The Sandman comic book series introduced me to both Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. Gaiman’s writing and McKean’s artwork set a high bar for what can be accomplished in comics. The story was epic. Whenever the narrative journey turned away from its title character, it always added thoughtful complexity and dimension to Morpheus’ world. McKean’s covers always pushed the boundaries, utilizing every digital and traditional tool at his disposal. A number of artists worked on the comic’s interior pages. One of my favorites was Kelley Jones, who had a fantastic way of distorting the human form and drawing incredible, billowing capes.

Morpheus’ helm reminds me of H.R. Giger’s Alien, so when I made this collage of the Sandman in the late ’90s, I wanted to take a stab at redesigning it. I came up with a squid-like tribal mask, that exudes a stringy smoke when worn. Likewise, the cloak, when worn, would engulf and distort the wearer’s body.