In an attempt to enslave Death and claim her power as their own, a group of occultists, led by "Daemon King" Roderick Burgess, recites an incantation only to instead capture Death's younger brother Dream -- AKA Sandman. During the Sandman's subsequent 70-year enslavement, his sources of power -- a gemstone, his helmet, and his pouch -- wind up distributed around the globe and the dreamworld is relegated to chaos, which also wrecks havoc on the world of the living. To restore order to both worlds, Sandman must escape and collect his sources of power, regardless of the danger inherent in his actions.
I'll admit that I've been holding off on reading Gaiman's works for several years now. I've known about Sandman for a long time, but never wanted to read the stories because I had heard such good things about them that I never thought they could possibly live up to the hype. Guess what? They do. Gaiman's writing is fantastic and eloquent and engrossing. And there is so much visual storytelling in the book that you must take time to examine each and every frame to make sure you didn't miss anything. In an era when so many comic books and graphic novels serve no purpose other than to play to fanboy sexual fantasies, Gaiman, Kieth, Dringenberg, and Jones have created a masterpiece of storytelling that could easily stand alone as a testament to the importance of graphic novels to the literary world.