Images © Hayley Campbell and Neil Gaiman.
The newest hardcover about Neil is a coffee-table book of modest proportions for the genre: about 8 by 10 inches. At 320 pages with about half text and half photos, illustrations and documents, it’s full of information about Neil and his writing. After being given free rein in Neil’s archives, author Hayley Campbell does a fine job with the text, getting lots across in an entertaining way, not getting bogged down in detail, but not missing much of Mr. Gaiman’s large volume of work. And I bet looking through it all must make him tired, it would me! I think I learned the most about Neil’s early work before he got into comics, and about his movie work, some of which I hadn’t been aware of at all.
I hope this won’t come across as snarky, but I found it amusing that there are lots of examples of Neil’s own handwriting, which I find hard to read. It made me glad we’ve nearly always worked together with him on keyboards. I imagine there are plenty of Neil fans who will have no trouble deciphering it.
Neil’s SANDMAN has been by far the most written about in other books, so the somewhat light coverage here is perfectly understandable. Hayley Campbell does consider Neil’s other comics work in more detail, and of course his novels, stories, poems, children’s books, audio recordings, TV and movie scripts, and more. Inevitably there will be a few things missed, or not discussed well enough for each reader’s satisfaction, and I had a few of those moments myself, but in all it’s a fine book, a great read, and an excellent record in both the visual and written sections. Well done.