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The Sandman Volume 2: The Doll's House by…

The Sandman Volume 2: The Doll's House (original 1990; edition 1991)

by Neil Gaiman, Malcolm Jones III, Mike Dringenberg, Michael Zulli, Clive Barker

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6,86799876 (4.32)1 / 255
New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman's transcendent series SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with his own distinct narrative vision. During Morpheus's incarceration, three dreams escaped the Dreaming and are now loose in the waking world. At the same time, a young woman named Rose Walker is searching for her little brother. As their stories converge, a vortex is discovered that could destroy all dreamers, and the world itself. Features an introduction by Clive Barker. This volume includes issues 9-16 of the original series and features completely new coloring, approved by the author.… (more)
Title:The Sandman Volume 2: The Doll's House
Authors:Neil Gaiman
Other authors:Malcolm Jones III, Mike Dringenberg, Michael Zulli, Clive Barker
Info:Vertigo (1991), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Graphic Novel, American, Adult, Series

Work details

The Sandman: The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman (Author) (1990)

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English (94)  Spanish (1)  Hungarian (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (99)
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SYNOPSIS | Rose's search for brother Jed leads to a confrontation between Dreamtime factions which went rogue in Morpheus's absence. The consequences are larger than either the Corinthian or Brute & Glob seem aware. Morpheus continues his efforts to rebalance the Dreaming, but Desire & Despair have other plans. The Doll's House plotline accounts for the majority of Volume 2, supplemented by 3 sideline stories in which Gaiman explores some facet of Morpheus's character. The retribution plotline from Volume 1 shifts from Morpheus's captors to his rogue henchmen.

From the Endless: Dream | Death | Desire & Despair | cameo by Destiny
From Dreamtime / Supernatural: The Corinthian | Brute & Glob | Fiddler's Green (Gilbert) | Lucien | Witches (Three-In-One)
From DC: Fury & Silver Scarab (Sandman) | Matthew (Matthew Joseph Cable) | cameo by Constantine


Gaiman smuggles a new story into his introduction to the collected edition, Destiny's dramatic monologue a précis of Volume 1.

In Volume 2, Gaiman dilates his storytelling lens in 2 vital ways:
● With four members loosed from the Dreaming, we get new glimpses into how things work. Brute & Glob attempt to re-create the Dreaming, operating within Jed's solitary unconscious (and a traumatized prepubescent's, at that). The Corinthian, deliberately or not, inspires copycat behaviour by other humans, operating entirely outside the Dreaming. The efforts of Fiddler's Green are opaque until the very end, but prove no less insightful.
● With the confrontation between Morpheus and the Vortex, we begin to see that the Dreaming is a matrix of all human dreams --Jung's collective unconscious. The Dreaming lacks vital integrity when either isolated (like Jed's) or collapsed (like the Vortex).

And, Gaiman deepens his storytelling with layering and skeined plotlines, accomplished particularly through allusions --to myth, to DC storylines. This layering effectively adds depth and nuance not usually present in genre novels, whether the graphic or plaintext variety.

If Volume 1 concerns human attempts to wield power over Dream, Volume 2 treats of entities of Dream attempting to wield power over humans. Neither scenario is good for us humans --nor, it would seem, for supernatural beings.

Gaiman suggests Nightmares should not merely frighten: fear teaches, or is merely cruel, and dreams are nothing when only cruel. Though we have seen it thus far primarily in the sideline stories, dreams are more than Nightmare, too. I suspect that vein is to be mined in later volumes.


"The Story So Far"
(concerning Morpheus and his abduction)
Destiny relates the high points (with instructive commentary) of Volume 1. Endless revealed to be not Gods (who die when followers dwindle: Leiber?), but permanent anthropomorphized cosmological principles.

"The Sound of Her Wings"
(concerning Morpheus's role as one of the Endless)
In my edition, reprint of the identical story which closed Volume 1.

"Tales in the Sand"
(an interlude, concerning the force & limits of storytelling)
Sideline plot, a coming of age rite which relays a story about breaking the rules and serves as analogue for the reader.

"The Doll’s House"
(concerning Rose Walker and her family, and their place in Dreaming)
Rose is named as a Vortex, and the Three-in-One make a cameo appearance, this time as typecast witches.

"Moving In"
(concerning the inhabitants of a house, a mirror twin of the one in Unity's room)
Introduces Matthew, and four rogue denizens of Dreaming: Fiddler's Green, Brute & Glob, and the Corinthian. Fiddler's Green, a place imagined by humans, is here a character taking the persona of G.K. Chesterton: a visual pun on genius loci. The first appearance of Morpheus's tools since their recovery: here, his helm.

"Playing House"
(concerning Jed Walker)
Background: the threat & solace of Dream for the individual; Dream requisite to healthy human life. Hector (Silver Scarab) & a pregnant Lyta (Fury) are distorted by Brute & Glob to serve as the Sandman in Jed's isolated Dream. Brute & Glob use some form of Morpheus's dream sand. Morpheus reconnects Jed's Dream to the True Dreaming and punishes Brute & Glob, while laying claim to Lyta's unborn child.

"Men of Good Fortune"
(an interlude, concerning long-distance relationship)
Sideline plot, Morpheus persuades Death to grant immortality upon a roustabout, initially a joke only to be surprised at the difference empathy makes for friendship. Morpheus meets Shakespeare, leading to a story in Volume 3, and with Lady Johanna, looking back to a story in Volume 1.

(concerning the Serial Killers convention)
Serial killers, despite their sociopathic behaviour and psychopathic beliefs, are recognisably human as demonstrated by their sociability, individuation, group affiliation, social affirmation, devotion to craft. Evidently theirs is a cautionary tale on the influence of guiding dreams. (Note only the Corinthian is a Nightmare; yet outwardly indistinguishable --apart from the eyes-- from human serial killers, when operating outside of Dreamtime.)

"Into the Night"
"Lost Hearts"
(concerning the Vortex and the rules of Dreamtime)
Fiddler's Green, originally a place dreamt up by humans, is here a place dreaming of what it's like to be human. Among Morpheus's Nightmares, only Gilbert attempted to do something constructive with his dream power, and only Gilbert goes unpunished. Morpheus confronts Desire on the trap set for him: to kill Rose would have been to kill a member of the Family, since she was sired by Despair. ( )
1 vote elenchus | Jul 24, 2019 |
3.5 stars

Rose and her mother are flown to England and are in for a surprise when they arrive. Rose then heads back to the US to find her younger brother whom she hasn’t seen in seven years, since she was a teenager and he was only 5-years old. There is an odd convention happening.

Rose’s story was the most interesting storyline for me, though there a bit more going on in addition to her story and the convention. I reread my review for Vol. 1 and found that my favourite parts in that volume were also about the humans; I didn’t find the Sandman parts as interesting, though he does intersect with Rose’s story. On thinking back, I thought I had rated Vol. 1 lower than what I did. So, officially, I rated both volumes “good”, but I feel like I liked this one better, at least as compared to what I remember of the first one. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jul 14, 2019 |
This series just gets better and better. It is so imaginative and I can't wait to read the next volume. ( )
  readingover50 | Jun 11, 2019 |
Having recovered his stolen artifacts, Morpheus now sets about tracking down rogue dreams that have escaped his realm, including a terrifying and murderous nightmare called the Corinthian.

This was my favorite story arc when I read the original comics. I am still picking up on seeds of story that will flower much later on in the series, things which I had missed or forgotten when I was buying it in monthly installments. This is definitely a series that rewards multiple readings.

The "cereal convention" is ingenious, and creepy and funny at the same time. ( )
  chaosfox | Feb 22, 2019 |
This was far better than the first book.
And even though I loved the first one, this one is miles away from it.

I really enjoyed going through this book, the main plot was very interesting though sometimes very confusing, and the side plot lines that were weaved throughout the book.
Some of them looked like fillers at first, as I was reading them I kept wondering how can what I was reading possibly relate to what I did already read or what was to come, but then somethings would happen and make things clear as a summer day.

I loved the graphics as always, they didn't stray from what the first book held, and they fit the story's content quite well.

This book was brutal as was the first one, but it was far smarter and better written than the first one was. One could sense Gaiman's improvement as a writer and storyteller.

All in all this was an incredible, interesting read that I enjoyed a great deal and I can't wait to start the next one. ( )
  Ray_ | Feb 18, 2019 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gaiman, NeilAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bachalo, ChrisIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Dringenberg, MikeIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones III, MalcolmIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Parkhouse, SteveIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Zulli, MichaelIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Barker, CliveIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Busch, RobbieColoristsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Klein, ToddLetterersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Original title
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Awards and honors
"Dreams and visions are infused into men for their advantage and instruction..." -Artemidoros at Daldus, Oneirocritica Second Century A.D.
"Dreams are weird and stupid and they scare me." -Rose Walker April 1990
For Pete Atkins, Nick Vince, Anne and Kate Bobby for no particular reason (Neil Gaiman)
To GiGi, Paula and Eric (Mike Dringenberg)
To Malcolm Campbell (Malcolm Jones III)
First words
There are tales that are told many times.
May we open this celebration of the work in your hand by defining two kinds of fantastic fiction? (Introduction)
We do not murder for a profit. We do not murder for governments, or for hire. We kill to kill. We are entrepreneurs in an expanding field.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Canonical DDC/MDS

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Book description
Collects "The Doll's House" parts 1-8, originally published in The Sandman #9-16. Early editions also include "The Sound of Her Wings" from The Sandman #8.
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