Welcome back to the world of the Endless! It’s been 10 long years since we’ve seen any new stories about Dream and the Endless and more than 15 years since Sandman ended its initial run. And in that time, millions of copies have been sold in numerous different formats and collections. So many, that a first time reader could easily get confused about where to start and what order to read things in. Neil Gaiman has helpfully suggested starting with the Absolute Edition (which is exactly what this reader did a few years ago).

I couldn’t resist bragging a little. This image below is what Neil did to my copy of the absolute edition (volume 1) when I saw him this past July.

signed copy of Absolute Sandman Volume 1

The release of a new entry into the Sandman realm is such a big deal even NPR is covering it. Morpheus was created 25 years ago but he and his brothers and sisters, Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium and Destruction otherwise known as the Endless, still capture the imaginations of all who encounter them in their stories. Overture is the beginning of another such story and is available now.

Cover of Sandman Overture 1“People have often asked me what happened to Morpheus to make it possible for him to be captured in THE SANDMAN #1,” Gaiman said. “And now they get to find out. And finding out, they get to learn secrets of the Endless that I’ve kept to myself for 25 years. Family secrets. And I should warn you: one of the Endless dies on page five.”

Gaiman has a knack for weaving words and JH Williams III is brilliant at putting imagery to those words and expanding upon them even further. JH Williams III you may know from numerous titles, but I know his work from Promethea. I’ve heard a lot of opinions about Alan Moore’s Promethea (from scathingly negative to overt praise – I, for one, loved it), but through it all the artwork was incredible. JH Williams III talent is on full display in Overture #1. Perhaps you’ve heard the anecdote from Neil about wanting to challenge Williams by having him draw Morpheus as a flower?

morpheus as a flower

I will admit the price point of this book is a bit steep ($4.99), but I feel it’s completely worth it. I even bought it both digital and hard copies. The double-gatefold spread as Morpheus lands where he has been called is magnificent. The disturbing reveal of the Corinthian’s eyes is haunting. It’s going to be a magnificent ride as we discover the mystery about how and why Morpheus is where he is when Sandman #1 begins. I highly recommend being a part of the journey.

And speaking of journeys, if you are anywhere near the San Francisco bay area before March 2014, I suggest you journey to the Cartoon Museum. There is an exhibit dedicated to the art of Sandman. I plan on seeing it personally in early December. Have you been? Are you planning to go?