Neil Gaiman is an English comic writer and author books for both adult and children. He's known for imaginative work that crosses horror, fantasy and sci-fiction genres.
Some of his best known works are:
- The Sandman comics which tell the tale of Morpheus, the anthropomorphic personification of Dream. It ran for 75 issues and won nine Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, including the award for best writer four times, and three Harvey Awards. Sandman #19 took the 1991 World Fantasy Award for best short story, making it the first comic ever to be awarded a literary award.
- American Gods, a novel combining ancient mythology in modern America. His novel Anansi Boys is set in the same universe.
- Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch was co-written by Neil with Terry Pratchett. It follows the exploits of the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley who are concerned the impending Apocalypse may disrupt their comfortable existence on Earth.
The influence of Gaiman's work has always been evident in Supernatural, and at Comic-Con 2007, Kripke acknowledged this: “I was hoping I would meet [Neil Gaiman] because he’s a huge influence on Supernatural, between American Gods and Sandman.” In late 2010 Kripke was mentioned in association with a project to create a TV series based on The Sandman -- "My all-time favorite comic."
Though the project did not get to proceed, Kripke did get to speak with Gaiman:
"I’m such a fan of Neil, and he’s every bit as smart as promised and every bit as cool and down-to-earth, and I just loved my conversations with him... I've ripped off Neil front, right and centre. I mean Supernatural is basically Sandman meets American Gods"
In June 2019 it was announced that a deal had been done between Netflix and Warner Bros. Television to produce The Sandman as a series. Allan Heinberg is to write and act as showrunner and Neil Gaiman will executive produce with David Goyer.
In an unrelated project, in 2011 Tom Hanks's production company signed to develop an adaptation of American Gods for HBO. This project didn't proceed, and eventually Starz picked up the rights for a series headed by Hannibal and Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller and Kings creator Michael Green, which premiered in April 2017.
References from Gaiman's work in Supernatural
While themes and motifs from Gaiman's work are woven throughout Supernatural, there are some explicit references.
- The character of Tessa the reaper, who first appears to a dying Dean in 2.01 In My Time of Dying. She bears a striking resemblance to Death from Sandman, and the Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 2 confirms her as the inspiration.
- John Constantine, of the Hellblazer series which Gaiman wrote for and who also appeared in Sandman was Kripke’s source for Castiel’s look. See our entry on Castiel's Trench Coat for more details.
- Azazel is a ruler of Hell in Neil Gaiman's Sandman series.
- Episodes such as 1.11 Scarecrow, 5.05 Fallen Idols and 5.19 Hammer of the Gods have themes similar to American Gods where deities of ancient mythology (Odin, Loki, etc...) are re-manifested and recruited to fight the New American Gods.
- A Hand of Glory appears in 3.06 Red Sky at Morning as well as the Sandman comic by Neil Gaiman and his novel Neverwhere.
- American Gods and Anansi Boys by Gaiman also feature the character of Anansi, under the name Mr. Nancy, who is a trickster god not dissimilar to that which Gabriel disguised himself as.
- Crowley’s name is a reference to the character of the same name in Good Omens. Interestingly, Crowley is introduced in 5.10 Abandon All Hope... which opens with an overhead shot of a freeway, which evokes the description in Good Omens of the M25 which Crowley builds in the shape of a sigil and on which the traffic unknowingly helps generate “low-grade evil to pollute the metaphysical atmosphere.”
- Mark Sheppard talks about Neil Gaiman's reaction to Crowley and Supernatural.
- Good Omens also features the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and an 11-year-old Antichrist reminiscent of Jesse in 5.06 I Believe the Children Are Our Future. And Chuck isn’t the only prophet to write books -– Good Omens has the works of “The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch.”
- In 6.18 Frontierland Sam receives a package, sent far in the past with special instructions to deliver to him on that date. Anathema and Newt receive a package with similar instructions at the end of Good Omens
- In 7.07 The Mentalists reference in made to the Orb of Thessaly. Thessaly is a witch in the Sandman comics.
- In 11.10 The Devil in the Details the reaper Billie is seen reading Death: The Time of Your Life
Fanfic featuring Supernatural crossovers with Gaiman works:
- SPN Omens an LJ community for Supernatural/Good Omens fanworks
- American Gods crossovers tagged on delicious
- Sandman crossovers tagged on delicious
- Good Omens crossovers tagged on delicious