The Sandman: A New Fantasy Favorite? An Old Comic Classic?


The Sandman is a work of art. Both the show and the comic it’s based on evoke fantastical, yet grounded, visual scenes and emotional experiences.

Neil Gaiman, writer of the comic and producer of the Netflix series, has once again rocked genres with vividness and originality. The show revitalizes the classic story with a well-chosen cast, stunning creative choices, and expanded character development. It is a wild ride of that combines horror, urban fantasy, and the supernatural. 

The Sandman is the story of Morpheus the King of Dreams, (Tom Sturridge) who is imprisoned by a supernatural cult that is bent on capturing the personified entity of Death. Sturridge’s acting is fantastic. He expertly handles the character’s “otherness” and familiarity, while still bringing spots of warmth into his character to balance the coldness of the King of Dreams.

The comic was a groundbreaking series which graced the 1990s with its sensational, vivid art and masterful storytelling. It was unique. The art, provided by many different artists, combined several striking artistic techniques and personalities. 

Shadows continuously fell starkly on the brightness of Morpheus himself. Wrinkles and wide eyes enlivened characters such as Doctor Destiny, and the real and dreaming worlds were strung together with a magical phantasmagoria. The show echoes this aesthetic. Unsurprisingly, the clever artistry is enveloped into the  cinematography itself. The colors, shapes, and textures give the characters atmospheres that mirror their inner struggles and identities.

The original comic ran from 1989-1996 and was comprised of 75 issues plus spin offs. The comic was also part of the DC universe, with appearances by Martian Manhunter and John Constantine. 

Gaiman decided to take the show out of the DC universe, saying in an interview with Variety, “By the time ‘The Sandman’ finished, it had its own aesthetic which really wasn’t the DC Universe anymore. We didn’t want a TV show where you felt that you had to have read a whole bunch of comics published in 1988 and 1989 to understand what was going on.”

The cast also includes Gwendolyn Christie as Lucifer, Ani Osho as Miranda Walker, Patton Oswalt as Matthew the Raven, Boyd Holbrook as the Corinthian, Vivienne Acheampong as Lucien, and David Thewlis as Doctor Destiny. Fans of Harry Potter will recognize Thewlis as Professor Remus Lupin.

The most recent season has three parts. There are two live action storylines and a bonus episode. The episodes are about an hour in length. As of this moment, Netflix has not announced if the show will have a second season.

Based solely on the mastery of storytelling, and the artistry of the creation of “The Sandman” universe, whether you are new fan or even a fan of the original comic, this show is worth a watch.