The Sandman: A Game of You

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Dark fantasy

A Game of You (1993) is the fifth collection of issues in the DC Comics series, The Sandman. Written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Shawn McManus, Colleen Doran, Bryan Talbot, George Pratt, Stan Woch and Dick Giordano, and lettered by Todd Klein.

The issues in the collection first appeared in 1991 and 1992. The collection first appeared in paperback and hardback in 1993.

Barbie, a minor character from The Doll's House, has recently divorced and is trying to rediscover her own identity. At the same time, Barbie's rich but childish fantasy world is threatened by a malevolent creature called the Cuckoo. Her hard-pressed imaginary friends reach out into the real world for help, resulting in blood and death in both worlds.

Gaiman often characterises Sandman stories as "male" or "female"[citation needed]; A Game of You, dominated by female characters and points of view, is one of his female stories.

This fifth collection continues the story of some of the characters of the second, The Doll's House, and is closely linked with the ninth, The Kindly Ones.



The central character of A Game of You is Barbie, who was originally introduced a resident of the house where Rose Walker stayed during the events of The Doll's House. In that earlier storyline, Barbie was seen having a vivid dream in which she was a princess in a fantasy realm. But as A Game of You opens, we find a drastically changed Barbie who no longer dreams.

Barbie now lives in an apartment block inhabited by her best friend Wanda, a pre-operative trans woman; the lesbian couple Hazel and Foxglove; the witch Thessaly; and a quiet man named George. Martin Tenbones, a huge dog-like creature who was seen briefly in The Doll's House, somehow manages to escape into the waking world. He is able to find Barbie and give her the Porpentine, a quartz amulet, but not before being gunned down by the police. Barbie is confronted with the reality of the fantasy land she used to visit in her dreams. Using the Porpentine, she is able to dream her way back to that place, known simply as the Land.

The Land appears to have been based on classic children's fantasy elements—most obviously the Chronicles of Narnia. It is a realm populated by intelligent talking beasts living in picture-book locales. But the Land now faces a threat from the mysterious villain known as the Cuckoo, whom Princess Barbie is called on to defeat. Upon returning to the Land she is greeted by Wilkinson the shrew, Prinado the monkey, and Luz the dodo—her allies in the quest.

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