Comic Book Canon: The Sandman. Issues 41-43

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

Issue # 41

Title: Brief Lives Part 1

Artist: Jill Thompson & Vince Locke

Collected in: Brief Lives

Plot: On a remote island in Greece, Andros Rhodocanakis checks in on Orpheus. As he now does this, his father and grandfather did so before him.


In London, a homeless woman begs for change. Her companion is Delirium. When the older woman suggests that she go back to her parents, Delirium recalls that it is not her parents who left her, but her brother. Delirium talks her way past a bouncer at a local S&M club, and walks inside. Desire appears, and promises to look after her. Desire takes Delirium back to his/her domain. Delirium asks whether Desire knows where he is, but she does not, and nor does she care. Moving through the gallery, Delirium stops at Destiny’s book, and wonders if Destruction’s location is somewhere written in it.


Finding little help from her sister-brother, Delirium calls on Despair to give her entry to her domain. Delirium asks whether Despair will help her find Destruction. In giving her answer, Despair draws her own blood with a barbed ring from her finger. She says no, simply, and Delirium decides to look to Dream next.


Despair recalls the last time she was alone with her brother. It was during the time of the plague, and she had left her domain to personally visit London where pits were piled high with bodies of the dead. Destruction had appeared, pleased to see her out and about. He explained that things were soon to change, and that destruction is the agent thereof. Before long, he had to go already, and he kissed her on the cheek for the last time. The next time she would see him, he would be leaving forever.

First appearance: Andros Rhodocanakis, KrIs

Historical references A club goer references Freddie Mercury. The song is “Tear in Your Hand” by Tori Amos, from the album “Little Earthquakes.” The London Plague of 1665 claimed more than 70,000 lives out of a population of about 500,000. The plague had been virtually unknown in England for more than a century previous.


Issue #42

Title: Brief Lives Part 2

Artist: Jill Thompson & Vince Locke

Collected in: Brief Lives

Plot: Dream is heartbroken over the loss of his most recent love interest. As a result, he orders his servants to have her quarters erased, and that they never mention her again.

Delirium arrives, providing a distraction Delirium explains that she thinks they should try to find their brother Destruction. Dream calls on his sister-brother and asks about Delirium’s cause. Desire professes no involvement in Delirium’s impulse to seek out their brother, and further, he/she denies involvement in the end of Dream’s relationship. Meanwhile, Delirium remembers vaguely a time when she was known as Delight.

Destruction came to her, and told her that the time had come for change, and there was nothing she could do to stop it. Dream interrupts her, and, surprisingly, agrees to help her find Destruction. Dream admits to Lucien that he doesn’t expect to find his brother.


Issue #43

Title: Brief Lives Part 3

Artist: Jill Thompson & Vince Locke

Collected in: Brief Lives

Plot: Bernie Capax is a lawyer, but he was not always so. He has been alive for nearly 1500 years. However, as he walks down the street, a brick wall collapses on top of him, and Death comes to him.


Dream and Delirium arrive in Dublin, hoping to meet Pharamond, who graciously arranges travel for them for the duration of their stay on earth. Unsure of where to start, they decide to visit the people on the list of known associates that their brother Destruction had. One of those on the list is a woman named Etain. 1 Suddenly, having smelled gas in her apartment, she grabs her purse and uses it as a shield as she crashes through her window, and leaps out onto the fire-escape. Dropping down into the alley below, she runs away just in in time to avoid the explosion which destroys her apartment.

Elsewhere, Destruction works on his painting, and is unimpressed with his canine companion Barnabus’ attempt at critique. Suddenly, the dog hears a sound from within their house. Behind a door which has not been opened in some time, Destruction’s gallery, is a pool of water which sloshes about. Destruction explains that this is a sign of trouble.


On a plane to the United States of America, Dream and Delirium sit next to one another. A woman named Ruby picks Dream and Delirium up at the airport, and they head off in search of the lawyer named Bernie Capax.

First appearance: Bernie Capax, Pharamond, Etain, Ruby, Barnabus

My take: So Dream is mopey again and he’s humoring Delirium. We also learn that Despair died long ago and was replaced by another aspect of herself. This may be this first time we find out that the Endless have this capability