|The Sandman: Season of Mists|
Cover of The Sandman: Season of Mist (1992), trade paperback collected edition.Art by Dave McKean.
|Publication date||December 1990 - July 1991|
|Genre||Mythology in comics|
|Title(s)||The Sandman #21-28|
Malcolm Jones III
P. Craig Russell
Malcolm Jones III|
P. Craig Russell
It was written by Neil Gaiman; illustrated by Kelley Jones, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Matt Wagner, Dick Giordano, George Pratt, and P. Craig Russell; coloured by Steve Oliff and Danny Vozzo; and lettered by Todd Klein.
The issues in the collection first appeared in 1990 and 1991. The collection first appeared in paperback and hardback in 1992 with an introduction by Harlan Ellison. The title is the opening phrase of John Keats' "To Autumn".
Kelley Jones pencils the bulk of the story, inked in various issues by Malcolm Jones, Dick Giordano and P. Craig Russell. Jones's larger-than-life grotesques and obvious sense of humour make him ideal for gods, demons and other supernatural figures. His episodes are bookended by a prologue and an epilogue drawn by Mike Dringenberg, the former inked by Malcolm Jones III, the latter by George Pratt; and an interlude set in an English boarding school is drawn by Matt Wagner and inked by Jones III. It introduces Endless siblings Destiny and Delirium, and features Thor, Odin and Loki from Norse mythology; Anubis and Bast from Egyptian mythology; Susanoo-no-mikoto from Japanese mythology; Lucifer and the angels Duma and Remiel from Christianity; Shivering Jemmy, a Lord of Chaos with the body of a child and the mind of a monster; Kilderkin, a Lord of Order who takes the form of a cardboard box, and the fairies Cluracan and Nuala, who will play important roles in later stories. Season of Mists marks the introduction of the Norse gods for the first time in the series.
Season of Mists is the first appearance of one of the central themes of the series, that of rules and responsibilities and whether we can lay them down. The gathering of the Endless family which opens the book makes the second reference to the "prodigal" (the first reference appearing in "The Doll's House"), an Endless sibling who abandoned his realm and responsibilities. The family gathering leads to Dream deciding that he must return to Hell to right a wrong he committed, an event which triggers a major plot arc throughout the series.
The fourth collection belongs with the first as perhaps one of the two collections most focused on Morpheus himself.
It begins with an Endless family meeting descending almost immediately into an Endless family argument. Desire angers Morpheus by taunting him about his intolerant treatment of a former lover, whose story formed the prologue to the second collection, The Doll's House; Death angers him further by agreeing with Desire, but Morpheus' immense respect for Death leads him eventually to agree with her assessment.
Morpheus leaves his realm to travel to Hell, where he imprisoned his former lover Nada, to release her. Having left Lucifer, lord of Hell, very angry with him the last time he ventured there (in the first collection, Preludes and Nocturnes), Morpheus is apprehensive about the task. He sets about it, wanting to do what is right, but prepared for a confrontation which he knows he may lose.
In the event, his apprehension is somewhat misplaced. As he arrives, Lucifer is busy closing down Hell. Morpheus follows Lucifer around in a state of some bafflement before Lucifer finally persuades him this is not an elaborate trick, that he indeed intends to leave Hell, and his obligations as its lord, forever. His final act before leaving is to throw out any demon or damned souls still hanging around, lock all the portals to Hell and cut off his wings; he then hands the key to Hell to Morpheus, to do with as he will.
Morpheus, who has no wish to rule this troublesome piece of real estate, quickly discovers that there are numerous entities who want to control Hell or prevent their enemies from controlling it. Odin wishes to control Hell in order to avoid Ragnarök and travels to the Dreaming with two other members of the Norse pantheon, Loki and Thor. Anubis, Bast and Bes from the ancient Egyptian pantheon wish to trade information in exchange for the key to Hell. Susano-o-no-Mikoto, a storm god of the Shinto pantheon, travels as an individual deity, and not as a representative of Shinto gods. He wishes to add Hell to a new underworld controlled by his family, which has been formed by assimilating other lesser pantheons as well as objects of worship including, he says, Marilyn Monroe. Azazel, a Biblical demon, arrives with two other demons who held great power in the old Hell: Choronzon, here described as the former Duke of the Eight Circle, and Merkin, the mother of Spiders. Azazel had previously ruled Hell in a triumvirate with another demon and Lucifer, although Lucifer tells Morpheus that this was only part of a game he played, and Azazel demands that Morpheus hand him the key. In exchange Azazel offers to hand over Nada as well as the demon Choronzon who had previously fought Morpheus. Order and Chaos also arrive. Order is in the guise of an empty cardboard box carried by a floating Djinn-like being, while Chaos appears in the form of a small girl in clown makeup. Order offers to trade the dreams of the newly dead, while Chaos simply threatens Morpheus before offering a balloon. Two representatives from Faerie, Cluracan, and his sister Nuala appeal to Morpheus to give control of Hell to no one. Cluracan offers his sister as a gift to the Dream Lord, in the name of Faerie Queen. Two angels are also present, Duma the angel of silence and Remiel here presented as the angel of those who rise. The angels have been set to simply observe.
Susano-o-no-Mikoto, Duma and Remiel later become important characters in the spin-off series Lucifer.
Much to Morpheus's chagrin, the interested parties promptly convene in the castle at the centre of the Dreaming. Here many characters who have parts to play later in the series are introduced, amongst them the representatives of Faerie, Cluracan, and his sister Nuala. After much bargaining, wheedling, bribery, trickery, Norse drunkenness, and threatening behavior, Morpheus manages to get rid of Hell without much anger from the other participants: he gives it to a pair of angels sent by God, after Remiel relays a message claiming that as Hell is a reflection of Heaven, its true creator should control it. Dream then enters Azazel and frees Nada. He apologizes to her, and though he still loves her, she chooses not to stay with him, and he reincarnates her in the body of a newborn baby, telling her that she will always be welcome in the Dreaming in any form that she chooses.
Between these deliberations is the story "In Which the Dead Return; and Charles Rowland Concludes His Education", from issue #25, which takes place at a traditional English boarding-school (and borrows elements from the boarding-school story genre) and is used to illustrate the consequences of Hell's closure. Although the two main characters in this tale, the ghosts of two school boys, never appear again in the Sandman series, they later appear as "The Dead Boy Detectives" in Gaiman's Vertigo cross-over story The Children's Crusade, and in a mini-series of that name by Jill Thompson.
The collection ends with Lucifer, sans wings, sitting on an Australian beach, grudgingly admiring God's sunset.
|21||Prologue||Neil Gaiman||Mike Dringenberg||Malcolm Jones III||Steve Oliff||Todd Klein||Tom Peyer||Karen Berger|
|22||Chapter 1||Neil Gaiman||Kelley Jones||Malcolm Jones III||Steve Oliff||Todd Klein||Tom Peyer||Karen Berger|
|23||Chapter 2||Neil Gaiman||Kelley Jones||Malcolm Jones III||Daniel Vozzo||Todd Klein||Tom Peyer||Karen Berger|
|24||Chapter 3||Neil Gaiman||Kelley Jones||P. Craig Russell||Daniel Vozzo||Todd Klein||Tom Peyer||Karen Berger|
|25||Chapter 4||Neil Gaiman||Matt Wagner||Malcolm Jones III||Daniel Vozzo||Todd Klein||Tom Peyer||Karen Berger|
|26||Chapter 5||Neil Gaiman||Kelley Jones||George Pratt||Daniel Vozzo||Todd Klein||Alisa Kwitney||Karen Berger|
|27||Chapter 6||Neil Gaiman||Kelley Jones||Dick Giordano||Daniel Vozzo||Todd Klein||Alisa Kwitney||Karen Berger|
|28||Epilogue||Neil Gaiman||Mike Dringenberg||George Pratt||Daniel Vozzo||Todd Klein||Alisa Kwitney||Karen Berger|
- Bender, Hy (1999). The Sandman Companion. New York: Vertigo DC Comics. ISBN 1-56389-644-3
- Gaiman, Neil; Shawn McManus (Illustrator), Mike Dringenberg (Illustrator), Bryan Talbot (Illustrator), John Watkiss (Illustrator), Kelley Jones (Illustrator), George Pratt (Illustrator), Malcolm Jones III (Illustrator), Colleen Doran (Illustrator) (2007). The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 2. Vertigo Comics -(imprint of DC Comics). ISBN 1-4012-1083-X.