Re-enter Sandman: Neil Gaiman's comics return with new writers

Bestselling author appoints a team of four fantasy writers for the launch of the Sandman Universe later this year

Neil Gaiman is to oversee a new line of comic books set in the world of the Sandman, continuing the adventures of some of his best-loved characters including Dream of the Endless and Lucien the librarian.

The Sandman Universe line, published by DC’s Vertigo imprint, will kick off in August with a story plotted by Gaiman and co-written by Simon Spurrier, Nalo Hopkinson, Dan Watters and Kat Howard. The first comic will, said the publisher, “reintroduce the Sandman Universe and its characters”. This will be followed by the launch of four new series, each written by one of the authors.

Neil Gaiman announces the Sandman Universe - video

The first comic opens as Daniel, the Lord of Dreams, has gone missing, with a rift between worlds revealing a space beyond his domain, the Dreaming, according to Vertigo. “Lucifer has fallen again, only this time he might be in a hell of his own design. And in London, a young boy named Timothy Hunter sleeps: in his dreams he becomes the world’s most powerful magician, but in his nightmares he becomes the world’s worst villain. Which future will become reality?” Following on will be Spurrier’s The Dreaming and Hopkinson’s House of Whispers, due to be published in September, then Watters’s Lucifer and Howard’s Books of Magic in October.

The Sandman Universe, due in August.
One huge sandbox … The Sandman Universe, due in August. Photograph: DC Comics

“The Sandman Universe has always been very close and personal to me and I am thrilled to open up the world once again to an extremely talented group of writers and artists,” said Gaiman. “I get to see the joy in these brilliant people whom I’ve selected, as they get their chance to play in this world.” The new books would “remind people how fun this universe is” and “create just a bit more magic for years to come”.

Gaiman’s Sandman first appeared in 1989 and ran for seven years, becoming the first comic to win a World Fantasy award. The author, who has returned to the story sporadically since, told Entertainment Weekly that he was prompted to launch the new project because “it’s a huge sandbox with so many wonderful toys that nobody’s getting to play with right now” and he “started feeling guilty”.

“I liked the idea of getting the toys played with again, reminding people how much fun this is, and also getting the opportunity to work with some fantastic writers. Down the line, there will be fantastic artists as well,” he continued. Some parts of the Sandman story “have velvet ropes set up and ‘do not disturb’ signs hanging on the door”, even for the writers he has chosen to continue the project.

“It’s always been personal. People will ask, ‘Can we do this?’ and I’ll be like, ‘No.’ Some of that is because one day I will want to go there and tell those stories, even if it’s not for another five or ten years … But the natural life cycle of these things is it came, it went away. Let’s bring it all back, let’s have fun with it.”


Alison Flood

The GuardianTramp

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