If you’re a fan of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, you need to be reading The Dreaming. The flagship title of Vertigo’s Sandman Universe line, The Dreaming expands and enriches Gaiman’s mythos with a creative team whose imagination knows no bounds. Writer Simon Spurrier, artist Bilquis Evely, colorist Mat Lopes, and letterer Simon Bowland are giving a masterclass in experimental fantasy storytelling in these pages, taking advantage of a world without restrictions to showcase the potential of the comic-book medium. The first collection of The Dreaming hits stands this week along with a new issue, and given The Sandman’s bookstore reputation, it’s very likely that the book’s readership will grow now that it’s available in a convenient trade paperback.
After redefining the titular realm in the first arc, Spurrier, along with fill-in artist Abigail Larson and colorist Quinton Winter, answered the question of what happened to The Dreaming’s master, Daniel, to take him out of his dominion. Now Daniel is trying to make his way back, and he’s stopping by key Sandman locales throughout his journey. Daniel’s old colleague, Matthew, and Dora, a recent addition to The Dreaming, are hot on his trail, and they’ve landed in Hell after a fantastic trip to Faerie. The lush, ethereal visuals of Faerie give way to horrific imagery in this exclusive preview of The Dreaming #10, opening with three nightmare scenarios as recounted by The Dreaming’s new ruler: a techno-moth-child with wings of constantly shifting geometric patterns.
Evely and Lopes are back for this arc, and their work is as graceful and lively as ever, gliding through environments that are full of motion. LIbraries are already incredibly difficult to draw, but Evely draws a library that rearranges itself after having its massive shelves knocked over. The library goes from chaos to order, but chaos returns with the jump to hell and its towers of sinew and bone, portals spewing demons, and pools of drowning souls. It’s a world of bloody terrors, but Spurrier still finds room for humor. He pokes fun at the rhyming demon conceit that can be a pain for readers by making it a literal pain for the damned, who are forced to rhyme or be punished. That combination of humor, horror, and fantasy has always been a major aspect of The Sandman’s allure, and the creative team behind The Dreaming keeps that spirit alive.