While many comic books have crossed the bridge from child’s play to mainstream respectability, Neil Gaiman‘s Sandman series stands over a lot of them. Launched when he was still a fledgling fantasy writer, the comic became synonymous with serious sequential literature and helped Gaiman build his career into the massive success he enjoys today. Sandman ended back in 1996, but at a Comic-Con panel, Gaiman announced that he’ll be writing a prequel mini-series comic that should come out sometime next year. “It was a story that we discussed telling for Sandman’s 20th anniversary… but the time got away from us,” he said in a video. “And now, with Sandman’s 25th anniversary year coming up, I’m delighted, and nervous, that that story is finally going to be told.” What makes this cool is that it’s a labor of love — Gaiman is paid on a level that far surpasses the glamour level of comicdom, and Sandman ended on a perfectly formed note that would allow him to let the series slowly recede into the horizon. In other words, he doesn’t really need to do another story. But it’s certainly nice that he wants to.