Neil Gaiman reveals what killed Sandman 20th-anniversary comic

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Neil Gaiman, best-selling author of Coraline and the Newbery Award-winning The Graveyard Book, had hoped to return to his comic-book series Sandman to script a special story for that character's 20th anniversary. A win-win project for both Gaiman and DC Comics, right? You'd think so, but his hopes were dashed when DC allegedly negotiated like it was 1987.

"I wanted to do a 20th-anniversary story, and it broke mostly because DC Comics would have loved me to do a 20th-anniversary story at the same terms that were agreed upon in 1987, when I was a 26-year-old unknown," Gaiman said in an interview with Jam! Showbiz. "And my thought was, 'You know what, guys, it really doesn't work like that.' I wasn't going to do a deal at the same terms we had in 1987, and they were not willing to do any better than that."

Gaiman also shared why it took him 22 years to complete The Graveyard Book and why he decided to script the last-ever Batman story, and gave his thoughts on a director for a possible Sandman movie.

"I think it's probably some kid who right now is around 26 years old," he said. "He may or may not have directed his first movie, but he loves Sandman and he has the same amount of dedication to the material that [director] Peter Jackson had to Lord of the Rings and Sam Rami had to Spider-Man. It's somebody who knows that there's this thing they love and they have a responsibility to the world get it right and not f--k it up.

"But they're also not scared of changing the things about it that are not cinematic into things that are cinema. Otherwise you end up with something like the Sin City movie, where you'd rather read the comic. I remember watching that and thinking, 'I think I prefer these characters better when Frank [Miller] draws them.'"