The Sandman Presents: Dead Boy Detectives

sandman presents dead boy detectives cover trade paperback tpb dave mckeon
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10

Quick, fun Sandman tie-in

Missed opportunity to further explore the characters

Comic Info

Comic Name: The Sandman Presents:  Dead Boy Detectives

Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo

Writer: Ed Brubaker

Artist: Bryan Talbot

# of Issues: 4

Release Date: 2008

sandman presents dead boy detectives #2 cover dave mckean

The Sandman Presents: Dead Boy Detectives #2

Reprints The Sandman Presents:  Dead Boy Detectives #1-4 (August 2001-November 2001).  Edwin Paine and Charles Rowland aren’t like other boys…they’re dead.  While young people can see them, Edwin and Charles mostly drift by older people without a thought and spend their days enjoying the “life” they no longer have.  Deciding to be detectives, Edwin and Charles find the case of missing homeless children might be just what they need to improve their credentials…but catching the killer who seems to drain the life from his victims means teaming up with the Marquis de Marquez who might have secret of his own.

Written by Ed Brubaker, The Sandman Presents:  Dead Boy Detectives is a DC Vertigo Sandman mini-series.  The four issue limited series features art by Bryan Talbot and covers by Dave McKeon.

The Dead Boy Detectives first appeared The Sandman #25 (April 1991) as the ghosts of children who chose to stay on Earth instead of passing on.  The characters made off and on appearances through various titles and eventually ended up with their own limited series.  Like many of The Sandman spin-offs, half the joy of The Sandman Presents:  The Dead Boy Detectives is how it ties into the bigger Sandman mythos.

sandman presents dead boy detectives #4 cover dave mckean

The Sandman Presents: Dead Boy Detectives #4

The series is an odd anti-mystery.  The Dead Boy Detectives are trying to find the killer of runaway teens living in the London Underground but fall hook, line, and sinker for the Marquis de Marquez’s story of the killer “Hob”.  It is obvious from his introduction that the Marquis is evil and readers of The Sandman know the origin of Hob.  There is very little mystery to the story which is both fun (the Dead Boy Detectives after all are children and don’t have the best judgment), but it is also frustrating in that a good mystery surrounding the characters would have been fun.

Hob and Mad Hettie of The Sandman become prominent characters in the story, and I have always felt Hob was one of the best aspects of Gaiman’s Sandman tales since he provided a sense of mortality and humbleness for Dream.  As a result, I’m always happy to see him show up.  Mad Hettie also makes the rounds and frequently has shown up in other series so seeing her stop by is both expected and enjoyable.

The Sandman Presents:  The Dead Boy Detectives feels rather quick and abrupt.  It is always interesting to see other writers (like Brubaker) tackle characters from The Sandman since they are so tied to Neil Gaiman and his vision for the Sandman world.  With only one limited series, it feels like a lot of opportunity was missed in exploring the Dead Boy Detectives’ world and their new found “life”.  The Dead Boy Detectives eventually got another shot and had a twelve issue series starting in 2014.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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