Sandman Wiki
Sandman Wiki

24 Hours is issue 6 of the Sandman comic series. Created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith, and Mike Drigenberg, it was originally released April 25, 1989.


Over the course of 24 horrific hours, Dr. Destiny unleashes impossibly dark terror on six unsuspecting people in a small-town diner. Armed with Morpheus' Dreamstone, Destiny can rearrange time and space and does so to dreadful ends in this eerie, nearly standalone issue.


This issue is narrated from the perspective of John Dee, occasionally switching to the viewpoints of the patrons, and covers a single day in early April, 1989, starting at 10 AM. Dee has chosen a small diner in Mayhew as his base of operations and is starting to slowly drive the world mad using his Materioptikon. Six more people are present at the diner: Judy, Marsh, Garry, Kate, Mark, and the waitress Bette. Dee puts them under his psychic influence: at first he simply prevents them from wanting to leave, and later starts making them take part in increasingly depraved activities. He's toying with them for his sadistic pleasure, calling them his "flies", and remains mostly a silent observer himself.

Dee grants his victims dreams in which their dearest desires comes true and takes pleasure from observing those, makes them worship him as a god, instigates conflict, forces the patrons confess their darkest secrets to each other, and makes them engage in an orgy. He interchanges all of that with fairly innocuous activities, mostly watching TV. The TV shows that Dee's influence isn't limited to the premises. The news report multiple cases of nightmares, sleep disorders, insanity and suicides, and by the evening reports of crashes and disasters caused by people falling asleep start coming from all over the globe.

At midnight Dee "consults the oracles", which leads to the appearance of The Three who temporarily possess three of the victims. At first they foretell Dee that he has no future save for return to the Arkham Asylum, but then one of them says "You will crush out the Dream Lord's life in your hands", which pleases Dee. After that his games grow even more depraved: the next round of confessions is accompanied by mutilation in "penance", then he reduces everyone to their animal instincts, watching the males fight to death for dominance, then makes everyone listen to him tell fairy tales with a childlike awe, and forces the women to sing for his entertainment.

In the end, Dee bestows religious ecstasy upon them, which results in all remaining victims mutilating themselves and each other. By 8 AM, everyone in the diner is dead. Dee is starting to get bored, when two hours later Dream finally appears to challenge him.


Featured Characters[]

Supporting Characters[]


Other Characters[]



Continuity Notes[]

  • This issue features the first mention of Donna Cavanagh and Rose Walker. Judy's phone calls seem to suggest that at this point in time all three of them live in Mayhew or nearby, but it's inconclusive; see Rose's article for more info.


  • Forthcoming


The Sandman
Preludes and Nocturnes Sleep of the JustImperfect HostsDream a Little Dream of Me
A Hope in HellPassengers24 Hours
Sound and FuryThe Sound of Her Wings
The Doll's House Tales in the SandThe Doll's HouseMoving In
Playing HouseMen of Good FortuneCollectors
Into the NightLost Hearts
Dream Country CalliopeA Dream of a Thousand CatsA Midsummer Night's Dream
Season of Mists PrologueChapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3
Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6
A Game of You Slaughter on Fifth AvenueLullabies of BroadwayBad Moon Rising
Beginning to See the LightOver the Sea to SkyI Woke Up and One of Us Was Crying
Fables and Reflections Distant Mirrors - ThermidorDistant Mirrors - AugustDistant Mirrors - Three Septembers and a January
Convergence - The HuntConvergence - Soft PlacesConvergence - The Parliament of Rooks
Distant Mirrors - RamadanThe Song of Orpheus (Sandman Special)
Brief Lives Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3
Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6
Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9
Worlds' End A Tale of Two CitiesCluracan's TaleHob's Leviathan
Golden BoyCerementsWorlds' End
The Kindly Ones The Kindly Ones - 1The Kindly Ones - 2The Kindly Ones - 3
The Kindly Ones - 4The Kindly Ones - 5The Kindly Ones - 6
The Kindly Ones - 7The Kindly Ones - 8The Kindly Ones - 9
The Kindly Ones - 10The Kindly Ones - 11The Kindly Ones - 12
The Kindly Ones - 13
The Wake Chapter 1, Which Occurs in the Wake of What Has Gone BeforeChapter 2, In Which a Wake is HeldChapter 3, In Which We Wake
An Epilogue, Sunday MorningExilesThe Tempest
Core SeriesSpin-offs by Neil GaimanThe Sandman Presents & Other storiesSandman Universe