BOOK REVIEW – NEIL GAIMAN – THE SANDMAN 6 – FABLES AND REFLECTIONS 1993 – DC / Titan Books.

 

A graphic collection of Sandman tales spanning a wide period of history and mythology. In Three Septembers and A January A man who’s dreams and ambitions have come to nothing with shattering disappointment, imagines how much better things might have been if America had been a monarchy, instead of a republic. Morpheus, The Sandman, influenced by his family, The Endless, makes the man into the first and only Emperor of the United States.

 

During the French Revolution, a woman is seen carrying a severed head in a bag – suspecting that she is making a martyr of some guillotined revolutionary hero, Robbespierre has the woman captured and the bag taken, but it is the undying head of Orpheus, which sings a song so beautiful that Robbespierre goes insane, and loses is grip on the reign of terror that he started, leading to his own decapitation.

 

A later story in the collection goes back to the origins of Orpheus, son of Morpheus, who stands back unwilling to intervene when Orpheus’s bride, Eurydice is killed by a serpent on their wedding day, and refuses to help when Orpheus makes his disastrous attempt to rescue her from Hades. The consequences for Morpheus will arise in the ninth book in the amazing Sandman series, The Kindly Ones.

 

The Parliament Of Rooks tells of a gathering of ravens to hear a story from one of their kind. If the story is not appreciated, the flock will murder the raven. .

 

The best story here is Ramadan, in which a wise Sultan in the age of the Tales Of Sheherazade, summons Morpheus to beg him to preserve the great and wondrous city of Baghdad as it is, because he has had troubling visions of the fall of the city. Morpheus agrees and creates a dream bubble in which the city as the Sultan sees it is preserved forever. The final few panels show the Baghdad we know, ruined and reduced to rubble by the West’s wars against Sadham Hussein. 

 

 

© Copyright. Arthur Chappell  

 

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