SDCC '12 NEIL GAIMAN Returns to SANDMAN (story & video)

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from J.H. Williams

In 2013, best-selling author Neil Gaiman will return to The Sandman, the beloved comic book series the writer launched for DC Comics almost 25 years ago.

Published under DC's Vertigo imprint, the new Sandman mini-series will be written by Gaiman and drawn by J.H. Williams, the acclaimed artist who's currently drawing and co-writing on the DC title Batwoman. (A DC spokesperson confirmed to Newsarama that Williams will continue to work on Batwoman while he's drawing the new Sandman project.)

The surprise announcement of Gaiman's return to Vertigo, which DC executives hinted about on Newsarama last week, was made by Gaiman via video during the Vertigo panel on Thursday at Comic-Con International in San Diego [and here’s the video to see for yourself].

DC has indicated the title of the mini-series will be announced "at a later date." Gaiman said the new Sandman mini-series will focus on an "untold" story that he's been meaning to reveal for years.

"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, and why he was returned from far away, exhausted beyond imagining, and dressed for war," Gaiman said in a DC press release. "It was a story that we discussed telling for Sandman's 20th anniversary, but the time got away from us. And now, with Sandman's 25th anniversary year coming up, I'm delighted, and nervous, that that story is finally going to be told."

The last time Gaiman wrote a Sandman story was the graphic novel Endless Nights, which was such a success for DC that it became the first comic to ever show up on the New York Times bestseller list. The title remains one of DC's top-selling graphic novels, with Berger telling Newsarama last year that Sandman is an "evergreen title" and "continually brings in" new readers.

DC's move to revive the Sandman property echoes the publisher's move earlier this year to tell new stories based on the 1980's series Watchmen, which has become the company's best-selling graphic novel of all time. Before Watchmen, which began in June, has skyrocketed to the Top 10 sales charts for comic books, even though the new comics don't involve the original's writer, Alan Moore.

Gaiman reportedly had a contract that stipulated The Sandman would end when he left the series after 75 issues. The writer has gone on to become a screenwriter and novelist, with titles like Anansi Boys, Neverwhere, and American Gods. He also penned the Newberry Medal-winning The Graveyard Book and Coraline, on which the movie of the same name was based.

Gaiman's new Sandman mini-series will be published under DC's Vertigo imprint, despite the fact that characters from The Sandman have shown up recently in the DC Universe, as have many other formerly "Vertigo only" characters. It will also be published under Vertigo Executive Editor Karen Berger, who served as the writer's editor when The Sandman was first conceived and published.

"There's nothing like a Neil Gaiman story," Berger said of the new Sandman mini-series, "and there's nothing like having Neil back home on The Sandman, his dark, soulful, literary epic that transformed comics and continues to captivate countless new readers year after year. Working with him again, and with J.H. Williams, the extraordinary and groundbreaking artist, is truly the stuff dreams are made of."
DC Entertainment Co-Publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio added, “As accomplished as Neil Gaiman is in other media — whether it be novels, film and even music — he still has an incredible passion and love for comics. It’s exciting to have him back. J.H. Williams will be the perfect complement to Neil’s writing. He has a history of creating art that pushes the boundaries of the medium.”

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