It’s here, and it’s really good.
The Sandman Audible adaptation is now available on Amazon.
Neil Gaiman, creator of The Sandman (from which Lucifer the TV show sprang from) says the series will help bring the comics to an audience who were previously unable to read them.
One of the plus points for the audio version is the hugely impressive voice cast which has been assembled for the project, with the likes of James McAvoy, Michael Sheen, Miriam Margolyes and Kat Dennings all playing major roles.
And of the stellar cast, it was Sheen who most surprised Gaiman with his performance as Lucifer, the Staged actor taking inspiration from an iconic music star.
The writer said, “Michael was a huge fan of the comics, reading them since he was a kid, so Michael knew that Lucifer had been drawn as the young David Bowie.
“I think of Michael Sheen as one of the greatest actors of his generation, which he is. I forget he is also one of the greatest impressionists.
“All of a sudden, I’m standing here in the studio, and Michael Sheen’s mouth is open, and David Bowie’s voice is coming out. It was so weird and amazing.”
The Sandman is a story about change.
The iconic comic series focused on Morpheus, the immortal lord of dreams (he himself is even sometimes known simply as Dream).
In Gaiman’s world, dreams are the source of all stories, so Morpheus’ adventures took him (and readers) through a plethora of genres and concepts.
There are Sandman issues based on Shakespeare plays, horror movies, and high fantasy — sometimes all at once.
The first installment of its series, which consists of 20 episodes, is based on the first three volumes of the Sandman graphic novel.
For Gaiman, who is the creative director and an executive producer of the audio project, the endeavor is a validation of his patience and his strategic stubbornness.
As he sees it, the Audible adaptation hasn’t required him to compromise the audacity, the ambiguity or the endearing strangeness of the comics.
“I didn’t want to see the changes that would have to be made to Sandman to make it palatable to everyone,” he said. “We haven’t filed off the rough edges. We’ve gotten to make a version of Sandman that is everything we wanted to do.”
Not long into its run, The Sandman was eyed for a film adaptation by Warner Bros., where Batman had just taken wing as a movie franchise.
Gaiman described a conversation he had in 1990 with a Warner Bros. executive whom he asked not to pursue the project, arguing that it would distract from his work on the comic.
“She said, ‘Nobody has ever walked into my office and asked me not to make a movie before,’” Gaiman recalled. “And I said, well, I am.” The project did not move forward.
The Sandman audio drama is available to download exclusively on Audible.
For a taste of what it sounds like, listen to the clip Gaiman tweeted below.
He is the absolute ruler of the world of dreams. He is the Prince of Stories. He has as many names as there are tales.
The Sandman is coming to Audible. pic.twitter.com/ctn9IWDDpi
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 4, 2020
McAvoy, who plays the evanescent Morpheus, said that the demands of the role varied from episode to episode.
“You’re not looking for just one characteristic — you’re going to get to play hundreds,” McAvoy said. “There is a more distant, alien detachment to him, especially at the beginning when he is trying to put himself back together. Then there’s times where he’s actually quite forthright and times where he’s quite comic.”
But McAvoy, who has played superhuman characters in films like “Split” and the “X-Men” series, said that bringing life to stories with fluid rules of reality has become second nature.
“It’s given me a lot of experience in going, ‘OK, we’re jumping off a building, then halfway down, we’ll go through a vortex into the nth dimension, which is actually 400 years in the past,’” he said. “I know how to deal with that.”