The Sandman is a comic book written by Neil Gaiman and published by DC Comics. Its artists include Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Jill Thompson, Shawn McManus, Marc Hempel, Bryan Talbot, and Michael Zulli, with lettering by Todd Klein and covers by Dave McKean. The original series ran for 75 issues from January 1989 to March 1996. Beginning with issue No. 47, it was placed under DC’s Vertigo imprint, and following Vertigo’s retirement in 2020, reprints have been published under DC’s Black Label imprint.
In this short video, Dream tells you a story. This is the Tom Sturridge ASMR of your dreams—you’re welcome!
For Inspiration: “Let Dream Tell You a Story” from The Sandman
My Connection to The Sandman
If you knew me growing up, I’ve probably told you about how The Sandman is incredible! Not because I’m a comic book fan, but because of a) Neil Gaiman’s incredibly universe-expanding storytelling, b) Dave McKean‘s exquisite artwork for the covers, and c) how dreams are the stuff that designers live for:
Neil Gaiman’s Storytelling
Mr. Gaiman is now an accomplished writer and producer, and his work has been adapted to Film (like Stardust and Coraline), TV (like Good Omens and American Gods), and Theater (like the Ocean at the End of the Lane). Back in 1989 he was still trying to find his voice in the comic genre with Sandman. The first eight issues were deep into Vertigo’s horror.
When I took my first trip to London, my sister Iara asked me if I could bring some Sandman issues, and I found a copy of A Game of You, signed by Bryan Talbot. Reading it on the plane on the way back to Brazil got me curious, but I didn’t get into the series until Dream Country.
Then Fables and Reflections came along, and I was totally hooked! I even got a copy signed by Neil Gaiman himself! Long story short: I’ve been patiently waiting for some adaptation of Sandman to the Big Screen!
I’ve been waiting for this a long time: I got a copy of “A Game of You” signed by Brian Talbot the first time I was in London, and @neilhimself signed my copy of “Fables and Reflections” (my favorite storyline). @netflix series is in many ways better than I could have imagined pic.twitter.com/pVduc9W3OM— Itamar Medeiros (@designative) August 11, 2022
Dave McKean’s exquisite artwork
When I took that trip to London, I was in my first semester of Graphic Design undergrad program. I had already dabbed my feet into photography and graphic design programs at that time we slowly switching over from traditional crafts to digital.
Dave McKean’s artwork for the Sandman cover had a huge influence on my craft: when I showed my friends the cover of issue 38 and none of the “Photoshop Experts” could figure out how it was done (spoiler alert: old-school darkroom photography manipulation techniques!), I decided I wanted to write my final paper.
I grabbed a copy of Sandman’s Dust Covers and did an in-depth graphical analysis of every single cover! It was like seeing the transition from analog photography to digital manipulation unfold in front of my eyes!
The saying goes that Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery! So McKean’s style influence me for years! I’ve even paid a “homage” to Small Book of Black and White Lies in my wedding invitation! (I’ll post a photo here once I dig it up from our moving boxes!)
How Dreams are the Stuff that Designers Live for
In my work as a designer, I’ve found that Storytelling is a powerful tool to help teams detach from the status quo, and allow themselves to dream of better futures.
Sometimes it is not enough only to speculate what the future could look like: we need to help the team dream of the future (no matter how ridiculous it may seem) and ask, “what needs to be true to make this happen?” That’s the only way to let the status quo go and imagine real innovative scenarios!
Strategy and the Importance of Vision
Let’s talk about the importance of vision for creating shared understanding around why are we bringing a product to market in the first place.
Netflix’s adaptation of Sandman is awesome, and it reminded me of the importance of dreams! You should definitely check it out!