The Dreaming: Waking HoursWho’s Smash?
Character artwork by Nick Robles. Essay by G. Willow Wilson.

Smash of The Dreaming: Waking Hours by G. Willow Wilson and Nick Robles

Legacy sequence are difficult issues. You need to honor the tales that got here earlier than, tales during which readers have an enormous emotional funding, but on the similar time, you need to say one thing new. To get there, you need to ask the correct questions. Smash developed from a query I wrote down as I used to be plotting out The Dreaming: Waking Hours: who haven’t we heard from but?

The Dreaming is an unlimited panorama, and over time we’ve traveled by way of it with faeries, angels, demons, muses, myths, sentient environments, personified beliefs, and the occasional Shakespearean escapee. It’s onerous to do the surprising in a world constructed on the surprising. We would have liked a strolling plot twist.

Round this similar time, I used to be going by way of one in all my occasional bouts of actually, actually unhealthy insomnia. I’m speaking about nights after I’m fortunate to get three or 4 hours of relaxation. I discovered myself awake at 3am serious about how delighted I’d be to have a horrific nightmare proper about then, as a result of no less than it could imply I used to be asleep.

Then got here the epiphany: what if we put a nightmare on the heart of the story? What does it imply to have a unhealthy dream as a protagonist? After which Smash got here tumbling out sooner than I may write him down. A nightmare who falls in love with the individual whose goals he was despatched to hang-out. A nightmare who doesn’t need to be a nightmare and tries to alter, who aches for a sort of human connection he may by no means have. It raises tantalizing questions from a storytelling perspective—if in case you have energy that’s inherently malevolent, are you able to merely select to make use of it for good? Or is there extra work concerned? What do you need to sacrifice to develop into one thing higher?

That was the genesis of our ‘lanky lavender lad,’ as Nick (Robles) put it. He’s very completely different from the opposite nightmares we’ve met within the Sandman Universe, all of whom stay as much as their names—they’re malicious and sadistic. Smash, however, isn’t excellent at his job. He’s delicate, he’s shy, he’s awkward, he’s desirous to please. He’s as terrified by his personal darkness as a dreamer could be. He makes this profound, heartbreaking effort to not frighten anybody. And he units off on this quest to seek out the individual he fell in love with, towards all odds.

The insomnia handed, and I’m as soon as once more a nightly citizen of the Dreaming. For now. So is Smash, however whereas we—with our mounting anxieties and display screen time and caffeine and stress—are more and more determined to stay in his world, he, in his personal approach, is dreaming of ours.


The Dreaming: Waking Hours #1 by G. Willow Wilson (Marvel Girl, Ms. Marvel, The Chook King) and breakout artist Nick Robles (Euthanauts) hits cabinets Might 5.