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Sandman Mystery Theatre, Vol. 3: The Vamp

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Collecting the fourth story arc (issues #13-16) from the acclaimed reimagination of the original Golden Age Sandman, THE VAMP continues the story of Wesley Dodds and his soon-to-be paramour (and narrator) Dian Belmont as they become entangled in mystery from two different directions.


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Collecting the fourth story arc (issues #13-16) from the acclaimed reimagination of the original Golden Age Sandman, THE VAMP continues the story of Wesley Dodds and his soon-to-be paramour (and narrator) Dian Belmont as they become entangled in mystery from two different directions.

30 review for Sandman Mystery Theatre, Vol. 3: The Vamp

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    “She was a scamp, a camp, and a bit of a tramp; She was a V-A-M-P...VAMP." *Random Goodreader punches Jeff in the solar plexus* Gah! What was that for? Random Goodreader: Using Sonny and Cher lyrics in a comic book review!! You’re crossing a line. Don’t let it happen again! But, but, but… Matt Wagner raises the profile of Dian Belmont, soon to be The Sandman’s main squeeze… …by giving her a lion’s share of the page time. Poor Dian, back in the ‘30’s, women didn’t have many career options: housewife, sc “She was a scamp, a camp, and a bit of a tramp; She was a V-A-M-P...VAMP." *Random Goodreader punches Jeff in the solar plexus* Gah! What was that for? Random Goodreader: Using Sonny and Cher lyrics in a comic book review!! You’re crossing a line. Don’t let it happen again! But, but, but… Matt Wagner raises the profile of Dian Belmont, soon to be The Sandman’s main squeeze… …by giving her a lion’s share of the page time. Poor Dian, back in the ‘30’s, women didn’t have many career options: housewife, school teacher, man-hating psycho killer lesbian… Yet she does her best trying to sort for clues to a series of grisly murders involving some snotty grown-up frat boys and possibly one of her old sorority friends. Dian examines her friends with a keen sleuthing eye: Lesbian. Check. She even turns her detecting eye towards Wesley Dodds, aka The Sandman. Psycho Loser. Check The Sandman? What’s he up to? Yep. Sneaking and creeping around New York City. Looking for love clues in all the wrong places. And don’t forget the Fooshing and stuff… Wagner’s jaded eye picks up some interesting period details. Lt. Burke, the inept police detective, is the lightning rod for some racial, sexist, and class haterade, both on the giving and receiving end. Takeaway - Picking up random dames with an insane agenda in hotel bars… Spoilered for the kids and the impressionable. Kids, stay in school and stay out of dimly lit hotel bars! (view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)] …could find yourself dead… …with the blood syphoned out of your body in painful ways and your corpse dumped in a hotel broom closet. Bottom line: As I’ve been reading this series for a second time, in the proper publishing order and with a more critical eye (As if. Shaddup!) a few things stand out: 1) Matt Wagner’s writing is uneven at best, but when he’s on his game, these stories are fairly compelling - this one’s a good entry into the series. 2) The art, although it captures the noir-ish aspects fairly well, is second rate no matter who’s doing the sketching. Onto volume 4 - Sandman Mystery Theatre, Vol. 4: The Scorpion A sample of the atmospheric cover art for an issue of this volume:

  2. 5 out of 5

    Erik

    Although some comic book series need to be read in sequential order – take for example either Neil Gaiman’s brilliantly original Sandman or Brain K. Vaughn’s Y: The Last Man – SMT doesn’t require that level of exactitude. As I read this series when it was serialized in its monthly installments -- which drove me crazy, I must admit, having to wait that long to see a mystery through to its end – it’s now fun to be able to go to my neighborhood library and pick-up a collected volume of one of Verti Although some comic book series need to be read in sequential order – take for example either Neil Gaiman’s brilliantly original Sandman or Brain K. Vaughn’s Y: The Last Man – SMT doesn’t require that level of exactitude. As I read this series when it was serialized in its monthly installments -- which drove me crazy, I must admit, having to wait that long to see a mystery through to its end – it’s now fun to be able to go to my neighborhood library and pick-up a collected volume of one of Vertigo’s best unsung series of the 90s (perhaps it was its successful sister-title of a related name that overshadowed it?), and devour it in one sitting. In these early adventures of Wesley Dodds, the Golden Age Sandman of later JSA fame, the grim and gritty streets of Depression-era New York are teeming no just with huddling masses yearning to be free, but also vindictive souls hell-bent on revenge. (Oddly, most of the victims well-deserve their hideous fates.) In “The Vamp”, a fraternity of well-to-do young gentlemen are off-ed one-by-one by way of sexual entrapment. As these thing coincidentally go in the world of detective and pulp fiction, Wesley’s leading lady Dian Belmont has odd connections with the killers. (Oh, did I give anything away there by use of the plural of “killer?”) “The Vamp” is a brutal and shocking murder-mystery that will remind you not to score a home run on the first date, not to mention the fact that past crimes will in fact come back to haunt – and if not kill – you.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Emily Green

    Sandman Mystery Theater: The Vamp by Matt Wagner and Steven T. Seagle is written with a voiceover by Dian Belmont, girlfriend to Wesley Dodds (Sandman) and daughter of Larry Belmont (District Attorney). Dian, who is worried by the strange behavir of her friend, Carol, decides to investigate into a series of brutally murdered blue-blooded men. The deeper she digs, the more certain she becomes that their fraternity membership holds some clue to their killer. Fuelling Dian’s interest is her jealous Sandman Mystery Theater: The Vamp by Matt Wagner and Steven T. Seagle is written with a voiceover by Dian Belmont, girlfriend to Wesley Dodds (Sandman) and daughter of Larry Belmont (District Attorney). Dian, who is worried by the strange behavir of her friend, Carol, decides to investigate into a series of brutally murdered blue-blooded men. The deeper she digs, the more certain she becomes that their fraternity membership holds some clue to their killer. Fuelling Dian’s interest is her jealousy of Madeline Giles, a beautiful, self-assured, and pushy woman from Carol’s past. Not only does she make Dian feel as if she’s being pushed out of Carol’s life, she makes her feel not as glamorous, especially when it seems that she has enchanted Wesley Dodds. Through her clumsy detective work and clinginess to Wesley, Dian is made to look foolish. As much as everyone tells her to get out of the way and let the men do their work, it actually appears that she should get out of the way and let the professionals do their work. Nothing in the story convinces the reader that she is doing anything more than endangering herself. The look at lesbianism is problematic, as well. The lesbians come across as manipulative misandrists. While it is important to create characters from a wide variety of backgrounds, it is not progressive if the characters reinforce preexisting stereotypes.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

    This one is a marked improvement from Vol. 2. Here, one of Dian's friends is running with her old sorority sisters, and Dian thinks things are a little strange... Also, strange murders of high society men are taking place, seemingly by a woman 'of loose morals' having her way with them and then killing them. Throw in some intrigue, lesbianism, "marijuana cigarettes" and my goodness! Shocking! This is more like the Film Noir Book I was looking to read. Well done, though the art still befuddles me, a This one is a marked improvement from Vol. 2. Here, one of Dian's friends is running with her old sorority sisters, and Dian thinks things are a little strange... Also, strange murders of high society men are taking place, seemingly by a woman 'of loose morals' having her way with them and then killing them. Throw in some intrigue, lesbianism, "marijuana cigarettes" and my goodness! Shocking! This is more like the Film Noir Book I was looking to read. Well done, though the art still befuddles me, as one point has Wes Dodds looking like he's 30s with Brown hair, then he looks like he's 60s with Grey hair. Also, the Sandman runs into some trouble here like he never has before... Solid entry in the series.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mike Jozic

    Fantastic! I've been meaning to read these stories for 20 years and feel ridiculous that I waited this long to get through every issue. Wagner & Seagle have crafted wonderful characters and continue to throw them in compelling stories that just drip with period accuracy and atmosphere. The return of Guy Davis on art for this volume was a welcome one. I didn't hate the previous artist but I identify Sandman Mystery Theatre so closely with Davis' aesthetic. The story of The Vamp was quite good and Fantastic! I've been meaning to read these stories for 20 years and feel ridiculous that I waited this long to get through every issue. Wagner & Seagle have crafted wonderful characters and continue to throw them in compelling stories that just drip with period accuracy and atmosphere. The return of Guy Davis on art for this volume was a welcome one. I didn't hate the previous artist but I identify Sandman Mystery Theatre so closely with Davis' aesthetic. The story of The Vamp was quite good and, without throwing out any spoilers, hits all the right notes. This is possibly my favourite SMT volume so far. Very much looking forward to the next one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Honestly, I was a little underwhelmed by this book. The mystery was too obvious, and the Wesley/Dian secret identity confusion was way too straight-up superhero for such a complex book. Dian, however, remains a fairly compelling protagonist (moreso than Wesley), and I'm always taken by the way that Wagner (and Seagle) portray the biases and bigotries of 1940's America with such an unflinching eye (I would like to see even more of these moments, actually. It's like seeing a car crash. Sadly, these Honestly, I was a little underwhelmed by this book. The mystery was too obvious, and the Wesley/Dian secret identity confusion was way too straight-up superhero for such a complex book. Dian, however, remains a fairly compelling protagonist (moreso than Wesley), and I'm always taken by the way that Wagner (and Seagle) portray the biases and bigotries of 1940's America with such an unflinching eye (I would like to see even more of these moments, actually. It's like seeing a car crash. Sadly, these characteristics are still common in America today, but sometimes you can hold up the mirror more effectively if you set the story in the past. Modern readers' defense mechanism for denial doesn't kick in so strongly!) Guy Davis is a good artist, very well suited to this series, although I, personally, am not as big a fan of his work as others are. Lots of detail and good character work.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Pretty much everything I said about the last book only more so. With one LITTLE quibble. This story had fewer twists and turns than the previous volume I read. (The Tarantula.) I was hoping that the mystery would be a little more... I dunno...an actually mystery. I mean this was quite a story with two character... a guy in a white coat and a guy in a black coat, the next scene guy in the white coat is dead... guess who killed him... but it is pretty damn close. But it was a GREAT character stud Pretty much everything I said about the last book only more so. With one LITTLE quibble. This story had fewer twists and turns than the previous volume I read. (The Tarantula.) I was hoping that the mystery would be a little more... I dunno...an actually mystery. I mean this was quite a story with two character... a guy in a white coat and a guy in a black coat, the next scene guy in the white coat is dead... guess who killed him... but it is pretty damn close. But it was a GREAT character study.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Linnea Gelland

    And the style picks up again. Better than the last, still not qite as good as the first one. Good story, again the sensitive subject matter is handled well, I think. But now I'm just waiting for Dian to finally put two and two together and figure out who the Sandman is... And the style picks up again. Better than the last, still not qite as good as the first one. Good story, again the sensitive subject matter is handled well, I think. But now I'm just waiting for Dian to finally put two and two together and figure out who the Sandman is...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lavell

    Artwork: Adequate Story: Excellent. It finally happens in this book . Wesley and Dian get together. I was happy they transcended what was going on to get together. The story was great but that pent up frustration is finally let out. Haha.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Liliana

    RTC

  11. 5 out of 5

    Matt Sautman

    This is a book that I wanted to give five stars to. It came so close to getting five stars because how immersed I felt within the noir world of the Sandman. Maybe it's because I know this Sandman's world ties into Gaiman's Sandman. Maybe it's because I had been marathoning the first few episodes of Amazon's The Man in the High Castle around the same time. Either way, I could not give this book five stars for two reasons. One, without giving away the plot, The Vamp comes so close to portraying a This is a book that I wanted to give five stars to. It came so close to getting five stars because how immersed I felt within the noir world of the Sandman. Maybe it's because I know this Sandman's world ties into Gaiman's Sandman. Maybe it's because I had been marathoning the first few episodes of Amazon's The Man in the High Castle around the same time. Either way, I could not give this book five stars for two reasons. One, without giving away the plot, The Vamp comes so close to portraying a commentary upon patriarchy and reactionary feminism, and in fact it dances around the territory quite knowingly, but just as it has the opportunity to reveal revelations of the human condition that arises from the clashing of genders, it backs away from the topic, leaving it haphazard. Two, while blood is a theme carried throughout the graphic novel, we are never told why there are people who are harvesting blood. We know how the victims are chosen, but we do not know if there is any purpose at all. We can conjecture given the title that the people involved are vampires, but we never know for sure. They just as easily can be mentally deranged. There is no exposition for their motives. No declaration that they are vampires, be it supernatural or delusionary, and while I can relish a healthy dose of ambiguity now and again, I prefer to have more solid clues to work with- still a great read nonetheless.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Originaly bought as single-issues, I have the complete collection. Somehow, Matt Wagner and Guy Davis were the perfect team to bring the original Sandman back. Where most writers would have updated the character to bring him into the 21st century, Matt Wagner goes way back to his original roots set in the 1940s and gives us a bare bones version of the character. This isn't a super-hero, he doesn't jump from rooftops, he's faillable, he's a well-rounded, caring human being, heck he's not even muscle Originaly bought as single-issues, I have the complete collection. Somehow, Matt Wagner and Guy Davis were the perfect team to bring the original Sandman back. Where most writers would have updated the character to bring him into the 21st century, Matt Wagner goes way back to his original roots set in the 1940s and gives us a bare bones version of the character. This isn't a super-hero, he doesn't jump from rooftops, he's faillable, he's a well-rounded, caring human being, heck he's not even muscle-bound, he could probably even lose a bit of weight. You actually get the impression that he has to make an effort to do the things he does. Add to that the more than believable love interest of Dian and you have the setting for some great stories. These stories should be re-collected into Absolute or Deluxe editions... even if I might be the only one buying them :-)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

    Pleasant pulp storytelling with lurid blood-draining lesbians, villainous Ivy league frat boys, and an amateur detective with a gas mask and guns which shoot a potent sleeping gas. Guy Davis pleasingly styliized art and clear, intelligent layouts give a great feel for the era. Wagner and Seagle keep away from cliche and pastiche and develop subtext (in this story, the difficulty of living as a lesbian in the 30's, as well as the racial politics of jazz) while still satisfying a good amount of no Pleasant pulp storytelling with lurid blood-draining lesbians, villainous Ivy league frat boys, and an amateur detective with a gas mask and guns which shoot a potent sleeping gas. Guy Davis pleasingly styliized art and clear, intelligent layouts give a great feel for the era. Wagner and Seagle keep away from cliche and pastiche and develop subtext (in this story, the difficulty of living as a lesbian in the 30's, as well as the racial politics of jazz) while still satisfying a good amount of nostalgia. No great shakes, just a solid comics read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Aleksandar Nikolov

    За къде без вампири бе? Те са навсякъде ! Дотолкова че ми се повдига вече от такваз тематика. ДО-СА-ДА! Ама като е модерна кво да се прави? Ако искаш и ТИ да си модерен ше траеш па и ще викаш "Тва е бахти якото" и толкова. :( Поне на Дотс най накрая му излиза късмета! :) Или поне само на два пръста....хъхъ! Екзестинциален въпрос...късмета на пръстите , каква част от общият късмет правят, и дали въобще влизат в уравнението? М-даааа , такива работи се чуди човек докато чете 3-та част на "Пясъчният" За къде без вампири бе? Те са навсякъде ! Дотолкова че ми се повдига вече от такваз тематика. ДО-СА-ДА! Ама като е модерна кво да се прави? Ако искаш и ТИ да си модерен ше траеш па и ще викаш "Тва е бахти якото" и толкова. :( Поне на Дотс най накрая му излиза късмета! :) Или поне само на два пръста....хъхъ! Екзестинциален въпрос...късмета на пръстите , каква част от общият късмет правят, и дали въобще влизат в уравнението? М-даааа , такива работи се чуди човек докато чете 3-та част на "Пясъчният"! Въх!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gonzalo Oyanedel

    La pista de una serie de asesinatos desnuda la cicatriz de una felonía más antigua, que se acentúa con la reclusión de las minorías en años especialmente peligrosos para serlo. El enfoque que otorga Matt Wagner a un tema muy visitado en los años del spicy pulp ofrece una aproximación -si se quiere- reflexiva a una premisa que solía explotarse con morbo. Un aporte en año donde su postergación está lejos de ser historia.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Albert

    Interesting story arc with a more predictable mystery. I enjoy Dian as a character but I think she took a step back in this arc. She has come off as a strong and independent female character. In this arc, she comes off to me as a lady that waits for her man. Guy Davis artwork remains strong.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Vince Coleman

    Another awesome installment in a great series. The mystery is nice, but it is the art of Guy Davis and the building tension between Dodds and Diane that take center stage. Also, as in the other installments, the social commentary that the mystery revolves around is choice.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Aurora

    Meh. Solid but not especially compelling. I guess I'm not that interested in a comic book mystery, even one set in the '30s. Lacks a consistent tone. Also, between the latest issues of the Buffy comic, and reading Y the Last Man, I've kind of had it with gratuitous lesbians. Meh. Solid but not especially compelling. I guess I'm not that interested in a comic book mystery, even one set in the '30s. Lacks a consistent tone. Also, between the latest issues of the Buffy comic, and reading Y the Last Man, I've kind of had it with gratuitous lesbians.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Eric Pecile

    A real page turning continuation of the Sandman series. Definitely an improvement over the previous volume.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

  21. 5 out of 5

    Crue Smith

  22. 4 out of 5

    Siddhant Nath

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Mills

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jack Moloney

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kristie Hagberg

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marc

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kristy

  29. 5 out of 5

    Acckris

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mohammed

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