Adrian Cone 1981 – 2021

Adrian Cone has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. Soon after I moved to Cincinnati, we met at Princeton Junior High and became best friends immediately. Childhood can be a rough time, especially at middle school, and the joy that came with hanging out at his house playing video games and watching cartoons are among the best memories of my youth.

These memories will exist for as long as long as I still do, and a piece of Adrian’s spirit will live in this way. I will never forget the ups and downs we had, all over the world. It was the friendship of a lifetime. We were teenagers together dodging responsibility and testing the limits of what we could get away with, then we were twenty-somethings trying to figure out who we were. In our thirties, we were finally men.

He spent much of his life in military, in large part I believe because he wanted to see the world. It worked. He was well-traveled, racking up experiences all over this planet.

Adrian lived all over the United States, from coast to coast. I have the fondest memories of when he visited me in California and of when I visited him in Seattle. He also worked in Bahrain, learning about and appreciating Middle Eastern culture. He traveled to Australia, and visited me in China. I can still recall the joy of discovering the Hong Kong skyline together after we found each other at the airport. The years passed but we easily just picked up where we left off.

He was a passionate man. Whatever he did, he did it with 100% of his spirit. He may have changed his focus from time to time, going from one thing to the next, but what an honor it was while it lasted to be obsessed over by Adrian Cone.

If he got a job, he worked at that job as hard as he could. If he had a cause, he believed in that cause with all his heart. If he loved, he loved with every fiber of his being.

To be honest, I’ve always been envious of this ability. I have never met anyone like Adrian, and I never will again.

Over this past month, so many people have come together to remember our dear friend and family member. He will absolutely live on in all our memories.

He was so many things to so many people. He was a father. He was an artist. He was a brother.

I know he was in a lot of pain recently. But that wasn’t all he was. I hope he is at peace now.

I truly believe his spirit lives on, through the love of his children and through the love of all of us still here.

Let us never ever forget.

Sandman. By Neil Gaiman.

Goodreads Shelf: Gaiman

 

This is it, the very core of DC’s Vertigo Comics

Sandmanadsmall

 

Sandman. By Neil Gaiman.

I remember when I first got into Sandman. Freshman year of high school in the mid-90s, too young to truly get it but old enough to start reading such grownup material by the great Neil Gaiman.

I came across some defunct Wizard magazine issue, at the height of my superhero obsession, it was about villains and cosmic beings and mentioned the mysterious Endless. Then I got the proto-Vertigo issue of “Who’s Who” that focused on the mature reader’s Vertigo comics, teaching me the basics of that mythology.

I was intrigued. A reputation was forming. But instead of getting the latest Sandmans on Wednesday at the comic shop, it seemed this one was no mere monthly periodical. Seemed it needed to be read like proper books.

I did get the first graphic novel collection, Preludes and Nocturnes, which made for a slow start. Then I ultimately ordered the rest from a book publisher outlet, out of order. Reading about the fall and rise of Lucifer and the key to hell, stories at the World’s End Inn, and I tried to make sense of it storyline by storyline. It taught me much about Greek mythology, Shakespeare, and Edwardian occult groups.

One chapter won the World Fantasy short story award, I believe the only comic to do so.

Seventy-five odd issues with various special editions. Eventually, I caught up to it all, and had to reread and reflect several times over in my life.

Vertigo’s greatest success. A uniquely popular DC comics for women as well (my sister read too). And goth kids.

What exactly was this comic, Sandman, so highly regarded? Why was it even called the Sandman? Hard to explain. Where to start…

Like many of the world’s greatest comics, the name was a jumping off point based off corny comics from the 40s and/or 60s. There was Golden Age Sandman, some detective with a sleep gun. There was the Kirby Sandman, a superhero battling in the land of dreams. All those characters were incorporated into Gaiman’s epic, though not the core.

Sandman was originally even in the DC Universe proper, with early issues including a few superheroes. That soon grew too small a setting and Gaiman wasn’t limited by continuity, though he toyed with DC history on occasion.

The main protagonist, if you will, was Dream of the Endless. Also known as Morpheus, ruler of the land of dreams. Dream was not a god because gods need to be worshiped to exist. He was a member of the Endless, which have higher origins. There was Destiny the oldest — who was a host from 70s horror comics, sister Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium. Sense a pattern?

The_Sandman-_Endless_Nights_Poster_by_Frank_Quitely

 

But you can’t write a monthly comic based off near-omnipotent beings. Oftentimes, this mythology was the starting point for short stories about other mortals interacting in this grand fantasy world. And the immortals, the demons, the witches, and the lovers. The historical figures. It’s tricky to claim one protagonist.

Let me speak a moment about Death.

The Sandman

 

One of the most interesting creations was Gaiman’s interpretation of Death. Not a dark reaper, but a cutesy goth girl who gives great advice. You end up just adoring her.

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