Netflix’s The Sandman is already been hailed one of the hottest new shows the streaming platform has to offer. A lovingly-made adaptation of writer Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed comic book series, this television version of Sandman has earned praise for its performances, production design, costume, and faithfulness to its source material.
It’s an impressive, visually astounding TV series that retains the tone and spirit of the original comics, making some slight changes that allow it to better resonate with modern viewers.
For as long as fans have excitedly awaited the arrival of The Sandman on Netflix, though, the first season of the show has quickly come and gone, with many eagerly looking forward to future seasons of the series.
For those viewers looking for more Sandman-related content in between seasons, what better way to spend the next few months than reading any one of the excellent comic series related to the Sandman universe?
Here are 15 of the best comics that we recommend checking out if you loved Netflix’s Sandman (not counting the original series by Neil Gaiman, of course).
The Sandman: Overture
Set shortly before the events of The Sandman, Overture follows Dream as he attempts to stop a galactic epidemic that is driving stars insane, threatening the whole of the universe.
One of the main questions readers (and likely viewers) had in regards to The Sandman was how a group of middling English occultists led by Roderick Burgess managed to capture an entity as powerful as Dream.
Overture provides an adequate explanation for this, establishing a fascinating character study for Morpheus as well as depicting what his relationship is like with his father and the creator of the Endless — Father Time himself.
The Sandman: The Dream Hunters
Against the backdrop of medieval Japan, The Dream Hunters tells the story of a fox and a badger attempting to drive a Buddhist monk from his countryside home, only for a burgeoning bond to develop between the monk and the fox.
Told in the manner of a Japanese fairy tale, The Dream Hunters feels like a lost issue of Sandman, similar in tone and formatting to Gaiman’s original comics.
As with most issues of Sandman, Morpheus himself appears only briefly as a supporting character, the entire comic instead focusing heavily on the two main characters at the heart of the story.
The Sandman Presents
Originally titled The Dreaming before being repackaged under its current name, Sandman Presents is an anthology series following many of the more recognizable characters from Gaiman’s Sandman universe.
Most of the stories are canon to the original comic, with issues following everyone from prominent Sandman players like Lucifer Morningstar and the Furies to comic relief characters like Mervyn Pumpkinhead, Agent of D.R.E.A.M.
If you ever wanted to read more about certain supporting characters that might not have appeared that much in the Sandman comics or TV show, we recommend checking this series out.
The Sandman: Endless Nights
Split into seven chapters, each installment of the graphic novel, The Sandman: Endless Nights, follows one of the Endless — the all-powerful family of deities that Morpheus himself belongs to, including Death, Desire, Destruction, Delirium, Despair, and Destiny.
Endless Nights is a great read for both longtime readers of Sandman and audience members who’ve only seen the show. For those familiar with the series’ universe, it’s an opportunity to learn more about each member of the Endless, from the free-spirited Death to her morose brother, Dream.
For those who have only seen the Netflix show alone, Endless Nights provides you some additional knowledge about members of the Endless that haven’t yet been introduced to the show yet — like the rebellious Destruction or the scatter-brained Delirium.
Death: The High Cost of Living
One of the main breakout characters from both Gaiman’s original comic book and its later Netflix adaptation is Death, Morpheus’s carefree, fun-loving older sister who’s responsible for transporting recently departed souls to the afterlife.
Capitalizing on the character’s popularity, there have been several comics and graphic novels that follow Death, the first (and possibly best) of which is Death: The High Cost of Living. The premise of the comic involves Death stepping into the body of a mortal and anonymously venturing out into the world as a way to stay connected to the human race and remain in touch with humanity.
It’s a surprisingly emotional comic written by Gaiman, and a wonderful addition to the Sandman universe. After its conclusion, it was followed by Death: The Time of Your Life, The Girl Who Would Be Death, and the manga-style Death: At Death’s Door.
Destiny: A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold
Viewers of Netflix’s Sandman aren’t likely to know Destiny — the oldest member of the Endless, and the hooded, blind, personification of fate in the DC Universe. For those who want to get a jumpstart on future seasons of the series or who have read the comics, however, Destiny: A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold offers an enthralling look at Morpheus and Death’s older, taciturn brother.
Set in an apocalyptic near future, A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold follows the few remaining survivors of a viral epidemic that has wiped out most of humanity. When a strange new survivor joins them, they listen as he reads from the mythic Book of Destiny, documenting some of the worst plagues in human history.
Destiny: A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold is a fascinating spin-off from the Sandman series that follows one of the universe’s most enigmatic characters, providing explorations of everything from the Plague of Justinian to the Black Death of the Middle Ages.
Sandman Mystery Theatre
Believe or not, the Sandman we see in Gaiman’s comics and in the Netflix series wasn’t the first Sandman in the DC universe. The earliest version of the character was actually a noirish superhero who used sleeping gas to knock out his enemies.
Decked out in a trenchcoat and gas mask, this iteration of the Sandman preyed on the criminal underworld throughout the Golden Age of Comics. After the success of Gaiman’s Sandman, DC chose to revitalize the character, portraying him as a World War 1 veteran suffering from PTSD, as well as focusing on the less than glamorous side of the 1930s (economic depression, racism, anti-Semitism, and the rising threat of Nazism).
It’s a dark, foreboding story that touches upon one of the most underrated heroes in the DC universe. Interestingly enough, it’s also canon in the Sandman universe, with the one-off special, Sandman Midnight Theatre, showing the first meeting between the earliest version of Sandman (Wesley Dodd) and the imprisoned Morpheus.
Dead Boy Detectives
Fans of the HBO Max series, Doom Patrol, might recall pair of ghostly schoolboys played by Sebastian Croft and Ty Tennant who pop up in the show’s third season. These characters originally appeared halfway through Gaiman’s original Sandman comics, later receiving their own spin-off series in the form of the monthly title, Dead Boy Detectives.
The series follows the characters of Charles Rowland and Edwin Paine, two dead children who resolve to stay on Earth rather than move onto the afterlife to solve various supernatural cases, becoming the titular Dead Boy Detectives.
More recently, Variety has reported that HBO Max/Disovery ordered a TV spin-off of Doom Patrol following the Dead Boys Detectives in an eight-episode season. It’s unknown as of yet when the show will air, but with that news in mind, there’s really no better time to read Dead Boy Detectives to prep for the new show.
Similar to Morpheus’s older sister, Death, Lucifer Morningstar quickly became one of the more popular breakout characters from Gaiman’s comic book series. Seeing the potential for a comic book following the character in the human world, DC quickly ordered a lengthy spin-off series focusing on the version of Lucifer we see in The Sandman comics.
After he abandons Hell at the end of Sandman, Lucifer Morningstar sets out to create a world of his own design, interacting with a variety of demons, angels, and mortals along the way.
There have been a number of comics focusing on Lucifer, almost all of which are worth reading. But in regards to where exactly to begin, we recommend starting off with The Sandman Presents: Lucifer – The Morningstar Option, which segues directly into the excellent 2000 Lucifer series.
One of the most popular and infinitely intriguing characters in the entire DC universe would have to be the chainsmoking English magician/occult detective, John Constantine. An expert in all things supernatural, Hellblazer follows Constantine’s many paranormal misadventures in a series spanning multiple spin-offs, continuations, and hundreds of issues.
Many of the comic world’s most recognizable writers have wrote for Hellblazer at some time or another, including Garth Ennis, Eddie Campbell, Grant Morrison, and Neil Gaiman himself. For those looking for a drier, hardboiled, immensely grim horror series, it doesn’t get any better than this.
Books of Magic
London-based teenager Timothy Hunter is destined to become the greatest magician the world has ever seen. Not yet realizing the full extent of his powers, Books of Magic follows Hunter early on in his magical career as he first discovers his abilities.
As he contends with mundane childhood problems like unrequited romances and bullies, Tim finds himself being hunted by a group of occultists who believe his extraordinary talents will one day corrupt him and turn him evil.
Like Lucifer, Books of Magic spans numerous issues, with several teams of writers and artists covering Tim’s many supernatural adventures. For simplicity’s sake, we’d suggest starting with the 1990 Book of Magic written by Gaiman and drawn by John Bolton, which offers the best introduction to the character and storyline.
In 2018, DC announced their plans for the Sandman Universe — a continuation of Gaiman’s original comic set after Sandman, following several characters and settings that were explored in the initial comic book.
The first and most notable of these new comics was The Dreaming. After Morpheus seemingly vanishes from his kingdom without a trace, the residents of the Dreaming do whatever they can to maintain order in their increasingly chaotic world.
As with all comics attached to this new Sandman Universe, The Dreaming is meant to be read after Sandman. However, it’s ideal reading material for those who’ve already rifled their way through the comics and are looking for additional adventures surrounding Lucien, Mervyn Pumpkinhead, and the other storyweavers of the Dreaming.
House of Whispers
Historians and avid fans of DC comics might be familiar with the House of Secrets and House of Mystery — an anthology comic full of sci-fi, horror, and fantasy stories meant to emulate the style and format of EC’s classic horror comics.
In a slightly similar vein to those two mythical Houses (both of which would figure heavily into several Sandman comics and spin-offs), House of Whispers follows the House of Dahomey — a magical houseboat that is home to several voodoo spirits.
When the House’s powerful loa spirit, Erzulie Fréda, finds that four young girls have stumbled across a journal that may result in an infectious plague spreading across the globe, she tries her best to stop them before it’s too late.
Locke & Key: Hell & Gone
One of the most exciting announcements that came with the newer Sandman Universe was the promised crossover between Sandman and IDW’s critically acclaimed Locke & Key horror series.
Set in the 1920s, Hell & Gone focuses on the Locke family as they deal with the loss of their matriarch and teenaged son in the wake of World War 1. Seeking a way to give her family peace, one of the Locke daughters travels to England to meet with an imprisoned Morpheus, pleading for his help.
While only a mere three issues, Hell & Gone is still a supremely entertaining mashup between Gaiman and horror writer Joe Hill’s two expansive universes (both of which, ironically, have been developed into Netflix-exclusive TV series').
The most recent addition to the Sandman Universe, Nightmare Country follows Morpheus as he faces off against an out of control nightmare. With no other options left, he reluctantly dispatches the serial killing nightmare known as the Corinthian to hunt the creature down for him.
Nightmare Country doubles down on the horror aspect of the Sandman Universe, portraying the grim, foreboding, darker side of the Dreaming and the nightmarish creatures that dwell there. As you would expect when it comes to anything related to the Corinthian, it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.
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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Featured Image Courtesy of DC Comics.