Neil Gaiman gave regular editor-in-chief Dave Bradley a break this month by taking the reins and guest editing the latest issue of SFX . He also took the time to give us an exclusive interview, in which he talks about his much awaited return to Sandman, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Dream King.
The series ran from 1988 until 1996 (with a special edition in 2003) and follows the adventures of Dream of the Endless, who rules over the world of dreams. “There was a story that wasn’t told,” he explains. “I never figured out how to tell it within the 75 issues of Sandman , because it’s the story that tells you why he was so easy to capture in Sandman 1. There are panels in that issue that tell you that he was returning from a distant galaxy, that he was absolutely exhausted, but you never find out why.
“I always felt like that was a weird hole. There are other things in Sandman that are hinted at, that you don’t know. I could drop a giant list of questions – you don’t really know why Delight became Delirium, you don’t know what happened to the first Despair, but they aren’t things that I actually know, or if I do know them then they aren’t things that come with stories attached. Whereas with this there were things I wanted to do, there were scenes I had in my head that I’ve never told.”
Was it hard to write the characters again for the first time in a decade? “The moment I brought Morpheus back on stage and wrote some dialogue for him, I thought, ‘Oh, his voice is still in my head, he hasn’t gone anywhere…’”
You can read a retrospective on 25 years of Sandman and loads more from Neil Gaiman in the new issue of SFX , on sale in shops and online from Wednesday 29 May.