Fans of Neil Gaiman’s popular comic book series for DC Comics The Sandman were delighted when Netflix announced a live-action adaptation being developed by the author himself for the platform. The recently released first season of the show has slowly become one of the most-watched shows on the OTT platform, loved by critics and audiences alike.
The series follows the titular Sandman, who also goes by Morpheus. It has been inspired by a popular character from European folklore who throws magical sand into children’s eyes to bring on sleep and dreams. In the series, Morpheus is captured in an occult ritual in 1916 and after being held captive for 106 years, he has set out to restore order to his realm, The Dreaming.
With the first season only covering a small portion of the story in the comic book series, fans have been eagerly waiting for news about a second season. Allan Heinberg, one of the showrunners, has revealed that they’re working on developing the second chapter as well.
Till you wait, you can catch up on everything that happens by reading the comic books that the series have been based on, or binge read Gaiman’s other fantastic works featuring mythical beings, like American Gods or Good Omens. Aside from these, there are some other books that follow similar themes as The Sandman.
Before the next season comes around, here are a few books that you can add to your reading list to fill the Sandman-shaped hole in your life…
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This 2011 fantasy novel by Erin Morgenstern shares many similarities with the popular Netflix series. It follows two powerful sorcerers who are being trained to fight each other for supremacy with the backdrop of Le Cirques des Reves, which translates to The Circus of Dreams, a circus filled with magic just like Morpheus’ The Dreaming. Aside from magic and dreams, the book also does a wonderful job of world-building, like Gaiman does for The Sandman.
Mythos by Stephen Fry
If you loved The Sandman’s retelling of popular folklore and iconic characters, then you’re going to love Stephen Fry’s Mythos. The British actor and comedian rounds up folklore from around the globe and weaves them into an eclectic blend of stories. This is the first instalment in Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology Series. The emotional depth and humour, characteristic of Gaiman, can be found in spades in this one.
Kissing The Witch by Emma Donoghue
Irish author Emma Donoghue reimagines 13 popular fairytales and presents them with dark and mysterious themes interconnecting each tale. Just like in The Sandman, you can discover some of your favourite mythical figures being presented in a new light. Some of the reimagined tales include Beauty and the Beast, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White, and Cinderella. The book, like the Netflix series, takes age-old characters and, through a heavy dose of mysticism, presents them in a new form.
The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
If you’re a comic book fan, and you also loved The Sandman, then you have to give The Wicked + The Divine a go. This comic book series takes two of the most loved things about the Netflix show, it’s portrayal of mythical beings like Gods, angels, and demons and diverse gender and sexuality representation. The main story follows Pantheon, a group of teenagers who suddenly find themselves blessed with God-like powers, only to realise that they’re actually the reincarnated forms of mythical beings.
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrisson
Toni Morrison’s award-winning 1977 novel got banned from several American schools because of its controversial themes around race and sex. The story follows Macon “Milkman” Dead III, an African-American man living in Michigan, from his birth to adulthood. Morrison borrows heavily from popular European folk tales and African Myths, like Hansel and Gretel and The Flying African to shape Milkman’s journey in the book.