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The Wake

The Wake (1996) is the tenth collection of issues in the DC Comics series, The Sandman. Written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Michael Zulli[?], Jon J. Muth[?] and Charles Vess[?], and lettered by Todd Klein[?].

Warning: Wikipedia contains spoilers

As a collection it more or less stands alone. It forms an epilogue to the entire series, its mood being restrained and reflective. The first half of the collection is a storyline which follows the wake for Morpheus, who died at the end of the ninth collection, The Kindly Ones. Many characters from the series appear, and talk to each other, sometimes to slightly comic effect. A series of speakers, ending with Death, appear to give their point of view on Morpheus' life. Meanwhile, the new aspect of Dream, who used to be the child Daniel, starts to build relationships with the inhabitants of the Dreaming.

After this come three unrelated short stories. The first, "Sunday Mourning", features Robert Gadling and a new girlfriend in what seems to be the modern day, at a Renaissance Fayre. This is an idea which allows Gaiman to have quite a lot of fun, since after all, Gadling was there the first time around. As he comments, "Well, the first thing that's wrong is there's no shit." Robert's girlfriend leaves him alone and he mooches about the fair, meeting a bookbinder who possesses a book he himself made several centuries ago, before he enters a condemned building, where he encounters Death. Death tells him of the death of Morpheus, and offers to let him die as well, now he no longer has his agreement with Morpheus to fulfil, but after some consideration Robert turns her down.

The second, "Exiles", is something of a companion to a story from Fables and Reflections, "Soft Places". It features a Chinese man, an adviser to the Emperor, who is sent into exile after his son allied himself with what seems to have been a sect who opposed the Emperor. He rescues a kitten from a village, and takes it with him. A sandstorm rises, and he finds himself in one of the Soft Places introduced in the earlier story. Following the kitten through this strange place, he meets first his son and then two aspects of Dream himself, first Morpheus and then the new Dream who was Daniel, both in contemplative mood.

The final story of the series and of the collection is "The Tempest", the companion piece to "A Midsummer Night's Dream", from the third collection, Dream Country. It is more reflective than the former piece, and features less of the original play, though it echoes it cleverly in several ways and sequences. It is principally about Gaiman's version of Shakespeare himself, and his search for a peaceful ending; an appropriate codicil to the epic series that precedes it.

The stories in the collection first appeared in 1996. The collection first appeared in paperback and hardback in 1996.

It was preceded by The Kindly Ones.



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