July 13, 2012
By Brian Truitt
The Sandman is back, and it’s a dream come true for many comic-book fans.
DC Comics made a huge splash at Comic-Con Thursday at a panel for its Vertigo imprint: Award-winning author Neil Gaiman is returning to his seminal comic for a Sandman miniseries next year. He’ll be paired with Batwoman artist J.H. Williams III.
It’s the first time in years that Gaiman will be revisiting the dream lord Morpheus, his fantasy world The Dreaming and his interactions with those on Earth from the book that ran for 75 issues and began in 1988.
“When I finished writing The Sandman, there was one tale still untold. The story of what had happened to Morpheus to allow him to be so easily captured in The Sandman No. 1, and why he was returned from far away, exhausted beyond imagining, and dressed for war,” Gaiman said in a statement.
“It was a story that we discussed telling for Sandman‘s 20th anniversary, but the time got away from us. And now, with Sandman‘s 25th anniversary year coming up, I’m delighted, and nervous, that that story is finally going to be told.”
It marks another major return to a storied franchise for DC. Earlier this year, they started Before Watchmen, a series of prequels set in the world created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in the original 1980s Watchmen book.
Williams has had a relationship with Karen Berger, Vertigo’s executive editor, for years, but even he was surprised when he woke up recently one morning to find an email waiting for him laying out the project.
“I’m always a very bleary-eyed person, and it takes me a good hour to rev up,” Williams told USA TODAY. “So I was like, ‘Wait a second.’ It took me a couple minutes to absorb the information.
“How could I say no to it?”
Williams admits his is a daunting task since The Sandman has a huge legacy, especially visually, and is “one of the greatest series of all time.” He wants craft something that people can look at and go, ‘Yes, that’s Sandman,’ but also surprise them as well.
“I’m definitely of the right mindset to push the boundaries of what might be expected of visual storytelling,” the artist said. “The fact that I have so many artistic tricks up my sleeve, this is another story that will allow me to explore those a great deal.”