Okay, we’ve got, like, three announcements. Each, I’d say, is exciting.

Announcement The First: We’re going to be starting up Season Three of Fringe in, oh, let’s say 3 weeks. You’ll want to get your Fringe: The Complete Third Season soon, to have it ready to go when we get ready to go. This is the season where we finally explore The Other Universe well as dip our foot into the waters that are What Walter Hath Wrought.

Announcement The Second: We’ve decided that, after we watch finish watching Fringe, we will tackle BABYLON 5! I’ve never watched it (though I had friends who were addicted). I’ve been told that the first season is, whew, rough but it pulls it out to tell one heck of a compelling story. I’m looking forward to that already. We might even veer into talking about politics from time to time if we keep it friendly.

Announcement The Third: We’re going to start an actual bookclub thing that actually involves, like, reading and junk! We are going to tackle THE SANDMAN! From book the first to book the last, we’re going to go through all of the story arcs and discuss them and tell stories about the year we listened to nothing but Tori Amos back when we still had hair and argue about archetypes, gods, devils, faith, and destiny. We might even veer into talking about religion from time to time if we keep it friendly. Here’s the twist, though: I want me to be the discussion leader of last resort. That is, I want *YOU* to be the person who writes the post that says “Here’s the main plot points we hit, here’s the main thematic notes we hit, oh my gosh did you see the detail in the third panel of page 21, so what thinks thunk you?” and, if it comes to that, nominate one of the other discussers for leading the discussion the following week.

Here’s the main thing I’m worried about for Sandman: not everyone will want to spend, looks like, 10 bucks for each volume of the books from Amazon (and given that there are 10 books in the full collection, that’s $100 and that’s too pricey by about $75 for me to assume that anybody who wants to participate beginning to end should be able to participate beginning to end and I’m not even going to *MENTION* how much The Absolute Sandman books cost) and I don’t know how long the lines will be for checking the books out of the library… so I’m going to ask for thoughts from you all on how best to deal with this in the comments. Once we figure that out, we can figure out when we want to start reading together.

So, like, that’ll get us to 2014. Not bad.

Your thoughts?


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to


  1. I already ordered Volume 1 from the library. The catalog showed three copies sitting on various branch’s shelves, so, over here, at least, no problems.

  2. I’m mostly consumed by the thought of whether or not I will be able to participate due to my ever increasingly demanding schedule. If I didn’t require so much of that pesky sleep I would jump in with both feet.
    This seems like quite the undertaking, JB. I’m glad the Fringe bookclub took off so well. Congrats! Ubik was fun too. I like the league.

  3. There’s about 40 holds on Preludes and Nocturnes, though most of the other books of the series are easier to get; still, there could easily be a couple weeks’ wait for some of them.

    Would we be doing one book per week, one chapter per week, or what? When are we starting? I could do the review posts for some of they provided they’re ones where I have the book on hand in time.

    • Given that you’ve got the most recent experience of reading the Sandman collected books, what do you think would work best?

      • Hmm. It depends partly on how busy everyone else is. You can easily read a whole book in a week, but that makes the book club fairly short for a ten-book series, and also means less in-depth discussion. But a chapter per week doesn’t work for people getting things from the library, as they’re typically 3-week loans.

        I’d suggest approximately 2-3 chapters per week, or whatever breakdown is needed to have 2-3 weeks per book. Some books are longer than others, so it would vary (e.g., 3 weeks for The Doll’s House at 3 chapters-3 chapters-2 chapters, 2 weeks for Dream Country at 2 chapters each).

        A book-per-week format could also work fine, though.

      • When I was younger and found an author I really liked, I would read all of his books, right in a row. After about ten Faulkner novels in a row, I was actually saying stuff like “Sho nuff.” Being older and slightly wiser, I’ve found that it’s more enjoyable to mix one author up with other stuff and come back to him or her when the cravings start again Which is a long-winded way of suggesting we read a subset of the Sandman book (perhaps half), do something else for a while, and come back to them. (Clearly, this is a decision that doesn’t need to be made up front.)

        On the other subject, if we were reading Watchmen, I’d call three weeks just about right. I’ll let you translate that into Sandman units.

  4. In order of your announcements, I am excited, excited, and even more excited. I just wish Fringe was streaming on Netflix so I could watch the eps instead of just remembering them. (And I keep missing chunks of the seasons when I watch them on TV.)

  5. I actually own all 10 volumes already, but it’s been years and I’ve been meaning to do a reread. I’ll participate, and could even chime in with the occasional summary.

  6. YES! My Sandman trolling has paid off! Now a group of intelligent people is going to gather to read or re-read and discuss a groundbreaking comic and great work of dark fantasy literature! Bwahahahaha!!!

    …Wait, I think I am doing this ‘trolling’ thing wrong.

    I will keep an eye out to see if I can find any of the books cheaper, but JB’s estimate of about $10 per TPB (10x) seems about as good as it gets (I also checked eBay). If you have any used bookshops or comic stores near you, check there…even if they don’t currently have any used copies for sale, if you buy a new $10 physical copy off Amazon you might be able to recoup 3 or 4 bucks by selling it to yr local used bookshop when you are finished reading it, if you decide they are not worth keeping or giving to a friend.

    Still cheaper than Bourbon Club is gonna end up being, and better for my liver. 🙂

  7. I very recently reread The Sandman, and I have been meaning to rematch Babylon 5, so I might have to participate. I have never spent much time in lengthy discussions and analysis of either.

  8. Meh, there’s enough free books out there, why you gotta choose one that’s gonna take WORK to go read (aka: find library. check books out. discover waitlisted. curse a lot).

    • After the Sandman, we’ll have another post in which we discuss which book(s) we’d like to like read for real next.

      • Case I’m not here then, I’m gonna throw this out now.
        “The end of sexual instinct and the hydrogen bomb war”
        Great book, breaks up into nice short chunks to read.
        You could even rotate who leads the discussion.

        • Did you intend to format that as if it were free verse? Because it kind of works.

          • I try not to have terribly long lines when I’m writing.
            and I find new thoughts on each line to be a decent stab
            at avoiding rambling, which is a problem of mine.

            I think I did better with the clinton comment
            on the vanity fair piece.

          • I wish
            That I had more to say
            I’ll leave this
            as a placeholder
            for future thoughts.

  9. It is available at my local library, and probably quite a few libraries these days given the rise of the manga/comic TPB sections.

    I do own the whole series and would suggest very much people cover the other Gaiman written Sandman books in the discussion at some point.

    Death: The Time of Your Life
    Death: The High Cost of Living
    Sandman: The Dream Hunters drawn by Yoshitaka Amano of Final Fantasy fame.
    and the 2003 Endless Nights Anthology.

    If anyone has the annotated edition:
    The first volume of The Annotated Sandman was published by DC Comics in January 2012 as a large 12″ by 12″ black-and-white book with an introduction by Gaiman. The annotations trace the countless references to the characters, myths, and events in and outside of the DC universe while making extensive use of Gaiman’s scripts for the comics. The second volume is scheduled to be released in 24 October 2012.[14] A total of four volumes annotating issues #1-75 is expected to be released.[15]

    This would probably be immensely useful.

    Also: Gaiman has announced that to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Sandman, a new volume will be produced; it will include a story about the victory that had exhausted Morpheus prior to the beginning of original story.

    • (eyes Bob2 suspiciously)

      Your last name in real life wouldn’t rhyme with ‘Hey man’, would it? 😉

      More seriously, I’ve looked longingly on Amazon at Vol 1 of that annotated dealio, and have read the other books you list, but with the exception of ‘Endless Nights’, I haven’t yet broken down and given Gaiman/Vertigo the *rest* of my money.


      • Glyph, you know you’re gonna do it anyway. Enjoy the subtle tension of your resistance. It’ll make the joy of gettin’ em that much sweeter. Give in too soon and you’ll just be grumpy.

        • Don’t I know it. As someone who has a great deal of sympathy toward the idea of rational hedonism, you just described the story of my life.

  10. Ten years ago I borrowed all the Sandman books from a friend and devoured them. I’ve just confirmed I can borrow them again, so I hope to be able to participate.

  11. A couple of notes:

    I’m still passing on Fringe. I can take point on B5, though, if you want someone-other-than-Jaybird to be the point poster on the B5 Book Club posts.

    Re: Sandman… when it comes to comics, I’m the sort of dude who focuses almost entirely upon between one-and-three panels in the average comic/graphic novel. Think about that Dark Knight post… that’s how I’d look at Sandman. That’s what makes that art form different from a novel or a serial or a television show or something.

    That means I’d probably want to post specific images from specific issues to illustrate specific points. That means that my participation in it, as a bookclub thing, would probably be irregular but then really in depth and navel-gazingish.

    That’s just a description (or a warning) 🙂

    • Patrick, I meant to tell you, I eventually worked my way through that ‘Dark Knight’ post that you referenced in your own DK post, and I found it hugely informative in laying out the ‘art’ side of what Miller/the comic did. That was cool, thanks for pointing to that.

      I enjoyed your own post too, but holy crow was the one you linked to really in-depth, even touching on technical color-printing limitations and such.

      Also…where is a good source on the web to get images/panels, if I want to use them to illustrate a point? And what are the legal ramifications (I assume it’s easy to stay well within ‘fair use’ parameters, if I only use a couple panels or pages) and the etiquette (do I need to credit the webpage where I found them)?

      • The post I linked to is the sort of thing I probably would have wrote if I hadn’t stopped collecting comics years ago.

        I usually just use Google Image Search (that’s how I found those panels). If I can’t find what I’m looking for in 5 minutes or less, I’ll bust out a scanner and the thing I want to scan and make it myself (assuming I have ready access to the image I want, which I didn’t in the DK post).

        You do not need to cite the web page where you found an image unless the image originally belongs to the site, although I usually do just to be nice.

        The legal ramifications are: if nobody complains, you’re fine. If somebody complains and it’s a legitimate fair use exception, your choices are “take the image down because it’s not worth the hassle” or “engage in dialogue with the rights holder” or “leave the image up and potentially hire a lawyer”.

        I myself have never had a problem with taking the second approach, but I’ve also taken the first one when the image itself is either readily available somewhere else (in which case, I just link to it) or it’s not important enough to the point to deal with the hassle of either #2 or #3.

        • One wonders what the legal ramifications are if someone complains who is not the legitimate rights holder. (this was on fair use, but had something to do with Strawberry Shortcake…)

          I know one too many trolls, I think

          • The Penny Arcade guys could have fought that and one. Satire is well-defended in the courts.

            But I don’t blame them for taking the easy road. Some battles aren’t worth fighting, especially when you know people can google “Penny Arcade Strawberry Shortcake” and find your work, anyway.

          • Of course. Naturally, the easier road is “Don’t make friends with trolls.”
            Lying low makes it substantially less likely for them to start trouble…

  12. I may have to buckle down and check out my university library’s copy of the entirety of The Sandman, which is the size of a very substantial encyclopedia. Nice thing about being a grad student is you get to keep all your books for four months.

  13. For Babylon 5, are you starting with The Gathering?

    Do NOT watch In The Beginning until you’re at least through Season 3.

    • I’m trusting all y’all to explain what we need to watch and in what order.

      When it comes to Fringe, I’m a season or two ahead of where we are in the Bookclub. When it comes to Bab5, I’ll be watching at the same time as the rest of y’all… so you guys who have been here before need to explain how the show will best be savored.

    • We start with Midnight on the Firing Line.

      In the Beginning belongs at the end of Season 4.

      B5 makes the most sense when you follow the original airdates. It’s not like Firefly, which was screwed by that.

      • Why skip The Gathering? I know there are some cast and costume changes between that and the series proper, but there are a few plot points that matter later.

  14. I’m exited at both the Sandman and B5 bookclubs. I have B5 on DVD so I’ll re-watch it as the bookclub progresses. I’ve read Sandman before, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to lay my hands on a set to re-read them.

Comments are closed.