Neil Gaiman

Posted 2005-11-07 @ 10:52:22 In articles > reviews

There’s something cathartically profound in the absolute desecration of one’s physical body and surroundings in order to feed the mental hunger to complete a superior book. Authors experience it all through the birthing process, the missed meals and showers culminating in a truly horrific picture of a human being.

Readers experience this evolution at a more rapid pace; reaching the same pinnacle of social numbness in the mere few days it takes to devour an author’s offspring.

On discovering Gaiman’s ’Neverwhere’ at a local library I had no idea the next few sleepless nights were going to be a triumphant regression of body and communal obligations to give rise to a lifelong commitment to his art.

For those of you unprivileged enough to have not read any of his work, where the hell have you been? His stories have been translated into an array of textual mediums - novels, graphic novels, children’s picture books and more recently the silver screen.

It would be unfair to discuss Gaiman’s work without discussing the visual genius that is Dave Mckean. Any fan will know the pair as the Tweedledee and Tweedledum of the graphic novel industry, and more recently the crooked subverters of the children’s picture book industry.

Mckean’s crooked offbeat animations coupled with Gaiman’s macabre humour and intense characters (I mean intense in the actual sense of the word, not with the obvious stoner connotations) creates a sensual experience where one is convinced that these worlds do in fact exist. In fact this sensation is often so strong it would seem easier to contemplate suicide rather than doubt the genuine reality of these stories.

Almost all of the reviews on Gaiman’s and Mckean’s work -at least the ones I’ve read- tend to clump them into a primarily gothic market. I tend to understand this assumption, but only in the light that it is my opinion that these reviewers are mostly ignorant has-beens who like their offices neatly labelled and their socks to match. Their stories are universal and thus have a universal appeal -it surrounds us day by day- you just have to open your eyes a little wider to see it.

I was completely thrilled when their first children’s picture book "The Wolves in the Walls" launched, they are collectively perfect for the children’s market as children tend to have their eyes open wide, unlike adults who -in time- become steadily more blind to the world around them.

The devilish duo has most recently paired up on their first feature film "Mirrormask" released internationally earlier this year. Following in the fashion of 80’s classics such as ’Labyrinth’ and ’Dark Crystal’ the pair formed a production relationship with the Henson Company. The success of the movie has signalled the conversion of Gaiman’s children’s novel Coraline into a much anticipated feature film.

Let me stop gushing on and on about how fucking great they are and make this a little easier on you. If you die before reading Gaiman, it would be like dying a virgin, never knowing what you’ve missed, yet having an innate sense that the world isn’t as it should be.

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Neil Gaiman
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