(Please note: this was an April Fool prank. I was planning to delete it but it proved sort of popular, so I’ll leave it up. It even prompted this wonderful illustration from Butterwort on Twitter)
Neil Gaiman is to return once again to the Sandman comics that made his name… but this time set in the world of children’s toy franchise My Little Pony.
The six-issue series “Death Comes To Equestria” will be published in a joint initiative by DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, which published Gaiman’s highly-acclaimed Sandman run, and IDW, which holds the licence for My Little Pony from toy manufacturer Hasbro.
The series will be released later this year and will be illustrated by French fan-favourite artist Avril Poisson, part of the Bande Dessinée comic movement in France.
Gaiman – whose wife, rock musician Amanda Palmer, announced earlier this year that they were expecting a child – admitted to being a “brony” – one of the growing number of adult male fans of the toy line, which is typified by pastel-coloured horses with rainbow tails and manes.
“I have a shelf in my study devoted to My Little Pony. My favourite character is Twilight Sparkle, and I was thinking one day how much she reminded me of Death,” said Gaiman, in reference to one of the popular characters from the Sandman series, Dream’s sister Death.
He added: “That got me thinking about parallels between the Dreaming in Sandman and Equestria, the world of My Little Pony, and the whole story just hit me there and then.”
Death Comes To Equestria sees the return of The Corinthian, a nightmare created by Dream in the Sandman comics, who has teeth for eyes. He finds his way to Equestria and meets The Nightmare Forces, ghost-like enemies of the Ponies. They conspire to summon Death to Equestria and trap her – much like Dream was trapped in the early issues of Sandman – and use her energy to destroy the Ponies. When Dream realises his sister is missing, he goes into the My Little Pony world to rescue her.
Gaiman said: “It really is a very dark story, and one that is going to change the world of Equestria forever. The My Little Pony stories have for many years taught children about the important things in life – friendship, love and sharing. Now it’s time that those fans learned about the one thing that will come to us all, whoever we are – death.”
It is expected that there will be a special, limited edition My Little Pony line released to support the comics, featuring all Gaiman’s Endless characters – Dream, Death, Destiny, Delirium, Destruction, Despair and Desire – rendered in pony form.
Gaiman added: “This really is the Sandman story that I’ve been waiting all my life to write, even if I didn’t realise it until very recently.”
The original Sandman comic ran for 75 issues from 1989 to 1996, and in late 2013 Gaiman returned to the characters with the limited series Sandman: Overture. Sandman is in development for the big screen. It is not yet known whether the Sandman/My Little Pony story will be adapted in animated or even live-action form.