“I don’t think that’s ever the problem”: Neil Gaiman Reveals His Inspiration For The Sandman Came From the Man of Steel Himself


Superman has been if not the most popular, one of the most influential superhero characters in media, inspiring many by the millions and spawning thousands of knockoffs based on the caped superhero. The Sandman, a vintage comic book published in the late 80s is one of the many works of literature that have been inspired by the Man of Steel.

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Neil Gaiman, the creator, and writer of The Sandman says that he took major inspiration from John Bryne’s version of the caped hero when attributing powers to his own main character in The Sandman, the character being Dream, a literal personification of nightmares who also happens to rule dreams. Here’s what he had to say regarding the link between the two characters.

The Sandman FandomWire
A still from Netflix’s The Sandman

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John Bryne’s Superman Gave A Framework For The Sandman

Neil Gaiman revealed that when he saw John Bryne’s reinvention of Superman in 1986, where Bryne significantly reduced Clark Kent’s powers, it helped him study the whole concept of a superhero being too strong. In the end, he ended up creating Dream/Morpheus, a godlike character who was simply too strong.

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DC’s Superman, portrayed by Henry Cavill

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Gaiman revealed his inspiration for Dream during his appearance in an episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast, where he cites Bryne’s reimagining of Superman as an inspiration-


“I thought, ‘What if I do god comics? “And at the time, a writer, John Byrne had been recreating, reinventing Superman a bit, and he kept saying that the problem with Superman is Superman had become too powerful, and the stories don’t work if you have somebody who is too powerful.”

A major difference between Gaiman’s Dream and Bryne’s Superman is that the power that Dream possessed was not a problem with Gaiman, but only on the condition that other aspects of the character were properly written and touched upon-

“I kept looking at [Byrne’s] quote and thinking, ‘I don’t think that’s ever the problem,'” Gaiman recalled. “I think the problem is not power, I think the problem is who you are, and whether you’re broken, and how you react to, and how you make that happen. So all of that kind of fed into the idea of an incredibly powerful being who was absolutely, in an awful lot of ways, screwed up, and could not get out of his own way. And also the idea of writing somebody who wasn’t entirely human. I loved the idea that he wouldn’t necessarily think like us, and every now and then we would just be forcibly reminded of the fact that he wasn’t one of us.”

That’s one way to look at it, and certainly one way to write an overpowered character! Maybe Gaiman will take a look at the new Clark Kent played by Henry Cavill and work out another brilliant character from that too.


Also Read: “That may not be enough”: Neil Gaiman Claims Netflix Might Not Renew The Sandman For Second Season Despite Being Number One Show in the World For Two Straight Weeks

The Sandman’s Opening Week Has Been Marvelous, And It Didn’t Falter

Neil Gaiman‘s The Sandman, after years of being stuck in development hell, finally got its well-deserved live-action adaptation in the TV series of the same name, and we couldn’t have been happier to see Dream as a real-life character!

A still from The Sandman

Related: Despite Sexist and Racist Trolls Blasting it, Netflix’s The Sandman Becomes Largest Streaming Show Ever With “23.8 Times More Demand of The Average Series”

To top that off, the series’ first 10 days on Netflix were close to perfect. The show was released on August 8, 2022, and instantly made an impact by topping the Top 10 list every single day since its premiere, amassing over 198 million hours of watch time from around the world.


The Sandman is currently streaming on Netflix.

Source: Comic Book Resources


Written by Sang Tonsing

Sang is a content writer for Fandomwire with over 300 published articles. He now has 3 years of experience and counting in content writing. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Political Science at Delhi University.

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