Neil Gaiman Celebrates 20 Years of Sandman, Slams Batman


You don’t have to be a comic book geek to know that best-selling author NEIL GAIMAN, creator of the SANDMAN series (which NORMAN MAILER once called “a comic strip for intellectuals”), is a very big deal.

Aside from writing the gateway drug that opened the genre up to a more widespread demographic, he has penned screenplays, short stories, novels, children’s books, radio plays, and other comics as well.

MICHAEL CHABON has said that he’s “really, really cute,” but as we discovered last night at the 92Y’s Sandman 20th-Anniversary Celebration, hosted by graphic guru CHIP KIDD, this cult hero is also really, really entertaining.

Find out what Gaiman had to say about Captain Kirk, Batman and Hellboy after the jump.

On meeting WILLIAM SHATNER (told in a dead-on Shatner imitation): “We were in Buenos Aires at a Sci-Fi convention. He came up to me and said, ‘You…aren’t…Neil…Diamond. When…they…told…me…you…were…a…guest…here…I…thought…they…said…Neil…Diamond. They…said…he…has…curly…hair…and…a…leather…jacket…and…I…said…that…doesn’t…sound…like…Neil Diamond. I…met…him…backstage…at…a…concert…once.’ And then he never spoke to me again. He was chubby, but not corpulent. Well fed.

His take on The Dark Knight: I came out having enjoyed it but feeling like I’d watched two films. The first one I loved. Batman versus HEATH LEDGER’s Joker. Then there was this other film that took forever with fight scenes that were clumsily shot. I liked it, but I kept wishing they had just made the first movie. It was overstuffed. I hope in the next one they give CHRISTIAN BALE some throat lozenges. I just can’t get over the fact that he looks like a giant cockroach [Ed: A reader reports that this part was said by Kidd. We don’t have a transcript, just our hastily scribbled notes, so thanks for the head’s up.] — they still haven’t cracked the Batman costume, but at least he can sort of move his head now.

Training with Guillermo del Toro: I am supposed to direct a film based on DEATH: THE HIGH COST OF LIVING and Guillermo is an executive producer. He brought me out to Budapest where he was shooting HELLBOY:2 and let me be his shadow — even when we was giving his actors direction. He told me to ask him anything, no matter how stupid. Watching him shoot, I realized that I would have said cut too soon, he always kept going until it was perfect.

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