Revered ‘Sandman’ Author Neil Gaiman Is Selling Treasures From His Collection

The sale includes dozens of renditions of Dream, the character at the center of the ‘Sandman’ comic.

Michael Kaluta, Gods & Tulips Neil Gaiman Cover Portrait (1999). Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Neil Gaiman, the creator of beloved graphic novels like Sandman and novels such as American Gods, Good Omens, and Coraline is offering prized items from his collection in an upcoming sale at Heritage Auctions. 

“I loved the idea of getting stuff that I’ve had for a long time out into the world,” said Gaiman. 

One of Gaiman’s best-known creations is the Sandman strip, and one of the highlights of the sale is a 1994 painting of the character Death of the Endless, Sandman’s sister, by the French artist Jean Giraud, aka Moebius. (At time of publication, the current bid was $2,100.) Sandman (1989–96) tells the story of Dream, an ageless character also known as Morpheus, whose sister Death was introduced in the eighth issue and would go on to become as popular as her brother. Sandman became one of DC Comics’s bestselling titles. 

Mike Dringenberg, Original Morpheus Illustration (1990). Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Renditions of Dream and his siblings by many artists, such as Michael Zulli, Jill Thompson, Yoshitaka Amano, and Mike Dringenberg—who introduced Death along with Gaiman and whom Gaiman has described as “utterly the quintessential Sandman artist in many ways”—are included. The sale includes some 56 pieces that chronicle Dream’s evolution. 

Gaiman’s work has received plaudits from those who are far away from the comics world professionally. ​​Norman Mailer called Sandman a “comic strip for intellectuals, and it’s about time.” Tori Amos, whose songs frequently reference Gaiman, has written that “On bad days, I talk to Death constantly.”

Jean Giraud (aka Moebius), The Sandman: A Gallery of Dreams #1 Death Pin-Up (1994). Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Most of the items in the sale were gifts to Gaiman; Giraud’s painting of Death is the one that he bought for himself. “Since 1996, it has been hanging on my wall, and I walk past it, and it makes me smile every time I see it,” he said. “I love it so much. But there are so many Moebius fans out there—and so many people out there who love Death—and I think it would bring incredible joy to the world.” 

Gaiman was blown away by a Giraud comic he encountered as a teenager, and Heritage points out that the Giraud painting constitutes “the moment the inspiration feted the inspired.”

Dave Gibbons and John Higgins, Watchmen #7, Story Page 16 Original Art (1987). Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Other items include original artworks that bear out Gaiman’s love for the medium, including pages from early Swamp Thing issues, as well as a 17-panel page from Watchmen, gifted to Gaiman by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, the creators behind the seminal graphic novel. Puppets, signed comic books, and awards the author has received (he has won Hugo Awards, Bram Stoker Awards, Eisner Awards, Locus Awards, Harvey Awards, and more) round out the sale.

Some of the sale’s proceeds will go to the Hero Initiative, which provides medical and monetary assistance to veteran comics creators in need, and to the Authors League Fund, which assists authors, journalists, critics, poets, and dramatists in need due to medical costs and other misfortunes. Gaiman has also pledged to share the proceeds with some of the artists who have brought his creations to life.

Coraline and The Cat, original animation puppet for the 2009 stop-motion film Coraline. Courtesy Heritage Auctions.

Now open for bidding, the sale will culminate in a live auction on March 14 where Gaiman will be in attendance. In the meantime, highlights will go on display at Heritage’s Chicago offices from March 4–6, and there will be a livestreaming salon hosted by Jill Thompson on March 6. The collection will be available for view by appointment at Heritage’s Dallas HQ from March 11–13.

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