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HBO Max’s next DC Comics series: Berlanti taking on Gaiman’s Sandman mythos with ‘Dead Boy Detectives’

By Josh Weiss
The Dead Boy Detectives Cover Header

Greg Berlanti's involvement with the DC Universe on the small screen is expanding once again. Variety has confirmed the Arrowverse producer extraordinaire is teaming up with HBO Max for a pilot of Dead Boy Detectives, a DC/Vertigo comic inspired by the Sandman universe created by Neil Gaiman.

Written by Mark Buckingham and Toby Litt (Buckingham also served as illustrator), the book follows a pair of deceased boys — Charles Rowland and Edwin Paine — who forego a ticket to the afterlife in order to remain on Earth, solving mysteries via supernatural means. Think Constantine meets The Hardy Boys.

The characters are slated to appear in the upcoming third season of Doom Patrol (out later this month), where they will be played by Sebastian Croft and Ty Tennant, respectively. However, according to Variety, there's no confirmation if that appearance is related to the pilot for the potential standalone series. But it could very well be another backdoor situation akin to the first season of Titans, which introduced the Doom Patrol roster in its fourth episode more than a year before the team appeared in their own series.

Steve Yockey (a vet of SupernaturalThe Flight Attendant) is locked in to write and executive produce the pilot episode, which has yet to hire a director. Berlanti and Jeremy Carver (creator and showrunner of Doom Patrol) will executive produce alongside Sarah Schechter, David Madden, and David Madden. Production is expected to kick off sometime in November.

The Dead Boy Detectives Cover

In addition to producing all of the Arrowverse titles currently on The CW, Berlanti also enjoys EP credits on Titans, Doom Patrol, and a forthcoming take on Green Lantern coming to HBO Max.

While Gaiman is not directly involved with the Dead Boy Detectives pilot, the author's creative impact on the world of television cannot be understated thanks to American Gods, Good Omens, Lucifer, The Sandman, and Anansi Boys.

Charles and Edwin first appeared in a Sandman issue published in the early 1990s. Their spinoff book from Buckingham and Litt spanned 12 installments between 2013 and 2014. A four-issue miniseries from Ed Brubaker, Bryan Talbot, and Steve Leialoha was released in 2001.

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