Here are the next three storylines on the countdown, as voted on by you, the readers!! Here is the master list of all storylines featured so far.
Note, there may be some spoilers ahead! You are forewarned!Enjoy!
NOTE: All of these storyline posts will be image intensive, so I'll be spreading them over multiple pages.
9. "Maus: A Survivor's Tale" by Art Spiegelman (For simplicity's sake, let's just say Maus: Book 1 and Book 2) – 648 points (9 first place votes)
The genius of Art Spiegelman's masterpiece, Maus, is that it is not just a brilliant re-telling of one man's tale of survival during World War II and the Holocaust (with the jews as mice and the Germans as cats).
If it were just that, then it would still belong on this list, but it isn't. It's also the tale of a man dealing with his father. It's also the tale of how stories are told. And perhaps most fascinating to me is that it also eventually becomes about a man dealing with the fact that his personal story about his father's survival of the Holocaust has become a commercial and critical success. How does one reconcile oneself with something like that? Spiegelman addresses it beautifully in this story. Here's a snippet from later in the series from when Spiegelman deals with the strange turn of events that came about after the release of the first maus book...
But at the heart of the comic, Spiegelman is telling us how his father, Vladek Spiegelman, survived the war.
And Vladek's tale is absolutely fascinating, made even more so by Art's deft storytelling skills, as he prevents the book from ever getting monotonous, while at the same time being quite detailed in the history of the tale. It reminds me a lot of the work Eddie Campbell did on From Hell.
Here is a section both seeing the horror of war (via the discovery of what happened to Vladek's son during the war) and also Vladek's ingenuity (as well as the kindess of other people)...
It took Spiegelman years to get this story finished, but it was well worth the wait, as it was an exceptional piece of work.
8. "Season of Mists" by Neil Gaiman, Kelley Jones, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Matt Wagner, Dick Giordano, George Pratt, and P. Craig Russell (Sandman #21-28) – 826 points (7 first place votes)
Season of Mists was a landmark arc during Neil Gaiman's Sandman tenure, as this was the story that introduced the Endless (Dream and Death's other siblings) as well as created the set-up for Mike Carey's Lucifer series.
In the story, Dream is shamed into attempting to rescue his former love, who he, in a fit of rage, banished to hell thousands of years ago. He steels himself for a battle with Lucifer, who is Dream knows is not pleased with him. Dream could not expect, however, how Lucifer decided to deal with him - when Dream shows up to fight with Lucifer he learns that Lucifer has closed Hell and he gives Dream the key to hell.
Check out this amazing extended sequence where Lucifer drops the news and then takes Morpheus on a quick tour of hell...
What follows next is an entertaining exploration of what the universe would be like without Hell, along with a brilliant piece of mythology work as Gaiman shows all the various other deities (like the Norse Gods and the Egyptian Gods, etc.) showing up to bargain with Dream for the rights to such prime interdimensional real estate.
Gaiman has had great success over the years working with various mythologies and their deities, and that fascination really began here.
Plus, the interlude showing the effect of no hell on Earth is one of the most charming issues of Sandman ever, as a young boy left behind at a boy's school during winter break finds himself tormented by all the boys and teachers killed at the school over the years. He makes friends with one of the ghosts and when his torment is to the point where he, too, dies, he can't bring himself to leave his new friend...
They decide to become ghost detectives, otherwise known as the Dead Boy Detectives, characters so cool that they're about to get their own ongoing series from Vertigo!
The artwork is strong in this storyline, with Kelley Jones in particular really doing a wonderful job with the moodiness of his issues.