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Ten Moments that Mattered: The Sandman Returns

Ten Moments that Mattered: The Sandman Returns

By Tim Beedle Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

As the holidays arrive and the year comes to a close, we thought we’d take a look back at 2013 and commemorate some of the moments that really stood out in the world of DC Entertainment in a two-week series we’re calling “Ten Moments that Mattered.” Some of these moments were happy. Some were sad. They played out in the pages of our comics, on the big and small screen and in the halls of our office. However, all of them made a profound difference in the world of DC Comics and in the hearts and minds of our fans. 2013 was a big year for us, but even in a big year, not all moments are created equal. Here are ten that mattered…

For a generation of comic book readers, the news that Neil Gaiman was returning to Vertigo with a new Sandman miniseries was—appropriately enough—a real dream come true. While The Sandman is arguably Vertigo’s most beloved, critically acclaimed and widely known comic book, it’s much shorter than other Vertigo stalwarts like Fables, 100 Bullets, Hellblazer and Swamp Thing. Since wrapping the ongoing series up in 1996, Gaiman’s returned to the world of the Endless exactly twice—in 1999’s prose hybrid The Sandman: The Dream Hunters and 2003’s anthology graphic novel The Sandman: Endless Nights. Over the past decade, there have been occasional spinoffs and adaptations, but for fans hoping for more Sandman from Gaiman… Nothing.

Until 2013, that is.

On October 30th, Neil Gaiman and J.H. Williams III released the first issue in their prequel miniseries, The Sandman: Overture. To say expectations were high is an understatement. This was one of the most heavily promoted comics of the year. Yet, The Sandman: Overture #1 was a trippy delight, featuring gorgeous imagery lushly illustrated by Williams that sets a new high water mark not only for The Sandman, but for all of comics. Along with appearances by several beloved supporting characters—including a lovely Victorian Era Death—the issue also features a final sequence that culminates in a mindblowing gatefold spread that utilizes all of the strengths of the comic medium without sacrificing storytelling. And who knew how much we’d missed those black word balloons?

The bulk of The Sandman: Overture will play out in 2014, which means that by this time next year, we’ll be able to judge the work as a whole. But until then, we’re all in the midst of a truly wonderful dream. And it’ll take a lot more than an alarm clock to keep all of us from seeing this one through to the end.

Be sure to check again tomorrow for another moment that mattered in 2013.