The Sandman, Neil Gaiman's comic book series considered a seminal work in the medium, is in the early stages of being developed into a TV series. Warner Bros Tv is in the midst of acquiring television rights from sister company DC Entertainment and in talks with several writer-producers about adapting the 1990s comic. At the top of the list is Eric Kripke, creator of the CW’s horror-tinged Supernatural. Sandman told the tale of Morpheus, the Lord of the Dreaming, a deity who personifies dreams.
The book began in the horror realm but quickly made its mark in fantasy and mythology as Gaiman introduced the Endless, a group of powerful brothers and sisters named Destiny, Death, Destruction, Despair, Desire and Delirium [as well as Dream]. The book helped establish DC’s Vertigo imprint and won several awards. It also was one of the few comics that segued from the comics crowd, entering the intellectual and art worlds, winning over a large non-comics-reading audience, particularly a devoted female following. A movie version of Sandman has been in development since the mid-’90s, with an early version involving Roger Avery. The movie version cooled earlier in the decade, with the thinking moving to the best way to tackle an adaptation is the TV route. Up until a few months ago, DC was in talks with HBO and James Mangold to develop a show minus WBTV’s involvement, but that never coalesced.
Gaiman was not officially involved with the HBO attempt, though he and Mangold held several rounds of talks surrounding characters and story. The author is not involved in the new developments, though since it is early in the process, that may change. In fact, securing Gaiman will prove key for the project to go forward. Kripke has been described as interested in tackling an adaptation but cautious because the comic book has such a passionate following and is held in such high regard. It’s the kind of series where each production decision, from casting to script to design, would be scrutinized by devotees. Still, Kripke has managed to create and sustain “Supernatural,” which week in and week out deals with fantasy, mythological and horror elements. He also displayed a certain amount of creative integrity when he stuck to his guns by not returning as showrunner when the network renewed the series for a sixth season after he completed his planned five-season story line. WBTV and WME, which reps Kripke, declined to comment.