Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

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Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby McCaber » Sat Sep 27, 2008 7:20 am UTC

For discussion of Neil Gaiman's stories of the Endless and the people they interact with. Because while Morpheus is the thread that binds the tales together, the main focus is always on the ordinary mortals who are forced into their world.

I've been putting a lot of thought into this series and I still have a question: Who really are the Endless? At times they seem like these all-powerful beings directing the actions of mortals, but Dream calls them dolls who exist because deep down we know they do, and he seems to be right. And then there is the problem of Destruction not being in his official capacity and men still creating and destroying.

What I would love to hear are the stories of the first Despair's death and how Delight became Delirium.

So yeah, Sandman's awesome.
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby dbsmith » Mon Sep 29, 2008 12:03 am UTC

Well the endless came before humans, and will exist after humans are gone too. Humans are just one aspect of their interactions with the world, but i guess the most important aspect in terms of how it shaped and changed the Sandman. He would still exist if there were no humans, but he would not have grown/changed like he did without us. So i think the primary focus of the series is how humans, the species on this earth that has undergone the most change and growth, make this endless being change too.

As for the "ordinary mortals who are forced into their world", it seems to me that most of the people that encounter the Sandman chose to encounter him in one way or another.

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A real kicker

Postby G Mess » Sun Nov 16, 2008 4:03 pm UTC

Technically a comic, but this is just the greatest moment of all time.

http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/745/kickmelp3.jpg

It's a real kicker of a pun, oh ho ho ho.

From "The Sandman".

Putting this here for now. I believe that using more or less a single panel of a comic does not constitute breaking any sort of copyright law and falls under the fair use clause, but I may be mistaken. If I am, someone please let me know. - ST

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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby Belial » Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:50 pm UTC

dbsmith wrote:Well the endless came before humans, and will exist after humans are gone too. Humans are just one aspect of their interactions with the world, but i guess the most important aspect in terms of how it shaped and changed the Sandman. He would still exist if there were no humans, but he would not have grown/changed like he did without us.


Sortof. It's implied that Death came into being as soon as there were living things, because they were the first things that could die, thus making the concept of Death relevant, or even existent (thus why she is younger than Destiny: events existed before life). So it stands to reason that Dream came into being as soon as there were living things that could think, and therefore Dream (thus why he is younger still than death).

So, he could've existed without us, specifically, but he couldn't have existed without some kind of sentient life.
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Nov 19, 2008 6:07 pm UTC

So.. it'd be Destiny, then Destruction, then Death.. Dream, Desire, Despair, and De/light/lerium would have all been around the same time, yes?
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby Belial » Wed Nov 19, 2008 6:17 pm UTC

In that order, I think. Even relatively simple minds can dream, but it requires increasingly more complexity to Desire (which requires the ability to conceptualize what you want), to despair (which, as more of an existential condition than mere sadness, requires the ability to look at your life as a whole, or else look ahead and see nothing good) and to go insane (which requires you to have a mind complex enough to break down into total madness).
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby Quixotess » Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:06 pm UTC

I always thought calling them Endless was supposed to be a kind of irony. Because they totally aren't. When Del was in Destiny's garden, you could see the seven statues of the Endless. If all was well, then they should have been uniform/normal, but Destruction had his back turned on the rest of them, and Dream had his head in his hands. That is, Destruction quit, and this incarnation of Dream is a failure and knows he is about to die. Delight morphed into something else altogether, and Despair had already died in the past. Endless fail at being endless.

SecondTalon wrote:So.. it'd be Destiny, then Destruction, then Death.. Dream, Desire, Despair, and De/light/lerium would have all been around the same time, yes?

No. Destruction was fourth, just after Dream. (It doesn't say how close in age the youngest four are, except that Desire and Despair are twins.)
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby Belial » Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:17 pm UTC

Endless fail at being endless.


Well, they're better at it than anything else in the universe anyway.

And Dream and Despair dying doesn't make them non-endless. After all, that wasn't the end of them. Despair is still around, as is Dream. Just new aspects of them.
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:24 pm UTC

Just for the sake of discussion, not based on what I am forgetting in the series, I would chronologically place them;

Destiny, Destruction, Death, Desire, Delight, Dream, Despair, and Delight changing to Delirium most recently.

And the aspect of their Endlessness seemed to me a point to solidify their existence not as individuals but as conditions. The individual may change (Dream), and the condition may no longer require a manifestation (Destruction), but they still exist as embodiments of their 'endlessness'

Also, I think I was most touched by Destruction, how every brief cameo we have by him he's in the act of creating something.

(I lost the entire 10 volume set about 4 years ago in a breakup, been dying to read it all again)
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby Quixotess » Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:26 pm UTC

Indeed. Weird that the characters dying is, in this case, the weakest part of my argument for their impermanence.

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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby TheAmazingRando » Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:39 pm UTC

I have (and have read) the first three volumes of Absolute Sandman, and I'm waiting for the fourth to come in the mail. I will stay out of this thread, for fear of spoilers, until I finish reading it.

I will say, though, that the two-page sea serpent spread in World's End is one of the most magnificent panels I've ever seen in any graphic novel.

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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:41 pm UTC

Ohohoh! The man wandering the streets of Manhattan, who has lived since the time of mammoths, and remembering the smell of mammoth hide and the feel of cold grass beneath his boots, walks past a construction yard and looks up just in time to see a crumbling section of wall falling on him, SCREAMS IN DEFIANCE:

"NOT YET!"

Whoof. Chills.
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby telkanuru » Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:22 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Destiny, Destruction, Death, Desire, Delight, Dream, Despair, and Delight changing to Delirium most recently.


Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire/Despair, Delight -> Delirium

First you are. As soon as you are, you can not be. As soon as you can think (define 'think') you can dream, and you can destroy. Desire and Despair come hand in hand, obviously, since as soon as you desire something you can despair at not having it. Delight and delirium is the loss of innocents.

If anything, I'd make Dream/Destruction twins, but being similar brothers is sufficient.

Also, I think I was most touched by Destruction, how every brief cameo we have by him he's in the act of creating something.


Creating something badly.
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby G Mess » Thu Nov 20, 2008 4:44 pm UTC

Don't forget, each of the Endless have a funky sort of duality.

Destruction also has an aspect of creativity. Creativity requires a mind of some kind, so it stands to reason that Dream and Destruction are closely tied together.

HOWEVER! The existence of animals in the dream-world would suggest that even primitive minds can dream (cat volume, 'nuff said)--but only a sentient mind can wilfully destroy (or create)... and only a structure so flimsy as that can collapse!

Maybe that's why both Destruction and Delerium (note: Delerium has funky Delerium logic, too = Endless's duality) have red hair?

So, I'm nominating the sequence

Destiny -> Death -> Dream -> Desire/Despair -> Destruction -> Delerium

(Since dreams can trigger great desire or despair (Octavian volume), and these in turn can motivate acts destruction/creativity... which segues into delerium for at least some party involved, surely?)

The question is, what's the flipside of Despair and Desire?

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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby Belial » Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:50 pm UTC

G Mess wrote:So, I'm nominating the sequence

Destiny -> Death -> Dream -> Desire/Despair -> Destruction -> Delerium


Y'all do realize that their "birth order" was given in the comics, right?

Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire/Despair, Delerium(Delight)
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Nov 20, 2008 6:18 pm UTC

Yeah, I just don't see how Destruction can be younger than Dream or Death. Things can be destroyed long before life starts showing up.
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby G Mess » Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:35 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Yeah, I just don't see how Destruction can be younger than Dream or Death. Things can be destroyed long before life starts showing up.


I'd argue that Destruction also represents creativity.

A sparrow can obviously die, but I don't know many famous sparrow Impressionists... so...

Belial wrote:Y'all do realize that their "birth order" was given in the comics, right?


The chapter where Dream goes back to hell, wasn't it? Or does it come later? I'm only on Ch 31.

It's still fun to discuss these things, though. Someone's going to need to take on the duty of maintaining a post-apocalyptic cult of Neil Gaiman worshippers.

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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby telkanuru » Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:41 pm UTC

G Mess wrote:The question is, what's the flipside of Despair and Desire?


Hope and satisfaction...
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby Kag » Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:43 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Yeah, I just don't see how Destruction can be younger than Dream or Death. Things can be destroyed long before life starts showing up.


If I had to justify it, I'd say things are only destroyed within the definitions of thinking beings. Without someone around to conceptualize what something is, things aren't destroyed so much as changed, which doesn't start with a D.
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:13 pm UTC

So, when a star goes nova and *Destroys* a planet, a planet full of plants and microbes and other non-thinking things, are they not destroyed because no one sat around and said, Ahhhh shit, there goes Primordial Earth, Sol III, Terra?

Nono. Also, there was a release, forget the name, of seven stories, each pertaining to one of the endless, and Dreams, which was particularly curious, takes place... well:
Spoiler:
As he transports a metahuman like entity to a meeting of fundamentals of the universe (stars and galaxies and dimensions). Destruction is present, and all the stars adore him, because without him, they cannot exist. It was pretty neat. A young Sol even has a cameo


I really found comfort in the notion of death being a spunky, charming, honest young woman.
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby McCaber » Tue Nov 25, 2008 10:39 pm UTC

That's Endless Nights. Really good. Despair's story there especially was amazing.
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby Kag » Wed Nov 26, 2008 1:50 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:So, when a star goes nova and *Destroys* a planet, a planet full of plants and microbes and other non-thinking things, are they not destroyed because no one sat around and said, Ahhhh shit, there goes Primordial Earth, Sol III, Terra?


Okay. How does the universe decide that the star is a different thing from the planet?

Izawwlgood wrote:Also, there was a release, forget the name, of seven stories, each pertaining to one of the endless, and Dreams, which was particularly curious, takes place... well:
Spoiler:
As he transports a metahuman like entity to a meeting of fundamentals of the universe (stars and galaxies and dimensions). Destruction is present, and all the stars adore him, because without him, they cannot exist. It was pretty neat. A young Sol even has a cameo


So stars and planets are conscious beings in the Sandman universe. What difference does it make?

edit: just for the record, I understand where you're coming from, but Gaiman obviously had some reason for putting them in the order he did. I'm trying to work backwards from the story to there. Asking him would probably be faster, though.
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby TheAmazingRando » Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:49 am UTC

Just out of curiosity, what's everyone's opinion of the art style in The Kindly Ones? It took me aback at first, but it's becoming quite endearing to me the more I read.

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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby JayDee » Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:58 am UTC

I really liked it. Brought to mind a stylised / stained glass window sort of thing. Especially with the multiple layers of Lyta's tale, it worked for me.
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby Belial » Wed Nov 26, 2008 6:53 am UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:Just out of curiosity, what's everyone's opinion of the art style in The Kindly Ones? It took me aback at first, but it's becoming quite endearing to me the more I read.


It bothered me and still does. I don't like it at all (except for the parts told from Lyta's view, which are really the only places it's appropriate). There was some really great art at various points in the series (for that matter, in the books immediately before and after kindly ones), and to have the climax of the story told with such ungainly and simplistic art always struck a sour note with me.
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby telkanuru » Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:18 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:So, when a star goes nova and *Destroys* a planet, a planet full of plants and microbes and other non-thinking things, are they not destroyed because no one sat around and said, Ahhhh shit, there goes Primordial Earth, Sol III, Terra?


Since the books establish that the star itself is sentient and therefore can dream (heck, even cities dream), then dreaming very easily came before destruction.
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby Dream » Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:43 am UTC

telkanuru wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:So, when a star goes nova and *Destroys* a planet, a planet full of plants and microbes and other non-thinking things, are they not destroyed because no one sat around and said, Ahhhh shit, there goes Primordial Earth, Sol III, Terra?


Since the books establish that the star itself is sentient and therefore can dream (heck, even cities dream), then dreaming very easily came before destruction.

Destruction is mentioned as being the source, or at least personification of the energy of stars, in that they derive their energy output from the destruction of atoms of one element into the atoms of another.
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby Various Varieties » Thu Dec 11, 2008 4:51 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Nono. Also, there was a release, forget the name, of seven stories, each pertaining to one of the endless, and Dreams, which was particularly curious, takes place... well:
Spoiler:
As he transports a metahuman like entity to a meeting of fundamentals of the universe (stars and galaxies and dimensions). Destruction is present, and all the stars adore him, because without him, they cannot exist. It was pretty neat. A young Sol even has a cameo

Endless Nights spoiler:
Spoiler:
Yeah, li'l Sol was great in Dream's Endless Nights story. Although my favourite part of it was the way it tied Despair into Superman's origin story - as if Gaiman was saying to other writers, "Reboot his origin as much as you like, you'll never set the wheels in motion as far back as I did!" :mrgreen:

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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby telkanuru » Thu Dec 11, 2008 7:04 am UTC

Dream wrote:Destruction is mentioned as being the source, or at least personification of the energy of stars, in that they derive their energy output from the destruction of atoms of one element into the atoms of another.


Yes, but in a universe where stars can dream, why can't electrons?
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby Belial » Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:17 pm UTC

Or at least nebulae.
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby Rufaellie » Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:42 pm UTC

Man, I can't wait to finish the Sandman series so I can discuss it here. I don't want all the spoliers yet. Sandman is really cool yesness! I've read the first three, rest pending assoonasicangettheminmyhands. So far I love the illustration and the dark and imaginative world that Neil seemed to produce out of a hat, or thin air, or a really thin hat.
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby RoberII » Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:03 pm UTC

telkanuru wrote:
Dream wrote:Destruction is mentioned as being the source, or at least personification of the energy of stars, in that they derive their energy output from the destruction of atoms of one element into the atoms of another.


Yes, but in a universe where stars can dream, why can't electrons?


Considering how much effect belief has in the Endless universe, the stars are probably only "alive" because they have been personified by the people on their planets. Of course, that still doesn't answer how "dream" came to be. But that's some of the wonder of the series, the illogicality of it. My favourite story is the one where the cats start to dream :)
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby mosc » Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:28 pm UTC

I wanted to post here than I finally got a hold of the first volume (like 6 comics or something) and read through it and, frankly, was disappointed. With all the hype as "the greatest graphic novel ever" and such, I expected something a little more polished. Perhaps it's just that the comic hadn't "found it's groove" quite yet but the first volume is all over the place.

I really don't find "horror" that interesting in general which is perhaps a route cause? Dismemberment just doesn't seem like anything more than the means to and end for me. Is the whole series like that? Gore for the sake of gore is rather trite to me.

Basically I'm looking for reaction to my heresy. Am I just not seeing the diamond or is this reaction normal and I should keep pressing on?
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby Jesse » Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:30 pm UTC

I will say that I didn't like the first volume, with "The Sound of her Wings" being the best thing about it.

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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby JayDee » Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:36 am UTC

mosc wrote:Perhaps it's just that the comic hadn't "found it's groove" quite yet but the first volume is all over the place.
This is pretty much the authors opinion (first volume being Preludes and Noctunes, #1 of 10. If by first volume you mean the first Absolute, that's different.) - "I'm still figuring out what I'm doing in Preludes, so, while it contains a lot of important stuff, and several good stories, Sandman doesn't really feel entirely like Sandman until the second book, The Doll's House, anyway." - link. It applies to more than just the writing, too. There's a reasons they recoloured the first 18 issues for the Absolutes.
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby Quixotess » Tue Jan 13, 2009 4:33 pm UTC

I'm with you, mosc. The violence and sadism in 24 Hours did nothing for me and were just another part of the books that I couldn't read in public.

I loved Doll's House, though. Give it a try, and if that doesn't work for you you know Sandman and you aren't compatible.

I actually read Doll's House so fast that I missed maybe three pages, because I wasn't turning carefully enough. No harm done, though, 'cause I read it again immediately after.
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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby TheAmazingRando » Tue Jan 20, 2009 4:08 am UTC

I finally finished it (took a bit of a break from it, not sure why), and I thought the series ended on a fantastically high note. The depth of characterization throughout The Kindly Ones and, to a lesser extent, The Wake, really made me enjoy the rest of the series more, and made me want to start re-reading it immediately.

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Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby Belial » Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:13 pm UTC

Quixotess wrote:I'm with you, mosc. The violence and sadism in 24 Hours did nothing for me and were just another part of the books that I couldn't read in public.


I will admit that as a dark-minded little goth kid I found the insanity and violence and kindof...dull horror in that chapter to add a delicious flavor to an already good story.

Still do, actually, but I have a soft spot for that sort of thing.

That said, it definitely isn't par for the rest of the books, and it probably could've been lifted out without any damage to the story.
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mosc
Doesn't care what you think.
Posts: 5378
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 3:03 pm UTC

Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby mosc » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:42 pm UTC

I'll try volume two then. I'll report back.
Title: It was given by the XKCD moderators to me because they didn't care what I thought (I made some rantings, etc). I care what YOU think, the joke is forums.xkcd doesn't care what I think.

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el_loco_avs
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Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:14 pm UTC

Re: Absolute Sandman Thread (spoilers)

Postby el_loco_avs » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:16 am UTC

Currently reading Abs. Sandman Vol. 2. Enjoying it thoroughly. Season of Mists was pretty awesome, I just finished that bit.
You go your way.
I'll go your way too.


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