Neil Gaiman: 'Compleat Death' Collection Canceled For 'Absolute' Edition, 'Death' Movie Still Planned

Neil Gaiman's 'Death'Supposedly the only things certain in life are death and taxes -- but Death sometimes has plans of her own. You know the plans to release a Death anthology next year? The so-called “Compleat Death”? That’s just been revised, according to Neil Gaiman.

“This is news,” said Gaiman. “This is breaking news.”

During a Sunday appearance at the 92nd Street Y in New York to celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Sandman,” Gaiman let slip that as of a day or two ago, "The Compleat Death" was canceled… to make way for an “Absolute Death.”

Gaiman said that the change came about because of fans grumbling they didn’t have enough Death as it was, and “it seems to be what people want,” he said. The change will add a few months to the publication schedule, so instead of a March release date, the new book probably won’t be out until later in 2009. (The next “Absolute Sandman” is due November 5).

As for the movie version of “Death," it looks like the whole Warner Bros.-New Line-Warner Independent shuffling has sorted itself out, with New Line coming back to swoop it up.

“New Line is very much interested in making it,” Gaiman said, “once the dust settles. That will probably happen, unless it doesn’t.”

The good news is Gaiman already has a script “and a lot of [other] stuff” ready to go, once the green light happens.

“The delight in doing ‘Death: The High Cost of Living’ is that it’s already a movie-shaped story,” he told us backstage. “And it’s not even the fact that it’s Death from the Sandman comics. It’s just this lovely little story about a boy who’s depressed and a girl who says she’s Death, and the day they spend together.”

If “Death” works out, could other movies of the “Endless” be in order?

“Too hypothetical,” he smiled. “Beyond ‘Death,’ it’s all about time, and it’s all about desire, and it’s all about how many stories I get to write before I get hit by a bus. If I die by getting hit by a bus. It’s entirely possible I may just spontaneously combust.”

Looking forward to the "Absolute Death"? What other "endless" stories would you like to see collected, continued or given the big-screen treatment?