Some creators have a meteoric effect on culture: Lucas’s Star Wars, Miranda’s Hamilton, Rowling’s Harry Potter; others sit a bit further in the margins, quietly, patiently, changing the details of the landscape until, one day, you look up and they’ve changed the game. To me, this is Neil Gaiman. The Sandman, Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Coraline…Gaiman takes the Goth aesthetic popularised by Tim Burton and 80’s New Wave music (yeah, I’m simplifying greatly…) and tempered it with down-to-Earth humanity. Where others might be nihilistic, Gaiman is hopeful. His characters, even the ones who die, tend to represent cycles of loss and return and make sacrifices that carry emotional weight.
In any case, Neil, thanks for Morpheus passing the torch, the Marquis and his fine coat, and Robert DeNiro dancing in drag. Thanks for writing for kids, even very old ones, and for being such a compassionate inspiration.