Friday, November 07, 2008

Holiday Gift Guide: Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman

It’s like we turned a special corner, hit some magical turnpike or passed a mystical milestone no one can really see. But -- quite suddenly -- everything seems like Neil Gaiman, all the time.

One of the reasons for all the brouhaha, of course, is that November marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Gaiman’s seminal Sandman series. Vertigo Comics is marking the date with the publication of -- among other things -- The Absolute Sandman Vol. 4, which is the final of four slip-cased volumes collecting the final 19 issues of The Sandman series. Also, keep your eyes posted for other publications and events commemorating the date. For example, on November 9th, author and designer Chip Kidd will discuss Sandman with Gaiman at a special anniversary celebration at Kaufmann Concert Hall in NYC. More information on that event can be found here.

Another mark of the author’s achievement comes in the form of Prince of Stories: the Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman (St. Martin’s Press) by Hank Wagner, Christopher Golden and Stephen R. Bissette. If the authors seem to occasionally run to hyperbole, we must forgive them: at this moment, and just a few days shy of his 48th birthday, Neil Gaiman seems poised on the very lip of the type of literary achievement that nails names into history books forever. From the introduction to Prince of Stories:
Who is Neil Gaiman?

Forbes magazine labeled him “the most famous author you’ve never heard of.” His publisher, William Morrow, calls him a “pop culture phenomenon.” He is listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of “the top ten living post modern writers,” along with Thomas Pynchon and William Burroughs.
Prince of Stories
is the perfect biography of a powerful artist at mid-career. It collects some of the interviews he’s done throughout his career, never-before-published writing by Gaiman himself, rare artwork, comics and book covers; trivia on Gaiman, a Gaiman timeline; Gaiman trivia; a foreword by Terry Pratchett; information on the entire Gaiman oeuvre and more. So much more.

Prince of Stories is not the final word on Gaiman. Not by a longshot. With any luck at all, we won’t be seeing that book for many, many years. In the meantime, though, fans of the author and his work simply must have this book. It casts a light on this important author in a way we’ve never seen before.

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