EXCLUSIVE: Jim Lee Covers "The Sandman: Overture" #1 for CBLDF

DC Entertainment co-publisher Jim Lee has illustrated a Comic Book Legal Defense Fund-branded variant cover for "The Sandman: Overture" #1, and CBR News has the exclusive first look at the "Superman Unchained" artist's black-and-white rendition of Morpheus.

The cover will be available exclusively to retailers who join the CBLDF during the organization's current Diamond Previews membership drive. Retailers who join at the $100 level ("retail advocate") will receive one copy of the Lee-illustrated variant along with other incentives; those who donate $250 ("retail defender") will receive two copies. The "retail protector" level, at $500, nets five copies, and $1,000 "retail champion" donators receive 10 copies of Lee's variant.

"It's hard to believe it's been almost ten years since Neil Gaiman first wrote to me about supporting the CBLDF," Lee, a member of the CBLDF's advisory board, said in a joint DC and CBLDF press release. "I'm thrilled to be able to collaborate with Neil on this 'Sandman' cover as a way to say thank you to all the retailers who are joining the Fund this month."

"The Sandman: Overture" -- a six-issue series featuring writer Neil Gaiman returning to the celebrated world of Vertigo series "The Sandman" for the first time in a decade-- debuts on Oct. 30, with art from J.H. Williams III. The main covers of "The Sandman: Overture" #1 are from Williams and long-time "Sandman" cover artist Dave McKean.

Coming 25 years after the publication of "The Sandman" #1, "Overture" acts as a prequel to the seminal series, showing how it was possible for Morpheus to be captured by Burgess. "2013 seems like a particularly good year to tell that story," Gaiman said in a video shown at last year's Comic-Con International in San Diego. "To get together with one of the finest artists in comics today, and actually explain what Morpheus had been doing before 'Sandman' #1 began."

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