Neil Gaiman’s award-winning comic book series Sandman has an upcoming live-action Netflix series and the series has never been more popular. A story of dreams, death, despair, and desire— both character-wise and in the thematic sense— Sandman has some of the best writing and art of the last 30 years but it is a fairly dark comic book to read.
After Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, is held captive for over seven decades, he must go on quests and make right the year’s worth of damage his absence has done— leading the reader into some of the most chilling and disturbing stories.
10 Jed Paulsen’s Guardians Assaulting Him & Threatening Him To Lie About Their Abuse
The grandson of Unity Kincaid, Jed has been living with his second cousins, an elderly couple who abuse and beat him. Jed is always chained up and locked in the couple’s basement where all he can do is sleep and dream. In Sandman #12 by Neil Gaiman, Chris Bachalo, and Malcolm Jones III, the extend of the abuse is shown when the couple brings Jed out of the basement and threaten him to be on his best behavior when the “welfare snooper” comes for a visit.
9 Kai’ckul Slaying The Mortal Woman He Loves When She Tries To Escape Him
In Sandman #9 by Neil Gaiman, Mike Dringenberg, and Malcolm Jones III, queen Nada sees Morpheus (in his Kai’ckul form), instantly falls in love with him, and goes searching for him. When she realizes who he is and that they cannot be together or else terrible things would happen, she runs away from him. Morpheus chases after her since he loves her too but (in what serves as a precursor to what he later condemns her to) kills her when she transforms into a gazelle.
8 A Cat’s Newborn Kittens Being Tossed Away Like Garbage
A wonderful Sandman one-shot called “A Dream Of A Thousand Cats” follows the story of a small kitten being led to a meeting with other cats in order to hear the story of a traveling Siamese cat who tells the story of how she met the Cat of Dreams (Morpheus in black cat form).
The story is gripping and melancholy as the cat tells of how her owners murdered her children when they saw the kittens weren’t pure-bred like her, setting her on her journey.
7 Schoolboy Bullies Displaced From Hell Upset Over Their Human Sacrifice Being Laughed At
In Sandman #25 by Neil Gaiman, Matt Wagner, and P. Craig Russell, the aftermath of Lucifer shutting down Hell is told in a story set at a boarding school where Charles Rowland is the only student there during the holiday break. Dead former students return to the school, including three disturbed bullies who had sacrificed a boy named Edwin 75 years earlier to the Devil. The bullies set their sights on Charles now, upset that killing Edwin had won them no favors in Hell.
6 A Ghost Gives Young Charles A Chilling Piece Of Wisdom
The bullies who threatened Charles at the boarding school torture him with a hot fork and he’s left unconscious and alone. Edwin, the boy that the bullies had sacrificed, takes Charles up to the school’s attic where the boy dies a few days later. Charles and Edwin talk as he lays dying and Charles seems to be at peace with dying since it means there would be no more pain, but according to Edwin— a ghost boy recently ejected from Hell— that’s not the case.
5 A Writer Gets Away With Abusing His Muse While Touting Himself As A Feminist
There are actual panels of Neil Gaiman, Kelley Jones, and Malcolm Jones III’s Sandman #17 that depict a writer sexually assaulting his imprisoned muse (and Dream’s ex-wife) Calliope. But one of the more chilling panels of the comic shows the writer having the nerve to call himself a feminist just because he was able to write a character who’s a “strong woman in fiction” and have people praise him for it, showing just how insidious and evil he is as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
4 A Serial Killer Talking About His Favorite Kill Spot
During the “The Doll’s House” arc of Sandman, a convention is going on somewhere in Florida that is actually a convention for serial killers. The reader is introduced to many different characters who are more depraved and despicable than the last.
But no panels are more disturbing than when “Fun Land, “the alias of a child-killer, drops heavy clues that his favorite place to assault and kill his victims is a popular theme park where the murders get covered up in order to protect the brand.
3 John Dee Murdering His Driver After She Thought She Was Safe To Go
One of the earlier shocks of Sandman, John Dee— AKA Doctor Destiny— has escaped Arkham Asylum and is on his way to find the Materioptikon, a ruby he used for his super-villainy that actually belongs to Morpheus. John holds a woman named Rosemary at gunpoint and makes her drive him to the ruby’s location. During the long drive, he tells her about his life, and his polite disposition puts her at ease. When they arrive, Rosemary thinks she’s free to go but is instead murdered.
2 Desire Admits To Assaulting Unity Kincaid
As a consequence of Morpheus being held prisoner for 72 years, people around the globe were inflicted with a type of sleeping sickness. For a young woman named Unity Kincaid, her illness was essentially being put into a coma for decades and at some point, she was sexually assaulted and gave birth while she slept. It turns out that Dream’s younger sibling Desire was the one who assaulted Unity in order to meddle with Dream. And when confronted, it’s Desire’s aloofness that’s the most chilling.
1 Death Pays A Visit To A Baby Taken By Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
In Sandman #8 by Neil Gaiman, Mike Dringenberg, and Malcolm Jones III, Dream decides to shadow his sister Death as she does her job, which isn’t necessarily causing someone’s death but instead being there when a person dies. In the most heartbreaking panel ever, Death and Dream drop in on a mother and her baby. As the mother prepares a bottle in the other room, Death holds the baby in her arms and they all depart before the mother discovers that her baby has died.
DC: 10 Strangest Teen Titans, Ranked
About The Author