There is a certain charm to immersive experiences at comic cons. If you get the right concept, the right actors, the right vibe, you can transform a 10-to-15 minute timeslot into something transportive and intriguing. That is, of course, if everything goes right. And for the The Sandman’s immersive experience at NYCC, which celebrated the Audible-exclusive audiobook of the novelization of The Sandman: Act III, there was something very charming about those 15 minutes.
I know, I know, it’s a mouthful, but what it ended up being was a walk through a series of rooms that included art installations and performances that embodied some of the major plot points and characters of the book. The series of rooms included piped-in renditions by Neil Gaiman, the original comics author and narrator of the series. He was at Comic Con and stopped by the experience to pause and admire the re-imagined world of The Sandman.
It started with a satyr. A young man in a very furry faun costume with a significant amount of skin bared explained the rules of the Dreaming and invited us into a dark room. After a brief introduction from the narrator, we were ushered into another room. Better than any other description is the idea that we were going through a series of art installations that emphasised the themes of the audiobook, all the while hearing parts of the audiobook. The immediate second room had thin gauzy strips of fabric onto which were projected videos of the ocean. As a fan gently agitated the fabric, Orpheus — voiced by Regé-Jean Page — described the loss of his great love feeling much like drowning.
We moved on to a room where you could only see a projected video if you looked at the screen through windowpanes haphazardly floating in front of you. There was another room that imitated a neon-soaked strip club where the goddess Ishtar danced, causing worshipful men to destroy themselves in front of her. There was a throne to Baast in another room, and in the last was a series of interconnected mirrors within boxes that project a digital Dreaming.
Overall, it was a fun break from the overwhelming go-go-go of the con floor. The Audible Original adaptation of The Sandman, penned by Dirk Maggs, has been critically acclaimed. The first instalment of The Sandman adapts volumes 1-3 of the graphic novel series (Preludes & Nocturnes, The Doll’s House, and Dream Country). The second adapts Season of Mists, Distant Mirrors, A Game of You, and Convergence. The new, third instalment adapts Brief Lives and Worlds Ends.
The voice cast is stacked, frankly. Returning voice actors include James McAvoy (Dream), Kat Dennings (Death), Michael Sheen (Lucifer), Andy Serkis (Matthew the Raven), Regé-Jean Page (Orpheus), John Lithgow (Emperor Joshua Norton), David Tennant (Loki), Kristen Schaal (Delirium), and Kevin Smith (Merv Pumpkinhead), among others.
All three installments are available via Amazon Audible. The Sandman television show is available to stream on Netflix.
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