top of page


Updated: Jun 24, 2021

Writer: Neil Gaiman

Illustrators: Sam Kieth & Mike Dringenberg

Publisher: Vertigo

The Sandman, Vol.1 (tpb), cover, Vertigo, Gaiman/Keith/Dringenberg
The Sandman, Vol.1 (tpb), cover, Vertigo, Gaiman/Keith/Dringenberg


Dark, gothy fantasy with some DC Universe crossover.

It’s one of THE comics you hear people talk about when they talk about classic comics. Written in the late ‘80s, this FEELS like that era of fantasy. Think Labyrinth’s big hair and dark fantasy. It also feels like the Russian film, Night Watch, probably took some inspiration from here, too.


(Minor Spoilers)

The concept of “Dreams” is personified as the protagonist of the story. He’s captured and weakened.

As you may expect, when someone captures a deity or anthropomorphized concept and keeps them in a cage for several decades, there are repercussions (and, at one point, literally Hell to pay).

This kicks off a 10-volume series of mind-bending storytelling, so strap in for some dark, edgy, mind-bending Neil Gaiman storytelling.


  • A Classic for a Reason: There’s a reason people tell you to read this title if you like comics, and there’s a reason Neil Gaiman is a successful writer – because this is a timeless, brilliant, unique story

  • If the traditional “boxes-on-a-page” presentation of comic book storytelling bores you, this definitely mixes it up with innovative layouts and panels (see image below)

  • The world-building is immense and creative

  • Long but finite series means you know how much story you’re signing up for

  • Blends some myths and legends, some DC Comics characters and new ideas for a really well-rounded and unique story

  • Once you read this, you can smugly tell other new comic book readers they HAVE to read The Sandman Series


  • Made in the ‘80s: If you’re one of those people who can’t enjoy something if the art isn’t as crisp & clear as modern comics, this may not be for you – color has been updated in some copies, however!

  • Length: These trades are nearly twice the length of modern trade paperbacks (collections of single issues), and the dialogue is dense, so it’s a slower read

  • If you’re not ready to get weird or if you’re not a fan of Neil Gaiman’s work, you may want to hold off on this one

  • I’d probably limit this to adult readers – there’s a decent amount of nudity and violence

The Sandman, Vol. 1 (tpb), page 4, Vertigo, Gaiman/Keith/Dringenberg


This shouldn’t be the first comic book you open, but need to read it. A lot of what made this so groundbreaking was that it did things differently from a lot of the other comics around at the time. It may also be challenging to new readers, so if you’re new to comics, I’d consider reading something that feels like less of a departure from what you enjoy in other media.


If you like the writing:

  • The Sandman, Vol. 2 by Neil Gaiman, Mike Dringenberg & Malcolm Jones III

  • Preacher by Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon

  • Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman & Andy Kubert

If you like the art:

  • Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

  • The New Mutants by Chris Claremont & Bill Sienkiewicz

  • The Black Monday Murders by Jonathan Hickman & Tomm Coker


Neil Gaiman – Writer

  • Name Recognition: Incredibly well respected for his achievements in comics, literature & more

  • His comics, novels and books of short stories are wildly popular and several have been adapted for TV & film

  • Married to talented musician Amanda Palmer

Sam Kieth – Pencils

  • Quit working on The Sandman after the 5th issue

  • Creator of the classic ‘90s series, The Maxx

Mike Dringenberg – Pencils & Inks

  • Replaced Sam Kieth on pencils for The Sandman

  • Has also done art for the popular collectible card game series, Magic: The Gathering

Malcolm Jones III – Inks

  • Replaced Mike Dringenberg on inks for The Sandman

Todd Klein – Letterer

  • Award Winner: Since starting out in comics over 40 years ago, he has won many, many awards

  • Has created over 100 of his own fonts

Robbie Busch – Colorist

  • Also worked on the Babylon 5 comic series

Dave McKean – Cover Artist

  • Name Recognition: He is widely known for his conceptual, mixed media art, much of which he’s done for Neil Gaiman projects

  • Also a talented jazz pianist


Click one of these:

The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.

All Vertigo characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Vertigo or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


bottom of page