Genre Bender - Behind the Wall of Sleep

Lowdown - Article

Share this lowdown

  • Button Delicious
  • Bttn Digg
  • Bttn Facebook
  • Bttn Ff
  • Bttn Myspace
  • Bttn Stumble
  • Bttn Twitter
  • Bttn Reddit

Golden Slumbers

It’s a funny thing our minds do at night while we’re asleep. There’s no easy way to account for it. All the thoughts that float around in our subconscious meld together in a heady broth of both delicious oddities and wretched horrors. The catalog of ideas disorganizes into a word scramble that many have sought to decode.

Perhaps there is a mystical realm filled with arcane cities and mundane worlds; a place where we travel by moving along the ley-lines, city streets or Earth’s magnetic field; a place that fades away when the alarm clock rings.

Dreams are the most common aspect of the human experience. The simple fact of sleep is shared by every person in every nation. Why shouldn’t there be comics about Dreams?

Sweet Dreams are Made of This

The first time I noticed a comic book set in the world of dreams may have been a reprint of an issue of Adventure Comics, featuring Sandman and Sandy the Golden Boy. It seemed a bit silly to me at the time, but appears to have made a lasting impression. Years later, the Sandman title returned as the multiple award winning book that brought Neil Gaiman into the spotlight.

Perhaps Gaiman’s Sandman is the most notable, but there have been many comics that have tapped into the power of dreams. Here are a few suggestions:

a) The Classic:

Little Nemo in Slumberland - Shortly after the turn of the 20th century, when newspapers gave an entire page to a comic artist, Winsor McKay told stories of Little Nemo. Gorgeously etched, sprawling adventures of a young boy in his dreams. Invariably, Nemo would be rescued from some dangerous situation or torn from what he coveted, awakening in a tangle of bed sheets. He often blamed his late night snacks.

b) The Fantastic:

What less predictable setting for tales of heroism and romance than the world behind sleeping eyes? Ever since Alice first visited Wonderland (and possibly quite earlier than that) dreams have been the staging ground for our whimsy and misfortune. At night, we dreamers become the stars of our own fantasies, fighting battles against the most evil of evils, rescuing our lovers from peril, as we reflect upon our lives in the waking world!

The Dreamland Chronicles - When Alex Carter was a young boy, he traveled to Dreamland every night. One night, he discovered a secret place where his band of dream-friends couldn’t visit, and since then he hasn’t dreamt for many years. Then he discovers a secret key, one that might hold an ominous evil that returns him to Dreamland and to his long lost friends! Gorgeously modeled with 3D digital technology, this book looks like nothing else on the stands!

A Dream of Conscious Thought - As Hongde Wang (known in her own dreams as the Red King) lies in a coma, she dreams of a mysterious man, who finds his way out of her unconscious into the real world. Created by Elan Trinidad, A Dream of Conscious Thought has a compelling and innovative use of panel composition that emulates the various shifts of mindset that occur in our dreams!

c) The Dream Diaries:

As a way of relating to an audience, the Dream Diary might be an unlikely prospect. The absurd dreams of an artist may seem baffling to readers, even mystifying. Yet every human being tells themselves stories in the night; everyone travels in a familiar landscape of nonsense. One way to reach a human being is through the part of their consciousness that they understand the least.

Jim: Not all of Jim Woodring’s shorter works are dream diaries, but those that aren’t are hard to spot. The creator of Frank collects an eerie and worldly set of near nightmares and oddly disturbing moments of lucidity.

Rarebit Fiends: Fresh after finishing Maximortal, the second installment in his King Hell Heroica, Rick Veitch launched this long-running series of full length dream diaries. Bizarre and filled with appearances by famous comics creators like Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, Rarebit Fiends focuses Veitch’s vivid dream-life into a pill that we all can swallow!

Exit Light, Enter Night

When you close your eyes tonight, what quests will you be taking? After the waking world unravels we are the stars of our own shows. Is there deeper meaning to the babbling brook of our night time world? Perhaps the key is in comics!

Is there a favorite dream comic that we missed? Do you have a good idea for the next Genre Bender? If so, make sure to let us know in our forum!

Related content

Related Headlines

Related Lowdowns

Related Reviews

Related Columns


There are no comments yet.

In order to post a comment you have to be logged in. Don't have a profile yet? Register now!

Latest headlines


Latest comments
Comics Discussion
Broken Frontier on Facebook