For fans of the author Neil Gaiman, the idea of needing a beginner’s guide may sound ridiculous: he’s been a cult hero for decades. His novels, short stories, and comic books have won all kinds of awards and prizes. But, in the manner of other genre icons who amassed a specific group of fans prior to mainstream success, his omnipresence might seem sudden to many others.
“Omnipresent” is pretty accurate: He has several books coming out over the next few weeks — Unnatural Creatures: Stories Selected by Neil Gaiman (which came out earlier this week, on April 23), Make Good Art (May 14), How to Talk to Girls at Parties (May 18) and The Ocean at the End of the Lane (June 18). A BBC radio-play adaptation of his novel Neverwhere premiered in March. And there’s more coming.
So, to clear up any confusion, let’s start with the basics:
So, who is this Neil Gaiman? And what does he do?
He’s a British-born writer who now lives in the U.S., in a town outside of Minneapolis. He started out as a journalist and wrote his first book, about the band Duran Duran, in 1984, but he’s best known for his genre work.
His break-out text was the comic book The Sandman, a 75-issue series that ran from 1989 through 1996. The epic — which takes place in the world of dreams — was among a handful of titles (along with Alan Moore’s Watchmen and Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns)that elevated comic books into the realm of real literature.
His other major works, for children and adults, include 2008′s The Graveyard Book, 2003′s Coraline, and 2002′s American Gods — all of which have won multiple awards and prizes.
(MORE: Neil Gaiman, Geek God)
Why is Neil Gaiman mainstream-famous now? And when did this happen?
Even if you know everything there is to know about Neil Gaiman, it’s still a nice read. (btw, so is his Tumblr.)