Project Vertigo – Sandman/Preacher 6

It used to be that when asked for the difference between Sandman and Preacher, I could point to Sandman and say, “That is the one without all the male rape.” Not anymore, thank you very much Neil Gaiman. I’m not sure what happened at Vertigo in the 80s and 90s, but it apparently became the man on man capital of comics. I suppose because Vertigo is “edgy” it felt the impetus to take on non consensual gay sex. I am really grasping for any explanation for all of the male rape that seems to go on in that imprint.

Preacher reflects society in the sense that male rape is treated as something of a joke. A “ha ha, you got only got raped because you secretly enjoyed it” finger pointing exercise. I won’t get into the implications of this in the psychological or societal sense, but it is interesting to note that female rape is never treated in the same light hearted fashion, instead presented as the terrible crime/victimization that rape represents. It is really curious that both books hit on this same topic in completely different ways. Sandman, as usual, tends to be more adult about the subject. This despite, or perhaps because of, being written by someone with a last name that is pronounced “gay-man”.

Buggery aside, I feel like this collection of Sandman could be best described as “Neil Gaiman reads a history book.” The stories kind of ebb and flow with no real strand tying them together. Preacher is very linear. Sandman much less so. There is no real story to speak of. No discernible reason these particular stories are collected together in a single edition, except perhaps a chronological order of printing. Morpheus rarely appears, despite being the titular character, and tends to act as a deus ex machina when he does. He is unchanging, which is strange compared to his earlier incarnations in the series, where he learned and grew and adapted.

I find I enjoyed that version of Morpheus more than the current all knowing, all seeing demi-god. I also enjoy the more traditional story structure of Preacher as it moves along. I view Sandman as a more casual read. Something I can pick up and work through leisurely whenever the fancy strikes. Preacher has more of an impetus behind it: I want to see what happens next.


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