Many avid readers, tv-watchers, movie-watchers and really anyone who has an interest in entertainment, will be familiar with Neil Gaiman. A fantasy writer both for the page and screen, Gaiman arguably transformed the genre, from casual to high fantasy, across multiple media platforms.
At this point Neil Gaiman has pretty much had a spot in every single aspect of fantasy media. Starting out as a journalist, using the role as a means to learn the ins and outs of the publishing industry in order to secure his own contract with his own works, Gaiman slowly worked his way to stardom from the ground up. He later quit this career path, asserting that the British media was more obsessed with lies than truth. His true breakthrough onto the fantasy scene began with The Sandman; a dark, twisted tale about Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, that ran for 75 issues in the early 90s to huge success. Acting as a springboard of sorts, it catapulted Gaiman to new heights, garnering him a following and considerable reputation in the industry.
In 1990, Gaiman published Good Omens, a collaboration between himself and fantasy legend, Terry Pratchett. A pretty big flex for a first novel if you ask me. Following this came Stardust, American Gods, and Coraline, all once again massive successes. Gaiman became a force of nature on the literary scene, releasing bestseller after bestseller, dazzling readers and critics alike. The refreshing thing about Gaiman’s works was that they’re all incredibly individual, and don’t often follow the same tropes or motifs (aside from his trademark allusive narratives); Good Omens follows an angel and a demon trying to stop the apocalypse, Stardust about a man who travels over a wall to the faerie world, and American Gods centres on a man recently released from prison who falls into a world dominated by a war between ancient gods and new young upstarts.
All such novels and comics, also, have at some point been adapted onto the silver screen. Stardust, directed by Matthew Vaughn, was released in 2007, grossing over £137 million, and winning several awards. Henry Selick’s rendition of Coraline was released in 2009 to rave reviews, even receiving an Academy Award nomination, and has become a cult classic (and a personal favourite). Starz bought the rights to American Gods in 2014, with the show being released in 2017, with Ian McShane, Crispin Glover and Emily Browning all in starring roles. And, of course, Good Omens, starring David Tenant and Michael Sheen, was released on Amazon Prime back in 2019, and to be honest is kind of a huge obsession of mine.
Through the popularity of his works, and their cross-platform editions, Gaiman has pretty much situated himself in every single aspect of the media industry. From TV shows to movies to comics to novels, Gaiman has done it all at this point, and in fantastic fashion. He’s the modern day fantasy guru, and certainly THE fantasy writer for the new generations of readers. Even if you don’t think that you’ve encountered any of Gaiman’s works out there, you definitely have; there’s no escaping him, he’s everywhere.