I've been seeing this image of Morpheus - the main character of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman - quite frequently:

Slight variation here and here

It appears in multiple articles about the [now bust] The Sandman film; everywhere, of course, without attribution.

I set out to find the author, but reverse image search did not yield much. The oldest hits don't have any attribution; there is a "tribute" pencil drawing, but it doesn't attribute the author either (I left a comment there; will see if I get a reply).

This art certainly doesn't look like anything I've seen in The Sandman trade paperbacks; it isn't featured in The Sandman: Overture either; neither in The Absolute Death nor in The Absolute Sandman. Not in The Endless Gallery, not in Dreams and Nightmares Gallery. Can't be found in Hy Bender's The Sandman Companion.

It looks just a bit like Morpheus from The Doll's House:

This one was penciled by Mike Dringenberg and inked by Malcolm Jones III; Google-fu involving a combination of search terms still does not find the author of this art.

Evidence lead me to believe that this art as made after the initial run of The Sandman, and not as a part of the official publishing. So who is the author?

  • 3
    +1 for asking about my former computer background – Matrim Cauthon Apr 24 '17 at 13:44
  • 1
    @MatrimCauthon You fanboy :) – Gallifreyan Apr 24 '17 at 13:47
  • 1
    Guilty as charged ;). – Matrim Cauthon Apr 24 '17 at 13:48
  • 1
    Some more research that went nowhere, for future reference: chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/38957863#38957863 et seq. (Many of the more reputable websites in the Google Images search cited either "DC Comics" or "Vertigo.") – Shokhet Jul 23 '17 at 15:56
  • Still no luck. I have also been searching for the answer to this mystery for awhile. If it is the first drawing of Dream that inspired Gaiman then it has to be drawn before 1989. – Galahad19 Apr 1 '19 at 16:39

Edit: Was a blind alley

This appears to be a vector graphics work by deviantart member A-Scream: http://a-scream.deviantart.com/art/Sandman-Vector-463110397

"One of my first works in Adobe Illustrator."

Being vectorart, it remains crisp when rescaled and therefore suitable for a variety of publishing formats, including desktop backgrounds. But it is regrettable (and typical) that the artist was never credited.

  • Possible, given the image is a vector art... But what about this search? It claims the earliest hits are from 2013, before that image was uploaded to DevianArt. I'll leave a comment to the author, see if they reply. – Gallifreyan Apr 24 '17 at 17:48
  • There, left a comment. +1 anyways, for finding a vector version ;) – Gallifreyan Apr 24 '17 at 17:58
  • 1
    If he doesn't respond on DeviantArt, I'll just try Vk :D Ah, the perks of speaking Russian... – Gallifreyan Apr 24 '17 at 18:14
  • 2
    Nope, that's not him - I asked him on social network, and he said he simply found that art online and decided to convert it to vector. – Gallifreyan Apr 24 '17 at 18:36
  • 1
    Ack! The wallpaper version at wall.alphacoders.com/big.php?i=195464 do seem to be the oldest one on the net. – Abulafia Apr 24 '17 at 20:14

I can help you with the answer. The artist is the German artist Lukas Frese.

Neil Gaiman himself posted the same questions so I stumbled over this feed. Quite the lesson on how quickly how quickly images can get robbed and spread over the internet. Obviously the Sandman is Gaimans IP and there is nothing the artist can lawfully do about the illegal spreading of his work, but it has been used in countless articles, mugs, tshirts even tattoos...

The original print was a birthday present to me back in 2010. He posted it once on his blog and it took a life of it's own on the internet. Very happy and proud to see @neilhimself mention it. Great artist. Check out his work at www.lukasfrese.de

  • 6
    Can you edit in a link to "Neil Gaiman posing the same question"? – Jenayah Feb 28 '20 at 8:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.