Small thought here as I am listening to the recent podcast on "THE SOUND OF WINGS." The Sandman story in general is about an unchanging character (Dream....literally "endless") who finds that he needs to change. Death being the ultimate change (even signifying change in the tarot from what I understand), I interpret this issue as laying the foundation for Dreams ongoing struggle with change. In this issue dream learns the basic lesson that death is part of what gives life meaning I think (though I know that's a super oversimple message perhaps). Without giving spoilers, I think that this issue specifically plants the seeds for the subtle mechanations that Dream goes through for the rest of the series. I think this is the issue where dream (perhaps subconsciously) realizes what he wants or needs to do across the broad arc of the entire series.
Really enjoying re-reading this alongside you guys. Thanks so much for doing this! Maybe one day you'll go through Alan Moore's SWAMP THING issue by issue?
Swamp Thing is a great idea, particularly given how much of Sandman — not only specific elements, like his take on Cain and Abel, John Constantine, and others, but also the general tone and feel of the series — was due to it. (It was also, as Gaiman notes in some introduction or something, his path back to comics: he picked up a Swamp Thing after years away from comics, read it, thought, 'This is really good!' and was back.) I read Swamp Thing after Sandman & was astonished by how much Gaiman had straight-up borrowed.
I think this is spot-on. There's a palpable ennui about Dream that is rooted in his Endlessness -- if you just go on and on without end, there's not really much point to anything. I think it will be important, too, at the end of the series (years from now) to think about why this afflicts Dream rather than (or more than) his siblings.
I'm glad you're enjoying this show! We would love to do Swamp Thing, too, especially since we've been robbed of the TV adaptation.