If it had been difficult to select an image for Day 9, it is near enough impossible to select an image that does justice to today’s post, so I’m cheating by putting up rough sketches made by Neil Gaiman himself when he was conceiving of The Sandman. These books (there are twelve trade paperbacks and numerous spin-offs and extras) are perhaps the most spectacular and uniformly brilliant collaborations of our generation. There are more artists than I can care to count and an equal number of excellent images, leave alone an artist like Dave McKean whose illustrations are crazy and unbelievable and each a masterpiece in itself.
Once again, I’m at a loss of words to describe a book for the uninitiated. All I can say is that everyone I know who has read The Sandman has been transformed by it, and there’s very little one can compare it to, or say it’s like this or like that. I’ve met people who read only comic books and people who read nothing but ‘serious literature’ who are equally enamoured with it, and I’ve met writers and artists who swear by it with similar devotion. Many a time I have connected with a fan of The Sandman instantly, even when we were strangers, and have managed to have fulfilling conversations even though we had nothing else in common. (This is usually not easy for me.) The Sandman is a faith and a lifestyle.
Another reason why this is a cheat post (and one that is true for Day 3/4, Day 5, Day 6 and a few more upcoming posts) is that I am trying to eliminate options for Day 30, which concludes this meme with Your Favourite Book Of All Time. I simply had to include The Sandman somewhere in the list, and this is the best place for it because Gaiman comes closest to being my all-time favourite author. My loyalty usually rests on a book-by-book basis. I am hugely overwhelmed by Terry Pratchett in Discworld, for example, but I don’t dig his non-Discworld writing. Funnily enough (especially for myself), I love pretty much everything Gaiman dishes out. I love his text novels and short stories and poems and minor comics and stuff for children. I even love his blogging (okay, maybe a little less than his books), and that’s quite a bit excessive, considering how little of that I do for other authors (or artists in any other form). I just love that man’s brain! — and I think he is the only one.
And he may have grown old and doesn’t look like that anymore, but that didn’t prevent him even the littlest bit from breaking a million hearts when he got married last year.