After decades of waiting for Neil Gaiman’s comic book The Sandman to get adapted into live-action, Netflix’s TV version is almost here. In a matter of days, the word will (hopefully) fall in love with the a series that comic fans have adored for years.
One of the most popular characters from The Sandman is Death, who is literally the anthropomorphic personification of death. Actor Kirby Howell-Baptiste has a tall order to fill doing justice to such a beloved character. This take on Death isn’t a hooded grim reaper holding a scythe. Instead, Death is a bubbly and witty goth who just wants to be there for you after you’ve taken your final breath. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Howell-Baptiste touched on what makes her character stand out from other representations of Death in pop culture:
Most of the time when we see a representation of Death, it’s so focused on the end. But this character says, ‘I was there in the beginning, and I’ll be there in the end.’ Death is born of life. I think there’s something very beautiful and cyclical about her position in the world, because it’s so much about the full journey that she is there for. That lends itself to a more feminine energy — there is this much more nurturing, caring side to Death than we’ve ever seen before.
In the sixth episode of The Sandman — titled “The Sound of Her Wings” after issue #8 of the comic — Death meets up with her brother Dream in a park. It’s a story about death that will give you a different outlook on life. She chastises Dream for being so melancholy. In order to give him some perspective on his role as one of the Endless, she invites him to join her as she goes about her duties as the emissary from the sunless lands.
It probably has the least amount of special effects or bells and whistles. It’s mostly just walking, talking, and ruminating on our place in the world. When we think of power, our idea of it is being dominating and forceful. But I think Death’s power is quiet, humble, and self-assured. She is aware of what she can do.
From the images we’ve seen so far from that episode, it looks fantastic. Take a look:
Patton Oswalt talks voicing Matthew the Raven in The Sandman
The Sandman has a stacked cast. There’s Charles Dance, Mark Hamill, Gwendoline Christie…the list goes on. There’s also Patton Oswalt, who voices Matthew the Raven, Dream’s loyal and outspoken messenger. Matthew is funny and excitable, so it’s no wonder that Gaiman approached Oswalt for the role.
“I still feel like a kid that won a radio contest,” Oswalt told EW. “The level of talent that I’m working with on that show, and the level of material that I get to do, is just fantastic.”
This isn’t the first time Oswalt has been involved in a Gaiman project. The two of them have been friends for years. “I had done some stage readings with him for American Gods.”
We can’t wait to hear him as Matthew, especially when he’s arguing with Mark Hamill’s Mervyn Pumpkinhead. The Sandman premieres on August 5 on Netflix.