The Sandman: Season of Mists
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Season of Mists is a 1992 American seven-part comic and the fourth collection of issues in the DC Comics' The Sandman series. It collects issues #21–28. It was written by Neil Gaiman; illustrated by Kelley Jones, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Matt Wagner, Dick Giordano, George Pratt, and P. Craig Russell; coloured by Steve Oliff and Danny Vozzo; and lettered by Todd Klein.
|The Sandman: Season of Mists|
|Publication date||December 1990 – July 1991|
|Title(s)||The Sandman #21–28|
Malcolm Jones III
P. Craig Russell
|Inker(s)||Malcolm Jones III|
P. Craig Russell
The issues in the collection first appeared in 1990 and 1991. The collection first appeared in paperback and hardback in 1992 with an introduction by Harlan Ellison. The title is the opening phrase of John Keats' "To Autumn".
Kelley Jones pencils the bulk of the story, inked in various issues by Malcolm Jones, Dick Giordano and P. Craig Russell. Jones's larger-than-life grotesques and obvious sense of humour make him ideal for gods, demons and other supernatural figures. His episodes are bookended by a prologue and an epilogue drawn by Mike Dringenberg, the former inked by Malcolm Jones III, the latter by George Pratt; and an interlude set in an English boarding school is drawn by Matt Wagner and inked by Jones III. It introduces Endless siblings Destiny and Delirium, and features Thor, Odin and Loki from Norse mythology; Anubis and Bast from Egyptian mythology; Susanoo-no-mikoto from Japanese mythology; Lucifer and the angels Duma and Remiel from Christianity; Shivering Jemmy, a Lord of Chaos with the body of a child and the mind of a monster; Kilderkin, a Lord of Order who takes the form of a cardboard box, and the fairies Cluracan and Nuala, who will play important roles in later stories. Season of Mists marks the introduction of the Norse gods for the first time in the series.
This collection begins with an Endless family meeting, wherein Desire taunts Morpheus about his intolerant treatment of a former lover, the African queen 'Nada' ("Nada" is "Nothing" in Spanish), whose story formed the prologue to the second collection, The Doll's House, and Death angers him further by agreeing with Desire, whereupon Morpheus visits Hell to retrieve Nada. As he arrives, Lucifer expels all the demons and damned souls from Hell, abdicates as its ruler, and gives Morpheus the key to Hell's gates (this episode sets up the basis for the spin-off comic series Lucifer written by Mike Carey).
Word of Lucifer's abdication spreads to other immortals, who visit the Dreaming to bargain for it: Odin wishes to control Hell to avoid Ragnarök and travels to the Dreaming with Loki and Thor; Anubis, Bast, and Bes to offer information in exchange for the key to Hell; Susano-o-no-Mikoto, requests to add Hell to a new underworld controlled by his family; and Azazel arrives with Choronzon and Merkin, and demands the key in exchange for Nada and Choronzon. Order is personified as an empty cardboard box carried by a djinn-like being, while Chaos appears as a small girl in clown makeup; whereof Order offers to trade the dreams of the newly dead, while Chaos simply threatens Morpheus and gives him a toy balloon. The faerie Cluracan and his sister Nuala appeal to Morpheus to give control of Hell to no one, and Cluracan offers his sister in exchange. Duma and Remiel are set to observe the negotiations (Susano-o-no-Mikoto, Duma, and Remiel later become important characters in the spin-off series Lucifer).
After private negotiations with single divinities that represent each group of gods, Dream gives Duma and Remiel the key; then Dream fights with Azazel, enters inside him and frees Nada, while trapping Azazel in Dream's realm. Later, Dream apologizes to Nada for what he has done to her, and she is reincarnated as a newborn human child, with permission to enter the Dreaming at will.
Between these deliberations is the story "In Which the Dead Return; and Charles Rowland Concludes His Education", from issue #25, which takes place at a traditional English boarding-school (and borrows elements from the boarding-school story genre) and is used to illustrate the consequences of Hell's closure. Although the two main characters in this tale, the ghosts of two school boys, never appear again in the Sandman series, they later appear as "The Dead Boy Detectives" in Gaiman's Vertigo crossover story The Children's Crusade, and in a mini-series of the same name by Jill Thompson.
The collection presents two simultaneous endings: Dream discovers Loki absconding from his punishment, but decides not to reveal it, and also proposes the latter a negotiation to set him free (this has its sequel in the last collection of Sandman). Meanwhile, Lucifer, without his wings, sits on an Australian beach, and grudgingly admires a sunset. In the epilogue, Duma and Remiel have become the new rulers of Hell, and initiate a new regimen of punishment meant to "redeem" the condemned (much to the latter's dismay).
Season of Mists is the first appearance of one of the central themes of the series, that of rules and responsibilities. The gathering of the Endless family which opens the book makes the second reference to the "prodigal" (the first reference appearing in "The Doll's House"), an Endless sibling who abandoned his realm and responsibilities. The family gathering leads to Dream deciding that he must return to Hell to right a wrong he committed, an event which triggers a major plot arc throughout the series.
|21||Prologue||Neil Gaiman||Mike Dringenberg||Malcolm Jones III||Steve Oliff||Todd Klein||Tom Peyer||Karen Berger|
|22||Chapter 1||Neil Gaiman||Kelley Jones||Malcolm Jones III||Steve Oliff||Todd Klein||Tom Peyer||Karen Berger|
|23||Chapter 2||Neil Gaiman||Kelley Jones||Malcolm Jones III||Daniel Vozzo||Todd Klein||Tom Peyer||Karen Berger|
|24||Chapter 3||Neil Gaiman||Kelley Jones||P. Craig Russell||Daniel Vozzo||Todd Klein||Tom Peyer||Karen Berger|
|25||Chapter 4||Neil Gaiman||Matt Wagner||Malcolm Jones III||Daniel Vozzo||Todd Klein||Tom Peyer||Karen Berger|
|26||Chapter 5||Neil Gaiman||Kelley Jones||George Pratt||Daniel Vozzo||Todd Klein||Alisa Kwitney||Karen Berger|
|27||Chapter 6||Neil Gaiman||Kelley Jones||Dick Giordano||Daniel Vozzo||Todd Klein||Alisa Kwitney||Karen Berger|
|28||Epilogue||Neil Gaiman||Mike Dringenberg||George Pratt||Daniel Vozzo||Todd Klein||Alisa Kwitney||Karen Berger|
- Bender, Hy (1999). The Sandman Companion. New York: Vertigo DC Comics. ISBN 1-56389-644-3.
- Gaiman, Neil (2007). The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 2. Shawn McManus, Mike Dringenberg, Bryan Talbot, John Watkiss, Kelley Jones, George Pratt, Malcolm Jones III, Colleen Doran (illustrators). Vertigo Comics. ISBN 1-4012-1083-X.