Who is Neil Gaiman?• Neil Richard Gaimanwas born in Portchester, Hampshire, on November 10th, 1960.• Gaiman is a Jewish name• His father, David Bernard Gaiman, was the head of the UK branch of the Church of Scientology, although Neil claims not to be a scientologist.
The portrait of the artist as a young boy• Gaiman started reading by the age of four• The first books to make an impression on him: C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narniaseries, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Lewis Caroll’sAlice in Wonderland• Enjoyed Batman comic books.
First experiences as a writer• Before he had published any fiction, he pursued Journalism. - Wrote book reviews. - Got to meet some connections that would later assist him in getting published (most notoriously, Terry Pratchett). - His first published book is a biography of the english band Duran Duran.
Introduction to comics/Graphic Novels• In 1984, Gaiman read a copy of Swamp Thing, by Alan Moore, and fell in love with Moore’s approach of a literary narrative style applied to comics.• Wrote three graphic novels with illustrations made by his friend Dave McKean.• Hired by DC Comics: wrote the GN Black Orchid.
Sandman• Offer to re-create an old DC character: Sandman.• Complete reformulation:
Sandman - importance• Lasted from 1988 to 1996.• Major breakthrough for Graphic Novels• Won many prizes, including the World Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction for A Midsummer’s night Dream, a story in which William Shakespeare stars as one of the main characters.• Norman Mailer: “a comic strip for intellectuals”.
Sandman - story• The narrative tells stories involving (in some of them, he doesn’t even appear) Dream (or Morpheus), an anthropomorfic representation of dreams. He is one of the seven Endless, beings above gods, based on many aspects of existence: Destiny, Death, Delirium, Destruction, Despair and Desire.• The series has many different story arcs. We witness the development of the character’s personalities as we read the comics.
Sandman - intertextuality• Gaiman includes many references to other literary works in The Sandman.• Shakespeare appears twice over the course of the story.• Many heroes of DC and Vertigo’s universe show up, such as Clark Kent, John Constantine and Doctor Destiny.• Mythological figures: Odin, Lucifer, Set,…
Novels• Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), Neverwhere(novelization of a series written for the BBC) , Stardust (has a movie adaptation), American Gods and Anansi Boys• Children’s books: The Graveyard Book, Coraline, Odd and the Frost Giants, Wolves in the wall, etc.
Screenwriting, Films• BBC series Neverwhere.• Co-wrote Mirrormask.• Wrote localized script of Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke, based on the english translation.• Co-wrote Beowulf with Roger Avary.• Wrote a recent Dr. Who episode.• Working on many of his works that will soon be made into films (Graveyard Book, Death,…)
English Culture?• Although his writing (and accent) is distinctively english, Gaiman has lived in America since 1992.• When he was young, he used to refer to his desire to become a comic book writer as “I wish to write americancomics”.• He stated that American Gods wouldn’t have been written if he wasn’t british. Anansi boys features an english main character that travels to Florida for his father’s funeral.
References• WAGNER, Hank; GOLDEN, Christopher; BISSETTE, Sthepen R. Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman. 2008, St. Martin’s Griffin, New York• Wikipedia• http://www.neilgaiman.com/