Gaiman, Neil

Gaiman, Neil
▪ 2005

      In the eight years since the conclusion of his groundbreaking Sandman series for DC Comics, Neil Gaiman had established himself as a successful novelist, an outspoken activist for authors' legal rights, and a creator of children's tales in the fantastic and macabre tradition of the Brothers Grimm. In 2004 he concluded his best-selling series 1602 for Marvel Comics. The story reinterpreted classic Marvel superheroes and marked Gaiman's first foray into the superhero genre since his run on the critically acclaimed but legally troubled Miracleman in the early 1990s. Fittingly, the proceeds from 1602, one of the year's best-selling comics, were used to free Miracleman from the copyright issues that had entangled it since 1998.

      Gaiman was born on Nov. 10, 1960, in Porchester, Eng. He grew up in Sussex and attended Whitgift School in Croydon. Upon graduating, he freelanced as a journalist before earning his first author credit for a paperback biography of the pop music group Duran Duran in 1984. While the subject matter was certainly not indicative of his later work, its success was, and the first printing sold out in a matter of days. It was around this time that he met artist Dave McKean, and the two collaborated on the graphic novel Violent Cases (1987). The work established them as rising stars in the comic world, and soon the two were noticed by publishers on both sides of the Atlantic. They submitted story and art treatments to DC Comics, and the result was Black Orchid (1988), a three-part miniseries that helped establish the atmosphere for the DC renaissance of the late 1980s. Along with Alan Moore's work on Watchmen (1987) and Swamp Thing (1983–87) and Frank Miller's gritty interpretation of Batman in The Dark Knight Returns (1986), the success of Black Orchid showed that a market existed for dark, mature stories written for an adult audience. This became even clearer with the launch of Sandman in 1989.

      Sandman was a completely new kind of comic. While McKean stayed on as cover artist for the entire run of the series, a rotating series of interior artists helped flavour each individual story arc. In addition, the stories were unlike any previously seen in mainstream comics. The protagonist was Morpheus, the manifestation of the ability of sentient beings to dream. Like many other pantheons, the Endless, Morpheus's siblings, were godlike beings with human foibles and drives. A typical story was so littered with literary allusions and historical references that Internet fan sites soon began offering detailed annotations of individual issues. By the time the series ended in 1996, Sandman had captured an enviable list of awards and was DC's top-selling title. Gaiman also topped best-seller lists with his novels Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett, 1990), Neverwhere (1996), Stardust (1999), and American Gods (2001) and with his children's book Coraline (2002). In 2003 he revisited the Sandman characters in Endless Nights, an anthology that had the distinction of being the first graphic novel to earn a place on the New York Times best-seller list for hardcover fiction.

Michael Ray

* * *

▪ British writer
in full  Neil Richard Gaiman 
born Nov. 10, 1960, Porchester, Hampshire, Eng.
 
 British writer who earned critical praise and popular success with richly imagined fantasy tales that frequently featured a darkly humorous tone.

      Gaiman grew up in Sussex and attended Whitgift School in Croydon. Upon graduating, he worked as a freelance journalist before earning his first author credit for a paperback biography of the pop music group Duran Duran in 1984. While the subject matter was certainly not indicative of his later work, its success was, and the first printing sold out in a matter of days. It was around this time that he met artist Dave McKean, and the two collaborated on the graphic novel Violent Cases (1987). The work established them as rising stars in the comic world, and soon the two were noticed by publishers on both sides of the Atlantic. They submitted story and art treatments to DC Comics, and the result was Black Orchid (1988), a three-part miniseries that helped establish the atmosphere for the DC renaissance of the late 1980s. Along with Alan Moore's work on Watchmen (1987) and Swamp Thing (1983–87) and Frank Miller's gritty interpretation of Batman in The Dark Knight Returns (1986), the success of Black Orchid showed that a market existed for dark, mature stories written for an adult audience. This became even clearer with the launch of Sandman in 1989.

      Sandman was a completely new kind of comic. While McKean stayed on as cover artist for the book's entire run, a rotating series of interior artists helped flavour each individual story arc. In addition, the stories were unlike any previously seen in mainstream comics. The protagonist was Morpheus, the manifestation of the ability of sentient beings to dream. Like many other pantheons, the Endless—Morpheus's siblings—were godlike beings with human foibles and drives. A typical story was so littered with literary allusions and historical references that Internet fan sites soon began offering detailed annotations of individual issues. By the time the series ended in 1996, Sandman had captured an enviable list of awards and was DC Comics' top-selling title. Gaiman also topped best-seller lists with his novels Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett, 1990), Neverwhere (1996), Stardust (1999; filmed 2007), and American Gods (2001) and with his children's book Coraline (2002; filmed 2009). He revisited the Sandman characters in 2003 with Endless Nights, an anthology that had the distinction of being the first graphic novel to earn a place on The New York Times best-seller list for hardcover fiction.

 In 2004 Gaiman penned 1602 for Marvel Comics. The story reinterpreted classic Marvel superheroes and marked Gaiman's first foray into the superhero genre since his run on the critically acclaimed but legally troubled Marvelman (known in the United States as Miracleman) in the early 1990s. Fittingly, the proceeds from 1602, one of that year's best-selling comics, were used to finance Gaiman's effort to free Marvelman from the copyright issues that had entangled it since 1998. The following year he reunited with McKean for the visually stunning film MirrorMask, and they collaborated on The Wolves in the Walls, an illustrated horror story for children. Anansi Boys (2006) revisited some of the characters introduced in American Gods, and it debuted at the top of The New York Times best-seller list. In 2009 Gaiman received the Newbery Medal for his distinguished contribution to literature for children for The Graveyard Book (2008), the macabre yet sweet tale of an orphan raised by a cemetery full of ghosts.

Michael Ray
 

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Neil Gaiman — Gaiman and his dog, Cabal Born 10 November 1960 (1960 11 10) (age 51) Portchester, Hampshire, England Occupation …   Wikipedia

  • Neil Gaiman bibliography — Neil Gaiman autographing a copy of Coraline, National Book Fair, Washington, D.C., 2005 Publishers This is a bibliography of works by Neil Gaiman …   Wikipedia

  • Neil Gaiman — Nombre completo Neil Richard Gaiman Nacimiento 10 de noviembre de …   Wikipedia Español

  • Neil Gaiman — (2009) Neil Richard Gaiman (* 10. November 1960 in Portchester, England) ist Autor zahlreicher Science Fiction und Fantasygeschichten, Comics und Drehbücher. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Neil Richard Gaiman — Neil Gaiman Neil Gaiman Neil Gaiman en octobre 2007 Naissance 10 novembre  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Neil Gaiman — et son chien Cabal en juin 2009 Nom de naissance Neil Richard Gaiman Acti …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Neil Gaiman's Only the End of the World Again — is a 2000 compilation of a serialized fantasy story published by Oni Press and originally appearing in Oni Double Feature #6 8 during 1998. The story was created and written by Neil Gaiman, adapted to comic by P. Craig Russell, illustrated by… …   Wikipedia

  • Gaiman — may refer to:PeoplePeople with the surname Gaiman: * David Gaiman, U.K. businessman; G G Foods, Church of Scientology * Neil Gaiman, author; science fiction and fantasy short stories and novelsPlaces* Gaiman, Chubut, a town in Patagonia,… …   Wikipedia

  • Gaiman — steht für: Gaiman (Chubut), Ort in der Provinz Chubut, Argentinien Departamento Gaiman, Verwaltungseinheit der Provinz Chubut, Argentinien Gaiman ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Neil Gaiman (* 1960), britischer Schriftsteller …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Neil (Vorname) — Neil bzw. Neal ist ein männlicher Vorname, abgeleitet vom gälischen Namen Niall.[1] Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Namensträger 1.1 Form Neal 2 Siehe auch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”