The Sandman: The Doll's House
Cover of The Sandman: The Doll's House  (1991), trade paperback collected edition.Art by Dave McKean.
Publisher DC Comics
Publication date September 1989 - June 1990

Dark fantasy

Mythology in comics
Title(s) The Sandman #9-16
Main character(s) Dream
ISBN ISBN 0-930289-59-5
Creative team
Writer(s) Neil Gaiman
Artist(s) Mike Dringenberg
Malcolm Jones III
Chris Bachalo
Michael Zulli
Steve Parkhouse
Dave McKean
Penciller(s) Sam Kieth
Mike Dringenberg
Michael Zulli
Chris Bachalo
Inker(s) Malcolm Jones III
Steve Parkhouse
Letterer(s) Todd Klein
John Costanza
Colorist(s) Robbie Busch
Editor(s) Karen Berger
Art Young
Tom Peyer

The Doll's House is the second trade paperback of the DC comic series The Sandman. It collects issues #9–16. It was written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Chris Bachalo, Michael Zulli and Steve Parkhouse, coloured by Robbie Busch and lettered by Todd Klein.

Publication History

The Doll's House was the first Sandman paperback collection. The first edition printed in 1990 collected issues #8-16. Its success led to the printing of Preludes and Nocturnes, which collected issues #1-8. Later editions of The Doll's House would omit issue #8.

The collection was later reissued in hardcover in 1995. The collected edition features a foreword by Gaiman's friend Clive Barker.



Dream, from Sandman #10, "The Doll's House", pencilled by Mike Dringenberg

As part of a manhood ritual, an old man in the desert tells a younger man an ancient story, detailing the tragic love between Dream and Queen Nada. Fearing the consequences of loving an immortal, Nada spurns Dream. In anger, Dream sends Nada to Hell, where she remains to the present day.[1][2]

Meanwhile, Dream's androgynous sibling Desire calls upon its twin, Despair, to inform her there is a new dream vortex. The two of them allude to a scheme against Dream.[3]

Dream reviews a census of his realm, and discovers four of his creations are missing. He undertakes a quest to find them.

On Earth, young Rose Walker and her mother Miranda meet Unity Kinkaid, a victim of the sleeping sickness that occurred while Dream was imprisoned.[4] She was raped in her sleep, and became pregnant with Miranda. Miranda was adopted as an infant, and never knew about Unity. Unity reached out to them because she wanted to meet her daughter and granddaughter before she died. While Miranda stays in England with Unity, Rose will find her younger brother, Jed, and tell him the news.[5]

Rose's father, who had been caring for Jed, died and left Jed to some abusive distant relatives. As she tries to track their whereabouts, Rose takes up residence in a boarding house full of peculiar characters, including Chantal and Zelda, an ambiguously lesbian couple who always wear bridal garb and own a collection of stuffed spiders; Ken and Barbie, an extremely yuppie-ish couple; the eccentric Gilbert, a self-described "amateur knight errant"; and the landlord Hal, a gay man who performs at nightclubs in drag. At night, Rose dreams of her brother.

Jed's new caretakers keep him locked in their basement while they enjoy the monetary benefits they receive from the state for caring for him. Meanwhile, Brute and Glob, two creatures created by Dream, have escaped the dreamrealm and taken residence in Jed's mind. Jed is freed when Dream comes to collect Brute and Glob, but as he wanders along the road he is given a ride by the Corinthian, an escaped nightmare.[6]

Dream takes a break from his quest to meet Hob Gadling, who Dream granted immortality in 1389. The two share a drink in the same tavern every hundred years.[7]

On their way to find Jed, Rose and Gilbert stop at a hotel. The Corinthian brings Jed to this same hotel, where Corinthian is attending a convention of fellow serial killers. Gilbert recognizes the Corinthian, and tells Rose that if she is in danger she should call "Morpheus", Dream's name. When one of the serial killers tries to harm her, Rose calls for him and Dream arrives. He destroys the Corinthian with little difficulty, and punishes the convention attendees by taking their dreams of grandeur away from them, thus making them realize how pathetic and devoid of meaning their lives and crimes ultimately are.[8]

Gilbert finds Jed in the back of the Corinthian's car, and has him sent to the hospital. Miranda, back in England, is sad to find that Unity has precious little time left, and is there to try and comfort her in her final moments.

Dream informs Rose she is a dream vortex, and the world will be destroyed if he does not kill her. Gilbert, who was the fourth missing creation, offers his life in Rose's place. Dream tells him it is not an option. However, before Dream can kill Rose, her grandmother Unity enters the Dreaming and tells Dream to kill her instead. Unity was meant to be the dream vortex, but she never became one because of the sleeping sickness, so it was passed on to her granddaughter instead. Rose gives Unity her "heart", the object that makes her the vortex. At that moment, Unity seems to naturally die in the waking world, thus destroying the vortex. Dream explains to Rose that there is much that he does not understand, but she does not have to worry about it.[9]

After months of thought, Dream confronts Desire with his conclusions. Desire admits to raping Unity in an elaborate plot to force Dream to murder his own blood, which would destroy Dream. Dream warns Desire against overstepping its bounds again.[10]

Issues Collected

Issue Title Writer Penciller Inker Colorist Letterer Ast Editor Editor
81 The Sound of Her Wings Neil Gaiman Mike Dringenberg Malcolm Jones III Robbie Busch Todd Klein Art Young Karen Berger
9 Tales in the Sand Neil Gaiman Mike Dringenberg Malcolm Jones III Robbie Busch Todd Klein Art Young Karen Berger
10 The Doll's House Neil Gaiman Mike Dringenberg Malcolm Jones III Robbie Busch Todd Klein Art Young Karen Berger
11 Moving In Neil Gaiman Mike Dringenberg Malcolm Jones III Robbie Busch John Costanza Art Young Karen Berger
12 Playing House Neil Gaiman Chris Bachalo Malcolm Jones III Robbie Busch John Costanza Art Young Karen Berger
13 Men of Good Fortune Neil Gaiman Michael Zulli Steve Parkhouse Robbie Busch Todd Klein Art Young Karen Berger
14 Collectors Neil Gaiman Mike Dringenberg Malcolm Jones III Robbie Busch Todd Klein Art Young Karen Berger
15 Into the Night Neil Gaiman Mike Dringenberg w/ help from Sam Kieth Malcolm Jones III Robbie Busch Todd Klein Art Young Karen Berger
16 Lost Hearts Neil Gaiman Mike Dringenberg Malcolm Jones III Robbie Busch Todd Klein Tom Peyer Karen Berger

1 After positive sales of "the Doll's House," DC went back and published "Preludes & Nocturnes" as a bound collection, and this book was published the same month as "Dream Country." Newer editions of "the Doll's House" start with issue 9.


  1. Sandman #4
  2. Sandman #9
  3. Sandman #10
  4. Sandman #1
  5. Sandman #11
  6. Sandman #12
  7. Sandman #13
  8. Sandman #14
  9. Sandman #15
  10. Sandman #16
  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 811: attempt to index field 'IdAccessLevels' (a nil value).

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