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The Sandman

The Sandman (1988-1996) is a seminal DC Comics series, often cited as one of the most important titles of the modern age in comics. Neil Gaiman wrote the title for 75 monthly issues and a number of specials and one-shot stories. The individual comics have been collected into a number of books. Dave McKean illustrated the covers for each issue, and is responsible for helping developing the unifying look Gaiman wanted for his stories.

The Sandman series comprises:

  1. Preludes and Nocturnes
  2. The Doll's House
  3. Dream Country
  4. Season of Mists
  5. A Game of You
  6. Fables and Reflections
  7. Brief Lives
  8. Worlds' End
  9. The Kindly Ones
  10. The Wake

These are joined by two more books:

  • Midnight Days[?] -- A compilation of older works of Neil Gaiman, one featuring a Sandman story (in fact a crossover between the 1940s-era Sandman and Gaiman's own).
  • The Dream Hunters[?] -- A prose Sandman story in the tradition of Japanese storytelling, published in standard comic book format and featuring illustrations by the Japanese artist Yoshitaka Amano[?].

There are also many related series. The Dreaming is a series set in the world of the Sandman but featuring none of the Endless, the central characters of the Sandman. It was written and illustrated by many of DC Comics' more notable writers and artists, and started immediately after Sandman concluded. This series was edited and often written by Caitlin R. Kiernan[?]. It too has now finished. Several short storylines featuring incidental characters in the Sandman series were published under the Sandman Presents banner. Lucifer is a series featuring the Sandman version of Lucifer.

None of these various spinoffs was written by Neil Gaiman, but two others were. Dream's elder sister Death was one of the more important (and popular) characters in the original series, and Gaiman wrote two stories with her as the central character. These were collected as Death: The High Cost of Living and Death: The Time of Your Life[?].

Two prose books relating to the Sandman series have also been published. Hy Bender[?]'s The Sandman Companion is a non-fiction work providing extra information about the series. Its first section discusses the ten Sandman collections sequentially, analysing their meaning, explaining some of Gaiman's myriad references and sometimes providing information on the writing of the comics. It also features a lengthy interview about the series with Gaiman himself. The Sandman Book of Dreams[?] is a collection of short stories featuring the world of the Sandman comics in some way. It contains work from some notable contributors, among them Caitlin R. Kiernan[?], Tad Williams[?], Gene Wolfe, Tori Amos and Colin Greenland[?], and is somewhat notorious in comics circles for the allegedly restrictive terms imposed on contributing authors by the publisher, DC Comics. These led to a few authors withdrawing their stories.

Work is in progress on a new Sandman-related title, Endless Nights. This seems to be a collection of short stories about each Endless character, written by Neil himself, each of whichs seems to be illustrated by a different artist. Publication is slated for early 2003.

See also Characters in The Sandman

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