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The Sandman: Dream Country (1991)

by Neil Gaiman

Other authors: Robbie Busch (Colorist), Colleen Doran (Illustrator), Steve Erickson (Introduction), Malcolm Jones III (Illustrator), Kelley Jones (Illustrator)5 more, Todd Klein (Letterer), Dave McKean (Cover artist), Steve Oliff (Colorist), Charles Vess (Illustrator), Danny Vozzo (Colorist)

Series: The Sandman (03 (Issues 17-20)), The Sandman {1989-1996} (TPB, issues 17-20)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,2421151,292 (4.23)1 / 247
Comic and Graphic Books. Fiction. HTML:

NEW YORK TIMES bestselling 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. The third book of the Sandman collection, DREAM COUNTRY continues the fantastical mythology of Morpheus, the King of Dreams. In these centuries-spanning tales, the powerful entity known as the Sandman interacts with a diverse assortment of humans, fairies, heroes, and animals as he walks the mortal plane. Including an amazing encounter with William Shakespeare and an interesting take on the origin and first performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," this collection depicts the dreaming world of cats, the tragic life of forgotten super-heroes and the folly of imprisoning and torturing a former lover of the King of Dreams. Collects issues #17-20 including "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which won a World Fantasy Award.

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 Sandman: The Sandman Vol 3: Dream Country39 unread / 39clfisha, April 2013

» See also 247 mentions

English (109)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (115)
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
In this 3rd volume of Gaiman’s “Sandman” series, there are four separate short stories presented, though they all involve dreams and the characters Death or Dream in some way. One was about an author with writer’s block, who acquired the muse Calliope to help him out. One was a cat who told a story trying to get other cats to dream with her to become more powerful than humans. The third was Will Shakespeare and his son Hamnet, travelling and performing for one patron “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. The last one involved some kind of supernatural creature who cannot die who is lonely and desperately wants to find a way.

I quite liked this one. I don’t always like short stories, but I think I like them better in graphic novel format. I like Death portrayed as a woman, as it was on the last story, but the first story was my favourite. Included at the end of the book is Gaiman’s script on how one of the stories (Calliope, my favourite one) should be drawn and formatted. That was interesting to see how he writes his graphic novels (though he specifically explains that not everyone does it the same way). ( )
  LibraryCin | May 25, 2024 |
Aquarius season is all about revelling in the weird vibes, so this strange little interlude in the Sandman narrative is a perfect accompaniment. Contained within its pages, which bridge the gap between the epic events of The Doll’s House and the revelations of Seasons of Mist, are four short dreams that range in tone from perfectly whimsical to downright disturbing. The first tells the story of Calliope, a tale of confinement and rape that I find particularly difficult to stomach for obvious reasons, but which reveals much about the past of the Dream King. Themes of binding, codependency, and the power dynamics between the sexes give this story a thematic richness for all of its disturbing content and imagery, and thankfully Gaiman’s Oneiros takes a step towards humanity’s mercy with a judicious use of his power as he helps free his long-ago lover from captivity. “A Dream of a Thousand Cats” is at once a softer tale, but one which once again treads dark themes. What do we know of the dreams of cats, who are creatures of the night and predators made small? The shifted Morpheus reveals their truths in a dream, and sets an erstwhile Siamese on a prophetic quest towards freedom for feline kind. The takeaway here: take care to mind those who are smaller than you, as even the smallest have dreams that may become horrifying realities. The third tale (and my personal favourite of maybe the entire Sandman series) treads familiar territory. Back in time we go to walk the English countryside with Will Shakespeare and his players, as they avoid the summer plague season in London and play the greens instead for a host of faerie - and the Dream King, of course. As “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” plays out in front of the otherworldly court we hear about their plans to leave the mortal realms for good, and Morpheus’ agreement with Shakespeare that results in a play that will keep them from being forgotten down the ages. Well played, master Dreamer, and fitting, as it is in his realm that the magic of the other world can be revisited (if we’re lucky). The fey are also right that the accidental truths in the play are that, and worthwhile, convincing the Puck to remain behind after his brethren have gone from this world and continue his small brand of mischief - a small honesty from an unlikely antihero. The last tale in this collection is maybe the oddest of all - if only because its protagonist is definitely not an expected character to come up in the Sandman story arcs. Elemental Girl is an interesting character, and with her origin story beginning with an unexpected encounter with the sun for Ra and her inability to live a more normal human life, she’s a solid character for Gaiman to tackle. Morpheus is decidedly absent from this tale, but we’re glad for it, because we’re given the opportunity to see more of his elder sister, Death. Being separate from the human world, it is not surprising that Elemental Girl wishes for an end to her suffering or an explanation for how she should survive, and it is through a chat with the passing Death that she is able to see the light (literally) and find solace. Her suicide may be glorified, which can definitely be read as problematic and unsympathetic, but Death (the character not the state of being) is anything but and Urania’s unity with the sun is fitting for her next/last elemental incarnation. And with that this particular set of dreams ends, and the next cycle in Morpheus’ epic stage is set. The Dream Country may have been left, and Morpheus must not remain hidden away in his castle, but what is hidden in the mists of the coming Season? Sweet dreams, until tomorrow night! ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 11, 2024 |
Between 1988–1996, Neil Gaiman gave us The Sandman, a series of 75 comics published by DC and Vertigo that have become legendary. The Sandman have become the most acclaimed and award-winning comics series of the 1990s for good reason: a smart and deeply brooding epic, elegantly penned by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by a rotating cast of comics' most sought-after artists, it is a rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama, and legend are seamlessly interwoven.

In 1990, feeling exhausted from the arc of Doll's House, Gaiman would write the four issues (#17–20) that would become the third collection, Dream Country. Each story in this collection can be read on it's own. Prior knowledge of the Sandman storyline certainly enhances each story but having read vol. 1 and 2 is not necessary. Four chilling and entertaining episodes make up the tapestry that is Dream Country: the World Fantasy Award-winning tale of the first performance of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream; the story of Calliope, a beautiful muse enslaved by a novelist to feed his need for material; a cat's-eye view of the tyranny of mankind; and the final memoir of an immortal, indestructible woman who only wants to die.

Rather than picking up where the volume two left off, this book, as mentioned, contains four stand alone stories featuring Morpheus. Well, three that feature Morpheus and one that features Death. The general theme of these stories focuses on the evilness and folly of men, whether it be from the point of view of Shakespeare or a cat. The storyline about Shakespeare penning A Midsummer Night's Dream for Morpheus was certainly a highlight and the final memoir of an immortal, elemental, indestructible woman who only wants to die, and her interaction with Death was fascinating, sad, and profound.

Calliope was disturbing, and focused on the nature of imprisonment (a writer imprisons his muse) but the storyline hasn't aged well. The real horror behind this story seems evident: for a writer, someone who lives off storytelling, it’s not the lack of ideas that’s most frightening. It’s the extremes to which the writer will go. Calliope is tortured and our grim rescuer Morpheus must save the day. Calliope gave me Stephen King like vibes but it's not one of Gaiman's stronger stories in this volume. It's the weakest one.

Overall, this a superb and brilliant, albeit a bit dated, collection of comics.




( )
  ryantlaferney87 | Dec 8, 2023 |
Awesome volume! To be honest, I have liked the loosely connected stories more than the arcs (my favorite issue in the last volume was "Men of Good Fortune," a medieval/Renaissance story). But through these stories, we see more of how Gaiman's fictional universe works, for example, such as Dream's changing appearance based on who he is interacting with.

"Calliope": This story brings Greek mythology into the Sandman universe. In this chapter, we see writers using musing to attain artificial success.

"A Dream of a Thousand Cats": This is a story from the perspective of cats. It's kind of like a mix of Animal Farm and The Never-Ending Story, so pretty cool but also sad.

"A Midsummer Night's Dream": Great little story set in the late 1500s that connects with "Men of Good Fortune" from the previous volume. He uses the Long Man of Wilmington in an interesting way.

"Façade": Apparently this features a DC character, but I didn't realize it or feel that I was missing anything while reading. Basically, the story starts with a woman working for the CIA comes into contact with the god Ra while on a mission in Egypt. She is disfigured and feels like an outcast. ( )
  bannedforaday | Oct 22, 2023 |
Thus far, this one has my favorite issue - "Facade". Death gets her own story for the first time here, and she is by far my favorite character in The Sandman universe. ( )
  Zoes_Human | Oct 13, 2023 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gaiman, NeilAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Busch, RobbieColoristsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Doran, ColleenIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Erickson, SteveIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones III, MalcolmIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, KelleyIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Klein, ToddLetterersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McKean, DaveCover artistsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Oliff, SteveColoristsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vess, CharlesIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vozzo, DannyColoristsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"I do not know whether you know all that is to be known concerning small mirrors: but of this, silence."

Arthur Machen, in a letter to James Branch Cabell. 17 Feb. 1918
"Writers are liars."

Erasmus Fry, in conversation, 6 May 1986
Dedication
First words
May, 1986. So what is it? It smells quite disgusting.
Quotations
When the last living thing dies, my job will be finished. I'll put the chairs on the tables, turn out the lights, and lock the universe behind me when I leave.
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Comic and Graphic Books. Fiction. HTML:

NEW YORK TIMES bestselling 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. The third book of the Sandman collection, DREAM COUNTRY continues the fantastical mythology of Morpheus, the King of Dreams. In these centuries-spanning tales, the powerful entity known as the Sandman interacts with a diverse assortment of humans, fairies, heroes, and animals as he walks the mortal plane. Including an amazing encounter with William Shakespeare and an interesting take on the origin and first performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," this collection depicts the dreaming world of cats, the tragic life of forgotten super-heroes and the folly of imprisoning and torturing a former lover of the King of Dreams. Collects issues #17-20 including "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which won a World Fantasy Award.

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Collects "Calliope," "A Dream of a Thousand Cats," "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Façade," originally published in The Sandman #17-20.
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