How Sandman Changed the Face of Comics Publishing



I first read Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic series in 1996.

The year the series finished.

Over the years it has won a whole host of new fans.

Won a ton of awards including 26 Eisners.

But I hadn’t realised just how seminal this series was in terms of it’s impact on the comics industry.

Did you know?

Sandman was the first comic to be published in a collected edition.

Sandman was the first comic to be owned by a writer in the sense that when it ended it wasn’t passed to another writer to pick up the story a la Batman, Spiderman…

Sandman was one of the first comics that really attracted women to the genre en mass.

And how did Neil Gaiman achieve all of this?

By simply not knowing it was impossible to do these things.

Oh, and of course through years of hard work and incredible talent.

You can hear Neil Gaiman talk about all things Sandman related in this video.

It is from the 2013 Edinburgh Book Festival’s Stripped Comics series of events.

I’ll be attending this year so look out for more news and reviews from the event come August.

And just for fun here is one of my favourite pieces of comics memorabilia.

Actually this is my only piece of comics memorabilia.

Neil Gaiman autograph


How to read comics for free

I’ve made a New Year’s resolution.

To use my local public library more.

It’s almost like a revelation.

I wonder how many of you, like me, just forgot that you can go in there and read books, including comics for free.

It’s like magic.

And don’t be disheartened if you do go over to the comics section and all you see are a few dog-eared Sandmans and some obscure ‘never heard of that’s’.

Libraries have gone digital.

It’s like magic.

So here’s how it works for those of you in Edinburgh.

Hopefully where you are it’s similar or even better.

First off your library probably has an app.

“There’s an app for that!”


Here’s a screen grab from the Edinburgh Council app you can get it from iTunes and Android Playstore.

There are three totally cool things about this app.

1. If you are in say, Waterstones, and you are flipping the pages of a cool graphics novel, you can use this app to scan the bar-code and see if the library has a copy and reserve it.

2. You can scan you library card bar-code into this app. Then use your phone as your card.

3. You can renew your loan from the app. No more late fines!

What you can find online

Plus, they have some pretty cool comics on their catalogue.

I did a random search for a few things I have on my shelves.


  • Preacher: Gone to Texas by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
  • Fables: Wolves by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Shawn McManus and Andrew Pepoy
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley
  • The Walking Dead: vl 8 by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn

You can borrow every one of these comics from the library.

For free.

Heck, the Fables comic alone was £13.99 from Forbidden Planet.

And we have every single one in the series.


I mean sure if you really love a comic it’s great to own them to re-read and treasure.

But when you’re just starting out with comics or a new series it makes sense to borrow the first couple at least.

Plus we should be supporting our public libraries.

Or one day they might not be there any more.

Welcome to ComicOpa!

First off, I love comics.

I really love comics.

Ever since I graduated from Pepper Street to the Beano, comics have been a part of my life.

Okay, well, there might have been a gap between about 1990 and 1995 that was comics free.

Then I discovered Neil Gaiman and the Sandman series and it was love at first sight.

Since then I’ve read most of the classics from big names like Alan Moore, Grant Morrison and the like but I’ve also discovered some great lesser known titles.

I thought you might like some of them too.

And I was hoping you might share some new ones with me.

I’m also going to include, new releases, reviews, interviews, comic cons, film & TV adaptations.

Sound okay?


I hope you enjoy the blog.


PS. “Opa!” is a Greek word that kind of defies definition. It expresses joy, an insatiable happiness and exuberance. That’s kind of how I feel when I find a great new comic. So ComicOpa!