The award-winning Sandman follows the return of Dream , the personification of hopes and dreams, to his domain after being trapped and held prisoner for 70 years and his quest to regain the powers he once possessed. It also follows his family, known as the Endless .
The concept of The Sandman emerged from Neil Gaiman's idea to revive Jack Kirby's 1970's Sandman series after his Black Orchid mini series at DC. Editor Karen Berger suggested he keep the Sandman name but create the rest of the series entirely from scratch. Using ideas he had of a character that lived in dreams, Gaiman created the character of Morpheus, a literal take on the folklore concept of the Sandman and a personification of dreaming itself. With this, Gaiman revived several dormant DC horror and mystery characters and populated his world of The Dreaming with them. The series soon evolved beyond its DC Universe horror origins and became one of the most critically acclaimed fantasy comic series of all time, regularly outselling its superhero counterparts toward its end and introducing comics to whole new audiences outside of the comics mainstream. The collected editions have been reprinted numerous times and remain best sellers for DC/Vertigo.
The series was originally a DC book, but was one of the original titles moved onto the new Vertigo label with issue #47. Gaiman ended the series at 75 issues, but the run also included The Sandman Special (1991).
The series proved so popular that numerous spin-off titles were written, both by Gaiman and those that emerged after Gaiman's initial series ended. They include:
- The Sandman Presents: Lucifer (#1-3), Love Street (#1-3), Petrefax (#1-4), Merv Pumpkinhead, Agent of DREAM (#1), Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Dreams but Were Afraid to Ask (#1), The Dead Boy Detectives (#1-4), The Corinthian: Death in Venice (#1-3) The Thessaliad (#1-4), The Furies (#1-2), Bast (#1-3), Thessaly: Witch for Hire (#1-4)
- Destiny: A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold (#1-3)
- Death: The Time of Your Life (#1-3)
- Death: The High Cost of Living (#1-3)
- The Girl Who Would Be Death (#1-4)
- The Sandman: The Dream Hunters
- Death: At Death's Door
- Little Endless Storybook
- Lucifer (#1-75)
- The Dreaming (#1-60)
- Sandman Midnight Theater
In 2012, Gaiman announced he would return to pen a prequel series.
All ten of the main Sandman trades are available (at least if you are willing to buy used) in hardcover and trade paperback format as well as multiple editions of both formats. The most recent edition features the Absolute Edition Re-Coloring.
Also of note, although it's not part of the main Sandman series, The Sandman: Endless Nights is often advertised as "Sandman Vol. 11".
*Solicited for a December 25, 2013 release
- Vol. 1: #1-37 and The Sandman Special #1
- Vol. 2: #38-75 and stories from Vertigo Jam #1 and Vertigo: Winter’s Edge #3***
***Solicited for a November 2013 release