Sandman: Dave McKean's favourite covers - in pictures

For more than a decade, comic-book artist Dave McKean designed the covers for Neil Gaiman's The Sandman. 'Today's golden age of comics is the fruit of the experimental period in the 1980s,' says McKean. With the latest in the series, The Sandman: Overture, set to be published 30 October, McKean shares the stories behind some of his favourite covers.

Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean: how we made The Sandman
Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming
The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes collected editionThe first cover I did for Sandman in
The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes collected edition
This is the first cover I did for Sandman in my current home in south Kent. I found little gemstone eggs in a local shop and old type-trays and driftwood on Camber Sands beach. These collections were important in finding an audience in bookstores outside of the regular comic book-buying fans
Photograph: PR
Sandman: The Wake, hardback cover
Sandman #10: The Wake
One of the last collected edition covers and a good symbol for Sandman. We travelled quite a distance, from DC Comics initially insisting that Sandman appeared on every cover to this small, gently surreal image
Photograph: PR
Sandman: Sandman #11
Sandman #11: Vertigo
My favourite of the early covers, made from manipulated photographs and small-scale collages. This piece was featured in the Society of Illustrators annual exhibition and a book of the best illustrations of the year. It was stolen from the gallery during the show
Photograph: PR
Sandman: Sandman #35
Sandman #35: A Game of You, Part Four
I was breaking out of expectations of design and imagery for these mid-period covers – abusing colour photocopy machines to get some interesting results.
Photograph: PR
Sandman: Dreaming #60A spin-off series from Sandman, which lasted 60 issues - I did
Sandman #60: Dreaming
This was a spinoff series from Sandman that lasted 60 issues. I did all the covers. They ended up generally stronger than the Sandman covers, as my confidence with Photoshop grew, but the stories were less engaging. Shortly after finishing these covers, I left my monthly gig at DC Comics to pursue other interests.
Photograph: PR
Sandman: Sandman #63
Sandman #63: The Kindly Ones, Part Seven
My favourite of these early Photoshop covers. I bought a Mac Quadra in 1993 and loved it immediately, despite its rather crude Photoshop 2.5. I love making drawings and paintings, but they never surprise me. This was the first time my own work made me laugh out loud, because Photoshop allows such quick and varied compositing of images. This one fell into place in about five minutes
Photograph: PR
Sandman: Sandman Overtures #1Cover for the 25th-anniversary story Neil is currently
Sandman Overtures #1
This is the cover for the 25th anniversary story Neil is currently writing. There's some stagefright after so many years, and such high expectations
Photograph: PR

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