“I left because I was curious. And because I was tired. Life as a human contains substance I never dreamed of in the Dreaming, Lord. The little victories, and the tiny defeats. I had my reasons.”–Gilbert (Fiddler’s Green)
The second volume of the Sandman graphic novels, The Doll’s House, collects issues 9-16. Like the first, it follows the quest format. Here, Morpheus is attempting to find missing creations that have left the realm of The Dreaming.
The story arc introduces two members of the Endless, Desire and her twin sister, Despair. They are, as you may suspect, the most sinister members of the family. Desire considers everyone, even her own siblings, her playthings. Despair does not wear clothes, is fat, and often works alongside Desire whenever she is plotting something. Her only companions in her realm are her pet rats. (For some strange reason, Desire bears a strong resemblance to k.d. lang.
We also meet another version of Sandman, a superhero named Hector Hall, who was created by none other than Jack Kirby during his tenure at DC. This part of the arc was basically Neil Gaiman’s way of paying tribute to the King of Comics himself, since Kirby also created a character named Sandman.
What’s interesting about this arc is that Dream takes a back seat. The real focus is mostly on Rose Walker, a woman who has become a dream vortex and was raped when she came down with the sleeping sickness that occurred in the previous arc, leading to her being pregnant with a child named Miranda. We also meet The Corinthian, a serial killer who was created by Morpheus. The Corinthian is one of Morpheus’s escaped creations, and he is conducting a convention of serial killers. This convention puts Rose in danger, and she meets another escaped dream, Fiddler’s Green, who takes on the persona of Catholic writer GK Chesterton. Chesterton spoke fondly about fairy tales, famously saying “Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.” Thus, it is appropriate that Gaiman include him as a character in his comic. In a way, Sandman itself is an adult fairy tale. I found this part most charming, because I have a healthy respect of Chesterton. (I’ve read The Man Who Was Thursday and his entire collection of Father Brown mysteries)
This was a great story. It was interesting to see Sandman become a minor character in his own comic book. Seeing Chesterton and Kirby’s version of Sandman was an interesting addition and tribute to Kirby’s legacy. Join me next month, when I continue this series with volume three, Dream Country.