Everything is a bit unhinged in the Sandman Universe, because Dream has turned up missing without a trace. In the meantime, a mysterious outlaw named Dora has turned up making trouble; she is neither foe nor friend, and capable of incredible power. The creatures of the Dreaming realm have no way to keep her under control, however, at the end of The Dreaming #2, we were introduced to Judge Gallows, who emerges from the Black Chest as a very important character moving forward, as we are all about to find out in Issue #3, out tomorrow Nov. 7.
SYFY WIRE has first look pages from The Dreaming #3 drawn by Bilquis Evely and colorist Mat Lopes, and writer Simon "Si" Spurrier exclusively revealed to us where Judge Gallows came from, what to expect from him, and where he fits in the Sandman Universe.
“The takeaway for everybody reading that final page [of The Dreaming #2] is that a new totalitarian form of authority has arrived in the Dreaming, which we know is defined by a wonderful, chaotic, creative, fantastical, nature, and is somewhat antithetical to judgement," Spurrier explained. "As soon as you have someone standing up saying he’s a judge, you can tell things are about to get messy.”
Judge Gallows is the latest character in a long and resurrected tradition in the Sandman Universe who has been unearthed from the obscure pages of The Unexpected, a fantasy-horror anthology from which many of the characters in the Dreaming come from. Most of these characters were the storytellers of these DC Comics and EC Comics anthologies, in the same vein as the Cryptkeeper in Tales from the Crypt.
Gallow's first appearance was technically in 1969 in The Unexpected #113, and was used in the last iteration of 1990's Sandman spinoff, The Dreaming in The Dreaming: Trial and Error one-shot. The 90's version of The Dreaming has been made to never have happened and so for this current take, Judge Gallows is a new character in the Sandman Universe.
“I’m thinking of Cain and Abel, Lucien, Eve, and The Mad Mod Witch is a character who pops in occasionally, all used as narrators, as is with Judge Gallows who was the storyteller on a short-lived series called The Unexpected," said Spurrier. "He seemed like a good and fitting character to deploy as our authoritarian figure.”
“We changed him a lot from The Unexpected, in Issue #3 we explore who he is and what he means to The Dreaming, where he came from and how he becomes this literary bogeyman, that haunts the dreams of people, or at least did haunt the dreams, many years ago," said Spurrier. "And why he’s been stuck in the Black Chest all these decades, which is where Dream is in the habit of putting all of these nightmares he can’t control in.”
Gallows is not the only thing that will come out of the Black Chest, as there are other things that have been locked away in there with him. The Judge also represents the first big adversary of the new series and is expected to be someone that Dora has to be mindful of, as will the rest of the creatures in the Dreaming, but he just complicates the bigger problem at hand. Where is Dream?
Take a look at the exclusive preview pages of The Dreaming #3 and a sampling of the story built around Judge Gallows. In the coming weeks, we'll have a larger, second part to this interview with Si Spurrier, where we'll get into the deeper background of Gallows and the early arcs of The Dreaming. So be on the lookout for that, and in the meantime, pickup The Dreaming #3 in your local comic shops Wednesday, Nov. 7.