Ever heard the tale of Lucifer resigning from hell? Perhaps you know of Morpheus, the god who dreams he was given the key to hell’s gates? Or his siblings: Death, Destiny or Desire?
Creator of the comic series Sandman and author of the international bestseller “American Gods,” Neil Gaiman will be the speaker at the College of Arts and Sciences Lecture March 25 at 7 p.m.
This event is free and open to the public, with a book signing afterwards.
Gaiman’s writing has traversed the boundaries of journalism, comic books, movie and television screenplays. He has also written lyrics for the gothic folk band The Flash Girls. His unique writing style has embellishments of mythology, science fiction, horror, and fantasy. With ease, Gaiman has steeped these ingredients into a recipe of contemporary fables. In his latest novel, “American Gods,” there is a struggle between gods who came to America with the early immigrants and the new figureheads who are berthed from an era of media, technology, and consumerism. Commenting on his new novel Gaiman states, “Much of ‘American Gods’ was an attempt to try and make sense of the culture and history of America as an immigrant (Gaiman, an Englishman, now lives in the states). I was puzzled by where the history had gone, where the Greekness of the Greeks, where the Irishness of the Irish, and trying to figure out what America had had to give up in order to become America, and what it had gained , and what replaced the past.”
“American Gods” takes readers on a journey through America to lesser known road side jewels and spectacles. The House on the Rock , in Spring Green, Wisconsin which has the World’s Largest Carousel. Cairo, Illinois on the southern tip of the state which locals pronounce “Kay-ro.” The estimated center of the states in the beginning of the Twentieth Century, Lebanon, Kansas.
Gaiman continues about the novel, ” I do think that there’s a lot of strange wonderfulness in America, but that it’s seldom where people are looking for it. And there’s a lot of fascinating history in America, and it’s strange that they don’t teach it.”
Gaiman said one of the aims of the novel is to give a different perspective on America
” I wanted also to try and give Americans a view of America as a magical place, seen from an outsider’s perspective,” Gaiman said. “I don’t think America is without culture. I do believe it tends to deal in grand simplicities.”
When asked whether he thought America’s culture was diluted in this modern day, Gaiman states, ” As I said, you do have culture. You also have the most unexamined lives and world I’ve ever encountered. It would be hard to get an accurate reflection of what life is like in contemporary America from , say TV or movies or most newspapers.”
Professor Andy Miller of the literature and language department, also one of the coordinators of the event, said he hopes by bringing Neil Gaiman to NKU, it will bring interest and appeal to those both of the university and the public.
Miller said Gaiman is unique because of the variety of his writing.
“He is a cross-over writer. He has written fantasy, short-fiction, journalism, and poetry,” Miller said. “He has entered the mainstream with his new book which reached the best-seller list this past summer. He is interdisciplinary and he is successful.”
Gaiman’s popular DC Vertigo series, Sandman, earned him 12 Eisner Comic Industry Awards and a World Fantasy Award.
This being monumental as being the first comic book ever to receive a literary award. From 1987 to 1996, Sandman, spun around subjects of folklore with mythological characters in the “dreaming” and modern day settings.
Why he writes of mythology is as mysterious as the myths themselves, Gaiman said.
“I wish I knew. Might as well ask Steve King why he writes horror, or Agatha Christie why her mind shaped detective stories. I’ve always loved myth, and always felt that it was profoundly relevant, and profoundly interesting. Sometimes I find myself wanting to share something cool, and sometimes I want to describe why I think something is interesting,” Gaiman said. “I love mythologies. I love old gods and forgotten gods. Probably because I’m me. If I were someone else I’d be more interested in murder mysteries… .”
Sandman was a popular breakthrough for Neil Gaiman. He has since written and contributed on many other works: “Neverwhere” (a BBC TV series), “Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions,” “The Dream Hunters,” and a children’s story “The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish.”
He recently finished the audio recording of his book “Coraline” ( released in hardback in July ) and wrote the ” Delirium Story” for Bill Sienkiewiez’s “Endless Nights.”
Gaiman is also on the Board of Comic Book Legal Defense Fund that protects the rights of comic book creators, publishers and retailers.
Gaiman did a reading tour known as the Guardian Angel Tour. The revenue raised from this tour during 1993 to 2000 was given to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Gaiman is an avid supporter of this movement which has deemed him a defender of artist’s rights.
One fan has named him, “…the perfect marriage of the intellectual and the aesthete.” Gaiman is known for being a great speaker and maintains an intense personal rapport with his audience.”