So, you’ve finally finished burning through the Netflix adaptation of The Sandman, but you’re still hungry for more. Whether you want to delve deeper into the expanded Sandman universe, pick up more works written by Neil Gaiman or read more stories that explore the power and meaning of gods, there are a lot of great comics out there that deserve a place on your shelf.
Here are a few comic recommendations you should check out after you finish up with The Sandman.
Check out the original comics
Let’s get this out of the way now: if you enjoyed watching The Sandman, then you owe it yourself to pick up the comics. It’s always fun to compare the adaptation to the original and you get to see art by Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III, which were an essential part in defining The Sandman‘s gothic fantasy aesthetic.
The first season of the Netflix adaption has been a fairly faithful adaptation of the first dozen or so issues of The Sandman – collected as Preludes & Nocturnes and The Doll’s House – but there are plenty of differences that reading the comics won’t feel like you’re experiencing the exact same story again.
In terms of collected editions, here are your options for reading The Sandman:
- Read The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes (collects issues #1-8): Amazon Australia ($25.40) | Book Depository ($31.40) | Booktopia ($26.25)
- Read The Sandman: Book One (collects issues #1-2o): Amazon Australia ($39.43) | Book Depository ($51.77) | Booktopia ($43.75)
Or, if you’re in for a penny, in for a pound, there’s a complete box set that includes the 10 volumes of the original The Sandman comic, along with the Endless Nights graphic novel, the Overture prequel miniseries, and both the prose and comic versions of The Dream Hunters.
More Neil Gaiman comics
If you really enjoyed Sandman, it makes sense to jump into Neil Gaiman’s substantial catalogue of comics. He’s done a fair few spin-offs from the main Sandman story, and it’s an interesting universe to wade into.
Death became a fan-favourite character of the comic series (it was the ’90s, goths were in), scoring two spin-off miniseries and a few short stories over the years. Those mini-series – The High Cost of Living and The Time of Your Life – are where the real action is (both of which are drawn by the always fantastic Chris Bachalo). Both stories do a great job of further fleshing out Death as a character and exploring how much love and empathy she has for humanity, even if she represents our literal ends.
For a non-Sandman comic, Books of Magic follows Tim Hunter, a bespectacled, British 13-year-old who one day discovers that he’s magic (yes, Gaiman is aware of the similarities). Not only is he magical, but he’s fated to become the greatest magician to ever live – if he’s willing to accept his role.
Each issue is drawn by a different artist and features a different magical character (including John Constantine, of course) touring Tim through the past, present and future of the DC universe’s supernatural side. It’s a great journey through a less appreciated aspect of the DC universe while dealing with some big philosophical ideas like destiny and sacrifice.
- Check out Books of Magic: Amazon Australia ($27.07)
- Check out Death: Amazon Australia ($40.80) | Book Depository ($47.11) | Booktopia ($43.50)
John Constantine, Hellblazer
If you loved Johanna Constantine’s few appearances in The Sandman, then we’ve got some great news. There is a massive collection of Constatine comics you can pick up – most of which are excellent (seriously, Constatine has one of the best hit-to-miss ratios of any comic character, ever). While John Constatine was gender-swapped for the Netflix adaptation of Sandman, Johanna still feels true to the essence of the character.
If you ask any Hellblazer fan, there’s a very good chance that they’ll tell you to start with Garth Ennis and Will Simpson’s Dangerous Habits storyline. And they’d be right to do it – it’s one of, if not the best Constantine stories you’ll read.
Dangerous Habits opens with John Constantine learning he has lung cancer and there’s nothing on earth that can stop it. And due to a ritual that went wrong years ago, Constantine’s soul is bound to Hell. But the bastard won’t go down without a fight. To escape eternal damnation, Constantine needs to use all of his wits and tricks to pull the ultimate con: escaping death itself.
If you’re after a more modern take on the character, the 2019 John Constantine series by Simon Spurrier, Aaron Campbell and Matias Bergara is worth your time. It’s a solid reboot that stays true to his character and uses Constantine as a cracked mirror to reflect the darker side of modern England. Whether on earth or in Hell, the bastards are still in charge.
- Check out Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits: Amazon Australia ($39)
- Check out Hellblazer: Marks of Woe: Amazon Australia ($28.61) | Book Depository ($28.82) | Booktopia ($28.90)
Before this recommendation, we just want to throw a quick spoiler warning for the potential second season of The Sandman and the fourth trade of the comics, Season of Mists. So if you want to avoid knowing what could happen next, jump on down to the next recommendation.
All good? Sweet.
Created by Mike Carey and Chris Weston, and spinning off from The Sandman, Lucifer follows the life of the eponymous fallen angel, who, during the Season of Mists arc, decides to call it quits as the ruler of Hell and close up the kingdom of eternal damnation.
So what does Lucifer do? He moves to Los Angeles and opens a piano bar. But it turns out retirement doesn’t really suit the former ruler of Hell. So when God needs a “problem” solved, He offers to make a deal with the devil in return for a favour, and Lucifer jumps at the chance.
This comic was also the inspiration for the Lucifer TV series that premiered in 2016. Is it weird that a Sandman spin-off managed to score an adaptation before the original comics? Kinda!
The Wicked + The Divine
The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie Mckelvie asks a simple question: we worship and treat celebrities like gods, so what if they actually were gods?
“Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead.”
In this cycle, these gods – known as the Pantheon – take the form of different pop stars. The first arc follows Laura, a fangirl who manages to befriend the reincarnation of Lucifer. Laura’s time with her idol is short-lived, however, as Lucifer is arrested for murder – a murder she swears she didn’t commit. Now, it’s up to Laura to clear her friend’s name.
The Wicked + The Divine was a banner comic of the 2010s – a wickedly smart and smartly wicked series that delves deep into the nature of fandom, along with the power that our idols wield and whether they “deserve” it. If you enjoy how The Sandman explores abstract concepts through literal interpretations (like dreams and death), and/or if you’ve ever loved a pop culture figure so much that it hurts, then you’ll want to read The Wicked + The Divine.