More Talk With Neil Gaiman - Oct 95

Last month, Worlds of Westfield Content Editor, Roger A. Ash, spoke with Neil Gaiman about the conclusion of Sandman. This month, their conversation continues with a look at the new Death mini-series and upcoming projects.

Westfield: One of the first really popular issues of Sandman was #8, The Sound of Her Wings, which introduced Death. Why do you think people were so attracted to Death?

Gaiman: She's nice. I don't think there are enough nice people in comics. Just people you'd like to hang out with and spend time with. And I think Death's one of those. One of the reasons why she's popular is, she's really cool.

Westfield: The new mini-series is Death: The Time of Your Life. What can you tell us about it?

Gaiman: Death is in it, but she's not exactly the foreground. A lot more of it is about Hazel and Foxglove, two Sandman characters who were in A Game of You, and they were in the first Death series. This is about them now. Time has moved on since we saw them. When last seen in High Cost of Living, Foxglove was playing her first gig. And, briefly seen in The Kindly Ones, she was again playing a gig. Now we're a few years on from that and Foxglove is learning all about fame and whether or not she likes it. Her relationship with Hazel is falling apart, she's in the closet as a lesbian and she's about to be outed, and her manager is just about to die. And while this stuff is happening, Hazel vanishes, taking with her their son, and goes off with Death. A lot of it is about what's actually happened to Hazel, what's going to happen to Foxglove's career, whether or not Foxglove can get Hazel back, and whether or not she wants to.

Westfield: Was it difficult coming up with a new Death story?

Gaiman: It's very interesting writing this. 'Cause it's a lot of things that I've been thinking about for a long time. I'm playing around with different aspects of Death, and trying to write something more about Death as a phenomenon than necessarily Death as a person.

Westfield: Will there be other mini-series or specials featuring other members of the Endless?

Gaiman: Oh yeah. I think that's pretty much a given. The next one will be Delirium. I think Jill Thompson is the world's best Delirium artist. After that, I think I'd like to do a Despair mini-series with, if possible, Barron Storey.

Westfield: Another upcoming Sandman-related project is The Dreaming, on which you are the consultant. What can you tell us about the series and what exactly do you do as consultant?

Gaiman: Well, so far I've seen a few scripts, not many, and mostly said, "Oh, I like that." Occasionally I've said, "Y'know, Cain and Abel don't talk anything like that." I didn't exactly suggest the plot, but I suggested the subject matter of the first series. I said if I were doing it, this is what I'd do. [DC Editor] Alisa [Kwitney] took that and suggested it to Terry LaBan, who is writing the first series. If it were me, I'd do a story about Goldie the Gargoyle going off on a wander, so that's sort of what they've done.

Westfield: Do you have any other upcoming projects you'd like to mention?

Gaiman: I've been working on a project with Charles Vess called Stardust, which should be out very late next year [1996] or early the year after that from Vertigo, which is a text based project. A book with many words rather than word balloons and an awful lot of illustrations. Right now I'm working very, very hard on my series for the BBC, which is called Neverwhere, and which I've been working on for years and years very quietly. I wrote the original outline for it in the beginning of '91. So, in that sense, it's been bopping around for a long time. I gradually wrote the six scripts. But it's now coming together and, of course, whenever these kind of things actually do happen, they happen terribly fast. I spent last week tramping around the sewers of London looking for locations, which was very peculiar. Not as smelly as you'd imagine though, I have to confess. We've just picked a director, which has been terrific, and I'm rewriting scripts, and today was spent reading through scripts and timing them.