10 Unanswered Questions in The Sandman

October 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm (Articles / Interviews) (, , , )

Warning: a fair bit of gushing and spoilers about the Sandman.

In The Sandman, one will find plenty more questions than answers. Like Cain once told Abel – it’s the mystery that keeps people interested, not the secret behind it.

Outside of the series’ original 75-issue run however, writer Neil Gaiman has taken the opportunity to reveal just a few of the secrets behind the mysteries.  If you want to know why Dream is always in conflict with Desire (besides the fact that they’re both douchey to each other), you’ll find out in The Heart of a Star, published as part of the Sandman 10th Anniversary special Endless Nights, that Desire once caused one of Dream’s lovers to betray him. If you want to know why Death decided to take human form once every hundred years, you’d have to read A Winter’s Tale, originally published as part of Vertigo: Winter’s Edge #2.

The Sandman: Overture, which marks Gaiman’s first new Sandman story in a looong while (and the first Sandman story to be drawn by the awesome HG Williams III), will be answering a question that was never overtly stated, but has sort of floated discreetly behind the ongoing action.

In the start of the series, Dream of the Endless was captured by humans and imprisoned. But Dream, being of the Endless, is mightier than gods and demons. So how the hell does he find himself encased in a glass globe?

In Brief Lives, we get the only clue as to why – Dream is shown to have emerged from a far away galaxy, “in triumph”, but “tired beyond reckoning and tried beyond all endurance” – weak enough to then be caught by a bunch of human cultists. Which begs the question, what in the Vertigo universe can possibly weaken a member of the Endless?

The first of The Sandman: Overture’s six issues is already out.

Before reading it, here are just a few of the other Sandman questions that have remained unanswered. Read the rest of this entry »

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Meet Joe Dredd

March 30, 2013 at 7:30 pm (Articles / Interviews) (, , )

I previously knew Judge Joe Dredd primarily as ‘the guy with the helmet and gaudy shoulder pads’, who was associated with British comics and general bad-assery. Never saw the Stallone movie, but I thought the Karl Urban one was great. I knew he was The Law, and had a tendency to get violent, and that a large chunk of his continuing appeal was that he operated in the endless dystopian sprawl of Mega-City One, a setting which practically writes its own stories. And, that was all I knew.

It was with that limited knowledge that I dove into the ‘Mega-City Masters 1’ collection, which pulls together a slew of Dredd stories from 1983 to 2010. The book focuses on showcasing the various artists who have worked on Dredd over the years, like Dave Gibbons (‘Watchmen’) and Kevin O’Neill (‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’), but it also provides a snapshot of how Dredd’s evolved over the years. Read the rest of this entry »

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The game I never thought I’d play

February 14, 2013 at 6:35 pm (Articles / Interviews, Awesome, Nostalgia) (, , , )

Yesterday, I came home to find this – a package from Barcelona, containing a bunch of Suikoden merchandise, most specifically an original copy of Genso Suikogaiden Vol. 1: Swordsman of Harmonia. Only waited 12 years to get my hands on that.

Suikoden Day prize

It’s no secret that Suikoden II is my favoritest game in the whole wide world (one of the few things that gets me blogging regularly is gushing about Suikoden Day, or Why This Game Changed My Life). I got into Suikoden II at around 12, that age where the stories you hear just sort of stick with you forever. It was also at that age I discovered you can look shit up on this thing called the Internet. Suikosource didn’t exist yet, but there was Icy Brian and Rebel Hideout (what was once souleater.org) to go look at game art and character bios and stuff. Read the rest of this entry »

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Facing down writer’s block

November 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm (Articles / Interviews) (, , , )

Every now and then, I encounter that thing called ‘writer’s block’, except it’s less of a ‘block’ and more of an ‘insurmountable George R.R. Martin-esque Wall’.

The Wall

When this happens, I tend to look for Uncle Iroh-type people who can give me an idea of how to surmount the Wall of Writer’s Blockery (because left to myself, I would probably just knock my head against it until I bleed to death). Sometimes I’m lucky to actually have people to talk to – older and wiser writers who know their shit and are generous with advice. But mostly they’re not around, so I settle for looking for Uncle Iroh advice online.

For instance, if you pop over to Neil Gaiman’s tumblr, you’ll find people asking him any of a thousand variations of ‘what do I do when I’ve got this story I’ve been carrying since childhood and I really want to be an awesome writer like you please tell me what I should do.’ Gaiman’s answer is always along the lines of ‘just write.’ He tells people to put one word after the other til they’ve gone right up story mountain. And this is true. Read the rest of this entry »

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Walking with the Dream King

August 30, 2012 at 5:11 pm (Articles / Interviews) (, , , )

So there’s going to be a new Sandman story. When I found out, back during the height of SDCC 2012, I went into my head and did a little happy dance because it meant I’d get to see Morpheus again.


Morpheus isn’t like Batman, or Harry Potter, wherein you expect to run into them on a regular basis, or they’ve so saturated culture that you know they’ll never be too far away. He’s more like Number Ten Ox and Li Kao, or Totoro – he has a canon with a distinct beginning and end, and is rarely seen outside of it. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Love Never Dies experience for a Phantom of the Opera fan (Part 2 of 2: Story and characters)

August 20, 2012 at 12:59 am (Articles / Interviews) (, , , )

Warning: Here there be spoilers, strong language, and assumption of familiarity with the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Phantom of the Opera. CONTINUED FROM PART 1.

And now that I am well into the territory of comparing Phantom and Love, I’d like to talk about the characters and story.

Critics previously panned the Love Never Dies libretto, so much that a lot of the story was re-worked between its premiere in London and its staging in Melbourne (which went on to become the DVD). The Australian version features significant changes including new direction, staging, costumes, a new prologue, and a few additional bits of dialogue. Even then, it’s difficult to shake the feeling that the whole body of the story rings hollow.

love never dies 2 Read the rest of this entry »

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The Love Never Dies experience for a Phantom of the Opera fan (Part 1 of 2: Lyrics and stuff)

August 18, 2012 at 12:47 am (Articles / Interviews) (, , , , )

Warning: Here there be spoilers, strong language, and assumption of familiarity with the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Phantom of the Opera.

Anyone with even the slightest interest in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera must have heard of its sequel, Love Never Dies, and the fandom clusterfuck that came upon its premiere back in 2010.

Certain fans questioned why the musical, which has been running since 1986, and has since spawned generations of people unhealthily obsessed with the titular character, even needed a sequel – especially when that sequel involves said character moving to Coney Island and finding he’s fathered a child with the woman the previous musical established he’d never end up with (not because he’s ugly, mind, but because he’s crazy).

I give that description with a goodly amount of affection, as I happen to be one of those people unhealthily obsessed with the titular character. It would have been easy to jump on the sequel hate bandwagon – more so when I found out Love Never Dies would be taking cues from the 1999 novel Phantom of Manhattan, which I really didn’t like. But I decided to withhold judgement until I actually saw it. Besides, it had this awesome poster:

love never dies Read the rest of this entry »

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James Jean: One-man art army

July 10, 2012 at 4:00 am (Articles / Interviews) (, , , , )

James Jean unedited interview/feature for Contemporary Art Philippines. Interview was conducted in January 2012, during Jean’s visit to Manila.

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James Jean in Manila

James Jean is tired after four full hours of signing for fans at Fully Booked, High Street, in the last leg of what has been a three-day marathon of giving talks and meeting with the country’s art and pop culture aficionados.

He admits that meeting such enthusiastic devotees of his work is “great for the self-esteem.”

“I think as an artist I tend to be very self-critical,” he says. “Working alone in the studio, your personal demons can tend to drive you a little crazy, so it’s nice to be injected back into society.”

The Filipino artistic society in particular, has embraced Jean so well that this is the second time he’s been invited to the country as a special guest of Fully Booked. But while Jean says it’s great to be back, the fan love he receives has taken its toll. Read the rest of this entry »

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Random book things: Unemployment reading (Part 2 of 2)

July 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm (Articles / Interviews) (, , , , , )

I’ve been unemployed for about a month, and I’ve been using it for reading. The list started here (with Jose Saramago’s ‘Blindness’, Myke Cole’s ‘Shadow Ops: Control Point’ and Viktor Frankl’s ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’) and continues here. Warning, mild spoilers for everything.

Feed (Mira Grant)


This one’s a zombie novel that’s really more about the paranoia of human beings and the freedom of media (but there are also zombies). It takes place a few years after the zombie apocalypse foretold in pop culture, so the surviving population is remarkably genre-savvy (ie. Nobody leaves home without a gun, people don’t congregate in big crowds, and anyone found to be infected is killed without question). Read the rest of this entry »

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Random book things: Unemployment reading (Part 1 of 2)

June 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm (Articles / Interviews) (, , )

I recently rejoined the world of the unemployed. On one hand this means constant, visceral anxiety over having no job, and constant, visceral anxiety over the idea of getting a job in the near future (to illustrate the feeling, here’s a Subnormality comic). On the other hand, it means plenty of time for reading.

When you have a dayjob, you just generally assign yourself a little window of reading time before sleeping if you want to get any reading done at all. Unemployment reading is the kind of reading where you eat the book without fear of being too sapped to meet deadlines the next day. You watch the pages fly by, tell yourself to take a break so you can eat and sleep and bathe, realize you don’t have to have such a high standard of bodily maintenance because you have no pressing need to leave the house anyway, and go back to reading.

Here’s what’s been giving me joy over the last month (warning, mild spoilers for everything):

Blindness (Jose Saramago)


Everyone in a (city? Country? The world?) goes blind, except for one woman who has both the advantage and burden of witnessing the ugly of the human race. Read the rest of this entry »

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