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GAIMAN, NEIL & DRINGENBERG, MIKE - THE SANDMAN #2 – THE DOLL’S HOUSE. 1990 DC COMICS. 

 

The most audacious and serious themes utilized in a Sandman story, (this is really one story rather than an anthology as some of the books in the series are) given that it challenges the horrors of serial killers practicing paedophilia with a wry sense of humour without being insensitive to its subject matter. A major convention of murderous child molesters is taking place at a shady hotel in the US.  Unfortunately, a young girl who has already suffered badly in life is accidentally double booked as a guest there. She also proves to be a magnet for rogue dreams, mostly nightmares, which the sandman is trying to recapture. He knows that he may have to cause the girl’s death in order to bring the dreams under complete control. Her presence naturally attracts the attention of the strange, furtive men who have the rooms around her own. Fortunately, Morpheus, The Sandman is also present. The convention, creepily, and satirically mimicking the way a science fiction gathering can operate, has the perverts inviting their favourite gets speakers, swapping merchandise, and exchanging their stories with one another. There is a ruling against actually committing sex-crimes as they have no wish to attract police attention, but with a young lady in their midst, temptation proves too strong for some. Morpheus’s reprisal on them is brilliant. Unable to kill humans directly, he bestows ion them a terrible gift. He makes them see themselves as others seethe, as they really are. They are stunned and sickened with self-loathing at their true natures, which they can never again escape. He rogue dreams, like Fiddler’s Green, are rounded up. Rose is spared her death when her grandmother offers herself as a willing sacrifice in her place. The story is a complex one, prologue and with an epilogue set in an Aboriginal dreamscape, where folklore has stories told only once. Morpheus also has his first meeting with Giddings, who will live forever and who agrees to meet Morpheus every 100 years  for a drink. The thread will be recaptured in Sandman #10. The Wake.  The Doll’s House is one, and its message is that human desire is not a doll to be played with by others, even the gods, or elementals like The Endless, to whom the Sandman belongs It is a living being to be treated with respect and granted its freedom of self-development and worth. http://www.dccomics.com/

 

Arthur Chappell

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