Comic Book Canon: The Sandman. Issues 32-34

Welcome to a series that I am continuing. I am going to go through Neil Gaiman’s now-classic series The Sandman

Issue # 32

Title: Slaughter on Fifth Avenue 1

Artist: Shawn McManus

Collected in: A Game of You

Plot: In a dreamland, the inhabitants worry that without their princess, the Cuckoos will likely kill them all. Martin Tenbones speaks up, announcing that he has the porpentine, and will seek out the dreamer. In New York City, Barbie 2 is wakened by her friend Wanda, who decides that they are to go shopping, despite the fact that neither has any money. They decide to go out to Tiffany’s, knowing that because they haven’t got any money, it won’t matter whether they shop there.

Over coffee, Barbie and Wanda return to the subject of dreams. Barbie explains how she used to dream of a strange land with a giant dog named Martin Tenbones who protected her in it, but after one particularly weird dream, she woke up and decided that it was time to end her relationship with Ken. After that, she never dreamed again. 3

After their breakfast, Barbie catches a glimpse of Martin Tenbones. Seeing her, Martin approaches, but before he can reach her, the police open fire on him. The big dog lies bleeding in Barbie’s arms as he struggles to explain that the land needs her. He gives her the porpentine, and then sadly, dies. Wanda walks Barbie back to her apartment, and Barbie asks to be left alone. Outside the apartment, Wanda bumps into a man named George, who inquires after her. Meanwhile, Barbie examines the porpentine, confused as to how her dreams could seem to be becoming real. In his room, George catches a crow, and swallows the bird whole.

First appearance:Wanda, Hazel, Foxglove, Thessaly, George, Wilkinson, Luz, Prinado

Keep an eye on: Thessaly may look mousey but she is no one to mess with

 Issue #33

Title: “Lullabies of Broadway” 4

Artist: Shawn McManus

Collected in: A Game of You

Plot: Barbie is taken aback when Hazel – an out lesbian – reveals that she thinks she might be pregnant. She had got drunk and had sex with a waiter, and thought she would be safe from pregnancy because they had had sex standing up. Barbie admits to having been pregnant once, and having had an abortion. Still very tired, but afraid to sleep after the previous day’s events, Barbie watches some TV. She sees a strange looking woman who introduces herself as Nuala, and warns that something bad is about to happen. Finally, Barbie falls asleep, and for the first time in years, she dreams. After passing through a world of curtains, she comes face to face with Wilkinson – a rat in a trenchcoat and fedora.

Once everyone in the apartment building has fallen asleep, George undoes his shirt and uses a box-cutter to slice down his sternum, peeling away his skin to reveal a bare rib-cage. Out from underneath his open ribs fly several Cuckoo birds. In her dream, Wanda dreams of a Weirdzo woman talking to her, only she is a man. The dream turns into a nightmare when the Weirdzos 5 capture her and force her to have gender reassignment surgery. Hazel dreams of being on a train, but she has no ticket. Hazel opens the box and finds the corpse of a baby that has been autopsied, dead nearly 70 years, but perfectly preserved. Foxglove dreams of being visited by her dead ex-lover Judy, who was killed by John Dee. Judy blames Foxglove for her death, and demands to know if she is seeing someone new. Foxglove admits that though Hazel is not as pretty as Judy was, she never hit her.

When the Cuckoo lands on Thessaly’s shoulder, she wakes and catches it. She slams the bird against the wall, killing it, and then sets it on fire with her mind. The action seems to cripple George. Thessally dresses herself and knocks on George’s door. When he answers it, she hides a knife behind her back. In her dream world, Barbie meets the other residents of The Land, Luz and Prinado. They begin their journey to the Brightly Shining Sea to stop the Cuckoo.

Keep an eye on: In this issue, Foxglove is revealed to be Donna Cavanaugh, whose former girlfriend, Judy, was one of the diners tortured by Doctor Destiny back in Sandman #6.


Issue # 34

Title: Bad Moon Rising 6

Artist: 7 Colleen Doran, George Pratt, & Dick Giordano

Collected in: A Game of You

Plot: Hazel and Foxglove receive a knock at their door from Thessaly. She tells them that she plans to check on Wanda, and both girls decide to accompany her. Wanda has also been heavily shaken by a nightmare. Thessaly expresses concern for Barbie, and Wanda manically bangs on her friend’s door, calling out to her. Thessaly insists that something is wrong, and Wanda uses her spare key to open the door.


Inside, they find Barbie lying on her bed, clutching the porpentine to her breast. Thessaly commands the girls not to touch the gem, as it may be all that’s keeping Barbie alive. She has Wanda carry Barbara carefully up to George’s room while she looks into some things. As Wanda hoists Barbie up into her arms, Hazel notices that she has a penis. Wanda comments that it’s impolite to point out a lady’s shortcomings.

In George’s apartment, Thessaly explains that none of them can leave the room unless she wants them to. Thessaly plans to get answers from George (despite his being dead), Thessaly slices off George’s face, and – to the girls’ disgust – nails it to the wall. She calls on him to answer her questions. To everyone’s surprise, the horrible face responds. George claims to have been Gwag-y-Gwog, a servant of the Cuckoo. Thessaly demands to know where the Cuckoo resides, and George responds that it lies in Barbie’s dreams.

In order to help, Thessaly demands some menstrual blood – which means Foxglove, who is currently menstruating is the only one who can help, given that Wanda is transgender and Hazel is pregnant. Thessaly instructs Wanda to stay with Barbie while she, Foxglove, and Hazel gather around the bowl of blood and say the words that will take them into the dream. The moon is drawn down, and Thessaly calls on the moon to help them rescue Barbie. Despite Wanda’s desire to go with them, the three women are taken away, leaving Wanda standing alone in George’s apartment with the sleeping Barbie


My take So Wanda doesn’t get to go because she is transgender. Since this was written several years ago, it’s not clear what Gaiman is saying. I choose to view it as no matter how much people change and evolve, there will always be those that will not accept it and erect barriers based out outdated norms