The Wake is the tenth and final collection of issues in the comic book series The Sandman. Written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Michael Zulli, Jon J. Muth and Charles Vess, and lettered by Todd Klein.
The collection opens with James Elroy Flecker's poem "The Bridge of Fire," which acts as a prologue and description of the events that occur.
The stories in the collection first appeared in 1996. The collection first appeared in paperback and hardback in 1996.
As a collection it more or less stands alone. It forms an epilogue to the entire series, its mood being restrained and reflective.
The first half of the collection is a storyline which follows the wake for Morpheus, who died at the end of the ninth collection, The Kindly Ones. Many characters from the series appear. A series of speakers, ending with Death, appear to give their point of view on Morpheus' life. Meanwhile, the new aspect of Dream, who used to be the child Daniel, starts to build relationships with the inhabitants of the Dreaming.
After this come three seemingly unrelated short stories.
"Sunday Mourning" follows the immortal Hob Gadling and his girlfriend at a Renaissance fair in modern day America. Hob, now going by Robbie, complains about the fair's sugar-coated depiction of the past, and regrets his past as a slaver. In a lousy mood to begin with, he gets very drunk and enters a condemned building, where he encounters Death. Death confirms to him that Morpheus has died, and offers to let him die as well, now that he no longer has his agreement with Morpheus to fulfill. After some consideration, Hob turns her down and returns to his girlfriend after the fair, his mood much improved.
Gaiman mentioned wanting to do a Renfaire issue with Hob in it because he thought it would be funny for several reasons: Gaiman himself mentioned in "The Sandman Companion" that he never liked Renfaires, particularly in America and wondered what it would be like if someone from the time popped in.
"Exiles" is something of a companion to a story from Fables and Reflections, "Soft Places". It features a man, an adviser to the Emperor of China, who is sent into exile after his son allied himself with a take-off of the historical White Lotus Rebellion. In the course of the story we are drawn through a contemplative narration which sometimes leads one to think the old man has gone senile. With a significant nod to the parable style the old man's act of saving and caring for a stray kitten saves his life when he is lost through a soft place in reality and meets Morpheus, recently released from his imprisonment (Preludes and Nocturnes), and still weak. He alludes to both former and future events. In the end the old man is reunited with his guide, his loyalty to the Emperor intact.
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