Dead Boy Detectives

Dead Boy Detectives Builds on the Sandman Universe in a Brilliant Way

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I’m a fan of comics, my particular favorite is DC Comics. Funny story, I didn’t start actually reading comics until I was in my late teens. Up until that point, I saw comics through the lens of animated shows. So many stories were told in interesting avenues back then. And I believe that DC Comics has had a long string of multimedia storytelling successes. The storytelling has been fascinating from the Arrowverse to the DCAU and even the DCEU.

This brings me to Dead Boy Detectives, one of the latest offerings out of the catalogue of DC Comics. This story is about two teen ghosts, Charles and Edwin, who save the forgotten victims in this supernatural world. They solve all these cold cases while also having to dodge Death. That’s right folks, these two poltergeist private eyes are tiptoeing around Death, Dream and the other Endless.

Allow Me to Welcome You

Dead Boy Detectives shines a light on an avenue of DC Comics that we thought we knew. With this spin-off not only do we get introduced to a whole new cast of intriguing characters, we also get another point of you for the bigger players out there. Seeing Death from those who fear her is fascinating. Not only that, we see the expansion of Hell, it’s not just one realm, there are several layers and how the series portrays some of them is wonderfully off-kilter.

Seeing another of Neil Gaiman’s works complement his other work, The Sandman, is what fans of world-building adore. As we follow Charles, and Edwin as they try and untangle the various supernatural mysteries of Port Townsend we fall in love with the multitude of over-the-top and eccentric characters they meet.

One of the best examples of over-the-top and eccentric characters is Niko. This character is met through a case where she was infected with supernatural entities which made her exude an almost anime-like aura that enthralled everyone around her. The downside? It was killing her. Together with their psychic friend Crystal the departed duo figure out how to save Niko. She is then instrumental in taking on a stalwart within the supernatural avenue of DC Comics, the Night Nurse (played by Ruth Connell reprising her role from Doom Patrol).

We Have to Help, Even If it’s Scary, and the Odds are Bad, and We Might Die Horrifically

Along with Night Nurse is a menagerie of misfits that the boys have to take on, each weirder and wilder than the last. There’s the Cat King who I am sure will become a furry icon, for me though there is Esther, this ancient witch who has a connection to Lilith one of the primordial entities of DC Comics. She’s full of flair and fury and watching her weave her brutal witchcraft adds further colour to this tapestry.

What sells Dead Boy Detectives and its narrative so convincingly is how well it slots into the larger Sandman Universe. The vibe that Dead Boy Detectives gives is a mixture of the cheesy CW style with the budget and mature nature of a Netflix production all bolstered by the strength of the source material written by one of the best fantasy authors out there.

With all these elements working together, Dead Boy Detectives allows audiences to see the grungier and more manic side of both The Sandman Universe and the DC Universe as a whole. This is what great storytelling is. It’s what I see when I read something from Brandon Sanderson and his celebrated Cosmere work and I was pleasantly surprised when Dead Boy Detectives achieved this, preparing me for The Sandman Season 2.


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Author
Graham Day
Graham has been writing online for close to a decade. This includes writing about games, books, films and so much more. He loves stories of all kinds across every form of media. For the Escapist he tries to come up with his own unique angles on the stories we adore. He was born in Dublin, Ireland and has been an actor, an amateur animator, writer and artist. He also runs his own website based in Ireland.