Darren Franich
September 03, 2010 AT 05:45 PM EDT

Image Credit: DC ComicsIf you wanted to unilaterally announce the greatest comic book ever, you could do worse than The Sandman. Over the course of 75 issues, master fantasist Neil Gaiman worked with a series of talented artists to invent a seductive universe that felt cosmically expansive and remarkably intimate. Nominally the story of a godlike figure of Morpheus, Lord of Dreams, The Sandman packs in just about every influence you can imagine  — Greek mythology, Paradise Lost, The Chronicles of Narnia, old-school grisly EC comics, plus occasional appearances by William Shakespeare. It’s essentially unadaptable in movie form — the budget would need to be roughly $5 billion, the running time would be 100 hours, and it would be rated NC-17. (Get me Bruckheimer!) If anything, the breadth of the story demands a TV show, so perhaps we should be hopeful about The Hollywood Reporter‘s report on a potential TV adaptation of Sandman.

Warner Bros. TV had no comment on the project, but according to the Reporter, Warner is eyeing Eric Kripke to run the potential show. Kripke is the creator of Supernatural, a show with a similar genre cocktail of epic fantasy. (I haven’t seen Supernatural, but people I trust tell me it started out pretty normal and gradually became incredible…which pretty much describes The Sandman, actually.)

You could argue that Sandman is so tied to its original medium that any kind of adaptation is ridiculous, but part of me feels like some issues — like the people-going-crazy yarn “24 Hours,” or the mini-biopic of a Roman Emperor in “August,” or anything from the “Worlds End” saga — could become, without much tweaking, truly incredible episodes of television. Also, post-Lost, don’t we need another far-flung flashbackin’ fantasy epic?

What do you think, PopWatchers? Neophytes, have I convinced you to just maybe check out The Sandman? Megafans, should they just give up on trying to cast this baby and make it an animated series?

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