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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Hanging out with the Dream King: Interviews with Neil Gaiman and his collaborators

Halfway through this book I realized that I didn't really like Neil Gaiman that much as a writer. His Sandman series was excellent, and probably the most brilliant of his work, followed by a few good short novellas such as Stardust.

I found his stint on Miracleman after Alan Moore took over to be less than stellar, and he hasn't done any other comic books since.

But his novels? Good Omens left me cold, as did American Gods. Neverwhere was OK, but not ground breaking.

My conclusion is that Gaiman had a brilliant creative spurt in his career and Sandman, which spawned the Goth movement amongst other things, is definitely an outstanding achievement (though I still consider Gaiman's work a pale shadow of what Alan Moore is capable of --- and Moore is still creatively involved in comic books and shows no sign of his talent slacking off), but his novels sell only because he's made a name for himself in comics. Sure, he's better than a lot of the other dreck out there, but that doesn't say much, since Sturgeon's law applies in novels as easily as it does in Comics. The difference is that Gaiman is probably in the top 5% in comics while he's at most in the top 20% in novels.

The nature of the business, though is that novels are a lot more lucrative (and require less collaboration) than comics, so we're unlikely to see Gaiman work on any more comics, which is a pity.

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