The Sandman: The Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman
In this volume of The Sandman, Neil Gaiman starts to really bring Morpheus and the rest of the Endless into context for us, setting them up alongside the gods of Asgard, the deities of the Egyptian Nile, fairies, incarnations of Order and Chaos, and more. The Endless really are incarnations of abstract ideas; unlike the deities, though, the Endless do not depend upon the beliefs of human beings for their continued existence. Here, Morpheus descends to Hell to pardon an old lover of his that he had damned ten thousand years ago out of spite; once there he discovers that Lucifer has decided to shut down Hell. Lucifer hands the key to Hell over to Morpheus, who must now decide what to do with it.
I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that Neil Gaiman is one of the most imaginative and innovative storytellers writing today. His imagination and ability to bring the ideas and motifs of ancient myths to life in a way that modern readers can understand is admirable. And Morpheus, the “Prince of Stories”, is one of his greatest creations, both as a concept (the Lord of Dreams, whose realm is partially the source of all dreams that human beings dream and partially the construct of all dreams) and as a character. All of the Sandman series of comics are worth picking up and adding to your library.