Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sandman Mystery Theatre, Vol. 1: The Tarantula” as Want to Read:
Sandman Mystery Theatre, Vol. 1: The Tarantula
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Sandman Mystery Theatre, Vol. 1: The Tarantula (Sandman Mystery Theatre #1)

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  980 ratings  ·  32 reviews
In this noir detective tale of intrigue, bigotry and incest, millionaire Wesley Dodds takes on the costumed persona of the Sandman to catch a sadistic killer in 1930s New York. Donning a gas mask, fedora, business suit and cape, Dodds goes after the Tarantula, a brutal kidnapper who is mercilessly preying upon the women of high society. But as the Sandman walks through a w ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published May 1st 1995 by Vertigo
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sandman Mystery Theatre, Vol. 1, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Sandman Mystery Theatre, Vol. 1

Dieselpunk ePulp Showcase by John PichaLeviathan by Scott WesterfeldA Fistful of Nothing by Dan GlaserPandora Driver by John PichaIgnition City Volume 1 by Warren Ellis
67th out of 74 books — 62 voters
100 Bullets, Vol. 1 by Brian AzzarelloFatale, Vol. 1 by Ed BrubakerAmerican Vampire, Vol. 1 by Scott SnyderBlind Corners by Jemir Robert JohnsonFrank Miller's Complete Sin City Library by Frank Miller
Crime Comics & Graphic Novels
70th out of 95 books — 33 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,381)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
'kris Pung
A great noir book where surprisingly the killers identity is revealed pretty early on but it was still enjoyable watching the good guys put all the pieces together.
Raymond Rose
Sandman Mystery Theater is a bizarre beast. The Sandman it is referring to was a character created in the 1930s, a strange pulp novel character of the newly-created comic books at the time. In the 1980s, Neil Gaiman took the character and updated him... as a god of dreams. He stated that the 30s Sandman was created when Gaiman’s Sandman was imprisoned by faux-magicians. With the success of Gaiman’s Sandman, DC set up to try their hand at the 30s Sandman again.

And, oh my God, is it fantastic. Mat
Randolph Carter
Wesley Dodds is my favorite kind of comics super-hero: he isn't. Zero superpowers, not even the "power to cloud mens' minds" like The Shadow. All he has is a trench-coat, a fedora, a gas gun, and a WWI gas mask. Which means, when he goes to work, just like Super Man or the Green Lantern, he's about as inconspicuous as a cockroach on a wedding cake, only unlike them, no powers, like I said.

Don't expect to find Morpheus here except when Mr. Dodds uses his not-so magic gun on you. And death isn't
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
I'd read a few stray issues of Sandman Mystery Theatre, but this is the first time I've read any of the collected editions. I liked the story with some qualifications: I'm uneasy with the prevalence of depictions of sexualised violence against women in popular fiction, and the first story arc of SMT contains a great deal of this sort of thing. It's clear who the bad guys are, but still, I am not sure it is handled as well as it could be. The other problem is that, at the end of this story arc, t ...more
Andy Zeigert
Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN was perfect in almost every way.

So why did Vertigo revive the character again? Just to hit closer to the original mark? Who knows. Most likely it was to try to ride the wave. Maybe even trick a few people into thinking they were getting more of Gaiman's SANDMAN.

In any case, SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE didn't have much going for it. Except that it turned out to be kind of brilliant. Matt Wagner's noir sensibilities shine, and the hand lettering of the book reminds me how boring
Originaly bought as single-issues, I have the complete collection.

Somehow, Matt Wagner and Guy Davis were the perfect team to bring the original Sandman back.
Where most writers would have updated the character to bring him into the 21st century, Matt Wagner goes way back to his original roots set in the 1940s and gives us a bare bones version of the character.
This isn't a super-hero, he doesn't jump from rooftops, he's faillable, he's a well-rounded, caring human being, heck he's not even muscle
Aug 23, 2007 Devowasright rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: geeks. film noire fans
i had some of these issues once upon a time... such great stories.. a great concept, and reinvention of the golden age sandman..
I don't know if I could call this series underrated as the people who do read it tend to thoroughly like or love it but I could probably get away with calling it underexposed. Honestly, if you have an interest in crime, period pieces, noir, or masked vigilantes you could probably get into this--even if you're not a reader of comics/graphic novels. The writing is full of style, moodiness, and original uses of imagery in a very literary way and the art just has this jarring crudeness to it that gi ...more
This is my favorite volume of my favorite superhero character. Sandman Mystery theater is a extremely unusual Superhero story that focuses upon multiple human and realistic aspects that are often left out of the genre such as the true human effects of crime, the investigative work, historical and geographical setting, and complex character relationships. Sandman Mystery theater is a period piece placed in the 1930, narrated by Dian the daughter of the district attorney. She meets the eccentric s ...more
I just had a nice donation of all the Sandman and Sandman-related collections to my classroom lending library, so I'll be gradually going through the collections I've never had the chance to read before.

If this first collection is any indication of the quality of later issues of the series, I can see why Sandman Mystery Theater was such a long-running book. In a lot of ways, SMT was ahead of its' time as a book which took a serious approach to vigilantism and superheroics by rooting it firmly in
NIce bit of gritty pulp noir mystery, but despite claiming to be the adventures of the golden age Sandman character, it is so removed it's hard to see this version joining the JSA.

Makes me wonder if it wouldn't have worked better if Wanger had just created a new character. A good read, but I couldn't get past the nagging voice that kept thinking 'this isn't 'my' Sandman'.

Shame as it is a good pulp mystery series and Wes and Dian are a great couple, but typical of most Vertigo comics that used an
Aleksandar Nikolov
Я па взех че се изненадах, и то доста приятно. Доста добре издържана кримка в духа на 30-те години. И колкото да е странно за комикс, супер-героя въобще не е толкова супер. Направо си е кекав чиляк с мания да приспива нищо неподозиращите хорица с газ. И от там взимат че го кръщават "Sandman" а.к.а "Сънчо".

Както може и да е предположи по заглавието първия супер-враг на Сънчо е на име "Тарантула" , които също даже въобще не е супер. Кекав извратеняк с мания да отвлича невинни женички. И така без д
Film Noir in comic book form. This feels like it came right out of the late 1930s. The Wesley Dodds Sandman is a character I've been interested in reading more of for some time, and luckily I got my hands on this. This is a great start for a series, taking a character from the past, and letting modern readers get a chance to enjoy him. Luckily Matt Wagner is able to write pulp noir very well, and with all that atmosphere and great backdrop, tell us a story of murder, incest, blackmail and more!

Orrin Grey
Started trying to read some Sandman Mystery Theatre, finally, though I'm not sure how far I'll get. Not because they're not good; they're pretty great, I'm just not sure how many volumes in I'll get before something else takes up my time.

Everyone knows that Matt Wagner is good for this kind of writing, and the art is Guy Davis back before he was doing B.P.R.D. It's a fascinating combo, though Davis's art shines brightest when he's doing weird dream sequences and the like. Looking forward to read
Michael Wells
This is a great series that it's taken me too long to come by. 1930's pulp noir with a bit of super thrown in. I picked it up because I've been reading Matt Wagner's current work on Madame Xanadu and I've been loving it. So I thought I'd try out some other, earlier work. I'm not disappointed. Sandman Mystery Theatre is smart, stylish and suprisingly mature about human relationships for a comic that sets itself in the pulp world.

I'm not in love with the art. I am in love with the writing.
The "Sandman" and his leading lady are both great characters. Unfortunately that isn't enough to redeem this series. There is zero artistry here - just cell after cell of heads with speech bubbles. The plot is predictable. The dialogue isn't snappy. They tried to make it interesting by amping up the gore (think Roark Junior in Sin City). It didn't work. The most interesting part of the whole novel was the intro, which explained the original Sandman series.
Twenty years later, I finally read all four issues/chapters.
This is a superhero book with the Golden Age DC Sandman, a "mystery man" without superpowers, solving crimes in 1938, behind his trademark gasmask and overcoat.
The early Vertigo imprint guarantees and "R" rating of sorts, albeit skillfully done.
A strange hero. Not super, not special in anyway. He has to wear a mask so he isn't affected by his own gas. Very intriguing. And for once the girl isn't some helpless prop for the man to rescue. I like the way she goes about her investigating, and how she manages to work in a mostly male setting.
The book design and coloring is pretty 90's, but the art is interesting and the book's heavy-handed attempts to sound "period" have a certain charm. I'm invested enough to try some more volumes, especially since everyone and their brother says this series took awhile to get up to speed.
Longer review possibly coming.

CHARACTERS/DIALOGUE: B plus to A minus; CLUE TRAILS: B to B plus; SANDMAN MYTHOLOGY: B to B plus; WHEN READ: end of November 2013; OVERALL GRADE: B to B plus.
Reread this storyline yesterday and absolutely loved it as much as I did the first time around. Great art, wonderfully paced noir mystery, brilliant dialogue, excellent characterization. I might have to dig out the rest of my issues and reread the whole series.
Federiken Masters
Jan 18, 2011 Federiken Masters marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: Veremos...
Recommended to Federiken by: No recuerdo
Tengo de la edición de Norma SMT: La Cara 1 y 2 (Colección Vertigo #81 y 84), que creo que pertenecen al tomo siguiente. La Tarántula no recuerdo si lo tuve alguna vez o si sólo lo vi suelto por alguna comiquería. Cuando lo corrobore, rerreseño.
I like the hard-bitten noir concept behind this series and the first volume is pretty well-written. The character design is obviously very cool and the mystery is well-crafted here.
Mark Adams
The revived Golden Age sandman is one of my favorite DC characters. sandman Mystery Theater is great great great! Really fun 4 issue Pulp stories, completely worth hunting down!
Gonzalo Oyanedel
Introducción al un personaje reinventado bajo el prisma del Pulp, recomendable para los amantes de ese olvidado género así como a los de la serie negra.
Moth Pfunk
Utterly terrifying start to this series I know virtually nothing about, Wesley Dodds is an intriguing character.
Justin Flint
i very much enjoyed this novel that art was fantastic and the noir theme really set the book up for success
Missed the mark as a noir mystery but a quick read and entertaining enough.
Fabulous noir-era, pulp fiction!
A fantastic recreation of pulp comics.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 46 47 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Doom Patrol, Vol. 2: The Painting That Ate Paris
  • The Books of Magic, Volume 6: The Burning Girl
  • Starman, Vol. 2: Night and Day
  • Hellblazer: Bloodlines
  • Sandman Midnight Theatre (The Sandman #10.a)
  • 100 Bullets, Vol. 6: Six Feet Under the Gun
  • Lucifer, Vol. 11: Evensong
  • The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures (Deluxe Edition)
  • Shade, the Changing Man, Vol. 1: The American Scream
  • Scene of the Crime: A Little Piece of Goodnight
  • Scalped, Vol. 2: Casino Boogie
Matt Wagner is an American comic book writer and artist. In addition to his creator-owned series' Mage and Grendel, he has also worked on comics featuring The Demon and Batman as well as such titles as Sandman Mystery Theatre and Trinity, a DC Comics limited series featuring Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.
More about Matt Wagner...
Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity Batman and the Monster Men Madame Xanadu, Vol. 1: Disenchanted Batman and the Mad Monk Batman: Faces

Share This Book