Is Netflix‘s The Sandman “emo“? After a wave of Twitter users identified the new comic adaptation’s main character, played by Tom Sturridge, as the latest onscreen emblem of emo — and British GQ surmised the same — it seems that might be the consensus.
Several tweets tied The Sandman to Robert Pattinson‘s recent Batman revival, also calling that emo. In this spring’s The Batman, the Twilight actor plays the socialite-turned-superhero unlike any Batmen before him, all messy black eyeliner and stringy hair.
Perhaps that’s why British GQ conflated the two — and hard. This week, GQ contributor Iana Murray wrote that the properties marked the “timely return of the emo leading man”:
Protagonists rarely get more brooding than the one at the center of Netflix’s hit Neil Gaiman adaptation. With his dark disheveled locks, Morpheus (AKA Dream) cloaks his cold demeanor in an all-black wardrobe. The overriding message at the core of ‘The Sandman’ is one of hope, as demonstrated by Morpheus’ battle of wits with Gwendoline Christie’s Lucifer – but the series predominantly sticks to a dreary aesthetic. The series marks the return of the emo leading man, the morose antihero who feels right at home on the Pinterest boards of My Chemical Romance listeners.
Many on Twitter seemed to agree. However, plenty did not, and they opined how the idea missed the mark. Still, several were enthused about emo entertainment.
“Between The Batman and The Sandman it’s really been a banner year for emo Goth guys slowly walking into rooms,” one said. “Watching through The Sandman and really hoping that emo and goth hairstyles come back. I’m ready,” another added.
Others weren’t so stoked, particularly with the GQ article. “Not British GQ referring to … Sandman as ‘an emo leading man.’ Gtfo with that,” one remarked. Another chimed in, “I am deeply offended by this Gen X erasure. Goth gen-x shoegazey Sandman CRAWLED so that millennial emos COULD WALK.”
These days, the term “emo” gets thrown around to indicate almost anything dark and mysterious. But the term in a musical sense first applied to the emotional hardcore that sprung from punk rock in the ’80s. Over time, the word became more associated with pop-punk bands who had sad lyrics, such as My Chemical Romance or Paramore.
The Sandman, so far a single season comprised of 10 episodes, premiered on Netflix Aug. 5. The Batman hit theaters in March. My Chemical Romance reunited in 2019 and this year are touring the world. Watch the official trailer for The Sandman below.
See more Twitter reactions under the video.