn a lot. Like...Gaiman wouldn't have his career as a bestselling novelist, absent Sandman. Do his novels, collectively, sound like "edgelord bullshit"? Sandman itself, either in parts or taken as a whole, has won the World Fantasy Award, a couple dozen Eisner awards, a couple of Hugo awards, and a couple of Bran Stoker awards. Awards are no guarantee of quality, of course...but does "edgelord bullshit" generally garner that kind of acclaim?

The series has remained popular enough with successive waves of readers that it's never gone out of print, a perennial favorite that's supported a standard trade paperback release, multiple prestige formats, an annotated edition, all covering the same 75 issue run and various sequels, prequels, and spin-offs. Does edgelord bullshit generally have that kind of long tail?

Not everybody has to be interested in everything, but it would be a real shame to pass on something as rewarding as these books based on jumping to a faulty conclusion. I'd go so far as to say that if one never took an interest in comic books, didn't given a damn about superheroes, had no interest whatsoever in that entire corner of pop culture...it would still be worth one's while to check out Sandman. It's a genuine masterpiece.
posted by Ipsifendus at 7:28 AM on June 7 [6 favorites]


In my head, Dream was less a young pretty boy and more like say, James Swanton.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:51 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


When you say the story is of it's time, it's quite literally tied to historic events. So, updating it will be interesting...

Dream's initial capture is tied to the outbreak of sleeping sickness in 1917. So, that endpoint seems fixed.
People who were children when he was captured are still alive (albeit elderly) when he is freed.
That doesn't leave much leeway for simply extending his captivity.
There's also the scheduling of anniversary visits with Hob Gadling. Move that by more than a year or so would wreck the setup during the Elizabethan scene.
posted by cheshyre at 7:59 AM on June 7


I wanna know who is gonna play Hob Gadling.

That is my thermometer for this show. Because I've never thought of this before but he influenced, prolly, why I liked the Whitney Ellsworth character from Deadwood.
posted by NoThisIsPatrick at 8:22 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


I think the only expectations I have of this is that it won't be a fascinating trainwreck, a boring trainwreck, or a must-see hit series. I think if it turns out like Good Omens - pretty ok, certainly understood what was appealing about the original but wasn't quite as interesting or fun - it'll have done well.

I also don't know how you film 24 Hours and have it fit in with the rest of the series.
posted by Merus at 8:57 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


It's not very often that someone gets to do a work over again in a different medium. Apart from anything else, it's an opportunity to tighten up the early part of the narrative with the benefit of knowing where the story is going, and make it a more coherent work. Someone doing an adaptation would try to be too faithful, but Gaiman doesn't need to be faithful.

The only example I can think of and author remaking like this is Tom Stoppard's film of Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Which is a fine film, but it was competing with the version that played out in my head, and not winning (because I'd read and re-read the play many, many times), and it was a few years after it came out before I was able to appreciate it for what it was.

The thing about Sandman that I wonder about is... well, it's a story about a secret aristocracy, a tight disfunctional set of siblings with huge influence that the straight world don't know about. And about the effect being in that position has on people, their responsibility to their status and to their family, and to themselves. When he began writing it he was still in Scientology (as the son of one of the leading lights of the movement) and when he completed it he was out of it, and I've often wondered if there was anything autobiographical in it, and whether it was a part of that process and the thinking around it.

I don't know whether I'd ask if I had the opportunity, as I know it's not a subject Gaiman likes to talk about, because on the one hand it's Scientology and on the other it's his family, y'know. I mean, if I had the opportunity I wouldn't want to waste it pissing him off. But I'd be interested.

It probably wouldn't be a part of the new version either way.
posted by Grangousier at 11:04 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


It's not very often that someone gets to do a work over again in a different medium. Apart from anything else, it's an opportunity to tighten up the early part of the narrative with the benefit of knowing where the story is going, and make it a more coherent work. Someone doing an adaptation would try to be too faithful, but Gaiman doesn't need to be faithful.

Gaiman in fact is one of those few people- he and Lenny Henry made Neverwhere as a BBC series, and he later adapted it as a novel.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:42 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


I guess I just feel extremely skeptical after the huge disappointment that was american gods. Good omens wasn't amazing but it was also kept much tighter than what AG was aiming for and that benefited it.

I just don't see modern prestige tv having the temperament or skillset to execute something like this well.
posted by Ferreous at 11:44 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


I'll certainly watch it, but I'm not sure about talking about it with other people, particularly major fans. Were it to be posted on Fanfare, I'd almost definitely make a SHOW ONLY thread, meaning that the thread would be just about the show, with zero references to the comic book.

However good or bad (or even mid) Sandman will be, past adaptations have shown that fans of the original work will be out in droves, nitpicking what's different. This'll go beyond constructive criticism, and head immediately (and repeatedly) about why a scene didn't include X or how the changing of a story arc simply destroys everything. That gets old pretty fast.

Hopefully the SHOW ONLY thread will be view in the show as a separate piece of media, rather than constant bemoaning about what's missing or different.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:49 PM on June 7 [4 favorites]


I don't trust Gaiman's taste on a visual or film storytelling level since he kicked out Bryan Fuller after the first season of American Gods, so eh, this looks pretty bad.
posted by yueliang at 2:43 PM on June 7


According to the Hollywood Reporter, Gaiman's issue was that Fuller wanted to take the story further away from the book.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:20 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Fortunately, most of the Gaiman fans I know at this point are pretty cool people so I'm going to happy to talk about the show with them. The Internet in general? Maybe not.

(The Sandman/Gaiman was basically my first fandom so I've been doing this for like 25+ years now. Some of us have wandered in and out but I still have some forever friends because of this comic.)
posted by edencosmic at 4:38 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Actually Preludes and Nocturnes probably would not be the best place to start, if you tend to get scared off books easily. (Let's just say that issue#6 "24 Hours" gets real dark and leave it at that).

The second volume, "The Doll's House", was my entrance into the Sandman series. Maybe it's just me, but it got me hooked so I definitely recommend it to newcomers. It has a good recap in the first collected issue (though later pressings of the series apparently have said issue included in "Preludes" instead) and introduces readers to various key folks like the Corinthian (okay, moments of his arc are pretty "whoa!"), Matthew the Raven, Hob, and various members of the Endless family.
posted by gtrwolf at 5:56 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Wow, I always felt like I was missing out not reading Sandman back in the day. But, just reading the synopsis of 24 Hours, if it was that kind of edgelord bullshit I guess I didn't miss anything after all.

Interesting. Please let us know if you have any more thoughts on this book you have not read.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:25 PM on June 7 [5 favorites]


The first season of American Gods, where Shadow was being introduced to these people who seemed kind and welcoming at first, and slowly started to see the centuries of, not necessarily malice, but the almost totally narcissistic devotion toward self-preservation that could be seen as malice coming off in waves like stink lines, that was fantastic. And yeah, the second season was less good, less “these people mean you harm, Shadow, but you won’t listen, will you?” kind of legitimate holy terror, and then there was the whole shitshow where they fired Orlando Jones, and I honestly couldn’t tell you any more about the show because that was when it ended for me.

If they can capture even a smidge of that sense of, initially, how little Dream concerns himself with anything aside from Duty in a way that borders on AG’s sense of holy terror, I’ll be thrilled. While we’re asking for presents, I’d also like to get the sense of how deeply Death cares for each and everyone, and if Gwendolyn Christie can capture Lucifer’s malevolent ennui.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:48 PM on June 7


I'd go so far as to say that if one never took an interest in comic books, didn't given a damn about superheroes, had no interest whatsoever in that entire corner of pop culture...it would still be worth one's while to check out Sandman. It's a genuine masterpiece.

This is me. I've read Sandman, Watchmen and, like, a small handful of other comics. I'm not a comics person (indeed, I thought Watchmen "OK, I suppose") but consider Sandman a legitimate masterpiece.

On the plus side for the show, Gaiman is heavily involved, having done a hard pass on earlier treatments, and seems genuinely pleased and excited.

On the negative, I was underwhelmed by the trailer. I don't know where I read it but the comment that it looked "like Dr Who with a bit of a bigger budget" seemed about right - and would not be OK. Also, I have little affection for Jenna Coleman.

But I will definitely give it a chance because the source material is so damned good, even a half-good adaptation should be worth my time.

There's been chat about what will be covered in this first series (my other fear? Netflix do a Netflix and don't renew at some arbitrary point. Gaiman says they're locked in but I rather suspect Netflix can stomach whatever the exit clause is if they do decide to pull the plug). It's vols 1&2, in their entirety, so to the end of The Dolls House.
posted by deeker at 11:03 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


I think having multiple volumes in one season is to their benefit. Honestly one of my biggest gripes with american gods was how glacial the movement of the plot was.
posted by Ferreous at 11:50 AM on June 8


Again, mainstream superhero comics were not friendly to women readers. That is not to say that there weren't or aren't women readers of those comics, but honestly those kinds of comics aren't really my jam, then or now. The Sandman was its own thing for a lot of non-traditional comics audiences. I am one of those.

I'm another AFAB reader for whom Sandman was a gateway/draw towards comics. I had absolutely no interest in superheroes (with or without scantily-clad and improbably posed heroines). But I had read this awesome Good Omens book and some terrific short stories (Smoke and Mirrors) by Gaiman and wanted to read more.

I actually had to stop off with another terrific comic (Jeff Smith's Bone) to practice my reading of comics; the simpler black & white images were an easier introduction to the skill of reading sequential art and text together (which does have a learning curve). But my goal was to read more from this fascinating modern-but-mythic world that was Sandman. (I also stopped off to read McCloud's Understanding Comics - which makes me sound so erudite, but I was being spoon-fed these books by a friend who was a comics-writing artist and knew just where to start me off).

Since then, I've gone on to read many graphic novels and comics - mostly Western (The Books of Magic, Y: The Last Man, Strangers in Paradise, Love and Rockets, Will Eisner's A Contract with God and The Building, Watchman, V for Vendetta, Maus) as well as some manga (20th Century Boys, Ooku). But still no super-hero comics (unless we count Watchmen, which I do - sometimes). The closest I've come are the little cameos some DC characters made in The Wake.

I never would have discovered all these great books without that initial desire to read Sandman, or stuck with them if Sandman hadn't been completely different from what I expected from comics (especially the female characters in The Doll's House and A Game of You).
posted by jb at 12:38 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


I'm not a comics person (indeed, I thought Watchmen "OK, I suppose")

I think I would have felt the same way had I not read decades worth of comics prior and specifically superhero comics. It's been a while since I last read it, but it seems largely more focused on analyzing and deconstructing the tropes of comics than anything else. Or, maybe, at least a huge subtext to the story.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 6:41 AM on June 9


It's been a while since I last read it, but it seems largely more focused on analyzing and deconstructing the tropes of comics than anything else. Or, maybe, at least a huge subtext to the story.

That's true to an extent; 20th Century Boys is similar in the way that it is about deconstructing manga tropes (especially mecha manga). But I read (and really enjoyed) both without being deeply familiar with either (though as a westerner, I couldn't help but be somewhat culturally immersed in super-hero tropes). Watchmen taps into something more about heroes and morality in general.

Not all art is for all people, of course. (My own heresy is that I'm not a huge fan of Maus; I found the art style very clunky). And appreciation of art definitely is affected by one's knowledge of the genre.

But I feel like comics/graphic novels are better thought of as a medium, not a genre. It's a different way of presenting a text that takes some specific skills that are different than just word-based text. I know this, because I had to consciously develop my own ability to read comics in my late teens/early 20s, because I didn't do it as a kid. I started off with simpler art styles and then moved my way into more complex layouts, etc. (like Watchmen). It took a while before I was comfortable and fluent in reading images and texts in tandem.

I have to wonder whether the first people to see movies also had to learn how to "watch films", whereas most people today do it instinctively.
posted by jb at 9:34 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]


It probably also helped that by the time I got around to reading Watchmen, I was already a fan of Prisoners of Gravity, a low-budget Canadian public television show all about science fiction and fantasy, and they had an entire episode dedicated to analysing Watchmen, including stuff about panel layouts that I never would have noticed otherwise.
posted by jb at 9:39 AM on June 9


Oh yes, folks absolutely had to learn how to "watch films"! Also filmmakers had to learn how to make films, there's a whole lot written on the topic. Less written about comics although Understanding Comics is certainly influential.
posted by Nelson at 9:51 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]


if it was that kind of edgelord bullshit I guess I didn't miss anything after all

I would guess that you wouldn’t have enjoyed it. There are all sorts of perverted horror elements that you get used while reading it and if that’s not your thing it’s not your thing.

I remember introducing a standalone story to my mother with the warning "Oh yeah, at the end Cain is going to stave in Abel’s head with a fire poker. It’s okay because that’s their relationship now."
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:40 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Sandman is about a midlife crisis for an immortal.
posted by Jacen at 2:20 PM on June 11 [5 favorites]


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