Thirty years after he changed the face of comic books forever, Neil Gaiman is poised to do it again with four new series under the title of The Sandman Universe. Published by DC/Vertigo, the new books will be written and drawn by brand-new creative teams (of comic book newbies and veterans alike) overseen by Gaiman himself.
The stories will certainly include elements and characters from what's come before, but also add new faces and concepts. The most glaring development is that Dream (the protagonist of the original series and embodiment of dreams themselves) has gone missing, leaving chaos in his wake.
Gaiman was recently interviewed by famous comic artist Jim Lee (The Punisher War, Uncanny X-Men) and said that, like a doctor, he was on call if any of the new writers needed his advice on something in the story they were crafting.
"I made it very clear to all of them that, at any point, I'm a phone call away, a text message away, or an email away if they get stuck, if they just wanna phone me up and say 'this is stupid,' if they wanna phone me up and go 'I just did something really clever!'"
He stressed that while he definitely brings ideas and input to the table, he's not "leaning over everybody's shoulder. What I'm really trying to do is 'you're really good and we chose you because you're really good. And occasionally, I'll go 'you're really good, we chose you because you're really good, yeah, don't do that."
At the end of the day, Gaiman knows this universe inside and out and knows what it needs and doesn't need. He trusts all the chosen creators, but knows when to lend his vision to the project.
Take a look at the full chat between Lee and Gaiman above. The interview begins at 10:16.
The Sandman Universe #1 jumps right out of your dreams and onto the shelves August 8. It is a one-shot written by Nalo Hopkinson, Kat Howard, Si Spurrier, and Dan Watters, with art by Bilquis Everly and a cover by Jae Lee.