When asked to summarize his series The Sandman in 25 words or less, writer Neil Gaiman said, “The Lord of Dreams learns that one must change or die, and makes his decision.” With 75 original issues, a plethora of spinoffs, and an upcoming TV show in the works, many more words can be spilled about the famed DC comic book series, which is still widely regarded as one of the greatest works ever published in its medium. Here are 15 facts about The Sandman to add to the hype.
Facts about The Sandman:
- The Sandman is based on the 1970s series of the same name. After Gaiman pitched the idea of a revival, DC Editor Karen Berger accepted—under one condition: she wanted Gaiman’s original ideas, asking that only the name remained the same.
- The original series ran for 75 issues. Before the spin-offs, The Sandman was released monthly from January of 1989 up until March of 1996.
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt was slated to feature in a film adaptation. However, he dropped out in 2016 when screenwriter Eric Heisserer was brought on to rewrite the script. Gordon-Levitt quit the following day, citing disagreements with the studio over the film’s creative direction as his reason.
- The titular character’s style is based on Gaiman’s own wardrobe. In designing the Sandman’s signature black attire, Gaiman also sought inspiration from a print of a Japanese kimono.
- The TV show Lucifer is a spin-off of The Sandman. First appearing in The Sandman #4, Lucifer Samael Morningstar eventually got his own comic which led to a series on Fox, which Netflix picked up after it was cancelled. Reportedly, Gaiman wanted Lucifer to look like a young David Bowie. A long time Bowie fan, Gaiman used the singer as his inspiration for Lucifer’s edgy “junkie angel” look. He was also inspired by John Milton’s Paradise Lost.
- Several mainstream DC characters made guest appearances in the early issues. Etrigan the Demon, Martian Manhunter, Scarecrow, and even Batman were all featured at various points in the first eight issues. Subsequent guest appearances became far less frequent.
- Adult women comprised much of the original fan base. In a 1994 interview, Gaiman said: ”Superhero comics are the most perfectly evolved art form for preadolescent male power fantasies, and I don’t see that as a bad thing. I want to reach other sorts of people, too. I’m proud that The Sandman has more of a female readership, and an older readership, than DC Comics has ever had.”
- The Sandman was the first comic book to receive a literary award. It won the Fantasy Award for Best Short Story in 1991.
- The Sandman and its spinoffs have won over 26 Eisner Awards. This includes three for Best Continuing Series, one for Best Short Story, four for Best Writer, seven for best Lettering, and two for Best Penciller/Inker.
- It made the New York Times Best Seller List. And it was one of the first graphic novels to do so, alongside Maus, Watchmen, and The Dark Night Returns. What’s more, Gaiman’s later spinoff called Endless Nights became the first hardcover graphic novel ever to appear on the list.
- The Japanese legend that The Sandman: The Dream Hunters is supposedly a retelling of doesn’t actually exist. In the novella’s afterward, Gaiman claimed that the piece was based on an existing Japanese legend. However, there is no trace of it in the primary source Gaiman cited. He later admitted to making the “legend” up.
- The original comic book was broken up into 10 trade paperbacks. The series was initially published as a monthly serial but then later broken up into a total of ten trade paperbacks. Starting with Preludes and Nocturnes and ending with The Wake the each collection tells a (mostly) encapsulated story about Dream and his siblings.
- Gaiman essentially retains the rights to The Sandman. Although DC owns the series’ ideas and properties, DC cannot make more content about Morpheus without Gaiman’s permission.
- The Sandman is coming to Netflix. On July 1st, 2019, the streaming service confirmed its plans for the live action TV show, which will be produced by Neil Gaiman, Allan Heinberg, and David S. Goyer.
- Netflix’s The Sandman is set to be the most expensive DC show ever made. HBO previously turned down an offer to develop the series due to the “massive price tag.”