After years of development, the long-awaited adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman finally comes to screens. The Netflix series stars Tom Sturridge as Dream aka Morpheus aka Sandman, ruler of the Dreaming and master of Dreams. The series picks up as a something of a hybrid between a mad scientist and a petty magician named Burgess (Charles Dance) captures Dream for decades, leaving his kingdom in ruins.
As he tries to restore his powers and kingdom, Dream must contend with those who have enjoyed his absence, including the madman John Dee (David Thewlis, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) and the Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook, Logan), a nightmare who escaped into our world. Along the way, Dream will be aided by his sister Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Killing Eve), the Lady Johanna Constantine (Jenna Coleman, Doctor Who), Matthew the Raven (Patton Oswalt, The King of Queens), and Mervyn Pumpkinhead (voiced by the legendary Mark Hamill).
The Sandman helped revolutionize comics in the late 1980s and 1990s. The original 75-issue run, all written by Gaiman, brought horror and fantasy back into the mainstream. Even as he dabbled in parts of the mainstream DC Universe, including storylines involving the Golden Age superhero the Sandman and D-list character Element Girl, Gaiman grounded everything in real human emotions. Aided by some of the greatest illustrators to ever work in comics, including Sam Keith, Colleen Doran, and Bryan Talbot.
The Netflix series will cover parts of the first sixteen Sandman arcs, collected in Preludes and Nocturnes and The Doll’s House. But the story spreads out in surprising and often terrifying ways. With the main story collected in several volumes, The Sandman reads best as a series of books rather than as individual issues.