Sandman's 20th anniversary is this fall -- and with no "Sandman" or "Death" movie in sight, how is Neil Gaiman celebrating? By delegating -- tons of new Sandman stuff is coming out, and he didn't have to do all of it for once.
First, the commemorative poster. "What we're doing right now is proving to be a logistical nightmare right up there with invading Normady," Gaiman said. "We're doing a poster with every 'Sandman' artist trying to draw more or less every 'Sandman' character. Mark Buckingham designed it, so all over the world, you have people drawing characters."
Then, the collectible object. Buckingham also designed cold-cast porcelain bookends -- sturdy enough to hold all ten volumes and/or the Absolute collections -- in the form of Dream and Death.
And finally, the new story. "I got a call from Craig Russell," Gaiman said, "saying he'd always wanted to do 'Dream Hunters' as a comic." Russell, who did the "Ramadan" issue, persisted, despite Gaiman turning him down, thinking the prose work (with illustrations by Yoshitaka Amano) was fine as it was. But it's also out-of-print as a hardcover, so Gaiman reconsidered, after seeing what Russell did with a "Coraline" graphic novel adaptation.
"When he said, 'I want to adapt 'Dream Hunters' the same way I've done for operas and Kipling. What would you say?' I said it would be wonderful," Gaiman said. "I think it's going to be four comics in all. I've seen a lot of the pencil work and it's astoundingly beautiful. It's like reading a Sandman story I haven't read before."
November will also see the release of the final Sandman Absolute -- Volume 4. (Though there's always wiggle room for a Volume 5 as a supplemental, to include "Dream Hunters," "Endless Nights," and more).
"It's so strange," Gaiman said. "Time has really passed. I remember the early days of 'Sandman,' when I'd go to comic conventions, and everyone was male. I would get comic book store owners pumping my hand, saying, 'Oh my god, you brought women into my store for the first time.' It was one of the first few things that brought women into comics -- they were essentially comics guys could give their girlfriends. Like a gateway drug. But then it was spreading sexually, because they'd split up, and the girls would keep the comics, and spread it to their next partner. It was a STD: Sexually Transmitted Dream."