The major publishing labels of superhero comics have their own sub-labels by which they can print certain comic stories that are more geared for a mature audience than the age group that gave rise to superhero stories in the first place. For DC, home of Superman, Batman and the rest of the Justice League, there is Vertigo Comics, which featured the likes of “Y: The Last Man,” “Hellblazer” and “Sandman.” When DC announced the discontinuation of the Vertigo label by 2020, questions abound as to what would happened to the announced “Sandman” TV adaptation. As it turns out it will be coming through after all.
As Comic Book Resources has it, the oft-discussed TV series adaptation of Vertigo Comics’ “The Sandman,” creadted by Neil Gaiman, is now under development at Netflix. The world’s premiere streaming giant was reported to have signed a financial deal with Warner Bros. Television, described as being “massive” in value. Warner Bros. is of course the parent company of DC just as the former’s rival Disney is parent to the latter’s rival Marvel. Inside sources for the WBTV-Netflix agreement insinuate that this might well be the most expensive DC Entertainment TV series ever to be produced.
Neil Gaiman, who created “The Sandman” which debuted in 1988 as a supernatural-horror revival of a minor mainstream DC super-character, will serve as executive producer on the show with David S. Goyer. The latter has prior experience in producing a Vertigo-based TV show, that being “Constantine” (based on “Hellblazer”) on NBC, as well as mainstream DC with 2008’s “The Dark Knight” from Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale. Another DC movie veteran, Alan Weinberg (“Wonder Woman”) has been tapped to both write the story and serve as the series show-runner. The Netflix production is the culmination of past attempts to adapt Vertigo’s “The Sandman” comic.
The setting of the comic book and upcoming show involves godly entities called the Endless, in particular Dream who has dominion over human dreams and imagination, and is thus the titular Sandman. Warner Bros. had attempted to make a film version during the late Nineties, and then a series to be shown on HBO in 2010 from producer James Mangold. Neither of these got off the ground. The same went for Gaiman’s collaboration with Joseph Gordon-Levitt for a New Line Cinema first slated for 2013, then ultimately abandoned in 2016.
Netflix taking on “The Sandman” comes across as a natural progression after it rescued the cancelled Vertigo adaptation “Lucifer” from Fox, for a fourth and upcoming final fifth season. These developments indicate a healthy TV environment for Vertigo titles, even as this DC sub-label ceases to exist by next year.
Image courtesy of The Verge