The passage of time sometimes seems like a dream when reflecting back, which is appropriate when you realize that it’s been 20 years since Neil Gaiman, along with a host of brilliant artists, first introduced the world to The Sandman and created a series that is considered required reading by many.
10 years ago, Gaiman released The Sandman: The Dream Hunters, as a prose novella and a standalone story that could be read without prior knowledge of the earlier volumes, with illustrations by Yoshitaka Amano. Final Fantasy fans may be familiar with Amano for his design contributions to the popular videogame series.
This Wednesday, DC is marking the 20th anniversary of Sandman with the first of four issues of the comic adaptation of The Dream Hunters by P. Craig Russell, an artist whose career spans over 30 years across various publishers and genres in the comic industry. The first issue of The Sandman: The Dream Hunters comic adaptation will feature a regular cover by Yuko Shimizu with a variant cover by Russell.
P. Craig Russell is also no stranger to collaboration with Neil Gaiman as a contributor to the original Sandman series. His most recent work was the graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline from Harper Collins, which is also due out as an animated feature in theaters next year.
I recently spoke with Russell about The Dream Hunters, Neil Gaiman’s confessions of originality, and the art of adaptation.
ComicMix: For those who may not have read the original prose story, what is The Dream Hunters about?
P. Craig Russell: It’s an original story told in the style of a Japanese fairy tale. It’s the story of a fox who falls in love with a young monk. She falls in love with him and his soul is stolen by a rich onmyōji, who is sort of like a wizard, and the fox then takes her revenge on the onmyōji.
If you haven’t read it, it’s a beautifully written story and I just found out for the first time in Neil’s notes that he just wrote for the first issue of Dream Hunters that the story he told in his afterword to the original book, was that this was based on an old Japanese fairy tale which, in fact, it wasn’t. He made it up entirely.