If you were keeping track of the Vertigo Comics news from San Diego Comic Con last year, you may remember their presentation ending with this seemingly random set of numbers.
Turns out, they weren’t random numbers after all.
080818 is a date.
It’s the release date for The Sandman Universe #1.
Yes. You read that correctly.
The Sandman Universe #1.
This year marks a big birthday for Vertigo but they’re giving us a gift: an entire line of new Sandman comics.
The first issue is conceived by the maestro himself, Neil Gaiman, and written by Si Spurrier, Nalo Hopkinson, Dan Watters, and Kat Howard, each of whom will be going on to write one of the four books that will comprise the universe. Working with them on the initial foray is artist Bilquis Evely. In it:
Daniel, the lord of Dreams, has gone missing and it causes chaos in the kingdom of dreams…A rift between worlds has opened, revealing a space beyond the Dreaming. Meanwhile, a book from Lucien’s library of all the unwritten books ever dreamed is discovered by a group of children in the waking world.
Simultaneously, a new House appears—the House of Whispers—joining the Houses of Secret and Mystery in the Dreaming. Its proprietor is a fortune teller called Erzulie, whom the inhabitants of the Dreaming suspect may be responsible for all the strange goings on.
Elsewhere, Lucifer has fallen again, only this time he might be in a Hell of his own design.
And in London, a young boy named Timothy Hunter sleeps, in his dreams he becomes the world’s most powerful magician, but in his nightmares, he becomes the world’s worst villain, which future will become reality? (Vertigo Comics)
Excited yet? Hold on to your magic hats, there’s more.
The new titles, Vertigo Executive Editor Mark Doyle explained at March 3rd’s Emerald City Comic Con panel, will explore the “cracks” in the original Sandman world, giving new lives, and new voices, to beloved characters as well as introducing readers to characters to new denizens of Dream. They are:
by Dan Watters (Limbo, The Shadow, Assassin’s Creed), in which the titular character, now a blind, destitute old man living in a boarding house in the middle of nowhere, is being stalked by a Los Angeles police officer.
Books of Magic
by Kat Howard (Roses and Rot, A Cathedral of Myth and Bone), featuring Timothy Hunter, trying to live the lives of a normal London teenager and the prophesied most powerful magician in the universe, all while being stalked by death cultists and wooed by a teacher with ulterior motives.
House of Whispers
by Nalo Hopkinson (Brown Girl in the Ring, The New Moon’s Arm) about a desperate woman attempting to save the life of her girlfriend by summoning the voodoo deity Erzulie. When she accidentally steals the goddess’s essence, her house is thrust unto the Dreaming where it lands beside the Houses of Secrets and Mysteries.
Doyle was kind enough to speak with me for a few minutes after the panel and explained that Gaiman had always intended to return to the Sandman universe but the timing was never quite right until this year, which also happens to be Vertigo’s 25th anniversary. Though the various Universe authors will be using Gaiman’s story bible, they’ve been encouraged to lend their respective stories, and characters, voices reflective of their individual styles, to “play with the toys” Gaiman created thirty years ago in present stories.
The possibilities are…well…endless.
In addition to the Sandman Universe comics, Vertigo has several other new and forthcoming books to tempt you: Imaginary Fiends (Tim Seeley and Stephen Molinar), Motherlands (Si Spurrier and Rachael Stott), Deathbed (Joshua Williamson and Riley Rossmo), Milk Wars (various), Shade the Changing Woman (Cecil Castellucci and Marley Zarcone), Cave Carson and the Interstellar Eye, and Mother Panic: Gotham AD (Jody Hauser and Ibrahim Moustafa).