4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Over the past few decades, Neil Gaiman has become more than an author of graphic novels and fantasy. He has become one of THE authors.
And "Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman" is more than just a homage to Gaiman's many otherworldly works -- it's also a detailed guide to his assorted comics, graphic novels and books, as well as offering insight into Gaiman and his many collaborators, and a wealth of assorted trivia and information.
First, there's a nice little foreword from Gaiman's "Good Omens" collaborator Terry Pratchett ("There was no natural unity between hat and man") and a steady introduction to who and what Neil Gaiman is.
Then there are the in-depth studies and analyses of his works -- Hank Wagner, Stephen Bissette and Christopher Golden go into the depths of his bestselling, groundbreaking graphic novel series "Sandman." Issue by issue, chapter by chapter they summarize and dissect the entire comic book series, whether it's standalone stories of the Endless, tales of Dream's sister Death, or the long shadowy journey of the titular Morpheus.
And they do plenty of dissection of Gaiman's other stories -- the "Spawn" spinoff about a warrior angel, the Eternals, "The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch," the legendary "1602," the little-known "Black Orchid," the pre-Potterian budding wizard known as Tim Hunter, "Miracleman," and countless other contributions. There's even the tale of graphic novels that never really made it out into the world, or were cut short prematurely.
Gaiman's novels get the same treatment -- Wagner, Golden and Bissette don't go into quite as much detail, but they do address the important stuff, including listing and describing the poems and short stories Gaiman has written. And there's the children's books such as "Interworld," "Coraline," "Odd and the Frost Giants," "The Wolves in the Walls." At the time it was written, "The Graveyard Book"
There's even a section devoted to Gaiman's forays into television (a "Babylon 5" episode) and film (the translation of "Princess Mononoke," "Beowulf," and the stunning "Mirrormask"). Not to mention his work with Alice Cooper.
It's pretty obvious from the start that this is a labor of love for Wagner, Bissette and Golden -- it's a colourful, slightly mad patchwork of various quotes, trivia, summaries and interviews having to do with Gaiman. This isn't just a homage, but a sort of composite portrait of the artist and his work -- and it succeeds brilliantly.
Part of this is because they are so thorough -- they include detailed character summaries after every book/graphic novel, bits of trivia ("Anansi Boys" actually predated "American Gods"), influences (G.K. Chesterton and Shakespeare, among others), and quotes from Gaiman on his works at the end of each chapter ("I owe an enormous debt to Hope Mirrlees, Lord Dunsany, James Branch Cabell and C.S. Lewis...").
It also has a number of interviews with people who collaborated with Gaiman -- Charles Vess, Terry Pratchett, Mark Buckingham, Rogues, his personal assistant Lorraine Garland, and of course longtime collaborator Dave McKean.
But the best part is where Gaiman himself is. Not only is there a highly detailed, extensive interview at the end (and some sprinkled through the text), but also clever, lesser-known writings: essays on making 24 pages in 24 hours, an intricate study of the "vegetable theology," a recounting of his first-ever fantasy convention, and a hilarious study of who Jack the Ripper truly was ("'Lord Alfred, would you care to slice the tarts?' Tennyson misunderstood his monarch's request").
"Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman" is the sort of detailed, intelligent tome that actually does justice to Gaiman's peculiar, haunting genius. Definitely a must-read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
PRINCE OF STORIES: THE MANY WORLDS OF NEIL GAIMAN is a wonderful book for any fan of Neil Gaiman. It is an overview of his work as well as his life. It is clearly a book written by friends of the man himself and has a jovial feel to it, almost like friends telling stories about one of their own to one of their own. As a reader, one feels almost included in the circle of friendship that clearly helped to generate this book.
Virtually everything a Gaiman fan could want is included in this book, from a list of websites to discussions on characters, from family photos to cover art, and from interviews to journal entries. Gaiman's amazing accomplishments in the Science Fiction, Fantasy, Graphic Novel, and Film worlds come to life through the anecdotes and commentary in this book.
A reader comes away feeling like they have known the man for years. It is not simply a cut-and-dried look at Gaiman's amazing accomplishments or life. It carries in it the liveliness all of Gaiman's own works include.
While there is nothing that a parent of a younger child would particularly object to, this is a book written for older readers, for people who have already read Gaiman's work. If one has not read his books yet, it would be giving away some of the most wonderful joys and secret pleasures of reading books written by a master.
Gaiman is THE fantasist of our time, and his ability to shift between mediums is amazing. Considering that this book covers all of his work, some even that have not yet been published, it would be a shame to read this book before you have read or watched what Gaiman himself has created.
Reviewed by: Christina Tsichlis
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2008
A note from Hank Wagner, co-author (with Christopher Golden and Stephen R. Bissette) of Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman:
Sometimes, someone blesses you with a review that says everything you could possibly want about your work. That's certainly the case with Rachelle Bilz, who penned the review below for VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates), a bimonthly library journal devoted to teenagers' information needs. As Neil Gaiman himself might say, it makes me very happy. To be mentioned in the same breath as Hy Bender's fine Sandman Companion is high praise indeed:
"This tribute is a tremendous gift to Neil Gaiman fans. Whether the reader wants to know the inspiration and background information for Gaiman's many works or factual tidbits about the man himself, this volume delivers. The authors, all impressive writers themselves, have conducted extensive research and interviews in their effort to create a compendium of data about one of fantasy's finest writers. Without a doubt, it is the most comprehensive resource about Neil Gaiman to date. Encyclopedic in scope, this book offers reprints of articles by Gaiman, back stories, interviews with illustrators and others who work with Gaiman, photos, illustrations, and sneak peeks at future works. Although broad in scope, this work also contains fascinating minutiae about all things Gaiman as well as entertaining quotes from him. The extensive interview with Gaiman is especially enjoyable, as are his anecdotes about celebrity and fans and his responses to movies such as Stardust. The appendixes offer a chronology, further reading, Web sites, and other helpful information. Well written, well organized, and fun to peruse, this book can be enjoyed as a cover-to-cover read or a random browse. Readers will learn a lot about Gaiman, storytelling and the writing process. A book you can get lost in, it will appeal to Gaiman fans of all ages. This impressive resource should find a place on the shelves alongside Hy Bender's The Sandman Companion (DC Comics, 1999). Reviewer: Rachelle Bilz."