Marc Bernardin
November 21, 2008 AT 12:00 PM EST

I’ve been finding it difficult to write this post, in the way that it’s always hard to write about something you love. This month marks the 20th anniversary of The Sandman, writer Neil Gaiman’s revolutionary comic book series. In case you don’t know of The Sandman — and, it’s okay, I’ll still talk to you — one could describe it as the adventures of Dream of the Endless. (The Endless being seven entities — Dream, Desire, Destiny, Despair, Destruction, Delirium, and Death — older than gods and more powerful than heroes, who were here when the universe first opened its eyes, and will lock the door when it’s all said and done.) You could also call The Sandman a construct through which Gaiman could tell a kaleidoscopic variety of tales, some about Arabian princes and transgendered protectors and fallen angels and cats and Death herself, others about fear and hope and redemption and love and loss and laughter in the face of it all

But, to me, The Sandman is about the transforming, transportingpower of story itself. About how what we read, hear, or tell bothdefines the world around us and dictates how we relate to that world.It’s a beautiful idea, really, that words shape our existence — whetherit’s true or not.

There are a few remembrances of The Sandman floating around outthere in the ether — listed the Five Ways That Sandman Changed The World (whichthen elicited a response from Gaiman, in which he pretty much dismissedthem) — but I just wanted to mark this occasion in some way. I startedreading The Sandman at a time when I wasn’t sure, precisely, what Iwanted to do with my life. And, now, I’m a writer. I tell stories for aliving. Make of that what you will.

For More on Neil Gaiman and The Sandman:
Neil Gaiman’s Top 10 New Classic Monsters
Scott Brown’s Neil Gaiman Profile

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