The Sandman: Dream Country

By Neil Gaiman

Illustrators: Kelly Jones, Charles Vess, Colleen Doran, & Malcom Jones III, illustrators; Dave McKean, covers  and design

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: DC Comics, 1995, 1991

Genres: Fantasy, dark fantasy, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, mythic fiction, adventure, horror

Format: Graphic novel

Series: The Sandman series; 3

ISBN: 9781563890161

Intended audience: adult

Number of pages: 113  (plus a 39 p. script of Calliope with a 2.5 p. introduction)

Settings: Many locations including London and rural England

Time period: Three out of the four stories take place in the mid-late 80’s.  One story- A Midsummer Night’s Dream– is set in 1593 in rural England.

Plot summary: Following an introduction by Steve Erikson, Dream Country consists of four separate stories: Calliope, A Dream of a Thousand Cats, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Facade.  These stories are then followed by an edited script for Calliope, so interested readers can see some of the processes involved with writing for this comic.  Morpheus has a very small role in the first three stories and is missing altogether from the last.  Facade features Dream’s sister Death.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: Fairly fast paced.  A Midsummer Night’s Dream is probably the slowest story; it is also the one set in the most exotic setting.

Characterization: The stories in which Morpheus appears are told in both first and third person point of views.  Morpheus’ voice is always shown in black.  A Dream of a Thousand Cats is told in first person (cat) from a cat’s perspective.  Facade is told all in third person point of view and features Dream’s sister, Death, instead of Dream.

Frame: The first two stories are dark in color, tone, and events.  The third story is brightly colorful, with dark, fey moments.  The last story uses bright colors, but tells a dark tale.

Story Line: Through four separate tales, readers learn more of Morpheus’ past struggles and triumphs; they also gain further insight into the characters of both Dream and Death.

Subject headings:

From PCPL:
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 — Fiction.
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Midsummer night’s dream — FIction.
Horror comic books, strips, etc.
Fantasy comic books, strips, etc.
Dreams — Comic books, strips, etc.
Graphic novels.
Muses (Greek deities) — Fiction.
Cats — Fiction.
Immortality — Fiction.

Similar authors:

From NoveList:
Robin Mckinley; Terry Pratchett; Christopher Moore; Stephen King; Kurt Vonnegut; Charles De Lint; Alan Moore

I would also add: Clive Barker

Personal notes: [Annotated 12/14/08]

Other notes: Introduced by Steve Erikson

Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess won the 1991 World Fantasy Award for short fiction for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Originally published in single magazine form as The Sandman 17-20 in 1990.

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