The Hollywood Reporter has a brief but trenchant interview with Neil Gaiman. The whole thing is worth reading, but this was the funniest bit:
THR: Did you worry about it backfiring on you, if the fans didn’t like it?
Gaiman: Oh sure. The time that I saw it backfire worst was when I was on a Vertigo panel and (Vertigo editor) Karen Berger announced to a hall of 4,000 people, “The biggest news item I’ve got is that Warner Bros. is going to make a John Constantine movie (2005’s ‘Constantine’)!” And the whole hall erupted in cheering. And then she said, “And he’s going to be played by Keanu Reeves!” And the whole hall went, “Oh … .” And that was it. It ended at that moment for that film, and honestly, if anyone from Warner Bros. had been in the hall, they should’ve gotten on the phone to say, “The Keanu Reeves thing is not going to work. Can we give him money to go away?” But nobody did, and the fans had washed their hands of “Constantine” before it came out because they knew it wasn’t the thing they wanted to see. Generally speaking with comics, the closer the movie is to the source material in terms of look and feel, the better it works. And the more studios assume that you can put Batman in a pink costume and nobody will notice, the more everybody notices. They never quite figure that one out. So it’s worth reminding people that in addition to all the movie stuff at Comic-Con, there’s a really quite wonderful comics convention going on where they can learn something … if they can get a hotel room.
You see, Lisa is almost 20 years of our national conscience—smart and talented, sensitive and decent. She is absolutely the John Edwards of The Simpsons: qualified, presentable and totally overshadowed by the more glamorous members of her pack. We feel superior to Homer because he’s so dumb. Bart’s schtick played better in the ’90s than it does in the new millennium. Marge has just never been all that interesting, and Maggie has said just one word in almost two decades of toddlerdom. But Lisa? She’s the only family member to have actually evolved in almost 20 years and the one who represents the best qualities in all of us. We’ve just been too busy watching Bart and Homer to notice.