Dave McKean,
Dustcovers: The
Collected Sandman Covers

(DC Comics, 1997)

Dustcovers, designed and illustrated by Dave McKean, compiles all the hardback, paperback and single issue covers of The Sandman series from 1989 to 1996. The book, which also features a new story and commentary by Neil Gaiman, is a must for anyone who appreciates stimulating, intelligent art -- whether s/he is a Sandman fan or not.

The book opens with "The Last Sandman Story," which is about Gaiman's beliefs -- is the Sandman real? It details his encounters, prior to writing the series, with a waitress who looked like Death, and a meeting with Choronzon at a parade, while he was in the midst of writing one of the story arcs. The story is illustrated with sepia-toned drawings and one or two panel pages.

Gaiman's story is just the beginning, though; this full-sized glossy collection of each and every Sandman cover also includes gallery covers, trading cards, poster art and other promotional work. Each cover contains commentary by McKean and Gaiman; these comments do an excellent job of capturing the almost "psychic bond" between the two artists. What I mean by this is the similar mindset they both shared during the creation of The Sandman; each drew from what the other was creating during the entire process to create an phenomenal pairing of words and art.

Each cover is accompanied by an explanation of the birth of each cover or series of covers -- inspiration, influences, materials used and problems encountered during the process. The collection also includes pieces from McKean's personal collection and a bonus -- photos and commentary on McKean's two studios in England.

This collection of disturbing and thought-provoking work captures the mood and atmosphere of The Sandman. McKean has created a body of work that is diverse, yet unified, and definitely deserves the treatment it's been given with Dustcovers.

[ by Audrey M. Clark ]

Buy Dustcovers from Amazon.com.