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Subject: [Sandman] February - The Doll's House. NO SPOILERS . . . rss

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February is here, so it is time for month two of our journey. In this second monthly thread, feel free to discuss the events, themes, words and art of issues 9 through 16 (as collected in Volume 2, The Dolls House)

As this thread is a first read, PLEASE avoid any spoilers. For anything discovered in the current month's issues, please use the
Spoiler (click to reveal)
spoiler tags.


If you are a Sandman RE-reader wanting to join in the fun, there is another (spoiler-filled) thread here.

I expect the Rereaders will probably end up frequenting both threads - please be mindful not to post anything spoiler-y in this "first read" thread.

I'm fascinated by the fact that the first read thread has, to date, been more lively than the reread thread.
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I was waiting for this to start up. After I read, and reread P&N last month, (The second time through was much easier to follow.) I was pining to move on.

I must admit I read the first chapter of Doll House on Sunday. I pulled it off the shelf while I was putting P&N up, and was flipping through and saw that it was called a Prologue, so I figured, hey why not.

I read it.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
It was an interesting tale about Dream's love interest. I assume that this was essentially a 'filler' issue. That they have to do from time to time between story arcs? Otherwise, maybe this sets up Dream as a more 'human' character. Knowing that he can love, be jealous, but also knowing that there are consequences for doing so. I think because this was played off as a prologue, I doubt I'll ever see this material again.

I will say this, for the first several pages, I felt like I was reading a different book. Since the characters etc. were all totally different and it had nothing to do with what I currently think of as the protagonist, until the queen's love disappeared, then I figured out she must have dreamed about him.


I think I'll follow the same path I followed for P&N this month. I'll do a full read fairly quickly through, then give it a week or so, then do a reread. I think I got more out of P&N the second time through than the first time.
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I don't think there's any such thing as "a filler issue" after Preludes & Nocturnes. There are flashbacks and asides, however . . .
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nycavri wrote:
I don't think there's any such thing as "a filler issue" after Preludes & Nocturnes. There are flashbacks and asides, however . . .


Agree. There are stand alone issues, but all are a part of the bigger picture.
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At the urging of this thread's Sandman fans, I didn't bail after my somewhat underwhelming experience with volume 1. I've read volume 2 (and actually since my local library amazingly enough has the Absolute Sandman I guess I read volume 3 as well) and I've had two things confirmed.

1. Neil Gaiman has a lot of cool ideas.
2. Sandman is just not my cup of tea.


I'm not sure how interesting it is for people who like Sandman to hear thoughts from someone who doesn't it like it, so I'm a little reluctant to post much. Nobody wants to go to a Doctor Who convention and sit next to the guy who doesn't think Doctor Who is a very good TV show. But for what little it might be worth here's a few thoughts.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Really the turn off for me is the over the top violence as side venue story that really doesn't advance the plot. I know this makes me sound like some sort of Sunday morning church goer who is just too sheltered to enjoy real literature, but I don't think this is really the case. Allow me to compare Sandman's serial killer story with another serial killer story that I really enjoyed, namely Chris Carters 1st season of Millenium. Both are designed at some level to make you deeply uncomfortable. Serial killers are an unpleasant but very real feature of the human race. We generally don't like to think about them being out there, but they are. Gaiman forces us to think about them through his admittedly brilliant idea of a cereal convention. Carter puts us in the world of guy who tries to stop serial killers for a living, and who has a gift for thinking like they do. Both have some pretty violent images or allusions throughout. Eye harvesting in Neil's, and I believe the very first episode of Millenium had a guy sewing the eyes and mouths shut of people and than burying them alive (which I believe was pretty envelope pushing for network TV in the 90's even for FOX)

Both are intentionally disturbing, but to me Gaiman seems to enjoy just soaking in the creepiness without a reason. In Carters story you're faced with the worst of humanity but you do so because your working through how this impacts Lance Hendrickson's character. What's it like to think like a serial killer for a living? How do you go home after work for a family picnic in the park when you've been tracking down body parts for the last ten hours? What does it mean about you when you find you are good at thinking like a serail killer? What is the difference between you and them?

Contrast this with Gaiman's 3 serial killers take the convention buster out back. We know they are all serial killers already, yet we are treated to several panels of them taking someone out in the woods to kill him, as a team and having a good time with it. This scene doesn't move the story forward at all. Doesn't tell us anything new about Dream, or the convention attendees, it just has us think about what's it like to be killed by three serial killers simultaneously. And this ultimately is why Sandman just isn't for me. There are not enough cool ideas keeping me there vs Gaiman's weird stuff pushing me away.

Conversely, the Hob Gadling story was great, and although I know its in volume 3 I really enjoyed the Dream of a Thousand Cats.

As far as the series as a whole, Morpheus' character is really slow development. Not much happening very fast. Almost Spock like apathy without the Eye Brow of Interest ever making an appearance. I realize he is a timeless immortal but he just doesn't show enough emotion to make him very interesting, other than a not very convincing "Don't mess with me ever again" general swagger. Weren't you the same guy who got caught by a two bit magician with a book?

So again I apologize for writing mostly just about why I don't like Sandman. I'll stay quiet now and just read what other people find so appealing so everyone else can have a good time. Thanks for starting these threads which actually got me to read something which many people have recommended to me for years. Now I can at least respond in my best Mr. Horse voice from Ren and Stimpy. "No sir, I tried it and I did not like it."

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Fair complaints. I think perhaps that new readers need to realize that this book was part of DC's horror line initially. In fact, many of the characters already existed in their horror titles at the time. Gaiman was doing something really interesting here by pulling them altogether into one complete mythology.

Cain and Abel - they were hosts of House of Mystery and House of Secrets.
Lucien - was part of Weird Mystery Tales and something else in the DC line.
Brute and Glob - both part of the 1974 Sandman series.
Destiny - was a host of Secrets of the Haunted House.

And I know there's more I'm missing. So a lot of what Neil was doing early on was writing a horror book. And really, there is no point to the violence in a horror book outside of the reaction.

What happened over time, however, was that the book evolved beyond that, into something much more fantastical and genre-spanning. If you liked Hob Gadling and the Cats, there's a lot more you're going to enjoy about these books. And for me at least, I ignore the horror parts I don't like because the rest of it is SO GOOD.

Do me a small favor and just read the fourth book yet, Seasons of Mist. If you still want to stop after that, be my guest.
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(sigh)

It's too bad you don't like it, especially since you have such a cool avatar. I respect what you are saying. It's not for everybody. I hate it when people try to push stuff on me that I have no intrest in. So I'll stop..... Vol. 4 is the best though... I'm just saying.whistle


But hey, at least you gave it a shot.
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First thing, can we have a link to this thread in the January P&N thread as it took me a while to realise that this thread was already running.

I have read through Doll House and I am not sure what to make of it.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
I didn't really feel like I got much character development for the volume of pages. I think I enjoyed the previous volume more as there was a web of different threads and separate stories, whereas in this volume it felt like it was all the one story and was not concisely told and dragged on a little. I liked the prologue story it was well told well illustrated and moved along at a good pace. I also liked Hob's story although I could have done without the self indulgent cocking a snook at Shakespeare, I guess it helped to visualise a timeline of Hob's life but it felt to me as heinous as Ke$ha name dropping Mick Jagger. I also couldn't empathise with Rose, to me she acted disparate to what was going on around her, like she wasn't really there. I was hoping that her brother was going to be the vortex as that would have given reason as to why Constantine, Brute and Glob all happened to be attracted to the middle of nowhere USA.


So in conclusion I felt like I didn't "get" this volume as much as I did with the first one. I am curious to see what other first timers think when they check in, and then maybe something will click.
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greatsage wrote:
First thing, can we have a link to this thread in the January P&N thread as it took me a while to realise that this thread was already running.


I have been announcing the new threads in the initial thread. Your best bet is to subscribe there.
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nycavri wrote:
greatsage wrote:
First thing, can we have a link to this thread in the January P&N thread as it took me a while to realise that this thread was already running.


I have been announcing the new threads in the initial thread. Your best bet is to subscribe there.


Cool, subscribed now thanks.
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To "Moon Knight", in particular:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I'm with you on one count-- the violence serves little purpose, I feel. So much senseless violence. Yes, there are twisted and evil people in real life. Why do I want to know more about them? I don't.
So I'm basically ignoring it, looking for a thread of a plot line instead. I think that there might be something redeemable in there.


To "Great Sage" (and "Moon Knight"):
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I also agree with you; in the Dollhouse, it's a struggle to find a plot line, or very much character development, until the last story, which makes the first one (the Prologue) even better.
Did I enjoy being totally confused, for 80% of this series? Hmmmmm... it was a pretty good ending. But I only really enjoyed the Prologue and part 8. It was a long journey between them.


Did anyone else notice...?
Spoiler (click to reveal)
In part 1 of The Doll's House, when Dream is standing in the chamber with the statues and the stained glass window, talking to Lucien about the residents who are not accounted for, the stained glass window image is definitely of Rose Walker-- there's even a flower at the top of the arch-- and she's holding a mask (implying Unity's part of the vortex story to come, much later on in the story, I figure).

Spoiler (click to reveal)
After Gilbert tells Rose the "real" story of Red Riding Hood, back at the cereal/ serial convention Funland is wearing a tee-shirt with a wolf on it.
Later on, when he goes up to Rose's room to assault her, he knocks on her door and says that he has a message from her grandmother. She is fooled (by the wolf) and lets him in. Red Riding Hood all over again.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
When, in the last story, Rose mentions that her best friend, Judy, died a year ago, the picture of the "Six Slain in Diner of Death Riddle" is soon shown, and those are the six people from Preludes and Nocturnes that John Dee messed with in 24 Hours, including Judy-- who phoned Rose Walker from the diner-- after she had her fight with Donna.
There's also a picture of the wolf (similar to Funland's Tee shirt) on her bulletin board.
Incidentally, there are two tacks on what looks to be the "Diner" article, on her bulletin board, but only one central tack on the close-up of it. Whoops!


Can anyone tell me...?
Spoiler (click to reveal)
If the photo of the man on her bulletin board is a real person? There's a scratchy, almost perceptible, name below it (on the brown wall) that looks like it might read "Gilbertson".
The photo looks a fair bit like Gilbert, I think, so is that the persona that Fiddler's Green took as a human form?


Did anyone else wish...?
Spoiler (click to reveal)
That The Corithian had strung up Funland, and flayed him alive, instead of the other guy? I mean, I'd rather not have had anyone flayed alive, really, but a child predator like Funland would almost be deserving, if anyone was.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
That everyone at the Cereal convention had "blown up, real good" (SCTV reference by me), after Rose and Gilbert left?
Does that make me a bad person, wishing death on others?


About the artwork, in general:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
In one word, I'd use "choppy".
While I truly appreciated the quality, style, and direction of the artwork that guest pencillers' Bachalo and Zulli contributed (parts 3 and 4, respectively) the lack of consistency from that and Dringenberg's work annoyed me. It's too bad that guest artists had to be used, but I guess with schedules and real life, you can't always get what you want.




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Alright. So I read through Dollhouse completely in about two days. Then I waited about a week, and reread the book again.

Here are my thoughts.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I was confused as well for most of it as well the first time through. It seemed like it was all over the map. Once I finished it though, everything about it came together, then I very very much enjoyed my reread through it.

The first time through I did enjoy some bits and pieces that alluded to things I read from January's P&N. Like when they introduced Unity Kincaid I was like I remember her. That was kind of cool. I suppose this is typical of serialized comic books. That they keep coming back to things that only had bit parts early.

Rose's friend being killed in the diner in P&N was another one.

It makes me wonder what you say more about there not being any filler in this series. They were pretty blatent about one foreshadow in the "Playing House" chapter as it seems sometime down the line, the baby of the fake sandman and hippolyta will probably become significant at some point down the line.

---------

I find it confusing what MABBY says above about there being a connection of the prologue to the last chapter? Does that mean his love was a vortex as well? I didn't get that at all. Maybe it's flying over my head.

To me as it stands now, the stories of the Prologue and Men of Good Fortune were not part of the Doll's House. They didn't fit in. The Prologue I was okay with, because they hadn't properly started the new story.

Men of Good Fortune felt like an issue out of place. It was telling the story of the cereal convention then jed gets in the car with the Corinthian, then this issue, then the corinthian arrives at the convention and Jed is locked in the trunk dying from some unknown issue.

I don't get it. That being said, it was kind of a neat issue with the 'time traveling' And I sort of liked the pop culture references, e.g. Will Shakespeare made a deal with dream to become a good playwright.

Now, toward the end of Men of Good Fortune, there was a lot of references to things we had seen before. There was a girl something constantine who I assume was the mother of the guy that stole his pouch of sand in P&N, but that being said, they also referenced the Mad Hettie, who was referenced in P&N in the Constantine chapter.

Are all of these DC references? I haven't read many of these books, so these are flying over my head. I don't suppose anyone has a list of inside jokes through chapter 2. I suppose it's also possible that these will become integral to the story at some point as well (He's setting me up for an aha, I remember them from Men of Good Fortune in Dolls House, sometime during the 5th book or so , kind of like what happened with Unity Kincaid.)

--------

As far as reading through Sandman goes. I'm finding at this point it is impossible to follow the first time through so far, and that the second time through, things start to click. I have not found that to be true for most graphic novels. Watchmen didn't have that problem, and Maus, Logicomix, Mouse Guard, and Walking Dead didn't either. So far that's the only graphic novels that I've read.

I don't mind it, but I'd have to say, if I picked it up not knowing anything about its legacy, then reading it through one time I would be disappointed in it, my rereads have been exceptionally enjoyable though. Making up for being so lost during the initial reads.

It upset me a little bit after I finished my re-read of doll's house. In that I wanted to go back and re-reread P&N again, especially the 24 hours chapter, knowing what I know now. I don't think I want to keep going back though.

I'm thinking about cheating and going on to read through the whole series, since it's only February 7th. Because I almost think I'll have to go through the whole series once confused to finally get what you rereaders are probably getting out of it the second time through.

I won't at this time though, since I actually only have through book 7 since I'm buying the recolorizations and Book 8, 9, and 10 haven't come out yet, and will probably only be out about the time we start coming to them, so I'd hate to get to book 7 so fast, and then bam, get stuck waiting on books to come out (Which is where I am with Walking Dead, which sucks, I will now only read books where the story is finished)


Sorry for the long post, I had a lot of thoughts to get out.
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Oh, the main reason I almost wanted to go back and reread P&N again, maybe someone could save me the trouble.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
I couldn't remember Unity's rape in the book, I mean I remember it, but I don't remember the details as at that time it was 'filler' Does it leave clues as to who it was, was it actually Desire as Dream alludes to in the final pages. Is that something I should try to find out for myself, The ending of this one makes it seem like it might come back out later as Dream and Desire have it out.


Spoiler (click to reveal)
One other enjoyment was Unity telling Dream he wasn't very smart about not knowing about Vortexes (Vertices?) That was almost funny. But it made me wonder who Unity was and how she became an expert about it. I almost hope that comes up later, perhaps it's because she spent so much time in the dream world from having slept all her life.
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Also, this thread is impossible to read on iPad because of the spoiler tags
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Connection: Prologue & final chapter
Spoiler (click to reveal)
What I meant by my earlier comment was that when the "heart" is produced (it was inside Rose, I think it was?), it was the same type (or the same one) found in the sand by the one tribesman in the prologue. That's what suddenly made the prologue relevant for me. Otherwise it was just a couple of guys in a desert, talking, and then a different storyline altogether. No deeper meaning, that I could see, about the vortex.
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Men of Good Fortune
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I agree with Chris (SybotCB) that this story felt out of place. The change in artwork didn't help, since that already felt strange.
It was a good story though, especially fun with the references to Shakespeare and other historical figures and events, and how his fortune changed over the years from bad to good to bad to good.

My take?

1) It shows that Dream (and Desire, and Death, et al.) really are Endless
2) That you can delay death if you truly want to live (although not for several centuries, obviously, as happened in this fiction)--and, by extention, if you instead embrace death it will gladly take you
3) That the Endless are not as focused and results-driven as we make them out to be. They are capricious, and possess a sense of play and even fairness at times. They also work closely with each other in certain circumstances.

Towards the very end of this chapter:
When Dream is initially very mad, because the immortal man calls him "a friend", he still returns 100 years later and greets the same man, now refering to him as his friend.
Dream is lonely. That's what I took from it.
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MABBY wrote:
Connection: Prologue & final chapter
Spoiler (click to reveal)
What I meant by my earlier comment was that when the "heart" is produced (it was inside Rose, I think it was?), it was the same type (or the same one) found in the sand by the one tribesman in the prologue. That's what suddenly made the prologue relevant for me. Otherwise it was just a couple of guys in a desert, talking, and then a different storyline altogether. No deeper meaning, that I could see, about the vortex.


Spoiler (click to reveal)
You know. now that you mention it, yeah, that is kind of neat. It was a blue heart in the Prologue and a red heart in the final chapter.

I was trying to figure out if the prologue was the original vortex that was destroyed the world that he was referring to when he was trying to explain to Rose that he would have to kill her, but I couldn't make an sense of that. But yeah, I get what you're saying now.


I very much enjoyed reading your insights as to the 'did anyone notice' section of your post. I picked up on a few of those, but you had one that I missed completely till you stated it
Spoiler (click to reveal)
The stain glass window, and now the glass heart/roses dream vortex heart
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SybotCB wrote:
Also, this thread is impossible to read on iPad because of the spoiler tags


No, there's a way around that problem. See this thread: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/628452/mouse-over-spoilers-o...
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JockiB wrote:
SybotCB wrote:
Also, this thread is impossible to read on iPad because of the spoiler tags


No, there's a way around that problem. See this thread: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/628452/mouse-over-spoilers-o...


Thanks. Works like a charm!
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Nobody else still reading yet.

I'm still avoiding going on of course. I've been reading Y: the last man while I'm waiting till next month. But I'm getting through those quick. That has been a nice quick easy read so far, unlike Sandman, where I've really had to concentrate.

But if nobody is really discussing what we're reading, I'd rather just go on and read through sandman, quickly, and maybe come back to it, and be able to hang out in the reread thread. Since we're only ten days to the next issue, I won't deal with these temptations again till march, but if Volume 3 is a quick read, it'll be tempting again, especially if I've finished with Y: The last man and don't have anything else on my radar.

What else is considered good. I am not into superheroes, so please don't recommend spider, super, bat, green, etc. stuff. I'd prefer graphic novels grounded in reality if possible.
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My favorite books right now are The Unwritten by Carey and Gross (and also published by Vertigo), Criminal by Brubaker and Phillips (published by Icon, an imprint of Marvel).

Also, anything by Terry Moore - Strangers in Paradise is complete and collected in 9 pocket size editions, Echo is complete and collected in one large edition, and his current project is Rachel Rising which just hit issue 5 and is one of the creepiest things I've ever read . . .

Can't go wrong with Willingham and Buckingham's Fables from Vertigo. Well over a dozen arcs collected and counting . . .

I have a couple of issues of The Doll's House to write up in the other thread, which has been equally quiet in the last couple if weeks. Hoping it will pick up as we approacj leap day . . .
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I haven't even bought issue #3 yet. I'm pretty sure that I'll pick it and #4 up, but I don't know how much beyond that I'll go.
So far I like #2 better than #1, and if #4 is as good as everyone seems to think it is, I'm hopeful for liking #3.

I'm reading "Mistborn" in the meantime and in-between-time. Pretty decent, I must say.
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I'd generally like to stick with graphic novels that are finished. I bought compendium 1 for Walking dead, loved that, but I have to wait ages for Compendium 2 to come out, and the series isn't even over yet.

I might pick up the first 5 volumes of unwritten, the storyline sounds compelling. sucks that it's not finished yet though. Do they tell you how long the runs are going to be?
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What are you, like 80?
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It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage.
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I finished Doll's House a couple of days ago, and I liked it better than P&N - finished it a lot quicker too.

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The chapter where we follow the fortunes of Hob (?) through the centuries was great! At the beginning of the chapter I was sceptical - what's all this about?? - but after a couple of pages I was hooked. I think that was the only chapter I basically read without taking my eyes off the book.


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Edit: In the Hob chapter, I love how the pub guests in 1589 discuss and complain about basically the same things as those in 1989!


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The whole Rose-as-the-vortex plot was a bit strange, but enjoyable enough. It was easier to relate to her search for her brother, as well as Dream's search for the various renegade dreamworld inhabitants.


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How do serial killers identify and locate each other?? One should think that keeping one's identity a secret is pretty important, to avoid capture by the authorities...

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Josh
United States
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Heart full of soul, head full of shit
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I'm still in. The economic realities of my life have been a bit bossy lately. Stupid "real" life.
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