Expert researcher and editor Leslie S. Klinger is best known for his Edgar-winning book “The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes” and the critically acclaimed “New Annotated Dracula.” He was also a technical consultant on both of Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” movies. Klinger’s latest project was putting together “The Annotated Sandman” for Vertigo Comics. I had the opportunity to talk to Klinger about his extensive work providing notes and commentary for the groundbreaking and legendary comic book series.
“The Sandman” universe weaves in and out of all sorts of mythologies, times, religious worlds, fairy tales, and such. Do you guys have any religious leanings?
I think it came out in an interview a few years ago that Neil’s parents were Christian Scientists or something like that. It was very surprising to me. Neil is half Jewish and yet there was this strange religious thing in his background. He’s totally [non-religious] as far as I can tell. I think [he’s a] very spiritual guy. [He’s] fascinated by the sacred and religious impulses. I don’t think he has any personal religious leanings one way or another. I think he’s a 21st century non-practicing [person].
I’m pretty much the same. A humanist. Is that the right term now? We don’t use the terms agnostic or atheist anymore. I guess maybe there are higher beings out there but I sure don’t know. Neil is certainly not political. He’s a great believer in human rights and civil liberties. I guess he’s probably pretty liberal from that standpoint, as am I. He’s English [laughing]. He feels sort of odd being in America. [He’s] an American citizen but he finds it pretty weird.
Why should people buy “The Annotated Sandman?”
I think people should buy it because it will enrich their experience of a terrific book. It’s not taking a weak book and making it readable. It’s taking a terrific book and making it even more interesting. [Readers] will miss things. There is so much there. There is so much depth to the story. [This] will make it even more enjoyable. That’s why they should buy it. To get extra pleasure out of something that maybe they’ve already read and loved. They’ll get more [out of it].
There’s going to be four volumes of “The Annotated Sandman.” Where are you in the process of finishing the whole project?
All four volumes are pretty much done. I’ve written all the notes. There’s other material that will appear in the fourth volume. There is an index of all the hundreds of characters that appeared in “The Sandman.” There’s a detailed chronology of when events occurred in “The Sandman” universe. Those things will be in the fourth volume.
Neil and I haven’t gone over my notes in great detail yet. He’s read them through once and he was available to answer questions. Now he and I plan to spend time going through the notes for Volume 2 and Volume 3 and make corrections. There will be things like, “You really should add this point less” or “I don’t think you understood that point.” There’s very little of that. I think the second and the third volume and fourth volumes haven’t gotten Neil’s detailed attention yet. The second volume comes out in October 2012.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
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Eric Shirey is the founder and editor of Rondo Award nominated movie and comic book news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other national entertainment websites. Besides his three decades long obsession with everything sci-fi, horror, and fantasy related in TV and movies, Eric has what some would call an unhealthy love for comic books. This has led him to interviewing and covering legendary writers and artists in the medium like Geoff Johns, Scott Snyder, Steve Niles, Bernie Wrightson, and Howard Chaykin.