Okay, so I know it’s not Wednesday, but yesterday defeated me. So here’s a special Thursday edition of What’s Next Wednesday.
Looks like an arbitrary series of numbers (I find it particularly satisfying as 8 is my favorite number. It’s just so symmetrical). What it is is a promise. That promise is a release date. There will be, on August 8, from the mind of one of my favorite creative geniuses, Neil Gaiman, more Sandman comics. While I realize this is rather (too) far away, I can’t hold on to my excitement anymore.
I am, have always been, and will always be, in Awe of Neil Gaiman. I’ve read and reread his novels and short stories. The Sandman was an obsession of mine for years. I regularly listen to his “Make Good Art” speech, and probably know it by heart (if you haven’t heard it, you should listen to it now. Well… not now. Finish reading this first.). I’m always on his website in search of news. Angel bought me a signed leather-bound copy of Ocean at the End of the Lane for Christmas, thus winning my heart forever. I learned that my favorite episode of Doctor Who was written by Gaiman (“The Doctor’s Wife”), and found that I wasn’t even surprised. And I died a little when he stopped doing tours and book signings in the US in 2013. So, I have a bit of an infatuation. One of the reasons I’m aiming for #1 fan status is the genius that is The Sandman.
I used to be a stranger to comic books. I had my reasons, flawed though they were. If you don’t read comics, I can tell you the world gets a bit brighter after you start. This began for me many years ago on Free Comic Book Day, which comes around every May the 4th. I went mostly to keep a friend company while in line, and ended up bringing home a haul of both free comics, and not-free comics. At some point while standing in line my eyes caught the several trade books of The Sandman on prominent display. I knew I had to have them. I think I spent upward of 2 hours and 100 dollars there that day, because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And what I didn’t know is that comic books aren’t just for kids or for superhero fans or a specific breed of nerd. They are a fine form of literature. The best proof of this that I know of is Sandman.
The original comprised 75 issues, following the god Dream. They can be bizarre, creepy, funny, dark, and even at times Shakespearean. The genius of it is, when dealing with the world of dreams, the possibilities are boundless. After the original series came The Sandman Overture. Now, we await the release of Sandman Universe.
The Sandman comics are original, artistic, brilliant. The new Universe has been confirmed to branch out further to pursue new characters and dreamscapes. Here is a peek at what’s to come, and cover art to get excited about:
Daniel, the lord of Dreams, has gone missing and it causes chaos in the kingdom of dreams…A rift between worlds has opened, revealing a space beyond the Dreaming. Meanwhile, a book from Lucien’s library of all the unwritten books ever dreamed is discovered by a group of children in the waking world.
Simultaneously, a new House appears—the House of Whispers—joining the Houses of Secret and Mystery in the Dreaming. Its proprietor is a fortune teller called Erzulie, whom the inhabitants of the Dreaming suspect may be responsible for all the strange goings on.
Elsewhere, Lucifer has fallen again, only this time he might be in a Hell of his own design.
And in London, a young boy named Timothy Hunter sleeps, in his dreams he becomes the world’s most powerful magician, but in his nightmares, he becomes the world’s worst villain, which future will become reality? (Vertigo Comics)
Check out another comic by Gaiman: Only the End of the World Again