Death is necessary for Rebirth to spring from its fertile remains.
In Sandman, Neil Gaiman’s Death is often depicted as someone you’d be pleased to meet at the end of your life. Drawing on a myriad of funerary goddess myths akin to Isis and the apocryphal Eve, Death was not so much a Grim Reaper as she was a guide into the next phase of being. Perhaps it is no small coincidence that Eve brought life to humanity and Isis resurrected her dead brother-husband, linking the notion of rebirth so inextricably and cyclically to death.
And like a modern birth/funerary goddess myth, Death herself reflects rebirth with her entire countenance and approach towards life. It is this aspect that I wished to capture.
Vertigo’s The Sandman prequel by Neil Gaiman and JH Williams III is DC Comics’ biggest publishing story of the year, so we can expect more and more items like this Entertainment Weekly piece in which one or two tantalizing images are released over a period of months. Normally this would be kind of annoying, but the truth is it is very good news that Gaiman and Williams are revisiting the early Sandman era and telling the story about what the titular lord of dreams was actually up to before his capture at the start of the classic series, and every teased image will be beautiful — especially if they happen to be created byclassic Sandman cover artist Dave McKean.
EW notes that The Sandman: Overture is Gaiman’s first Morpheus story since 1996, which is of course not accurate. The last Gaiman wrote a story featuring the original Sandman of his perennial series was in the 2003 graphic novel The Sandman: Endless Nights — which was also the last time McKean drew paintedillustrated photographed manifested a Sandman cover. McKean’s Overture piece invokes the multimedia collage effect and logo remix treatments of his many, many creations for The Sandman’s 75 issues and numerous compilation volumes, but with a modern sheen that seems to catch the eye and tell the reader to get ready for something weird.
“There is something special about Dave McKean that makes it feel real,” Gaiman told EW. “I get the same thrill I got 25 years ago seeing his covers…”
Also released was JH Williams III’s first page of the first issue, which while revealing little about the story does express the kind of visual approach the artist is taking with this most anticipated story.
Currently Reading: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
Comics On My Pull-List:
Avatar the Last Airbender (GN)
Frankenstein, Alive Alive
Guardians of the Galaxy
Loki: Agent of Asgard
Superior Foes of Spider-Man
Anticipated 2014 Movies: Belle
La Belle et la Bête
The Book of Life The Boxtrolls Captain America: Winter Soldier Ernest & Celestine
Foxcatcher The Grand Budapest Hotel Guardians of the Galaxy
How to Train Your Dragon 2 I Know That Voice!
The Knights of Badassdom The Lego Movie
Mockingjay: Part 1 Muppets Most Wanted Only Lovers Left Alive Snowpiercer
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
What We Do in the Shadows The Wind Rises X-Men: Days of Future Past
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.