Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” will wake you up as an audiobook.
Considered by many to be one of the greatest incarnations of graphic literature and a property that appealed to mainstream readers outside of comics, it will take on its first dramatic incarnation beyond the page when it comes out in audiobook form on Amazon’s Audible platform on July 15. The Audible release will come before the highly anticipated Netflix adaptation.
“Stardust” and “Coraline” writer Gaiman, who cocreated “The Sandman” with artists Mike Dringenberg and Sam Kieth, serves as creative director and executive producer on the project, a coproduction of Audible and DC Comics. The series became the flagship title of DC’s experimental Mature Readers Vertigo line, was about Lord Morpheus, also Dream, the ruler of the Dreaming, the Prince of Stories, the anthropomorphic personage of dreams and is part of the family of siblings known as the Endless.
Full of references to literature, folklore and mythology, the series begins with Morpheus being captured in a magic ritual by a human and follows his interactions with creatures magical and otherwise back and forth through history. The dark fantasy-
horror series ran from 1988 to 1996 through 75 issues and various specials, prequels and a sequel line under the Sandman Universe umbrella in 2018. All told, “The Sandman” has won many awards, including over 25 Eisners, comicdom’s highest honor.
The Audible project features a stunning cast of voice talents: James McAvoy (“Wanted”) as Morpheus, Kat Dennings (“2 Broke Girls”) as his sister Death, Andy Serkis (motion-capture king) as Matthew the Raven, Michael Sheen (“Frost/Nixon”) as Lucifer (yes, that Lucifer), Riz Ahmed (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”) as the nightmare the Corinthian, Taron Egerton (“Rocketman”) as magical investigator John Constantine, Samantha Morton (“Minority Report”) as Urania Blackwell (also known as Element Girl), Bebe Neuwirth (Broadway royalty) as the Siamese Cat and Gaiman himself as the Narrator. While the audiobook itself was previously announced, the voice cast was only revealed May 13 on Twitter. Gaiman called it “the cast of your dreams.”
The audiobooks will be co-executive produced by Dirk Maggs, a longtime collaborator on other Gaiman audiobooks such as “Neverwhere” and “Stardust.”
“Almost 30 years ago, Dirk Maggs approached DC about adapting The Sandman into audio form. It didn’t happen (although it was how Dirk and I first crossed paths) and I’m glad it didn’t happen, because we are in a Golden Age of audio drama right now, and Dirk and I are much better at what we are doing,” Gaiman said in a statement released by Audible. “This is a rich audio adaptation of The Sandman Graphic Novels, brilliantly crafted by Dirk Maggs, with an all-star cast. I’ve loved being there to talk casting, there to read the scripts and offer occasional advice, and there in the studios, watching magic get made and recording the narration. I can’t wait until the world hears what we’ve done.”
The July 15 release of “The Sandman” is the first of three books, essentially covering the comic book series’ “Preludes & Nocturnes” story arc. “I invite you to close your eyes, and listen, and enter the world of the Endless,” he tweeted. “The Sandman is coming to Audible.”
The best-selling Gaiman has won John Newbery Medal, the Carnegie Medal, the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award and the Bram Stoker Award for his fiction and graphic novels. His novels “Stardust” and “Coraline” were adapted into movies while “American Gods” and “Good Omens” (which he wrote with the late Terry Prachett) were adapted for TV. One character from “The Sandman,” Gaiman’s version of the fallen angel Lucifer Morningstar, actually featured in his own controversial TV series, “Lucifer,” originating on Fox before moving to Netflix. Netflix will be producing the series adaptation of “The Sandman,” which has yet to be cast. Gaiman has stated he is heavily involved with the Netflix adaptation, rumored to be out in 2021.
Gaiman and his work have always been immensely popular in the Philippines. He visited the Philippines twice in collaboration with Fully Booked. “What I knew about the Philippines could have been written on the wing of a small butterfly,” he wrote in a 2007 foreword to “Expeditions,” a published collection of prize-winning graphic stories he helped select. Gaiman has long been an avid supporter of Filipino comic talents. “There is a fine tradition of realistic fiction in Filipino literature. We wanted to encourage unrealistic fiction.”