10 Best Sandman Comics, Ranked

Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series is not only regarded as one of the greatest comics of all time, but also Gaiman’s magnum opus. Though he had co-written books like good omens before, Gaiman’s voice as a writer didn’t come into full bloom until he gave fans the story of Morpheus, The Endless (aka Dream) in charge of the realm of dreams.

RELATED: Neil Gaiman’s 10 Best Comic Stories, Ranked

Leading towards the surreal, while dealing with mythology, religion, literature, psychology, and the struggles of living, there isn’t much that escapes the subject matter of this comic series. Despite having an immortal, nearly all-powerful protagonist, Sandman is more interested in the human condition than over-the-top action. Being in charge of the realm of dreams, Dream frequently tackles subjects like depression or fear of death since this is what people’s subconscious deal with. Through Dream’s eyes, Gaiman explores what it is to be human.

10 Collectors Is A Serial Killer Convention

Illustrated by Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III, issue #14 of The Sandman series tells the story of a convention for serial killers. Most of the issue does not feature Dream, which adds to the terror of the atmosphere. Those attending the convention switch back and forth between their everyday persona and their nightmarish counterparts.

At the climax of the issue, the guest of honor at the convention is revealed to be a failed experiment of Dream’s. Going by the name of Corinthian, decades earlier, Morpheus had created him to be a nightmare encompassing humanity’s fear of the darkness as well as the darkness within humanity. Instead, Corinthian escaped and poisoned the minds of individuals, creating serial killers everywhere in the process. By the end of the issue, Dream unmakes Corinthian and takes away the attendees’ ability to daydream, making them fully aware of what they do without the narrative they created to excuse it.

9 A Dream Of A Thousand Cats Is Heart-Wrenchingly Beautiful

Cats are popular in all mediums, but the cat story told in issue #18 of The Sandman series is a cut above the rest. Illustrated by Kelley Jones and Malcolm Jones III, this standalone story tells the story of a cat who becomes disillusioned by the ways humans treat cats after her kittens are killed by her owner.

RELATED: 10 Panels From The Sandman That Are Deeply Chilling

Searching for answers, she travels through the land of dreams. After a long journey, she meets Morphius in cat form. He shows her the world as it used to be when cats ruled the world, and how they could do so again if enough of them dream it. Gaiman walks the line between dream and reality here and shows how, if enough people (or cats) believe something, it can become true.

8 Seasons of Mist Is A Family Affair

Destiny talking about Dream Returning to Hell

Illustrated by Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III, issue #21 introduces and sets up concepts that become central to the series. The Endless family is introduced together for the first time in a family meeting. They are each introduced in turn, starting with the twins, Desire and Despair, then Destiny, who is the eldest, and Delirium, who is the youngest, Dream, and finally, Death. Their function in the world is explained along with their personality and shadow.

Aside from just introducing the family, Dream’s past is also brought up along with his past relationships. This comic also serves as the beginning of Lucifer’s decision to leave hell, which impacts the whole universe.

7 Cerements Is A World-Building Wonder

Tales being Told in The Sandman Story Cerements

Illustrated by Shea Anton Pensa and Bryan Talbot, issue #55 of the Sandman comics is strange even for the series. At World’s End Inn, located at a necropolis, the patrons share macabre stories about curses and executions. The issue has a tone of its own and is a masterpiece in storytelling, creating unique characters and giving them a chance to voice their own stories.

The comic balances the line between the gothic, Chaucer’s The Canterbury Talesand Grimm Fairy Tales, creating a world of its own in the process.

6 24 Hours Is A Dark Chamber Drama

In issue #6 of the series, Dream is still recovering from his imprisonment at the beginning of the series and picking up the relics that bring him strength. One of these relics is in the possession of Doctor Destiny, who uses the dreamstone to torment patrons at a diner.

The comic follows the 24 hours that Doctor Destiny is staying at the diner, forcing the patrons to stay and act out terrible acts upon each other. The issue serves to showcase the power of Morpheus, as the stone is only one part of his essence and is capable of bringing about total control and destruction of others without much effort.

5 The Hunt Is A Grandfather’s Tale

Illustrated by Duncan Eagleson, issue #38 is a story from the old country told by a grandfather to his granddaughter. It’s a parable regarding a young man obsessed with a duke’s daughter. The tale follows the boy overcoming many dangers, encountering Dream himself in the process, only to find the duke’s daughter and realize that “sometimes dreams are best left ungranted.”

RELATED: 10 Confusing Comics That Only Make Sense On A Reread

The comic ends with the revelation that the story was not a stoppable but the grandfather’s own story. The comic is a perfect example of the way Sandman manages to blur the line between reality and fiction, bringing the magic of storytelling into the mundane.

4 Ramadan Shows Timeless Beauty

Illustrated by P. Craig Russell, issue #50 of Sandman showcases the beauties of a city lost in time. The King of Baghdad loves his city of him and is willing to make a deal with the devil (or, in this case, Morpheus) to preserve it. His city of him appears to be the perfect utopia, but he knows one day it will fall like any other. To prevent this, he offers the city to Dream, so it will be preserved in its entirety in the land of dreams.

The story is a perfect example of historical fiction often found in Sandman. It states the only way that perfection can be kept is in our dreams.

3 The Sound Of Her Wings Reunites Siblings

This marks the first time that Dream’s sister, Death, makes an appearance in the series (and inspires cosplayers for decades to come). Illustrated by Mike Dringenberg, issue # 8 of the series also serves as the first time Dream has seen his sister of her since his imprisonment of her and dealing out his revenge of her.

Their relationship is explored in the comic, as well as their differences. Both the reader and Dream get to glimpse Ella’s Death’s job for a day as Morpheus follows her around her rounds. The comic is an exploration of death as a concept and how varied people are affected by it.

two The Golden Boy Revitalizes An Old Comics Character

Prez and Boss Smiley in the Sandman comics

The American Dream is on display on this one. Issue #54, illustrated by Michael Allred and Bryan Talbot, deals with the story of a teenager named Prez whose dream is to become president of the United States. The comic follows Prez as he works toward his dream of him to help as many people as he can.

RELATED: 10 Actors You Didn’t Know Play US Presidents On-Screen

Throughout Prez’s quest, he encounters several figures tempting him with different ways of looking at things (one of whom is Richard Nixon), but the most persistent is Boss Smiley. Smiley is willing to make all of Prez’s dreams come true, so long as he remembers that he owes it all to Smiley. Prez refuses and does it on his own, but the temptation itself speaks to the American Dream’s downfalls, as people are corrupted along the way of actually doing some good.

1 A Midsummer Night’s Dream And The Bard Himself

In issue #19 of the Sandman series, William Shakespeare makes an appearance. The Bard has made a deal with Dream. William will write two plays about dreams in exchange for having his work remembered for all time. When Shakespeare performs his play for Dream, Morpheus invites all faerie depicted in the play to watch it performed.

This issue both pays tribute to the greatest playwright in English history and also shows the price one pays for their art when Shakespeare’s son dies after the play is performed due to his involvement with the faerie.

NEXT: The Sandman: 10 Reasons To Read The Comic Before The Netflix Series Debuts

The 15 Strongest Omega-Level X-Men, Ranked

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.