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Neil Gaiman

· Fine Book Collecting,Graphic Novels,Fantasy,Neil Gaiman,Amanda Palmer

I became aware of Neil Gaiman back in the 1990s. It was his Sandman series which didn’t appeal to me at all. I had lost interest in the horror genre and that is where I thought he spent his time and effort. Boy was I wrong! It is impossible to put Gaiman in any kind of box. And not only is he prolific, but he collaborates with a wide spectrum of writers, illustrators, graphic artists and designers, and others. Much of his work is illustrated (Yippee). He has firmly embraced the graphic novel as an outlet for his creativity. Here is some of his Wikipedia write up.

Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman, born 10 November 1960, is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, nonfiction, audio theatre, and films. His works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. He has won numerous awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, as well as the Newbery and Carnegie medals. He is the first author to win both the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same work, The Graveyard Book (2008). In 2013, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was voted Book of the Year in the British National Book Awards. It was later adapted into a critically acclaimed stage play at the Royal National Theatre in London, England that The Independent called " at its best".

Gaiman's work is known for a high degree of allusiveness. Dr. Meredith Collins, for instance, has commented upon the degree to which his novel Stardust depends on allusions to Victorian fairy tales and culture. Particularly in The Sandman, literary figures and characters appear often; the character of Fiddler's Green is modelled visually on G. K. Chesterton, both William Shakespeare and Geoffrey Chaucer appear as characters, as do several characters from within A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest. The comic also draws from numerous mythologies and historical periods.

Analyzing Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, bibliographer and librarian Richard Bleiler detects patterns of and allusions to the Gothic novel, from Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. He concludes that Gaiman is "utilizing works, characters, themes, and settings that generations of scholars have identified and classified as Gothic, ... [yet] subverts them and develops the novel by focusing on the positive aspects of maturation, concentrating on the values of learning, friendship, and sacrifice". Regarding another work's assumed connection and allusions to this form, Gaiman himself quipped: "I've never been able to figure out whether Sandman is a gothic.

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The Sandman tells the tale of the ageless, anthropomorphic personification of Dream that is known by many names, including Morpheus. In the eighth issue of The Sandman, Gaiman and artist Mike Dringenberg introduced Death, the older sister of Dream, who became as popular as the series' title character.

The series became one of DC's top selling titles, eclipsing even Batman and Superman. Comics historian Les Daniels called Gaiman's work "astonishing" and noted that The Sandman was "a mixture of fantasy, horror, and ironic humor such as comic books had never seen before". DC Comics writer and executive Paul Levitz observed that "The Sandman became the first extraordinary success as a series of graphic novel collections, reaching out and converting new readers to the medium, particularly young women on college campuses, and making Gaiman himself into an iconic cultural figure."

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Stardust, Neil Gaiman, Avon Books, New York, 1999.

In 1999, first printings of his fantasy novel Stardust were released. The novel has been released both as a standard novel and in an illustrated text edition. This novel was highly influenced by Victorian fairy tales and culture.

Stardust was made into a movie, which premiered in August 2007 and stars Charlie Cox, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes and Mark Strong, directed by Matthew Vaughn.

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This was the first book by Gaiman that I read, and I was completely blown away by the inventiveness and writing style. This would easily be in the top 10 list of novels that I have read.

American Gods became one of Gaiman's best-selling and multi-award-winning novels upon its release in 2001. Gaiman has not written a direct sequel to American Gods, but he has revisited the characters. A glimpse at Shadow's travels in Europe is found in a short story which finds him in Scotland, applying the same concepts developed in American Gods to the story of Beowulf.

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The Sleeper and the Spindle, Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell, Bloomsbury, London, 2014.

As regular readers of my Musing know, I love illustrated books – which are distinctly different from graphic novels. Here the illustrations support the text. That is why you get treated to more photos of this and the next book!

Here is the blurb – You may think you know this story. There’s a young queen, about to be married. There are some good, brave, hardy dwarfs; a castle, shrouded in thorns; and a princess, cursed by a witch, so rumour has it, to sleep forever. But no one is waiting for a noble prince to appear on his trusty steed here. This fairy tale is spun with a thread of dark magic, which twists and turns and glints and shines. A queen might just prove herself a hero, if a princess needs rescuing…

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Well, this looks different doesn’t it? And it is – here is the story.

There is a record album also titled Who Killed Amanda Palmer, featuring Palmer. Amanda MacKinnon Gaiman Palmer (born April 30, 1976) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and performance artist who is the lead vocalist, pianist, and lyricist of the duo The Dresden Dolls. Her first solo studio album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer, was released on September 16, 2008. The title is a play on an expression used by fans during Twin Peaks' original run, "Who killed Laura Palmer?" A companion book of photos of Palmer looking as if she were murdered was released in July 2009 – this book. The book is full of photos of Amana Palmer feigning death, by various means, in various states of dress and undress, from all around the world.

And here is the rest of the story.

Neil Gaiman and Palmer confirmed their engagement in 2010 and Palmer hosted a flash mob wedding for Gaiman's birthday in New Orleans later the same year. The couple legally married in a private ceremony in 2011. On marrying Palmer, he took her middle name, MacKinnon, as one of his names. They have a son, Anthony "Ash", born on September 16, 2015.