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Happy birthday, Neil Gaiman


Celebrated literary figure Neil Gaiman turns 50 years old today. He’s surely the man who did as much to make comics part of the mainstream as anyone who’s ever lived. He marks the occasion on his blog, of course:

I’m feeling so odd about turning 50. The last time I felt like this was, strangely enough, when I turned 24.

I’d liked being younger than 24. Anything cool I did, people would say “And he’s so young,” and that felt good. And then suddenly I was 24 and I felt like I couldn’t be a boy wonder any longer, and the world had become level.

Turning 50, I feel like, damn: I can’t be a promising young writer any longer. For the last decade, I’ve hated getting Lifetime Achievement awards, they’d make me feel squirmy and awkward, and now I’m going, ah, I’m going to have to accept them with good grace.

But I’m glad I’m a writer. There are a lot of professions in which you’re done by my age. And I don’t feel done at all.

The above photo is from yesterday, taken in New Orleans, where he’s celebrating with a few close friends.

…and from a while ago…

The internet is rife with Neil Gaiman photos, and yet they all look so…Neil Gaiman-y. He has that effect.

Here with his betrothed, musician Amanda Palmer, which recalls…

Lots of personal memories of Neil, from our first meeting where we talked about each others shoes to dinner in a spinning restaurant with the McCloud family to interviewing him in front of the biggest crowd I’ve ever been in front of at the West Hollywood Book Fair to the dreams that an issue of SANDMAN gave me. Good memories. A good person. A great writer. I’m happy to know that the man who I first knew as a penpal is now a writer who has touched millions of people with his imagination. Here’s to many more, Neil.

  1. Neil Gaiman is a rock star.

    He probably holds the record for appearances by a graphic novel writer or artist, although Stan Lee may be close.

    Neil would probably be gracious and mention the many predecessors who laid the groundwork for his success. Paul Levitz is another quinquagenarian who accomplished a lot before his 50th birthday.

  2. He is an amazing writer and we (fans) are happy for all he has done ’till now!
    He makes us happy just for exist!

    Happy Birthday Mr. Gaiman :-D

    Brazil’s fans salute you.

  3. If you think the various attempts on the part of the comics industry to approach the mainstream in waves, then, in my opinion, Neil Gaiman is the most important figure in the second wave(after 1990). He got on the surfboard then &, to his credit, even though he’s such a success in lots of fields, he’s still in there for comics.

  4. “…surely the man who did as much to make comics part of the mainstream as anyone who ever lived.”

    Quibble all you want about the quality of his books, but you really have to strain to take issue with this statement. And “mainstream” means “your mother knows about it.” He’s at LEAST in the top 10, and among writers he’s in the top 2 or 3.

  5. >> Seriously people, WTF is wrong with you? >>

    I have chronic fatigue issues…

    >> DON’T answer that.>>

    …and a tendency to answer before reading the full post.

    Happy Birthday, Neil. Welcome to 50!


  6. Happy birthday Neil Gaiman. I’ve been a fan of his for many years, since I first read Sandman #50. Inside and outside of comics he’s created some of my favourite stories and I look forward to reading many more of his stories in the future. :-)

  7. In my weekly therapy sessions, I tend to use pop culture references as metaphors or just reference them when recalling events. Of all the geek-adjacent or comics-adjacent references I’ve ever made, do you want to know which one my therapist understood without me even having to explain it?

    Why it was so funny when the woman walking into my “Coraline” 3D movie screening was confused to see mostly adults at the matinee.

    Yes, “Coraline” was a book first and not comics, but you can’t know about Coraline without knowing that it was created by a guy who started off by writing comics.

  8. For $75 and a slice of cake, Mark Engblom will come to your child’s birthday party and explain to them why they’re probably not “the best kid in the whole world” no matter what the damn card says.

    For $100 and open punch privileges, he’ll provide a dozen counter-examples like that kid that plays Sally Draper.

    (Happy Birthday to Mr. Gaiman, a class act and tireless advocate for Free Speech.)

  9. I could write a lot about how nice Mr. Gaiman has been to me on the several occasions I’ve (briefly) met him, but I won’t. He’s a very nice man.

  10. I’ve met Neil Gaiman (twice!) and I agree he’s a gentleman and a scholar and a class act, all the way. Happy Birthday, Neil. Sweet dreams.

    @ Mark Engblom – out of that list, the general public MIGHT know about three of those names (Stan, spiegelman and Miller). Not to downplay Carol Kalish or Jeanette Kahn’s contributions but nobody outside of comics knows who they are/were. And if you EVER say anything bad about Kirby, I shall have to ask you to step outside.

  11. I think those of you who are whipping out the obscure details of who made comics mainstream or whatever it is you’re all arguing about are rather missing the point. The point is HAPPY BIRTHDAY NEIL YAAAY!!! Here’s to 50 more years!
    And also, according to Wikipedia anyway (take it with a grain of salt, I say!) Happy Wedding Day to you and Mrs. Amanda Fucking Palmer-Gaiman!

    ..if it is indeed true.

  12. I once had the pleasure to interview Neil Gaiman for a bookstore (which he graciously used on his website) and then I got to meet him after a reading. I was pretty nervous, and hesitantly mentioned the interview — at which point Neil stood up, beaming, took hold of my hand, and thanked me for “a fantastic interview.” He made ME feel like a star.

    The rest of the night was a blur, and I walked away from the event thinking, “THAT is how you treat your fans!”

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