Is there a more versatile writer than Neil Gaiman? People used to say this sort of thing about Stephen King but the past 10 years has seen the rise and rise of this multi-talented British-born, Minnesota-based writer. Journalism, book reviewing, comics, graphic novels, award-winning literary novels, screenplays for TV and movies, short stories and poetry, and children books too – there’s no genre he can’t embrace and master, and that includes blogging and twittering.
Once again, he’s the man of the moment thanks to the soon to be released animated movie version of Coraline and The Graveyard Book picking up the Newbery Medal for children’s literature. Gaiman used to have what people called a ‘cult’ following – now he simply has a huge worldwide following.
Everything Gaiman touches turns to gold. The Graveyard Book, a story about an orphan called Bod adopted by the inhabitants of a graveyard, is a tribute to Rudyard Kipling ’s The Jungle Book and appeals to far more people than children and teenagers – it was AbeBooks’ bestselling signed book in January 2008.
To his early fan base, Gaiman is most famous for his Sandman comics but he has been writing novels since 1990 when he co-authored Good Omens with Terry Pratchett. Neverwhere, an underground fantasy adventure beneath London’s streets, followed in 1996 after first emerging as a BBC TV series. In 2001, American Gods, a fantasy novel combining Americana and mythology, turned him into a literary heavy-hitter with huge worldwide sales and his 2005 release, Anansi Boys, used similar themes and showed American Gods was no fluke.
His influences are varied – Victorian fairytales, ancient mythology from a host of cultures, Shakespeare, and many facets of popular culture and Americana. Never afraid to push the reader with edgy storylines, Gaiman’s writing appeals to a varied group of people, including general readers, fantasy fans, and comic readers.
Coraline is another example of his versatility. A somewhat surreal horror novella, the book was published in 2002 and triumphed in the novella category at the Hugo and Nebula Awards. And there’s his collection of short stories and poems, Fragile Things. The list goes on and on.
A product of London’s suburbs, Gaiman now lives in Minnesota and has endeared himself to fans by making himself accessible through blogging, twittering and, of course, lots of signings. Gaiman is one of modern literature’s great signers – frequently found at bookfairs and conventions in his trademark leather jacket. More than 400 signed copies of his books can be found on AbeBooks and dozens of signed books are available for less than £35. Signed first editions are more expensive, but his books are remarkably affordable for an author who has the bookselling world at his feet.
The Absolute Sandman Vol. 1
Sold for: £340
Signed first edition that collects issues 1-20 of The Sandman.
Sold for: £270
Deluxe limited edition (4000 copies) by signed Gaiman and illustrator Dave McKean
999 - New Stories of Horror and Suspense
by Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and others
Sold for: £256
First edition, one of 52 lettered copies signed by all contributing authors.
Sold for: £256
Another deluxe limited edition by signed Gaiman and illustrator Dave McKean