Neil Gaiman

One of the most popular and prolific fantasy, science fiction and graphic novel authors of the late 20th and early 21st century, Neil Gaiman was the award-winning creator of "The Sandman" series, Good Omens (1990), American Gods (2001), Coraline (2005) and The Graveyard Book (2008), many of which were adapted into equally well-received films and television series. Born Neil Richard Gaiman in Portchester, a suburb of Portsmouth, England, on November 10, 1960, he was the son of business owners David Bernard Gaiman and his wife, pharmacist Sheila Goldman; both parents, as well as Gaiman's sisters, were members of the Church of Scientology, though Gaiman took pains to declare his distance from the organization. His parents moved the family to East Grinstead, a town in West Sussex; there, he earned an education at various area schools while nurturing a deep interest in the works of fantasy, science fiction and mystery writers like Edgar Allan Poe, Lewis Carroll, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as the comic book titles of the period. Upon graduation from Whitgift School in 1977, Gaiman worked as a journalist, penning interviews and book reviews for various publications, as well as biographies of the pop band Duran Duran and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams. He also began publishing short stories, but found his earliest success in comic books: with artist Dave McKean, he created Violent Cases (1987), which dealt with the unreliable nature of childhood memories. The theme, as well as the literary bent and the dark tone of the material, would become hallmarks of Gaiman's subsequent work in comics, which included the limited series "Black Orchid" (1988) for DC Comics, and later, "The Sandman" (1989-1996) for DC's Vertigo imprint. Both series concerned heroes that broke away from the tradition of caped crusaders: the female crime fighter Black Orchid dealt with DC's stable of heroes and villains - Batman, Lex Luthor, Swamp Thing - in a decidedly non-violent manner, while the central figure in "Sandman" was the literal personification of dreams, who must atone for his violent past; a spin-off, Death: The High Cost of Living, featuring the Sandman's sister, Death, followed in 1993. "Sandman" proved to be an unqualified artistic and critical success, earning the first literary award for a comic book with its 1991 win of the World Fantasy Award, as well as 26 Eisner Awards and the Hugo Award. More importantly, it s popularity led to not only more comics from Gaiman, including the "Books of Magic" miniseries, but also the start of Gaiman's career as a novelist. It began with Good Omens , a comedy about an angel and demon trying to prevent the End Times which he wrote with fellow fantasy author Terry Pratchett of the Discworld series; its follow-up, a 1996 novelization of the TV-movie "Neverwhere" (BBC, 1996) about an alternate city of London, marked his debut as a solo author. Stardust (1999), which initially debuted as a four-part illustrated series for DC Comics, was a romantic fable about a young man attempting to retrieve a fallen star for his true love. The new millennium marked a period of remarkable productivity for Gaiman: a new fantasy-horror novel, American Gods (2001), which concerned Old World Gods finding new homes in America, was another huge success, earning Hugo and Nebula Awards as well as best-seller status, while the children's book, Coraline (2005), about a young girl's discovery of an eerie alternate version of her family in her new home, followed in 2003. Between and after these efforts was a return to the world of the Sandman with Endless Nights (2003), which became the first graphic novel to top the New York Times' best-seller list; two series for Marvel Comics - "Marvel 1602," which imagined many of the company's major characters in Elizabethan England, while "The Eternals" was a 2006 revival of comics legend Jack Kirby's series about a race of advanced humans. He also penned the script for the 2005 feature "MirrorMask" for the Jim Henson Company, collaborated with producer Roger Avary on the screenplay for Robert Zemeckis' CGI animated feature "Beowolf" (2007). After returning to novels in 2005 with Anansi Boys, which followed the son of "American Gods" character Mr. Nancy - based on the African trickster figure Anansi - he issued a new children's novel, The Graveyard Book (2008), which concerned a boy raised by the supernatural inhabitants of a cemetery after the violent death of his parents, and which became the first novel to win both the Newbery Medal and Hugo Award. After issuing a slew of additional works for children, including Crazy Hair (2010) and Fortunately, the Milk (2013), he returned to adult novels with the 2013 best-seller The Ocean at the End of the Lane, about a man's childhood memories sparked by a funeral, and The Silver Lane (2013) and Eternity's Wheel (2015), two collaborations with fantasy/science fiction author Michael Reaves and his daughter, Mallory. To the delight of "Sandman" fans, he also returned to that long-running series with a prequel, "Sandman: Overture" (2013-15) before diving deep into his interest in European mythology with the non-fiction Norse Mythology (2017). By this time, many of Gaiman's books and comics had been adapted into film and television projects, including "Stardust" (2007), by director Matthew Vaughn; an Oscar-nominated, stop-motion animation take on "Coraline" (2009) by director Henry Selick; "Lucifer" (Fox/Netflix, 2016-19), a series based on the demonic character from "The Sandman"; "American Gods" (Starz, 2017- ) an Emmy nominated adaptation of the novel with Ian McShane, Orlando Jones and others; and a miniseries take on "Good Omens" (2019) for Amazon and BBC Two.