We were greeted some months ago with the news that Neil Gaiman would return to the place where he made his name. The original Sandman series finished in 1996 with number 75, the Tempest. Since then Neil has worked on a variety of other projects, including comics, novels and even movies, but for many he will never surpass his Goth head lord of Dream.
Neil recently stated that his return to Sandman is because he had one more story to tell, but in reality, I’m sure he just felt it was time! He’s not the type of man that has ever struggled for ideas and I’m sure he could have kept the original series going if he didn’t think it was going slightly stale. His work since then has proved him right and stretched his creative talents in all sorts of directions.
So what of this new series, well I’m really enjoying it! The series starts Dream’s sister Death meeting Destiny to tell him that she has to meet Dream, but this is no house call, this is on official business. Dream is sent on a journey to find someone from his past and try and solve a problem that could cause the end of everything. It’s nice and titanic and it would be unusual to bring back the character for anything less. The early issues have mainly dealt with the journey and a number of cameos from the long standing characters of the series.
It was an unusual choice to use Williams as the artist, as you would have expected a bigger name for the series, but his work is well rendered. A lot of the story is told through double page spreads, so he is given lots of room to express himself and it does look great. Even the colouring is kept in control which is a pet hate of mine for modern comics.
There is another Lord of Dream in the series, which is another aspect of the same individual and not a seperate entity which we are told many times along the way. The Lord of Cat’s Dream is cat slightly larger than Dream himself who travels alongisde him for most of his journey. I guess the internet proves that cats are always a winner and this black cat with the tip of his tale on fire is no exception.
It is always dangerous to revisit your past and you can end up damaging what has gone before, but this series has the right tone and a similar voice to what as gone before. I’m looking forward to seeing how Mr. Gaiman brings it to a conclusion and I’m sure it will be suitably dramatic.
Find out more about Sandman Overtures on Vertigo’s Web Site here.
Art by: J.H. Williams, III
Cover by: J.H. Williams, III, Dave McKean
Variant cover by: Dave McKean, J.H. Williams, III
Written by: Neil Gaiman