Posted by  Pete Albano - October 25, 2010 | Updated : August 27, 2015

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Sandman Mystery Theatre Annual 1

Matt Wagner and Stephen T. Seagle wrote this story and the art chores are divided among several people.

First up with the art is Guy Davis. The delicate line work is immediately attractive and pulls you into the story. Here is Wesley Dodd.

sandman mystery theatre : wesley dodds

Notice anything? This is not the tall, muscular hero archetype. Isn't that great? The golden-age Sandman is portrayed as being of regular height, slightly chubby even - looks like a librarian.

So he meets his girl, Dian, and they walk into Central Park . . .

sandman mystery theatre : wesley and dian in central park

The words and pictures of this panel and the ones that follow combine to create an impression of one of those perfect, tranquil moments that visit all of us on occasion. The creative team just captures it perfectly.

At one point, Dodd's hidden basement - and his hidden life - is discovered by his butler. The panel shows Dodd's penchant for going out at night and how sometimes things don't work according to plan.

sandman mystery theatre : sandman crashes his car in the basement

Here is a shot of the Sandman.

sandman mystery theatre : the sandman behind a statue

Look at him: trenchcoat, standard gas mask, drab, easy-to-hide colors. It all adds to the great realism of the work.

These two are Salvatore and Mario.

sandman mystery theatre : salvatore and company

In my opinion they have the most emotionally charged part of the story barring the conclusion. Their story also serves as an example how a non-powered hero like Sandman becomes a force against evil in his community.

In the midst of this story we get to join a cop on his Central Park beat - the art, this time by George Pratt,  effectively evokes his solitary job.

sandman mystery theatre : a beat cop's lonely walk in central park

Alex Ross is a legend and deservedly so. His art on Chapter Six is worth mentioning . . . and showing. Check out a sample.

sandman mystery theatre : closeup of ross' pencil work

I love cityscapes, look at this one from Chapter 8, this is by Dean Ormston.

sandman mystery theatre : new york cityscape enlarge

This is Luke.

sandman mystery theatre : luke the artist

His is just one of the many mini-stories inside the annual. The guy sells his art skills and he's had a zero sale day. So what does he do? He draws anyway. That simple action speaks volumes to me. Mainly about how what you know and love, your skill, is really about itself, apart from money. It's just something I can relate to very much.

The main story is about a notorious mugger in Central Park. This is him.

sandman mystery theatre : the central park mugger

This panel is part of series with dialogue. If I show the full three panels it will ruin the story for you. Let me just say at this point that this is a worthy ending to this excellent annual.


Sandman Mystery Theatre is part of DC's Vertigo line for mature readers. Being a Vertigo imprint also means that the stories in Sandman Mystery Theatre are not strictly part of the continuity of the mainstream DC Universe, although writers may include aspects of the stories as they see fit.

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