I’ve never read the Sandman series until now, and so far I am absolutely loving it. The attention to detail is amazing. I feel there are so many allusions I am missing, but while reading issue 11 (The Doll House part 2), there was one that caught my eye. Though The Sandman may be the most popular dream-themed comic today, this page seemed to be referencing one of the first dreamers to appear in comics.
Remind you of anything? Clearly this is a play on McCay’s Little Nemo, and even though I hadn’t read Sandman before, McCay’s comics have always been some of my favourites. What I love though is the level of thought put into making this stylistic tribute. In the first tier, the panels are broken into three panels, and the title is written in a nice ribbon heading, “In the Land of Marvelous Dreams”, referencing of course Dreamland. Though the top tier of Nemo doesn’t always break down into three panels, it is not uncommon and the title is always written playfully across the top. The next similarity is in the panel numbering. Nowhere in Sandman I have seen so far, do the artists number their panels, yet here, they are aesthetically referencing the style that was common at the time. The main story consists of a little boy who is dreaming and not totally sure of where he is or how he got there, but he sort of just goes with the flow, as one would in a dream. Near the end of the page, some trouble occurs and the boy in the final panel wakes up from his dream. Here is an example page from an early Nemo comic for visual comparison.
I love that even without understanding the reference, this method of contrasting the beauty of a dream world with the stark, cold reality of waking up is effective for telling the story of a boy who prefers to live in his fantasies than in the real world. Anyways, I just though that because both of these comics were dealt with in the course, that it might be interesting to look at. Are there any other references like this in Sandman that you have caught? I’d love to get some of the deeper meanings the author and artists put in to the series. So far I’m really enjoying it!
– Ryan Logan