What do dreams sound like? It’s a question that’s pretty confounding when you actually stop to consider it. But thanks to the good people at Audible, we may soon have our answer.
Neil Gaiman’s popular and highly influential The Sandman remains one of the definitive works of fantasy, even now, over thirty years after its debut. The graphic novels remain perennial bestsellers, discovered by generations of new fans with each passing decade. Throughout its run, dozens of acclaimed artists contributed to its pages, including Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Kelley Jones, P. Craig Russell, Jill Thompson, J.H. Williams III and, famously, Dave McKean. Yet, the newest project to feature Gaiman’s messy-haired Lord of Dreams involves no artists whatsoever. Or, more accurately, no visual ones.
Audible, the world’s largest producer of spoken-word entertainment and audiobooks, announced the first ever audio production of The Sandman will be arriving this summer as a multi-part Audible Original directed by the visionary Dirk Maggs.
If you’re worried about authenticity—don’t. Gaiman will be intimately involved, serving as Creative Director, Executive Producer and Narrator. The bestselling author’s longtime audio collaborator, multi-award winner Maggs will serve as the project’s Executive Producer as well as Scriptwriter and Director. Along with his adaptations of Gaiman’s Neverwhere, Stardust, Good Omens and Anansi Boys, Maggs has directed cutting-edge Audible Originals like Alien: River Of Pain and X-Files, as well as DC audio productions like The Trial of Superman, Superman: To Doomsday & Beyond and Batman: Knightfall. The project also features an original score by British Academy Award winning composer and musician James Hannigan.
While audio productions of written works can vary greatly, Audible’s take on The Sandman is no standard audiobook. Their exclusive audio adaptation will bring The Sandman’s epic, metaphysical fantasy to life in meticulously sound-designed, richly immersive audio, featuring an impressive (and as yet, unrevealed) voice cast.
“Almost 30 years ago, Dirk Maggs approached DC about adapting The Sandman into audio form,” said Gaiman. “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.
“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.”
Adds Dave Blum, Editor-in-Chief of Audible Originals, “Audible prides itself on creating and producing immersive and entertaining storytelling, and the exclusive audio production of Neil Gaiman’s legendary comic book series marks a thrilling addition to our original content offerings. We’re excited to join Neil and DC in bringing this extraordinary and beloved universe to Audible’s millions of listeners worldwide, for the very first time.”
The Sandman spans ten core graphic novels, along with three sequel collections and a variety of in-universe spinoffs (including “The Sandman Universe,” five currently ongoing comics that are set after the events of The Sandman). In other words, there’s plenty of content for the audio production to mine—though Audible’s press release suggests that the production may focus, at least in part, on the first collection, “Preludes & Nocturnes”:
When an occultist attempts to capture the physical embodiment of Death in a bargain for eternal life, he instead mistakenly traps Death’s younger brother Morpheus, the King of Dreams. After his seventy-year imprisonment and eventual escape, Morpheus goes on a quest to reclaim his lost objects of power and rebuild his realm. From there, one of greatest and most successful series of graphic novels ever written begins. Celebrated globally for its vibrant blend of modern myth and dark fantasy—which seamlessly interweaves contemporary fiction, historical drama and legend—The Sandman follows Morpheus, and the people and places he’s affected, as he tries to mend the cosmic and human mistakes he’s made during his Endless existence.
“This audio iteration of The Sandman is huge in scope and ambition and based exclusively on Neil’s original notes and scripts for his iconic DC series,” shared Maggs. Our production dives deep into Neil’s imagination, as if he is writing these tales beside us, lifting out details and story elements few have been privy to until now. Audio uniquely complements the comic book artists’ visual imagination and Neil’s creative brilliance, while our amazing cast and Jim Hannigan’s music add new emotional punch. This project’s three-decade incubation period has been worth every minute of the wait. It’s the very essence of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.”
The audio production, along with Netflix’s currently in-the-works television series, promises to expose more people than ever before to Gaiman’s remarkable world of the Dreaming and its colorful, sometimes chaotic denizens. It also offers an exciting new way for existing fans to relive or rediscover Morpheus and his world. But perhaps most remarkable of all, it gives listeners, whether they’re new to The Sandman or not, the opportunity to take a moment from their busy lives and get lost in an enticingly different dream.