Comic Book Canon: The Sandman. Issues 35-37

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

  Issue # 35

Title: “Beginning to See the Light” 1

Artist: Shawn McManus

Collected in: A Game of You

Plot: Barbie and her companions come across the frozen, mangled corpse of the Tantoblin. Barbie remembers him as a kind man who helped her once, long ago. He still holds in his cold fingers the message that contains several photos of Barbie from the real world.

Dream reiterates his decision to do nothing to do nothing about the danger that is occurring within The Land. Nuala informs him that she warned Barbie of the danger in her dreams, despite Dream’s orders to observe but do nothing. She apologizes, and after a pause, Dream admits that she did the right thing.

Barbie and company find their way to the forest, One night, they wake to find Priando’s corpse dangling from a nearby tree. He had been killed by the Tweeners. They emerge at edge of the ocean, and Luz offers to go and fetch help for them from the village.

Finally, Luz returns, but the friends she’s brought with her are not there to help. She betrayed them. Wilkinson boldly steps in front of Barbie and tells her to run, but his throat is cut and he is skewered by the Black Guard’s spears. Barbie is caught and taken into the city. Luz leads Barbie in shackles to the home of Cuckoo, inside a house that looks identical to the house where Barbie grew up, in Florida.

My take: So here we have Dream acknowledging that Nuala did the right thing, especially after he repeated stated he was going to do nothing at all. Dream has always done what he is required to do, but now he’s beginning to see a different kind of morality. Clearly Nuala is a positive influence.

Issue # 36

Title: Over the Sea to Sky 2

Artist: Shawn McManus

Collected in: A Game of You

Plot: In The Land, Barbie encounters a small blonde girl who claims to be the Cuckoo. Not only that, but she claims to be Barbie – an aspect of her that exists within The Land. She drags Barbie into what was once her old bedroom, and shows her how the friends she made in The Land were merely her old toys brought to life; a dog, a dodo, a rat, a monkey. Barbie starts to fall into a trance and agrees to allow the Cuckoo to destroy her. The Cuckoo then strides outside and orders her Black Guard to take Barbie down to the Isle of Thorns.

Thessaly, Foxglove, and Hazel arrive and Thessaly realizes that they are in a very old dream, and she is determined that they should find the Cuckoo. Afterwards, Foxglove can’t help but asking Hazel whether it’s true that she got herself pregnant. Hazel admits that while she hasn’t taken a test, it seems likely. Foxglove is angered by this, but eventually, she comes around to the fact that her girlfriend will be having a man’s child.


In the room where Barbie’s body is sleeping, Wanda looks out the window to see someone trapped under some garbage bins on the street below. Putting on her coat, Wanda helps the woman indoors and up to George’s apartment.

Cuckoo drags an unconscious Barbie to the Isle of Thorns with Luz’ help. On the island stands a monolith called the Heirogram. Cuckoo hopes that when the sun sets, she will be able to use Barbie and the Porpentine to escape the skerry and make her way into real worlds and other dream worlds. Cuckoo spies Thessaly and her companions on the horizon. Knowing they’ve come for her, she rushes up to Thessaly and claims that the Cuckoo has kidnapped Barbie. Thessaly snaps her neck.

Cuckoo entrancing the women and reveals to Barbie that the destruction of either the porpentine or the heirogram signals the death of The Land, the destruction of both ensures it, and once done, she will be able to travel to new worlds. Barbie crashes the gem against the monolithic heirogram. Dream appears in The Land and demands to know who called him. He releases Barbie and friends from their trance and begins to uncreate The Land. Finally, Alianora appears. It is inferred that she was a former lover of Dream, who made the Land for her. Dream advises the three women that they are trespassers. Back in the real world, the roof suddenly crashes open, and Wanda, Barbie, George, and the old woman are buried in debris.

First appearance: Alianora 3

My take: I am sure I am not the first to notice that the three women represent the maiden,  the mother, and the crone.


Issue # 37

Title: “I Woke Up and One of Us was Crying” 4

Artist: Shawn McManus & Brian Talbot

Collected in: A Game of You

Plot: In what little remains of The Land, Dream informs Barbie that she can ask of him just one boon. Dream then turns to the three women who found their way there through witchcraft, and informs them that they will all be trapped there as punishment for entering a skerry without his permission. Finally, Barbie decides that her boon should be that they all be sent home safe, and sound – including the Cuckoo.

Some time later, Barbie is in Kansas. She goes to a diner, where she meets with Wanda Mann’s aunt Dora. She warns that in talking with Wanda’s parents, Barbie should refer to her old friend as a man. As it turns out, the hurricane in New York City destroyed the building and Wanda was killed.

Wanda’s parents and family make Barbie uncomfortable, and she stands in the back during the service. Afterwards, she leavies a Hyperman comic on her friend’s coffin, and using lipstick to scratch out Alvin and write in Wanda on the headstone. On the bus to Indianapolis, Barbie dreams of Wanda being taken away by Death; happy.

Keep an eye on: There’s a definite connection between Dream and Thessaly

My take: Barbie crosses off Wanda’s deadname and later has a vision of Wanda. The question becomes whether Barbie sees Wanda as she truly is or as how Barbie perceives her.