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Comic strip for intellectuals: Gaiman announces surprise Sandman prequel

  • @MrNickClark

Neil Gaiman, the comic book writer, novelist and screenwriter, is to return to the series that helped launch his career with a new edition of The Sandman in time for the celebrated work’s 25th anniversary. 

The Sandman, a comic book that ran for 75 issues between 1988 and 1996, met with huge critical acclaim and was credited as being among the works that elevated comics to the level of highbrow literature.

Fans of the New York Times Bestselling series included Stephen King, Tori Amos and novelist Norman Mailer who said: “Sandman is a comic strip for intellectuals, and I say it’s about time.”

Gaiman, whose novels include American Gods and Coraline, surprised those attending Comic-Con 2012 last night, with the announcement that he would return to the series.

He said the secret was out after 18 months of work and 2013 “seems like a particularly good year” to return to the series.

The Sandman focuses on Morpheus, lord of the dreaming and one of the Endless, which also include manifestations of death, desire and destiny. It wove in literary allusions from DC Comics characters to The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The story will follow the build-up to the initial issue when Morpheus is captured and kept prisoner by occultists.

Gaiman said: “When I finished writing The Sandman, there was one tale still untold: the story of what had happened to Morpheus to allow him to be so easily captured in The Sandman #1.”

The British author said he had wanted to write the prequel to commemorate the 20th anniversary of The Sandman’s first issue “but the time got away from us”.

He added: “With Sandman’s 25th anniversary year coming up, I’m delighted, and nervous, that the story is finally going to be told.”