How The Sandman Author Neil Gaiman Drew Inspiration From His Nightmares

Years ago, at one of his earliest opportunities to speak at a university, author Neil Gaiman was informed that the English department had elected to boycott the event. Their concern? He wrote comics—and one couldn’t write comics and be a real writer.

The decades that followed would suggest otherwise. Today, Neil Gaiman—the creative force behind an extraordinary range of imaginative books, including American Gods, Good Omens and Coraline—is one of the world’s most celebrated (and prolific) storytellers. Writing not just comics but novels, children’s books, poetry and more, he has topped bestseller lists, won Hugo and Nebula and Eisner Awards, and seen his work adapted for stage, radio, film, and television. And over the course of Gaiman’s long and consequential career—one that notably led Stephen King to describe him as a “treasure-house of story”—The Sandman, a one-time cult hit that converted millions, may well be his most beloved work.
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First published by DC Comics in the late 1980s and now debuting on Aug. 5 on Netflix as a television series, The Sandman tells the story of Morpheus, the master of dreams, as he navigates the waking world and seeks to protect it from his escaped creations. Though set against a backdrop of gods and their cosmic conflicts, it is (in the way of all good myths) a story deeply concerned with what it means to be human—our frailties, our failures, and the possibilities we envision when we close our eyes.

Gaiman spoke to TIME about the challenges of adaptation, the power of speculative fiction, and what he has learned from his nightmares.

Read more: Netflix’s Mesmerizing Sandman Adaptation Is Well Worth the Decades-Long Wait

TIME: It’s been over 30 years since you first put pen to paper on The Sandman. What was it like to revisit one of your most celebrated stories all these years later?

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Gaiman: It felt like we were doing something that was literally impossible. I’d spent 30 years waiting for somebody to make a bad Sandman film. And just hoping that if I was really lucky, maybe it wouldn’t be bad. So getting to a place where we’re given the money and the resources to make Sandman from the comics is unexpected and an absolute delight.

Was there anything that, upon rereading, you were excited to update?

Mostly going through the old comics reminded us all the extent to which Sandman had kind of been rather ahead of its time. Back when nobody commented on the fact that it was filled with gay characters, trans characters and Black characters and so on. And now we’re doing a TV series of the comic. It feels like we kind of in a weird way did all the work. We actually had gone and made something that felt pretty much of its time.

Superhero narratives are now among the most popular stories in the world. How has that changed the world of comics?

I don’t think that it’s particularly changed the world of comics. I think it’s made people very aware of …read more

Source:: Time – Entertainment

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