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I have gone as far as "Fables and Reflections".
What the fuck am I reading. And why does it make sense. In a completely nonsensical way. How do I dreamed logic.
The worst part is, it terrifies me. Not the gory bits. Not the bits where there is evil, and killing. No. Dream... violating any sort of common sense... any idea of consistency (and even his face is inconsistent, from one panel to the other)... The points that frighten me the most are when he completely ignores scale, and holds a kingdom in his hands. Or that one point where he gave "ideas" to the muse rapist. The ideas themselves frightened me. It was madness the likes of which no actual madman could come up with, save perhaps in dreams.
I also found the Emperor Norton and Emperor Augustus segments deeply moving and fairly interesting, respectively.
I've gotten as far as "Season of Mists". I had heard the angels' quote at the end, about what they planned to accomplish with Hell, out of context before, but actually reading it, at night in a dark house in the middle of the woods, sent the biggest shiver up my spine the likes of which I haven't felt in a long time.
Morpheus, as I understand him, is a force of nature. He operates inside minds for the most part, so there are no physical limits. As one of the Endless he has powers drawn from the universe itself (or at least the life therein). He has no fixed form because he is more of a concept than a single entity—he tends to appear as what you expect to see, or what you fear most, or what you need most, depending on your situation. As the context changes, so does his appearance.
Well, it's what many governments are trying to accomplish with prisons. Even if it's not the same thing at all. Given that the damned are there because of their own impulse to torment themselves for transgressing against what they thought was right (and notice the complete and utter moral relativism here: ethics have nothing to do with it, it's themselves that they failed) it might be a good idea not to give them what they want, but what they need. If they can get them to stop hating themselves... It's just that those two angels are completely and utterly clueless about what to do. They certainly won't achieve that just by torturing them. In fact, they'd need to dismiss the demons...
In fact, YHWH in this story is probably the scariest character of all, scarier than Lucifer (who is one serious asshole, and who the hell is the Harvey Dent woman tagging along him?). Everyone is scared shitless of him.
But he clearly has a personality, he obeys rules, he's very devoted to his duty, he has no sense of humor (but a good sense of sarcasm) and is overly dramatic in everything he does. He even falls in love and holds grudges and stuff.
edited 5th Dec '11 1:15:22 AM by Owlman
True, but a character with no human qualities isn't very interesting. Comic books, like any type of fiction, only give you the outlines of people and situations. A story based in the real world can't match the real world for detail or impact, any more than the words you put on paper can match the thoughts in your head. Why should a fantasy world be any different?
Writing Delirium must be fun...
My brother bought the first volume of Sandman Mystery Theater the other day. Looks interesting. Can't wait to rea—oh, different Sandman. Never mind.
This from issue 39. Someone asks Morpheus, "Are you always so pale?"
He answers, "That depends on who's watching."
This thread reminds me of my imminent need to read more of this series. I borrowed Preludes and Nocturnes from a friend a while back and I am now tormented by curiosity as to the ways in which Gaiman might have topped himself. Really, "24 Hours" is just... I read a great deal of horror fiction, but that was magnificently unpleasant.
It's still good, though.
For me, the human cast was what always made the book such a great ride. Morpheus was interesting when they introduced him, but I really don't think he could carry the entire book on his shoulders. I agree with whoever said Morpheus is a force of nature—seeing how street-level humans deal with a force of nature is always interesting. It makes Morpheus that much more terrifying when we can see him through the eyes of somebody who isn't even remotely equipped to comprehend him.
And the variety of human characters is amazing. Everyone from twenty-something transvestites to roman emperors gets serious dramatic treatment. When it comes to the humans, I don't think there are many clear heroes and villains. They're just people that we can easily recognize and relate to. I always thought that was Neil's biggest strength: he can deal with big cosmic forces without losing focus on the humans that are affected by them.
"24 Hours" creeped me out too. It's not so much what happens to the people in the diner (although that's horrible enough)—it's Dee's attitude towards the whole business. He has some time to kill. He has Sandman's ruby. Why not torture a few people, or better yet, have them torture each other? He's like a kid trying out a new toy. He's not malicious or sadistic or even particularly gleeful. It's as if bad things "just happen" when he's around, and he's only a bystander.
edited 12th Dec '11 6:44:18 AM by RalphCrown
From what I can tell from something Gaiman mentions in his note at the end of the volume, the whole thing is a kind of metaphor for the act of writing and the way it effects how you relate to other people. Which is probably the most horrific thing of all, from a certain perspective.
Also, seeing the glory of faith. Yikes.
edited 12th Dec '11 1:11:33 PM by JHM
Don't remember seeing that, but if so Neil must either be really affected by that, (or maybe just was while writing Sandman) because Shakespeare also talks about that feeling In-Universe.
The pages where The bacchae rape, eat, and decapitate Orpheus are so disturbing and tragic they were physically painful to look at, I tried to staple the pages together so I wouldn't accidentally see it.
edited 9th Mar '12 6:58:34 PM by ATC
I've finally read A Game of You, it's the best volume I've read so far. Apparently it isn't that popular, does anyone have any idea why?
"A Game of You" is rather controversial, dealing frankly as it does with overt lesbianism (Hazel and Foxglove) and transgenderism (Wanda). It's got a fairly high Squick content (George, what Thessaly does to him, and the disturbing way he continues to comment on the action afterward). It's got a Karma Houdini (the Cuckoo) and a relative Downer Ending. None of this was likely to make it broadly popular.
I liked "A Game of You", but in comparison to the whole of The Sandman, it's probably my least favorite arc...not exactly sure why aside from the art being irritating, it just didn't click with me as much.
My least favorite portion would be the one with the cats, actually. I haven't finished the entire series and I'm not saying I particularly /disliked/ that installment. I'm just saying that whenever I recall that particular story, I'm always left with a "What was the point of that?"
Especially in a series that ends up utilizing its little odds and ends to great narrative effect as time progresses. The cat one just seemed out of place (but as always for Gaiman, still enjoyable! I would seriously read a phone book if someone told me Neil Gaiman wrote it)
I'm in a strange position.
I've owned The Kindly Ones since the end of the summer, and I really like it. Storytelling-wise, it's probably one of my favorites in the series. But in all the time it's been on my bookshelf, I still haven't finished it. I've sat down to read the whole thing more than once, and I usually get to the twelfth issue or so before I get distracted and start reading something else.
It might be because a friend already spoiled the ending. I don't know if I can face Morpheus' death after I got so attached to him.
I enjoyed A Game of You, even though I wasn't totally thrilled with the Downer Ending. I'd say my favorite arc was Brief Lives—a poignant story with wonderful art from Jill Thompson. A close second would be Season of Mists. I loved Dream's reunion with Nada. She doesn't accept his initial half-assed apology and slaps him. Go Nada!
Huh? I didn't feel that A Game Of You had a Downer Ending. Felt perfectly natural to me. It was more of a downer middle, what with the witch causing meteoroligcal problems for the sake of a petty grievance. That she ended up Morpheus's girlfriend for a while is a little bit shocking.
As for the transsexuality and lesbianism, it doesn't affect my enjoyment of the work one way or another, honestly. Well, it helps that I've spent so much time with TVT's LGBT community. As for the Cuckoo, can we really call her a Karma Houdini? She lost everything.
Well, in the end, she gets exactly what she wanted, didn't she?
The concept that all religions are true, but only remain influential and have power as people believe in them is intrguing.
Know what's interesting and/or hilarious? The first time I ever heard somebody evoke that concept was in the original Thundercats cartoon. During his anointment trials, Lion-O encountered anlynx god under Mumm-Ra's tomb, who told Lion-O he was weak because no one believed in him anymore. Jack Kirby also used the concept in his Stalker sword 'n sorcery series in the 70's.
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