The styles change according to the dreamer. In one story featuring an aggressively normcore yuppie couple named Ken and Barbie, his dreams about money and sex are rendered in sharp, angular lines and black-and-green backgrounds, while her Narnia-esque escapist ones are depicted with soft, rounded lines and delicate yellows and pinks. When characters’ worlds get knocked off-kilter, the art follows suit — panels float, as though in free fall, around, say, a two-page spread of a dream vortex. Every page reflects the flexible, ever-changing domain of dreams.
Long Live the King
The Endless, anthropomorphized personifications of human ideas, beliefs and states of being, already serve as a fountainhead of clever metaphorical narratives. The king of Dreams lies at the center of this.
Powerful but temperamental, often vengeful but occasionally generous, Morpheus carries the reader through the story but remains enigmatic, a morose yet compelling figure who inhabits a fascinating universe of mysteries, oddities and magic. Visually, too, he’s striking, with milky skin, an electric shock of black hair and eyes that gleam, as the series often reminds us, like twin stars in the sky. When he bears his tools — a bag of sand, a ruby and his helmet (called his “helm” in the book and series), which resembles an elongated gas mask with giant buglike eyes and an elephantine trunk — he looks like a grim omen portending tragedy. And though he’s a kind of god, Morpheus is fallible, someone who evolves throughout the series and is revealed to readers piece by piece as he re-encounters figures from his past.
While the ruler of dreams is self-serious, The Sandman uses a lighter touch in presenting him, sometimes even making him the butt of jokes by other characters, like his good-humored elder sister, Death. And when Gaiman returned to the tale of Morpheus in The Sandman: Overture, it provided the original comics with a sense of closure without completely shutting the door on the universe. This Sandman is eternal, and one way or another, his story goes on.