book review: The Art of Neil Gaiman

art of neil gaiman

The Art of Neil Gaiman by Hayley Campbell. Publisher: Harper Design (May 2014). Hardcover. 320 pages. ISBN 9780062248565.

“A cult author is known to relatively few people yet loved by those few with a rabid eagerness. You get that from Gaiman fans, but they are not few, and they are everywhere.” –Hayley Campbell

Mostly for the Neil Gaiman fans or the ultra-curious, The Art of Neil Gaiman provides never-before-seen illustrations, notes and photographs in one coffee-table sized book. It’s a dense, detailed chronicling of Gaiman’s journey from journalist to comics artist to cult novelist. Hayley Campbell knows Neil Gaiman quite well. The daughter of comic book author Eddie Campbell, Australian-born/London-based author Campbell met Gaiman at age seven and they have a godfather/goddaughter-type relationship [their description]. Interviewing someone you’ve known for decades isn’t easy although you’re generally provided unequivocal access and trust.

“You know, I have a bit of an idea about aging and time, and I really should do something with it—stick it in a story or something—because it really is kind of good. When you’re a kid you see adults as adults, you don’t see them as people who used to be kids. They are an age, and they have always been that age.” –Neil Gaiman

The book includes these chapters: prelude; British comics; vertigo heights; a comics miscellany; beyond comics; silver screens; reflections. One of Gaiman’s early projects? He wrote a Duran Duran biography. He did it for the financial compensation and the other choices weren’t that enticing to him. In 2007 while writing The Graveyard Book, Gaiman took a research trip to Highgate Cemetery with author Audrey Niffenegger who’d been working there as a tour guide while writing Her Fearful Symmetry. In his notebook he wrote down unusual Victorian names he found on old tombstones. There’s the poem “For Amanda, an appreciation” he wrote for partner Amanda Palmer which includes the lines: “For Secondly she moves like cats and panthers and also she can stand still” and “For Ninthly there is no-one like her. Not that I’ve ever met, and I have met so many people. No-one at all.”

Copious minutiae about every Gaiman project packed within this book’s pages if that sort of thing interests you. Niche audience targeted. It’s a bit jumbled and crammed and the layout should be better for a design/art book.

RATING: ***/5

–review by Amy Steele

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Harper Collins.

purchase at Amazon: The Art of Neil Gaiman

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