The St. Louis Post-Dispatch/LA Times says veteran writer Neil Gaiman, most known for writing the 1989-96 Sandman volume at DC Comics, is defending what some see as PC alterations to a new Netflix TV show based on the story, like depicting Death as a black woman, and Desire as non-binary:
The comic was a genre-busting, gender-bending horror-ish fantasia that simply didn’t care about convention. So when self-proclaimed fans objected to the show casting nonbinary and Black actors, how did they think Gaiman would react?
They might not have thought this one through before tagging him in anti-“woke” tweets. One poster accused him of “selling out,” not “standing by his work” and “not giving a f—.”
Gaiman responded, “I give all the f—s about the work. I spent 30 years successfully battling bad movies of Sandman.
“I give zero f—s about people who don’t understand/ haven’t read Sandman whining about a non-binary Desire or that Death isn’t white enough. Watch the show, make up your minds.”
Well here’s why I simply can’t care at all, and it’s got to be the biggest elephant in the room the detractors who yet continue to uphold the source material haven’t dwelled on: why did Gaiman have to misuse Fury from Infinity Inc, a most notable creation of Roy Thomas (debuting in 1983, she was originally daughter of the Golden Age Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor from Earth-2), by depicting her going mostly insane in the story?
Seriously. I don’t think he did her any favors as a character, based on how later on, after her son Daniel went missing, she pinned the blame on Morpheus, and plotted to get him wiped out as he was by issue 69-70. Aside from how I found the horror elements of the material I’d read years ago distasteful (like when Dr. Destiny mind controls several people with a magical device in a diner to commit suicide in gruesome ways, after gunning down a lady motorist), I thought making use of Fury for something so cheap was atrocious too. I’m sure I mentioned in the past that Geoff Johns never improved on this when he and JSA co-writer David Goyer had Fury end up in a coma caused by Mordru, and when she came out of it, she and Hector Hall were shunted back into Dreaming limbo again, like cheap tissue paper. In that case, what was the whole point of bringing them back in the first place?
For now, the point I’m making is: why is anybody dismayed at Gaiman’s acceptance of these ideologies, but not dismayed at his questionable use of Lyta Hall, and Hector Hall too, come to think of it? How is it that all these years, it never occurred to anybody what Gaiman was doing with the 2 Infinity Inc. members was potentially reprehensible?
Anyway, if it matters, here’s some more:
In the comics, Death is usually depicted as a pale, white (perhaps gray) goth girl but, like other eternal beings known as “The Endless,” she also takes other forms. Desire has always been depicted as androgynous (described by sibling Despair as “sister-brother” and acknowledged by Gaiman as “they/them” in a 2017 blog post).
And why are these pronouns such a big deal? All that does is make Gaiman look more like an ideologue than an entertainment specialist. Should I mention I don’t find gothic style dress appealing?
The casting (and Neil’s attitude towards any criticism of it) is a fascinating way for him to honor the late Cinamon Hadley.
But it’s his creation, making it his prerogative to insult not only her memory, but any upset Sandman (aka “toxic”) fans as well.https://t.co/tfvvmPmq0k
— Bleeding Fool (@BleedingFool) June 3, 2021
Indie Wire’s also parroting the crummiest tactics:
Neil Gaiman has spent the last several days on social media shutting down toxic fans of “The Sandman” upset with some of the casting choices made for Netflix’s upcoming adaptation of the comic book series. The streaming giant and Gaiman announced May 28 a handful of new cast members, including Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death and Mason Alexander Park as Desire. Death is billed as the “wiser, nicer, and much more sensible sister” of the series’ protagonist, Tom Sturridge’s Dream of the Endless/Morpheus, while Desire is “Dream’s sibling and everything you want, whatever you want, and whoever you are.”
[…] Gaiman also shared one fan’s response to Park’s casting that reads: “Desire in ‘Sandman’ was really the first time I encountered in fiction the idea of a person being non-binary. It helped me when reality presented me with out non-binary people, some of whom I now know and love. I can’t imagine reading ‘Sandman’ and desiring Desire as anything other.”
“We had barely started looking when (they/them) reached out on Twitter, and threw their hat into the ring,” Gaiman wrote in a blog post about the casting May 2 (via The Wrap). “We were thrilled when they got the part…[Death was] significantly harder to cast than you might imagine. Hundreds of talented women from all around the planet auditioned, and they were brilliant, and none of them were right. Someone who could speak the truth to Dream, on the one hand, but also be the person you’d want to meet when your life was done on the other. And then we saw Kirby Howell-Baptiste’s (she/her) audition and we knew we had our Death.”
Wow, just what the world needs, still more of the PC blabbering with pronouns. As though that’s the biggest deal when you have all sorts of real life issues to deal with far more crucial. That fan they speak of, by the way, is sci-fi writer John Scalzi, whom I seem to recall betrayed another novelist named Mike Resnick after some left-wing feminist sympathizers attacked him over a sex-positive article. Does Scalzi also think men and women calling themselves “non-binary” are doing themselves a favor by isolating themselves in such a crude manner from the rest of humanity and society?
It’s also worth noting all this time, Gaiman is one of a number of writers who’d prefer to take out their frustrations on Comicsgate:
Oh, bless. It’s Comicsgate. I thought you were all extinct.
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) May 29, 2021
Neil has dragged #ComicsGate before, so some of the fervor over a new Vertigo creator sexually harassing CG may have something to do with that.
Not saying whether boycotting Neil or Sandman is right, but I’m sure many CG advocates admire Neil and wish he viewed this differently. pic.twitter.com/Sw6bLoicDE
— Bleeding Fool (@BleedingFool) August 29, 2018
This is the same guy who’d associated with Brad Meltzer in the past, his repellent Identity Crisis miniseries notwithstanding, and Gaiman thinks Comicsgate is the problem? All he did is suggest why he had no issue with mishandling Fury, as he decidedly did those many years ago.
In the end, what actually disappoints me is what nobody seems ready to acknowledge: that the misuse of Lyta Hall in Sandman was questionable, if not thoroughly offensive. I read some of the material in the past, but that doesn’t mean I found it appealing, and, I didn’t. All I saw in it was a horror comic built on some pretty sensationalized junk, that didn’t provide enough to think about.
Originally published here.