The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes

th (7)

It is never “only a dream”, John Constantine. Here less than other places”–Dream, Sandman #3: “Dream a Little Dream of Me

Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite writers. One of his best works ever was his comic book series Sandman. Sandman takes place in The Dreaming, the same realm we enter when we sleep.  It’s ruled by a family called the Endless. Each member of the family is an anthromorphic personification: Dream, Death, Destruction, Delirium, Destiny, and Desire. Dream, also known as Morpheus, is the primary protagonist.

What I like best about Dream is that he is resigned to his station. He is neither good nor evil, but neutral.  His deeds only serve to preserve the realm of dreams, which is neither good nor evil.  (Although Sandman does do heroic deeds on occasion, they are done for his own purposes)

The first story arc, Preludes and Nocturnes, covers the first 8 issues of the comic.  In my opinion, it’s the strangest arc in the series. The Vertigo line rarely interacted with DC’s main comic book universe, and Sandman is no exception.  (In fact, many titles, like Invisibles and Y, the Last Man had nothing to do with DC’s universe at all) Characters like Cain, Abel, Martian Manhunter, and Doctor Destiny all appear in the story. Iechnically, Cain and Abel were really only the hosts of DC’s House of Mystery comic and were based on their biblical namesakes. They are immortal to an extant. In this version, Cain constantly murders Abel, not that it matters. I don’t get these appearances. However, I do like the way Sandman retrieves his dreamstone from Doctor Destiny by goading him into fighting him in the realm of dreams, where Dream is more powerful.

One of my favorite moments is when we first meet Lucifer in Hell. Lucifer would later become a key player in the comic’s main story and eventually got his own spin-off soon after Sandman ended. (and yes, I am considering reviewing that series as well) Here, one of his demons, Chronozon, has stolen Dream’s helmet, one of the three totems he is searching for in the story in order to regain control of his realm (OK, technically Chronozon is Beelezebub’s demon, but he and Azazel share hell together with Lucifer.) They meet each other in a challenge to determine who can create the strongest manifestation.  The battle ends when Chronozon becomes “…anti-life, the Beast of Judgement. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds … of everything.” Dream’s counter? “I am Hope.” At the end of the battle, Lucifer and Dream have this exchange:

Lucifer: The million lords of Hell stand arrayed about you. Tell us, why should we let you leave? Helmet or no, you have no power here–what power have dreams in Hell?”

Sandman: “You say I have no power? Perhaps you speak truly. But–you say dreams have no power here? Tell me, Lucifer Morningstar…Ask yourselves, all of you, what power would Hell have if those here imprisoned were not able to dream of Heaven.

Hate and evil are weak against the light.

Death_(DC_Comics)

My other favorite moment is the final chapter, “The Sound of Her Wings”, in which we meet another member of the Endless, Death (who eventually received two one-shots: The High Cost of Living and The Time of Your Life). Death is perhaps my favorite character in Sandman.  She is not a chilling grim reaper or a brooding ruler like Hades. She is a vibrant, lively woman who is pleasant to all she encounters.  I would much rather meet her when my journey on this realm ends before I meet Jesus.  Her introduction is excellent and like Dream, we are meant to ponder why we fear such a charming woman.

Next month, I will review the second arc, The Doll House.

Advertisements

Fruits of the Poisonous Tree

I’m sure many of you have seen the many “ALSA Ice Bucket Challenge” videos all over social media.  They have spread information for the cause of a cure for ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s disease) and made viewers laugh (I especially like the ones made by Tara Strong and Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche) However, they have also inspired a cruel act.
A few weeks ago, a group of teens in Cleveland, Ohio coerced an autistic boy into participating in an “ice bucket challenge”. The boy soon discovered that the bucket did not contain ice or water. Instead, the bucket contained feces, urine, and spit. The teens then made one big mistake: they uploaded this to Instagram, where few, if any, mature people laughed. The boys have their names withheld and are now most likely doing community service.
I am angry about this, but not because the boy was autistic. Before I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, I spent years in Special Education classes. From the students in these classes, I learned that they deserve respect and dignity. This act showed neither respect nor dignity. Some have called it a prank. No, a prank is a cream pie to the face. This was a well-crafted, meticulous assault. It is the fruit of the same tree as parents like Kelli Stapleton who abused and nearly murdered her autistic daughter, Issy Stapleton (she later plea bargained the charges to abuse rather than first degree murder). It is the same hatred that allows quacks like Jim Humble and Kerri Rivera to promote their Miracle Mineral Supplement “cure” for autism (which is actually chlorine dioxide, a bleaching agent. I wish I made that up. Yes, they are promoting making your child swallow bleach or giving them enemas with the stuff). These are acts of hatred, yet they can not be prosecuted as hate crimes because hate crimes are only limited to races and religions. These are examples of ableism, social prejudice against those with disabilities. They should not be tolerated.

One Faith, Many Paths: Gregga St. John

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. How long have you been a Christian?

I accepted Christ into my life when I was 5yrs old, I was baptized at 14yrs, and when I was 35yrs I fell away from my faith due to mental illness. I returned to my faith in full force when I was 38yrs and continue stronger every day.

2. What was your childhood like?

I had a rather beautiful childhood as a preacher’s daughter who was a good girl. I was teased in every school I went to, but I never let it bother me because I was actually proud of being teased because of my faith. I always had a strong character and although I was very sociable, inside that, I was (and still am) a secret loner. We were very poor all my life and that has had a major impact on my determination to provide a strong and influential financial future for my sons.

3. What is your current job?

I am currently a stay home caregiver for my housemate’s mother. While working at home I am, also, a writer, director, performer, and creative. But I’m not paid for anything I do, YET.

4. Who is your favorite biblical character besides Jesus?

Jael is my favorite bible character. Her story is a gruesome tale of strength, dignity, and being available where you are. (Judges 4:17-23)

5. You’ve told me you are a writer. Is there a particular book that made you want to write?

I would attribute my desire to write to two authors (with one specific series). The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and all of Enid Blyton’s adventure stories. These books showed me the joy of wonder and magic, the call of adventure, and the ability to be a part of something bigger than just myself.

6. Who are your favorite writers?

My favorite writers: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Enid Blyton, May Gibbs, Jane Austin, Shakespeare, and Chaucer.

7. What is your favorite Bible verse and why?

Job 42:10 AMP

And the Lord turned the captivity of Job and restored his fortunes, when he prayed for his friends; also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. [Deut. 30:1-3; Ps. 126:1, 2.]

The key part of this verse being “when he prayed for his friends”.

8. You’ve told me you are the mother of three children. Tell me about them.

Shiloh is 17yrs and mildly autistic. He loves to tell stories and makes home movies of his Lego’s and mini figures.

Anderson is 15yrs and loves soccer and is a wonderful actor. He has a great gift with telling a story on stage and on paper.

Luke is 13yrs and is a great comedian, storyteller and wants to be a Lego designer.

9. Is there anyone in your life who inspires you to be a better person?

There are two people in my life that have given me the inspiration to be a better woman.

Who is this person?

The first is my housemate Ann. She accepts all my crazy without any judgment. She gave me the confidence to face myself and accept me as I am.

The second is my best friend. He is the man I fight with the most and love more than anyone else. I’ve never met Andrew in person, but he has been an integral part of my life for four and a half years. Whether or not we will be together as friends or as partners in the future is as yet unsure, but he will always be a significant part of my life. I am, and continue to strive to be a better woman because of him.

10. What evidence can you give for God’s existence?

I was challenged with this very question by an atheist friend. My conclusion is I can give no PROOF because proof must be observed with physical tools and quantified.

My Elohim requires Faith. I can say in all truth that I would be dead or in a very horrible place right now if it were not for Him, but that is my experience. I testify that God is not of this world, He created this world so His fingerprints are everywhere in this world. But, it takes faith to sense Him and accept His presence in your life.

My faith is everything to me. It is my joy, my peace, and my life.

Annah: Children of Evohe (Book 1)

51xL77V7tHL._AA160_

I recently read Annah, Children of Evohe by Clay Gilbert. I think it’s an excellent book, and I’m eager to read the rest of the series.

The hero of the story is astronaut Gary Holder, who crash lands on a distant planet.  His ship is discovered by a native of the planet named Annah, who falls in love with him while helping him recover. However, there is a history of war between her people and humanity, which creates distrust of Gary among her people.

Annah is a mysterious woman.  The first thing that is odd about her is that her people do not wear clothes. According to Clay, this is to show that nothing is hidden about their culture.  They believe it is wrong to cover the beauty of their bodies.  Despite this deceptive image of an Edenic world, the world of Evohe is far from idyllic.  Annah has a lover besides Gary named Jonan, who was her playmate as a child. However, now that he is older, he has become possessive of her, much to Annah’s chagrin.  Annah is an outcast among her own people due to her physical features, which are abnormal to her kind.  She is also one of the few people of her world, other than her teacher Serra, who cling to the religion of their past.  Because of Serra’s influence, Annah sees herself as a Shaper, one who uses her talents to re-create the world and educate others.  I asked Clay his intent, and he told me that this is to show that the people of Evohe are meant as a criticism of our present-day state of moving closer to secularism. I should also note that Clay has a blog that ties in to this series, and is written from Annah’s  point of view. The blog can be accessed here, at http://childrenofevohe.com.

Continue reading “Annah: Children of Evohe (Book 1)”