The Sandman's Dead Boy Detectives Crossover & Connections In Netflix Series & Comics Explained

By Klein Felt Posted:
Netflix Sandman, Dead Boys Detectives

Netflix etched its name in the history books with a ground-breaking crossover between the recently released Dead Boy Detectives and the streamer's The Sandman series. 

Dead Boy Detectives adapts Neil Gaiman's iconic DC Comics world for the small screen, following a pair of dead teens who opt to stay in purgatory on Earth to help solve supernatural crimes. 

On the page, the Dead Boy Detectives have crossed over into several other DC properties appearing as a part of several Sandman stories as well as the famed Doom Patrol team. 

Dead Boy Detectives' Sandman Connections Explained

Charles Rowland and Edwin Payne from Netflix's Dead Boy Detective in an office with a dark window behind them

Dead Boy Detectives broke new ground on Netflix thanks to a connection to the streamers' other super-powered series. 

The latest DC streaming show featured a historic crossover with Netflix's The Sandman series, with the characters Death and Despair popping up as cameos. 

This marks the very first time two Netflix-produced superhero series have crossed over in a universe established on Netflix. 

The Netflix-produced Marvel series did cross over in a similar fashion with its The Defenders series; however, that was as a part of the greater universe known as the MCU

Kirby Howell-Baptiste (Death) and Donna Preston (Despair) pop up in Episodes 6 and 7 respectively of The Sandman, appearing in the Dead Boy Detectives premiere in a brief cameo. 

According to co-showrunner Beth Schwartz, Death and Despair are "the basis of our entire show," as it is them whom the series' titular supernatural sleuths are on the run from (via Tudum):

"Death is the basis of our entire show; our leads are running from Death. So that was a very important character to cross over for us to actually show what they’re scared of, which is this wonderful character created on 'Sandman.'"

The supernatural teen comedy touching back to The Sandman will make sense for fans of the characters in the comics. 

Dead Boy Detectives actually spun out from a single issue of The Sandman comics, first appearing in Sandman #25 from April 1991. 

Sandman creator Neil Gaiman would go on to tie the characters into several Sandman-verse stories in the comics before they got their first full-fledged comic run from writer Ed Brubaker in 2001. 

They would be revived again in 2022, appearing as a part of The Sandman Universe initiative from DC and crossing over with various characters from The Sandman comics world. 

While the Dead Boy Detectives Netflix show takes its inspiration from the characters' storied history, it was this Sandman Universe initiative version of the team that it adapted almost one-for-one. 

What Is Next for the Dead Boy Detectives?

Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death in Dead Boy Detectives

While Season 2 of Dead Boy Detectives has not been addressed by its creative team or the powers that be at Netflix, one can see the building blocks toward more stories within this world being told. 

With further narrative exploration of the Dead Boy Detectives world, it would make sense to start to see even more connections to Netflix's Sandman story as well. 

Some have speculated the series takes place as Netflix's Sandman Season 1. This theory centers around the abundance of ghosts on Earth in Dead Boy Detectives possibly being linked to Lucifer emptying Hell like he does in The Sandman Season of Mists comic story. 

In response to this, showrunner Steve Yockey revealed that all these spirits wandering Earth are not linked to The Sandman, but that is because "they haven’t got to Season of Mists over in [the show]" (via Tudum), and the two are working in the same continuity:

"In our show, they are not, because that hasn’t happened on Sandman yet. And so, we are in continuity with the show. In our version, Edwin mapped his way to escape hell, as opposed to being released during [the comic collection] 'Season of Mists,' because they haven’t got to 'Season of Mists' over in the other show yet."

With Sandman getting a second season (subtitled "The Song of Orpheus"), there is always the chance Charles Rowland and Edwin Payne from Dead Boy pop up in a similar cameo fashion to Death and Despair in Dead Boy Detective Season 1. 

Perhaps beyond that, an even greater fleshing out of Netflix's Neil Gaiman DC world could be on the horizon for the streamer, potentially bringing in characters like John Constantine into the fray. 

Dead Boy Detectives is streaming now on Netflix. 

Read more about Dead Boy Detectives below:

Dead Boy Detectives Actor Michael Beach Explains Why He Was 'Scared' of Joining Netflix Show (Exclusive)

Who Is Jayden Revri? 5 Things to Know About Dead Boy Detectives Actor

Are the Dead Boy Detectives Gay In the Comics & Netflix Series?

Who Is George Rexstrew? 5 Things to Know About Dead Boy Detectives Star

- In This Article: Dead Boy Detectives
Release Date
April 25, 2024
George Rexstrew
Jayden Revri
Kassius Nelson
- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.