This week marks a return to the Dreaming, the strange yet familiar world created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg in the pages of Sandman. Debuting in 1989, the series ran for 75 issues plus a one-shot special, creating an entire mythology around Dream and his family in the Endless, a group of immortals ruling over various aspects of the human experience. Sandman became not only a classic and a perennial bestseller in its collected editions, but a "gateway comic" introducing a generation of readers to what the medium was capable of. Now, Sandman Universe #1 re-introduces these concepts and characters, serving to launch four new ongoing series set in and around the Dreaming.
DC Comics has provided CBR with exclusive process pages for Sandman Universe page 9, written by Si Spurrier, illustrated by Bilquis Evely, colored by Mat Lopes, and lettered by Simon Bowland. We spoke with Evely and Lopes about creating this page, and can also share a commentary by Spurrier and Evely about how it all comes together.
Spurrier began envisioning the page as a single scene divided into panels, and provided Evely with a number of details on how it would flow together. Below is an excerpt from his script:
Something a bit special now, Bilquis. This is another GRID page - 2x4 panels. But OVERALL it forms one large splash shot, of the interior space where this dream is taking place: the palace (specifically its dancefloor). So one a single panorama divided into 8 equal panels. We’re angled slightly downards from above, so that at the TOP of the page (i.e., panels 1 and 2) is looking across at the far side of the room, while at the bottom of the page (i.e., panels 7 and 8) is right up close to us in the foreground.
The idea is that DORA and the WOMAN are DANCING together. They move THROUGH the crowd of other guests in such a way that they appear in each of our panels in turn, snaking left to right and slowly getting closer to us.
There are loads of different ways you could do this (you might even choose to dispense with panel borders altogether, though I worry it would be hard to follow the action) so I’ll shut up and just let you have fun. Bonus points if the OTHER DANCERS miraculously change into something else in each panel: businessmen... ballerinas... velociraptors... pirates... bipedal cats... cops... snowmen... doctors and nurses...
Throughout it all MATTHEW is fluttering above Dora, trying to talk to her.I won’t add any specific notes to the individual panels unless there’s something particular worth mentioning.
From here, Evely and Lopes took Spurrier's script and transformed into this fully-realized comic book page: