COMICS: Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN Series First Pitched To George R.R. Martin
Back in 1986 a young Neil Gaiman met George R.R. Martin at San Diego Comic-Con and pitched an idea to him about a 'a guy who lives in dreams' which he felt would be a good addition to Martin's Wild Cards anthology.
Martin recounts meeting a 'skinny British kid that dressed all in black' during SDCC '86 [Gaiman says it was actually '87] who approached him with a character he thought would be a fit for the Wild Cards anthology. But at that time Gaiman didn't have the renown he has today and Martin blew him off. While telling his own side of the encounter, Gaiman said that he told Martin that he had this idea 'about a guy who lives in dreams.' Of course we all know that Neil would eventually go off and do Sandman for DC Comics.
Wild Cards is a science fiction and superhero anthology series set in a shared universe. The series was created by a group of New Mexico science fiction authors, but it is mostly pulled together and edited by best-selling author George R. R. Martin with assistance by Melinda Snodgrass, also a contributor to the series. There were twelve initial volumes released by Bantam, those being published between 1987 and 1993, before the series switched publishers, going to Baen, which released three new volumes between 1993 and 1995; then it was on to a third, iBooks, which published two new volumes and also reprinted the first six, all between 2002 and 2006; then it was on to its fourth and current publisher, Tor in 2008, that continues the series and has issued four new volumes, with a new one likely forthcoming in late 2012. Portions of the book series have been adapted into the comic book format. A 2008 six-issue Wild Cards comics limited series was published by Dabel Brothers Productions with a single hardcover graphic novel released in early 2011; this second series was called George R. R. Martin's Wild Cards: The Hard Call.
The prequel is a 5-issue miniseries that has Gaiman terrified due to the well reception and reverence for the original series. Similar to what's happening with Before Watchmen, the prequel miniseries has a lot to live up to. The story will tell the tale of what unfolded prior to the first issue of Sandman which resulted in Morpheus being in the weakened state which allowed him to be captured and imprisoned. Gaiman says that Morpheus fights a very peculiar war in a distant galaxy where the incarnation of Dream in that part of the Galaxy has been destroyed.
The Sandman is a comic book series written by Neil Gaiman and published by DC Comics. Beginning with issue #47, it was placed under the imprint Vertigo. It chronicles the adventures of Dream (of the Endless), who rules over the world of dreams. It ran for 75 issues from January 1989 until March 1996. Gaiman's contract stipulated that the series would end when he left it. The Sandman was one of Vertigo's flagship titles, and is available as a series of ten trade paperbacks. It has also been reprinted in a recolored five-volume Absolute hardcover edition with slipcase. Critically acclaimed, The Sandman is one of the few graphic novels ever to be on the New York Times Best Seller list, along with Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns.
On the 10th anniversary of the series, Gaiman wrote several new stories about Morpheus and his siblings, one story for each, which were published in 2003 as the Endless Nights anthology.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of The Sandman, a new volume will be produced which will include a story about the victory that had exhausted Morpheus prior to the beginning of the original story.
So there you have it, had Martin been more receptive or Gaiman been a little more well known at the time, the saga of Morpheus of the Endless would've been told in a series of short stories instead of comic books. Makes you wonder just how many other similar stories there are about beloved characters and stories being adapted vastly different than the format we've come to know and cherish.
Looking Back #7: Neil Gaiman's Sandman
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George R.R. Martin Discusses The Early Differences Between Marvel And DC
George R.R. Martin Reviews THE AVENGERS
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