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Neil Gaiman’s Newest ‘Overture’

Norman Mailer called it “a comic strip for intellectuals.” Best-selling author Neil Gaiman joins us with his dark, new series on the origins of “The Sandman.”

A image from the first volume of the "Sandman" series, written by Neil Gaiman. (Courtesy Vertigo/DC Entertainment   )

A image from the first volume of the “Sandman” series, written by Neil Gaiman. (Courtesy Vertigo/DC Entertainment )

“The only people who inveigh against escape are jailers,” J.R.R. Tolkien famously said.  The world’s premier artist of escapism today may be Neil Gaiman. Neil Gaiman wrote “The Sandman,” the dark, epic fantasy praised by connoisseurs as the greatest comic book – 75 issues long – ever written.  He’s heaped with sci-fi and horror prizes – the Hugo, the Nebula, the Bram Stoker – but also with children’s prizes, the Newbery and more.  He’s a literary rock star who also takes the stage – and mines our deep, dark veins.  Up next On Point:  storytelling rock star, Neil Gaiman.

– Tom Ashbrook


Neil Gaiman, Best-selling author of the acclaimed graphic novel series, “The Sandman,” including the new prequel, “The Sandman: Overture.” Also author of “American Gods,” “Coraline,” “The Graveyard Book” and “The Ocean At the End of the Lane.” (@neilhimself)

From Tom’s Reading List

The New Republic: An Interview With Neil Gaiman, the Internet’s Favorite Fantasy Writer – “Gaiman is perhaps the world’s best-known fantasy writer. The internationally bestselling author of ‘Neverwhere,’ ‘Coraline,’ ‘American Gods,’ ‘Stardust’ and many other books, graphic novels and film adaptations is rich, famous and married to a rock star. He has millions of devoted fans who eat his every word like air. He has won every major award going for science fiction, fantasy, and children’s literature, including the Hugo, the Nebula, the Bram Stoker and the Locus, many times over. He spends most of his time flying around the world between homes and fancy hotels, being celebrated and signing an improbable number of books.”

Paste Magazine: ‘The Sandman: Overture’ by Neil Gaiman & J.H. Williams III — “I have absolutely no hesitation calling ‘The Sandman’ the best comic book ever written. I don’t consider it hyperbole or exaggeration: it’s a universal truth in my head, as unwavering as gravity or male pattern baldness. Other comics have certainly come close, but did ‘Watchmen,’ ‘Blankets,’ or ‘Maus’ deliver sublime graphic literature over seven years for 75 issues?”

The A.V. Club: Neil Gaiman’s classic comic-book series returns with ‘The Sandman: Overture #1′ – “Stories never really end, do they? Even after the final word on the page or the last shot on screen, stories live on in the imagination of the audience and, in more recent times, the limbo where narratives ferment until they’re ready for prequels and sequels. When Neil Gaiman ended ‘The Sandman’ in 1996, he emphasized the idea that these characters and this world would live on after the end of the series, and the nature of mainstream comic books ensured that Gaiman’s concepts would stick around for a while.”

See A Gallery Of Images From  Both The New And Original ‘Sandman’ On Our Blog

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  • Jennifer LaVoie

    I am teaching Preludes and Nocturnes v1 to my ENG102 writing about literature course. If Mr. Gaimen could recommend a novel to pair with it, that would be fantastic. I will be using the film Pan’s Labryinth as well.

    I was collecting and reading Sandman when it was first released!

    • Dave Lister

      Lucky students. Where do I sign up? :)

      • Jennifer LaVoie

        Thanks Dave :)

    • Brendan McGowan

      Seriously! Where do you teach and where were you when I was in college?

  • geraldfnord

    Who was it—Michael Moorcock?—who noted that it wefe not just gaolers who disdained escapism, but also other inmates with practical escape plans…?

    (Then again, I’m more of a Grant Morrison man, though I like “American Gods” and “The Graveyard Book”.)
    (Is Mr Gaiman aware of his fictional incarnations in Newman’s “The Quorum”, Dave Sims’ “Cerebus the Aardvark”, and D.D. Barant’s “Dying Bites”?)
    (And, most importantly, what’s Terry Pratchett _really_ like?)

  • Dave Lister

    Tom asks, “whats the draw,” When I first read American Gods, I found that I’d read a passage and immediately re-read it – just because the language was that good. I don’t know what else you could ask for in an author than that.
    Thanks Niel.

    • Ray in VT

      Is your handle a Red Dwarf reference by any chance?

  • Ziesl Jennifer Maayan

    Such a huge Neil Gaiman fan! Question- will we see more about the transformation of Delight to Delirium? I have always been intrigued and deeply affected by the profound connection between the two. Her story and much of your work has helped me to understand, among other things, the nature of addiction and mental health, and to help those who suffer from them.

  • ToyYoda

    This was/is a beautiful interview filled with lots of wisdom for artists and for life in general. Neil Gaiman really deserves another hour. Please bring him back as soon as possible!

  • Fred Fletcher-Fierro

    I’m glad that On Point steered away from the stress filled political/economic world for one hour for a great interview of some one that I had never been exposed to. It was interesting to hear Mr. Gaiman’s thoughts and perspectives on being an author and where he find his inspiration and ideas.

  • RiverVox

    Excellent interview. I appreciate how Tom got Neil to talk about his audience, metaphor and imagination.

  • marygrav

    Comic book writers have always been social critics taking up from the 19th century futuristic writes. Like Dr. Who starring Tom Baker, they are social commentaries. Since all the great newsmen like Jack Anderson have or are passing away, we have to rely on the producers of comic books and BBC science fiction to reflect on our moral shortcomings. Even the religious-right are using comic books to present their morals.

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