Launching in August, the Sandman Universe will center on the world and characters around Daniel Hall, the current representation of Dream of the Endless, who first appeared in Gaiman's award-winning Sandman series for DC's mature readers line.
"The Sandman Universe has always been very close and personal to me and I am thrilled to open up the world once again to an extremely talented group of writers and artists," said Gaiman in a statement. "I get to see the joy in these brilliant people whom I've selected, as they get their chance to play in this world."
Overseen by Vertigo editor Mark Doyle, a Sandman Universe one-shot will launch the line with a story by Gaiman, but it will be just the tip of the spear, with a number of new series coming from DC/Vertigo in the coming months.
Besides the story by Neil Gaiman, the script itself will be co-written by Si Spurrier, Nalo Hopkinson, Dan Watters, and Kat Howard, each of whom will get a Sandman book coming out of the event. Art for the one-shot will be provided by Bilquis Evely, with a cover by Jae Lee.
In the one-shot, Daniel has disappeared, and it causes chaos in the realm of The Dreaming. Per a release from DC, "A rift between worlds has opened, revealing a space beyond the Dreaming. Meanwhile, a book from Lucien's library of all the unwritten books ever dreamed is discovered by a group of children in the waking world. Simultaneously, a new House appears—the House of Whispers—joining the Houses of Secret and Mystery in the Dreaming. Its proprietor is a fortune teller called Erzulie, whom the inhabitants of the Dreaming suspect may be responsible for all the strange goings on. Elsewhere, Lucifer has fallen again, only this time he might be in a Hell of his own design. And in London, a young boy named Timothy Hunter sleeps, in his dreams he becomes the world's most powerful magician, but in his nightmares, he becomes the world's worst villain, which future will become reality?"
None of the new series yet have artists officially attached, although each has a piece of promotional art drawn by a star creator who would presumably be a good fit for the project.
Si Spurrier will write The Dreaming (promo art provided by Yanick Paquette). In the series, "There is a place where gods are born and stories are spun. But twenty-three years after he was anointed as its master, Dream of the Endless has inexplicably abandoned the dreaming. His absence triggers a series of crimes and calamities which consume the lives of those already tangled in his fate, among them Lucien the librarian, Nuala of Faerie, and Dora, a monstress without memories. But while they struggle to restore the King to his throne, they face from intrigues within and conquest from without. As usurpers circle the defenceless domain and an impossible shadow awaits its own birth beside a rip in reality, the denizens of the dreaming play out their stories of loss and love, resignation and resistance."
Nalo Hopkinson will write House of Whispers (promo art by Sean Andrew Murray). "Latoya is in a coma. Her girlfriend enlists the help of Latoya's two younger sisters. Using the Book of Whispers, they mistakenly steal the essence of Erzulie, a deity of voodoo mythology. The psychic blowback of the spell causes her house to crash into the Dreaming, beside the Houses of Secrets and Mystery and their custodians, Cain and Abel. In the real world, the awakened young woman suffers a mystical form of Cotard's Delusion —she believes she is already dead, and she's transmitting her beliefs to others, causing them to become guardians of the Gap that has appeared in the Dreaming."
Dan Watters (promo art by Goni Gontes) will write Lucifer. "A few years ago, the devil vanished. Some people say he died or simply ran away, while others believe he never existed at all. But we aren't some people. No. This is the one true story of what happened to the Prince of Lies, the Bringer of Light—Lucifer, the blind, destitute old man, who lives in a small boarding house in a quiet little town, where nothing is quite what it seems and no one can leave. he's trapped, you see? Trapped n a bizarre prison with no memory of how he got there or why. Meanwhile in Los Angeles, a policeman who may have brain cancer is tasked with a mission of divine importance: find and kill Lucifer."
Kat Howard (promo art by Kai Hunter) will tackle Books of Magic, which takes its name from a long-running Sandman spinoff series. "Timothy Hunter is destined to become the most powerful magician in the universe, but that doesn't mean he gets to cut class, skip exams, or is impervious to bullying by his mundane peers. After all, he's still a London teenager and having magical abilities complicates things more than it helps. And while Tim's trying to study and attract the cute girl in his class, there are cultists who want to kill him, believing his power will eventually corrupt him, turning him into a merciless mage. Luckily, the new substitute teacher for his school wants to mentor him and educate him in the magical arts so that he can discover the master behind the Books of Magic…"
One of the most acclaimed comic book series of all time, Sandman took the name of a Golden Age DC superhero and applied it to a metaphysical being -- the embodiment of dreams -- who was part of a larger family of beings that also embodied the concepts of Destiny, Death, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium. Gaiman, who has been protective of the characters in the past, signed off on Snyder's use of Daniel in Metal.