The Sandman: The Wake

The Wake (1996) is the tenth and final collection of issues in the DC Comics series, The Sandman. Written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Michael Zulli, Jon J. Muth and Charles Vess, and lettered by Todd Klein.

The collection opens with James Elroy Flecker's poem "The Bridge of Fire," which acts as a prologue and description of the events that occur.

The stories in the collection first appeared in 1996. The collection first appeared in paperback and hardback in 1996.


As a collection it more or less stands alone. It forms an epilogue to the entire series, its mood being restrained and reflective. The first half of the collection is a storyline which follows the wake for Morpheus, who died at the end of the ninth collection, The Kindly Ones. Many characters from the series appear, and talk to each other, sometimes to slightly comic effect (Batman, and Superman Complain of the Dreams in which they are actors, acting out their exploits, with the Martian Manhunter stating that he never has those dreams). A series of speakers, ending with Death, appear to give their point of view on Morpheus' life. Meanwhile, the new aspect of Dream, who used to be the child Daniel, starts to build relationships with the inhabitants of the Dreaming.

After this come three seemingly unrelated short stories. The first, "Sunday Mourning", features the immortal Robert Gadling and a new girlfriend in what seems to be the modern day, at a Renaissance Fair. Hob has managed to pop up several times in the courses of the Sandman stories. This time we see how disillusioned he has become with living. He mooches about the fair, somewhat depressed over the passage of time and the sugar-coated depiction of his past. Later he enters a condemned building, where he encounters Death. Death tells him of the death of Morpheus, and offers to let him die as well, now he no longer has his agreement with Morpheus to fulfill, but after some consideration Robert turns her down.

The second, "Exiles", is something of a companion to a story from Fables and Reflections, "Soft Places". It features a man, an adviser to the Emperor of China, who is sent into exile after his son allied himself with a take-off of the historical White Lotus Rebellion. In the course of the story we are drawn through a contemplative narration which sometimes leads one to think the old man has gone senile. With a significant nod to the parable style the old man's act of saving and caring for a stray kitten saves his life when he is lost through a soft place in reality and meets Morpheus, then the new Dream of the Endless who alludes to both former and future events. In the end the old man is reunited with his guide, his loyalty to the Emperor intact.

The final story of the series and of the collection is "The Tempest", the companion piece to "A Midsummer Night's Dream", from the third collection, Dream Country. "The Tempest" is more reflective than "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and features less of the original play, though it echoes it cleverly in several ways and sequences. It is principally about Gaiman's Morpheus and his issues with himself and his place in things. Here we see in detail the Morpheus only briefly fleshed in former issues - the vulnerable, emotional, confused Dream King. Gaiman uses "The Tempest", a play fundamentally about change, endings, and new beginnings, to finish the series.

Issues collected

Issue Title Writer Penciller Inker Colorist Letterer Ast Editor Editor
70 Chapter 1, Which Occurs in the Wake of What Has Gone Before Neil Gaiman Michael Zulli n/a Daniel Vozzo Todd Klein Shelly Roeberg Karen Berger
71 Chapter 2, In Which a Wake is Held Neil Gaiman Michael Zulli n/a Daniel Vozzo Todd Klein Shelly Roeberg Karen Berger
72 Chapter 3, In Which We Wake Neil Gaiman Michael Zulli n/a Daniel Vozzo Todd Klein Shelly Roeberg Karen Berger
73 An Epilogue, Sunday Mourning Neil Gaiman Michael Zulli n/a Daniel Vozzo Todd Klein Shelly Roeberg Karen Berger
74 Exiles Neil Gaiman n/a Jon J Muth Jon J Muth Todd Klein Shelly Roeberg Karen Berger
75 The Tempest Neil Gaiman / William Shakespeare Charles Vess / Bryan Talbot / John Ridgway / Michael Zulli Charles Vess Daniel Vozzo Todd Klein Shelly Roeberg Karen Berger

Issue #72 contains additional pages in the Wake bound collection versus the original comic.


External links


  • Issues 70-73 did not have an inker, and were done only in pencils and color.
  • Issue 74 did not have a penciler, and was done entirely in inks.
  • Gaiman mentioned wanting to do a Renfaire issue with Hob in it because he thought it would be funny for several reasons: Gaiman himself mentioned in "The Sandman Companion" that he never liked Renfaires, particularly in America and wondered what it would be like if someone from the time popped in.
  • Superman (as Clark Kent), Batman, and the Martian Manhunter are seen at the Wake discussing their dreams. Most of the dreams told by Superman and Batman are actual imaginary stories from the Silver Age, and references to their adventures in other media. John Constantine, Doctor Occult and Phantom Stranger are also seen chatting. Constantine says "Nice trench coat", referring to the similar looks of the three heroes.

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