Sandman by Audible

The Sandman (Sandman Audible Original, #1)

by Neil Gaiman
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Published on July 15, 2020
Pages: 11
Format: Audiobook

Hailed by the Los Angeles Times Magazine as “the greatest epic in the history of comic books”, The Sandman changed the game with its dark, literary world of fantasy and horror - creating a global, cultural phenomenon in the process. At long last, Audible and DC present the first-ever audio production of the New York Times best-selling series written by acclaimed storyteller Neil Gaiman (who also serves as co-executive producer). Adapted and directed by multi-award-winner (and frequent Gaiman collaborator) Dirk Maggs, and performed by an ensemble cast with James McAvoy (It, Parts One and Two, X-Men: First Class, Split) in the title role, this first installment of a multi-part original audio series will transport you to a world that re-writes the rules of audio entertainment the way that The Sandman originally re-defined the graphic novel.
When The Sandman, also known as Lord Morpheus - the immortal king of dreams, stories and the imagination - is pulled from his realm and imprisoned on Earth by a nefarious cult, he languishes for decades before finally escaping. Once free, he must retrieve the three “tools” that will restore his power and help him to rebuild his dominion, which has deteriorated in his absence. As the multi-threaded story unspools, The Sandman descends into Hell to confront Lucifer (Michael Sheen), chases rogue nightmares who have escaped his realm, and crosses paths with an array of characters from DC comic books, ancient myths, and real-world history, including: Inmates of Gotham City's Arkham Asylum, Doctor Destiny, the muse Calliope, the three Fates, William Shakespeare (Arthur Darvill), and many more. 
A powerhouse supporting cast helps translate this masterwork into a sonic experience worthy of its legacy, including Riz Ahmed, Kat Dennings, Taron Egerton, Samantha Morton, Bebe Neuwirth, Andy Serkis, and more. Setting the stage for their performance is an unprecedented cinematic soundscape featuring an original musical score by British Academy Award winner James Hannigan. Fans will especially revel in a new twist for the audio adaptation: Neil Gaiman himself serves as the narrator. Follow him as he leads listeners along a winding path of myths, imagination and, often, terror. Even in your wildest dreams, you’ve never heard anything like this.

Neverwhere was my Neil Gaiman gateway drug. However, for a lot of people it was the Sandman graphic series. I’ve tried to get into it before but it just didn’t work for me. People rave about it but it just didn’t draw me in.

There are two new adaptations now. Audible produced this full cast recording of part of the series. There is also a TV show coming out. I decided to give it a try again.

So how do you adapt a graphic novel to an audiobook? You make it into a radio play. Neil Gaiman narrates. He sets the scenes by describing the locations and time periods and clothing and everything you would see in the panel. The benefit of this for me was that he was pointing out the things that were important that I might have glossed over if I was looking at the art. This is done smoothly. It isn’t like, “In this panel you see a man standing. He says, “blah, blah, blah.” In the next panel….” It is a story.

There are several separate stories in this audiobook. Each story touches on the dreamworld but they happen in different time periods. The stories are very different from each other. They encompass several different genres. These stories can be very dark. If you have topics that you don’t listen to you may want to do some research to know what sections to avoid. 24 Hours has a lot of gory horror. There is child abuse/kidnapping in the story about the serial killers’ convention. (That one also has some very funny takes on fandom conventions.) There is animal abuse in the Siamese Cat’s story. There is rape in the story about the muse. There are also lighter stories. There are a few with William Shakespeare that are just fun. Death is as delightful as all the cosplayers would have you believe.

Overall, I’m glad I listened to it. I definitely enjoyed this format more than the graphic novels. The production is wonderfully done. The cast is first rate. I’m also glad that this wasn’t my starting point with Neil Gaiman because I’m not sure I would have continued on to his novels from here.