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Neil Gaiman Takes Hostages from “Sandman”

Neil Gaiman, the writer of Vertigo’s seminal series “The Sandman,” needs no introduction. He is the author of numerous comic books, novels, screenplays and more. He’s won all kinds of awards for his fiction and developed a much deserved cult following.

“Sandman” is arguably his most discussed work, and certainly the one that left the most indelible impression on the comics world. The epic, 75-plus issue work (including spinoffs) is still one of the high water marks of the medium. Within that tale Gaiman created the character of Rose Walker, a young girl with multi-colored hair who deals, at various times, with love and loss, ultimately resulting in her fair share of heartbreak.

A few days ago a photo was posted on the Gaiman-centric Neverwear tumblr depicting two versions of the same line: “Love takes hostages.” Apparently this was a request by one of Gaiman’s fans who wants to get the quote tattooed, so Gaiman offered two options by his own hand.


The line belongs to Rose, from a longer speech about love that appeared in “The Sandman” #65.

UPDATED: Thanks to CBR reviewer Greg McElhaton, we now have a scan of the second page containing the rest of Rose’s speech.

The full speech:

Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses. You build up a whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life… You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ or ‘how very perceptive’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a body-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. Nothing should be able to do that. Especially not love. I hate love.

Hopefully we’ll be able to see the final tattoo and post an update here when it’s completed.

6 Comments

I always liked Rose’s character and wish they would touch base with her again somewhere.
And when you just look at the speech written out straight, you really get a feel of how good of a writer Gaiman is.

Would’ve been nice to have featured the page of art that included the actual line, instead of the page that cuts off before Rose says the line.

Agreed. This was all I could find online, but I’d be happy to update if anyone has a scan of the issue handy.

Rob — I’ll knock off a scan right now and send it to you!

Wow, I had forgotten about this speech. I don’t think Neil will ever top Sandman. Not to diminish his other work, which is phenomenal to say the least. It’s just there is something grand yet intimate about Sandman that sets its hooks into you and won’t let go. There’s something new to love with each re-read. This passage is one of them.

I found this blog with images of both pages… http://awkwardmayhem.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/have-you-ever-been-in-love-neilhimself-neilgaiman-sandman/

This sequence resonated with me when I first read it, and it does so again as I have a friend going through a divorce for rather painful, stupid reasons. This one sequence sums up so much about the way we treat each other as people. More often than not, love seems to be more a means to an end, than the goal itself.

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