At San Diego Comic-Con this year, Neil Gaiman announced that in 2013, twenty-five years after the publication of The Sandman #1, Vertigo will be publishing a new Sandman story. The mini-series will serve as a prequel to the original comics, telling the story of how Morpheus became so weakened that a mortal was able to capture him.
Gaiman specifically quoted two instances in the original series where he alludes to Morpheus’ activities before his capture. The first is in Gaiman’s introduction to The Doll’s House: “Did Burgess know, then, what he had got? Did he guess at the forces that had already weakened Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams; that Burgess’s Chant of Summoning had proved the final straw to Someone—Something—already tried beyond endurance.” And the second is from Brief Lives: “The Dream-King is returning, in triumph of a kind, from a far galaxy, tired beyond reckoning and tried beyond all endurance. His triumph is short-lived: from the darkness old voices call to him, and he awakes in a glass prison in a dark cellar.”
Morpheus’ character development was a key part of The Sandman series, the whole story inevitably leading up to his end, which his sister Death tells him he’s been preparing for, for some time. As the story unfolds he becomes a little less self-centered, less angry, less proud. It will be interesting to be taken back to a point in Dream’s story where he is still his old self, and to see exactly how much 70 years of imprisonment affected his disposition.
J.H. Williams III (Batwoman, Prometheus) will be illustrating the series, which has me picturing some beautiful sci-fi scenery, reminiscent of the artwork in “The Heart of a Star,” from The Sandman: Endless Nights. As a fan, I’m also hoping we can expect a few well-placed in-jokes and cameos from some of the classic Sandman characters.