NYCC 2020: The Sound Of ‘The Sandman’ With Neil Gaiman and Friends

by Benjamin Hall

Writer Neil Gaiman, actor James McAvoy, composer James Hannigan, and adaptation director Dirk Maggs sat down with Kevin Smith on Friday for a New York Comic Con Metaverse chat about Audible’s adaptation of Gaiman’s acclaimed comic book, The Sandman (1989-1996). Both DC and Audible acted as sponsors of the panel, thus it panel feels somewhat like it is partly a marketing gimmick to promote the franchise — at least in the early going.

Smith first asked the now standard question regarding the publishing origins of The Sandman. Gaiman then gave his now standard story about pitching to his former editor, Karen Berger. Although there was some abridging to it versus other times, such as in The Sandman Companion [2000]. Smith then asked Maggs about his prior involvement in creating audio dramas. Maggs mentioned his work on the BBC audio drama Superman On Trial (1988). He also made a joke about Neil damaging his life by making him wait to adapt The Sandman. A little later Smith talked about his infamous heart attack and getting comfort from a Death quote.

When McAvoy got a question for the first time it is about acting as the character of Morpheus, he displayed a deep understanding of the Lord of Dreams. He described him in a way that suggesting the character is a being of abstractness yet also relatable. McAvoy also praised Gaiman’s writing. Later, McAvoy praised actress Kat Dennings‘s portrayal of Death. In fact, there were several moments in which the panelists and host praise someone or something.

Smith asked Hannigan about scoring an audio drama in comparison to movies. This led to the panelists discussing story and different ways of storytelling. Other questions were answered, but one highlight was Gaiman mentioning how he sent Maggs unseen script moments along with The Sandman scripts. Gaiman also mentioned how this is a opportunity to allow those with certain disabilities to experience The Sandman. Thus, while this panel starts partly as a promotional piece it concludes with some real moments.

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