Along with Alan Moore’s Watchmen and Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman is often held up as one of the great literary works to come out of comic books. It also cemented Gaiman as one of the most beloved fantasy/horror/sci-fi writers alive.

Throughout the years, various people have attempted to bring The Sandman to both the big and small screens, none of whom succeeded. At one point, Warner Bros. requested that Neil Gaiman pitch a Sandman movie to them, so he had the talented Jill Thompson illustrate the pitch. Now, that art is on sale.

Gaiman recently tweeted about the movie pitch and the sale, saying:

Some years ago, I had to pitch/explain SANDMAN to Warners. @thejillthompson illustrated the pitch. That art’s for sale

Check out the art below (click to enlarge):

And make sure to go to the online gallery to see the collection in its entirety (or, if you’ve got $800+ to spare, you could even buy a piece and hang it on your wall).

For those not in the know, Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman follows the adventures of Dream, A.K.A. the Lord of Dreams, A.K.A. the Dream King, and so forth, who is the literal personification of dreams. At the start of the series, Dream has accidentally been captured by a group of men seeking immortality – the intended victim was Dream’s sister, Death – and held prisoner for 70 years. Eventually, Dream escapes his occult shackles and hijinks, as ever, ensue.

As previously stated, there have been numerous attempts to adapt The Sandman as a film and TV series. The first attempt saw Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avary attached to direct, but he was soon fired by Jon “I want a giant spider in Superman Lives!” Peters.

In a 2005 interview, Neil Gaiman said of Jon Peters’ approach to making the Sandman film:

“It was really strange. They started out hiring some really good people and you got Elliott and Rossio and Roger Avary came in and did a draft. They were all solid scripts. And then Jon Peters fired all of them and got in some people who take orders, and who wanted fistfights and all this stuff. It had no sensibility and it was just…[the scripts] were horrible.”

Basically, Peters wanted Sandman to be like every other comic book movie. Which means he didn’t want Sandman at all.

Most recently, Eric Kripke (Supernatural) was in talks to bring The Sandman to television, but those plans eventually fell through, as well. Details are scarce as to why that was, but it was announced on Gaiman’s blog that while he and DC liked Kripke and his approach, it nevertheless “didn’t feel quite right.”

Though Geoff Johns announced a year ago that a Sandman TV series was still in the works, there seems to have been very little progress on that front in the many months since. That said, a new Neil Gaiman-penned Sandman comic book miniseries was announced at Comic-Con – to be released in 2013 – so perhaps the timing is better than ever for a movie or TV adaptation to come to fruition.

Would you like to see a Sandman film or TV show, Screen Ranters? Or should the property stay right where it is – in the comic books? Let us know in the comments.

Sources: Neil Gaiman’s Twitter & Cadence Comic Art Gallery