Be honest. Of all the comic series and franchise potential Detective Comics has in its collection, did you believe The Sandman was anywhere near the top 10 to become the next to hit either the big or small screen?
Even the most staunch of Neil Gaiman fans–of which, I believe I’m one–didn’t think this was coming so soon, but here it is. News coming from Twitter about Netflix investing one of the largest sums ever for a comic franchise.
— DC (@DCComics) July 1, 2019
Butts puckered all across the darker regions of the nerdverse when this news hit. Variety broke the news about Morpheus, “The Dream King,” coming to Netflix to mend the cosmic woes of mankind.
In case Gaiman’s name sounds familiar, it should. The man has been busy as one of the hottest storytellers going on TV today. Heard of the STARZ adaptation American Gods? That’s him. What about the highly controversial (but really damn good) depiction of his own novel on Amazon Prime, Good Omens. Obviously, that’s Gaiman too.
But this will be his magnum opus. Netflix is great at giving liberties for creativity (Marvel and the makers of Black Mirror, we’re looking at you), so this will absolutely be no different.
The Origin of Sandman
His work is prolific. If you fancy a tale of twists, characters who can easily be misunderstood, and a plot that will have you guessing what in the blue hell is coming next, Neil Gaiman is your dude.
Arguably, his best and most fascinating work was the cutting-edge series about a man of several names: mostly “Dream” or “Morpheus” but more commonly known as “Sandman.”
He is one of a heptade known as The Endless. Much like the story of a few other comic characters who have been stuck in a purgatory sent back to Earth to rid the planet of evil or win back his soul (e.g., Spawn, Hellboy, Ghost Rider), Dream’s imprisonment into the nether regions brings him back here to right his wrongs.
The man was sent to jail for 72 years by ‘The Order of the Ancient Mysteries.’ Of course, he escaped searching for these enigmatic objects of power. There is so much to go into for his path back to Earth: his spirit being captured by a magician in the early 20th century, and…oh yeah, a run-in with John Constantine (Keanu, anyone).
The other ne’er-do-wells in the Endless are going to be very important to the depiction of this dank tale, because with Gaiman, all of these characters should have a firm place in this Netflix series. If you know what this mage of messages is capable of creating, it’s necessary to learn the origin of Dream’s gang too.
Begin with the Endless
Destiny — See the tall guy draped in a reaper’s cloak? He’s blind but has more vision than any of the rest combined. Ironic he carries a book, huh?
Despair and Desire — The frumpy, squatty frau is Despair. Her twin–yes, twin–is an androgynous embodiment of whatever form the person looking at “it” wants. That’s the Pat Benatar-looking ’80s rock star in the red zoot suit.
The chiseled Adonis who looks like a WWE wannabe is Destruction. He is at least 300 years old, but doesn’t look a day over 35. Dude is a loner but has a warm soul.
Delirium (formerly Delight) is sitting by Despair. She looks and acts like a chameleon with multiple colored eyes and hair that changes both color and length, pending on mood. She’s the youngest and often, most mysterious.
Death is that emo looking for a sale at Hot Topic. If Dream has anyone he considers a sibling, it’s her as his source for counsel, comfort, and care.
And then there is Dream. If you are familiar with the New Wave Movement of the 1980s, think Morrissey or Robert Smith. Like “The Crow” but more transcendental and necromantic.
Gaiman wrote 75 issues. Think about what that could mean on Netflix with limitless imagination and close to the same in budget (so it seems). There is fantasy (he was inspired by Tolkien), faith (also a protege of C.S. Lewis), dark tones (he loved Edgar Allen Poe), and a bit of mythology.
And if none of that excites you, this will…
No, we’re making Sandman. Not reinventing it. https://t.co/M4lJoCG42P
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) July 2, 2019
Dear Netflix, Bring on The Endless, the Preludes, and the Nocturnes. In the words of Gaiman (through Dream himself)
“Rules and responsibilities: these are the ties that bind us. We do what we do, because of who we are. If we did otherwise, we would not be ourselves. I will do what I have to do. And I will do what I must.”