The Sandman creator Neil Gaiman says show’s critics ‘don’t like gay or Black people’

The Sandman creator Neil Gaiman speaks into a microphone at New York Comic Con 2022

Creator of the graphic comic series turned Netflix-sensation The Sandman Neil Gaiman has once again taken aim at critics who think the show is too ‘woke’.

The hit series is based on Gaiman’s comics originally published in 1989, and boasts an impressively diverse character list, including non-binary Desire played by non-binary actor Mason Alexander Park.

The Sandman also weaves in other characters from across the LGBTQ+ spectrum, though fans of the comic series will know that the LGBTQ+ representation was already apparent in the original comics.

In an interview with Inverse, Gaiman has said that those getting upset about the show’s LGBTQ+ visibility aren’t The Sandman fans.

“Occasionally, we’d get people shouting at us for having made up all of these gay characters who weren’t in the comics, and then we’d go, ‘Have you read the comics?’ And they’d go ,‘No,'” Gaiman said.

“We’d go, ‘They were gay in the comics.’ And they’d go, ‘You’re just woke and nobody is going to watch your horrible show!’ And then we went number one in the world for four weeks.”

Gaiman added that the controversy is a “weird silliness”, suggesting that the critics are often discriminatory trolls.

“These complainers don’t like gay people, they don’t like Black people, and they don’t like women. And if you look at their profiles, they don’t like vaccines, they don’t like Democrats, and they’re not big on voting,” he said.

Neil Gaiman, creator of The Sandman. (Paula Lobo/Getty)

Neil Gaiman has said people who criticise the LGBTQ characters aren’t real fans. (Getty/Paula Lobo)

The fact that the character Death is portrayed by a Black actor (Kirby Howell-Baptise) and Lucifer is played by a woman (Gwendoline Christie) has also led to baseless accusations of the show being “too woke”. 

Responding to the suggestion that the casting choices had caused controversy, Gaiman said: “The people that were getting all upset about Lucifer’s casting and were up in arms about the ‘gender swap,’ again, weren’t Sandman fans because then they’d know that Lucifer looked kind of like an androgynous David Bowie and doesn’t have any genitalia because they’re an angel.”

It’s not the first time that Gaiman has come out swinging in defence of the show’s characters and casting. In August, after the series premiered, one profile picture-less tweeter said the show’s content was “disgusting” and suggested the LGBTQ+ characters were being “rammed down people’s throats”.

Gaiman cooly replied: “I am beginning to wonder at the continual use of the “ramming things down our throats” metaphor by people who seem upset by the gay characters on the TV (or in the comics 30 years ago).”

In 2021, when the show’s casting was announced, Gaiman said that he gave “zero f**ks” about fake fans complaining.

“I give all the f**ks about the work…I give zero f**ks about people who don’t understand/haven’t read Sandman whining about a non-binary Desire or that Death isn’t white enough,” he wrote.

“Watch the show, make up your minds.”

Earlier this month, The Sandman was renewed for a second season.