Classic Comic Book Canon: The Sandman. Issues 13-16

Welcome back. We’re continuing with The Doll’s House storyline.

Issue #13

Title: “Men of Good Fortune”

Artist: Michael Zulli and Steve Parkhouse

Collected in: The Doll’s House


  • 1389 Dream and Death enter a local pub. In this pub is a man named Robert “Hob” Gadling, who believes that men only die because it’s what they expect that they are meant to do. He announces that he has no intention of ever dying, and that it is a mug’s game. Intrigued, Dream and Death decide to allow Hob to remain alive until the day that he truly desires it. Dream approaches Hob’s table, and offers that if cheating death is what he wants, the two of them will meet again in the same place in one hundred years’ time.
  • 1489 Hob is surprised that Dream returns, though no less surprised than he is to still be alive. He has been working as a soldier, and still has no intention of dying.
  • 1589 Hob seems to be doing well for himself. His business savvy has earned him a knighthood. After 200 years, Hob has finally taken a wife and fathered a son. Dream is distracted when he overhears a conversation between a young William Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe discussing the former’s prospects as a playwright. Will claims that he would give up his mortal soul to be able to write plays that live on in memory forever. Intrigued, Dream offers Shakespeare a deal.

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  • 1689 Hob has become a drunkard, and his wife died during childbirth, and his son died twenty years later in a bar fight. Later, he pushed his luck by staying in the same town for too long, and they tried to burn him as a witch. Dream wonders, then, if he has finally decided to die. Pausing for a moment, Hob smiles and states that he will go on.
  • 1789 Hob has taken up slave-trading, and got back onto his feet. They are interrupted by a woman, Johanna Constantine. For years, there have been rumours that the Wandering Jew and the Devil have been meeting at this pub once every hundred years. Dream uses some of his sand to incapacitate her, filling her mind with dreams of those whom she wronged in the past. Before he and Hob part ways, Dream recommends that his companion give up the slave trade.

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  • 1889 Dream reveals that he saw Johanna Constantine again, and recruited her to perform a special task for him. Hob believes that Dream has come to him every century because he is lonely. Indignant, Dream storms off, claiming that it is beneath him to take the company of a mortal for loneliness. Hob calls after him that if they meet again in one hundred years, it will be because they are friends.
  • 1989 Hob looks up to see Dream there, and admits that he wasn’t sure that he would come. Dream smiles, and says that it is impolite to keep one’s friends waiting.

First appearance: Robert “Hob” Gadling, Lady Johanna Constantine

DC characters: Jason Blood and Mad Hettie are mentioned

Historical references:

  • John Ball and Wat Tyler were leaders of the Peasant’s Revolt in 1381.
  • The two Popes are Urban VI and Clement VII.
  • “Buckingham” apparently refers to Thomas of Gloucester, earl (or duke) of Buckingham.
  • Geoffrey Chaucer, the author of Canterbury Tales.
  • “King Dick” is presumably Richard II.
  • Christopher Marlowe. The play Will quotes is Doctor Faustus
  • William Shakespeare. The play Christopher critizes is The First Part of King Henry VI 1
  • “Fat Henry” is Henry VIII, who established the Church of England, and confiscated the Roman Catholic monasteries.
  • Oliver Cromwell, and Parliament, took over England
  • The French Revolution has begun in 1789, following the successful revolt of most of the British colonies in America
  • Sarah Siddons was a famous English actress.
  • Queen Bess is Queen Elizabeth I
  • “Bloody Jack” is Jack the Ripper.

Keep an eye on: We’ll see Hob again. We’ll find out what deal Morpheus made with William Shakespeare, and the job he trusted to Johanna Constantine.

My take This is one of my favorite issues introducing one of my favorite characters. If there were any character that as an actor I would like to play it would be Hob


Issue #14

Title: “Collectors”

Artist:Chris Bachelo and Malcolm Jones III

Collected in: The Doll’s House

Plot: At the hotel in which Rose Walker and her companion Gilbert are staying, a convention has been booked for serial killers. Nimrod meets with the manager of the hotel to be sure that the place is empty of outside guests, but the manager admits that there are still two guests there who have been ordered to stay there by the police. One of the killers claims to be the Bogeyman. Finally, the Corinthian arrives, and he is met with great respect from the others when Nimrod introduces him.

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Later, the Corinthian meets the Doctor outside an elevator, and informs him that the man claiming to be the Bogeyman is a fraud. Gilbert seems to recognize the Corinthian, but despite his being startled, he says nothing. Outside, he writes a name on a piece of paper and tells Rose to call it out if something should go wrong. The Corinthian, the Doctor, and Nimrod have already discovered that “The Bogeyman” is not one of them. They hang him from a tree. When he wakes up, they announce that each of them is going to take turns collecting their specialties from him.

The next morning, the killer called Fun Land attacks Rose. Desperately, she grabs the note with the name on it and says the name “Morpheus.” Instantly, Dream appears. He forces Fun Land to let Rose go, and makes him dream. He tells Rose to leave, and she struggles to stand, rushing out to the parking lot while Fun Land dreams of being forgiven by all the children he hurt.

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The Corinthian makes his keynote speech, but he notices Dream listening in the audience. Rather than send the Corinthian back to the Dreaming, he uncreates him, with plans to do better later. Turning on the audience, Dream announces that he is going to remove the other killers’ illusions that they are the maltreated heroes of their own stories. Out in the parking lot, Rose meets Gilbert who has collected Jed from the trunk of the Corinthian’s car.

First appearance: Nimrod, The Doctor, Fun Land (Nathan Diskin), and Philip Sitz among other serial killers

DC characters The Family man is a serial killer in the pages of Hellblazer

Historical references Gilbert mentions Charles Perrault. “The Collector” is a book by John Fowles, made into a moviedirected by William Wyler. It is the story of a butterfly collector who abducts a young woman and imprisons her in his basement. It is implied that Fun Land commits his murders at Disneyland

Keep an eye on: We will be seeing The Corinthian again

My take: Just the idea of mouths for eyes is creepy AF


Issue #15

Title: “Into the Night”

Artist: Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III

Collected in: The Doll’s House

Plot: While her younger brother in the hospital, Rose Walker returns to her shared house in Florida. That night, Ken dreams of money, sex and power while his girlfriend Barbie dreams of living in a fantastical world with an animal companion. Chantal dreams circular dreams of being in love with words and sentences. Zelda dreams of being a child again, and knows that her romantic relationship with Chantal would be frowned upon by her family. Hal dreams of his quest for love as a gay man. He hopes to meet the standards set by his idols, the glamorous Hollywood actresses of the golden age. Rose on the other hand is unable to dream. She is too worried about her newly found grandmother, Unity Kincaid and her long lost brother Jed.

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Gilbert is in the hospital, watching over Jed as he sleeps. Dream sends Matthew to Jed’s side at the hospital, and promising to deal with the vortex as he always has in the past. The dreams of the people in the house start to blend together. Dream steps in warning her that her activities must end, as they have caused great damage to the Dreaming. Matthew makes his way to the hospital. Gilbert is somewhat unhappy to see him knowing that he must soon return to the Dreaming. Gilbert is surprised to discover that Rose is a vortex, and realizes that the only way to stop her from destroying the Dreaming is to kill her. The only time Dream is empowered to take a human life is when there is a vortex in the Dreaming.

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Historical references:Hal dreams of Marylin Monroe, Bette Davis, Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, and Frank Morgan. The song “If I Were a Bell” is from the Broadway musical Guys and Dolls. Gilbert’s quote is from Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta

My take: I love how trippy the dreams are especially Barbie’s


Issue # 16

1Title: “Lost Hearts”

Artist: Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III

Collected in: The Doll’s House

Plot: Dream reveals to Rose Walker that she is what is known as a “Vortex of Dream”, and in order to protect the Dreaming, he must kill her. Gilbert and Matthew the Raven return to the Dreaming. Gilbert reveals that he was once a dream of a place known as Fiddler’s Green, and he escaped fifty years ago to become a human in the real world.

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Dream explains to Rose that once in each era, there is a vortex – a mortal who briefly becomes the centre of the Dreaming. By it’s nature, the vortex destroys the barriers between each dream until every dreamer is caught in one massive dream. When each dreamer dreams the same dreamer, they all become one, and the vortex begins to collapse on itself until it is gone, and the Dreaming is left in an irreparable state. Elsewhere, Unity Kincaid bids goodbye to her daughter Miranda before falling asleep for the last time.

Gilbert offers his own life in exchange for Rose’s, Dream chooses not to punish Fiddler’s Green, but states that he must return to his former position. Unity Kincaid appears, and explains that had Dream not been imprisoned away from the Dreaming for years, she would have become the next vortex, and not Rose. Unity turns to Rose and asks for her to reach inside of herself and give her whatever it is that makes her the vortex; her heart.

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Rose reaches within her own chest, and pulls out a crystal in the shape of a heart. Unity takes it in her hands, and announces that now, she is the vortex. In her bedroom, Unity suddenly bolts upright, startling her daughter Miranda. Finally, she lays back in the bed, and dies.

Dream reaches down and helps Unity up, revealing that the vortex is gone, and Rose will not have to die. Before sending her back to the real world, Dream promises that he will bring her younger brother Jed back from the shores of dreaming as a gift.

Six months later, Hal sends Rose a letter announcing that he is selling the house where she stayed in Florida, and is moving out west. Ken and Barbie have split up. Chantal and Zelda are buying the house from Hal. Rose and Jed are living in a big house that their mother Miranda bought with money from Unity’s estate.

Dream has deduced that the one who fathered Miranda Walker – the man who raped Unity Kincaid while she was comatose – was Desire itself.He warns that if Desire crosses him again, he will forget that they are siblings, and bring down the power of all of the other siblings against it.

Keep an eye on:We will see Rose, Jed, Zelda, and Hal again. Barbie and her dream world will become the center of another story line. It is revealed that Rose was the one who Judy called from the diner. Desire’s plan to have Dream kill a member of his family will come up again.

My take: To somehow Desire knew that Unity was the vortex and comcocted her plan to get Dream to kill a member if the family. I feel that Dream has regrets over having to kill Rose, but for once he does the right thing and helps Rose and Jed.