The End Credits of Sandman by Dave McKean, by Neil Gaiman

Although a large and frequently changing list of artists were commissioned to draw The sand man in its original 75-issue run, a few names stand alongside writer Neil Gaiman as contributors for the entire series. There’s letterer Todd Klein, who developed Dream’s distinctive white-on-black bubbles; editor Karen Berger, who championed the series; and Dave McKean, a visual artist and longtime friend of Gaiman who designed the original series logo and every cover throughout the original series.

McKean’s mixed media style gave problems of Sand seller a distinctive look unlike anything else on comic book stands at the time and helped make the series an iconic piece of early ’90s pop culture. It’s also returned time and time again to design covers for various reissues and follow-up projects, but after a while he decided to retire from his work on Sand seller together and concentrate on other work. Still, when it came time to do the Netflix adaptation, Gaiman couldn’t imagine doing it without McKean contributing to it in some way.

“When The sand man started, people kept asking me, “Is Dave McKean going to do something about this?” Gaiman recalled in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. Sand seller covers and redesigns, Dave had officially retired from doing Sand seller books. He was like, ‘Okay, can I stop now?’ I was like, ‘Yes, you can quit.’ But [then] I called Dave and said, “We’re doing the TV show – you gotta do something.” So each episode has end credits, and it’s a different sequence for each episode – these amazing, smooth, kaleidoscopic little movies that Dave McKean made. So don’t skip the end credits! Just look. It’s pretty.”

So while the Netflix series has kept a version of the original Sand seller logo he designed, he also added several new shorts from McKean, an accomplished film stylist as well as a visual artist with credits like MirrorMask (written by Gaiman) in his name. It’s a fitting collaboration and a tribute to McKean’s years of work on Sand sellerwhich he continued to do even after, according to Gaiman, he was fired once early in the race because Berger was afraid of carrying too much work.

“Which he dealt with in typical Dave McKean fashion,” Gaiman recalled during a 2009 conversation with Chip Kidd celebrating the comic’s 20th anniversary. “We had the first nine issues of Sand seller, which were these magnificent and huge oil paintings. And Karen had brought him into her office and said, ‘Look, Dave, I’m just really sorry. You gotta finish that other stuff, and we’re just gonna take you Sand seller.’ And Dave was a little upset, and he said, ‘Well, okay.’ And he came home, walked into his office…phoned me, said ‘What’s in the next three Sandmans?’ And I told him about the next three issues, and 14 hours later he sent Karen the next three covers, on the basis that she would probably fire him. And not another word was ever said about the shooting.”

More than three decades later, it seems McKean still can’t let go Sand sellerand the public reaps the benefits.

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