Neil Gaiman has been called a rock-star of the literary world. Always dressed in black with his distinctive curly dark hair, Gaiman is recognizable from 50 feet away. He’s also immune to changing fashions: black is always in style.
He has built his fan-base steadily over the past twenty five years. His first breakout success was when he took over the Sandman title for DC Comics. They wanted to revive the old character, and Gaiman had some ideas on how to do that.
What came afterwards was a 7 year run (ending in 1996) that changed the perception of comic books forever.
At the end of its run in 1996, Sandman was outselling all other DC Comics titles, including Batman and Superman.
A New Audience:
The truly groundbreaking aspect of Sandman was who was reading Sandman: it was popular among women, especially college-aged women, and it attracted a lot of readers who didn’t read other comics.
Gaiman has nearly 2 million followers on Twitter (unheard of for a writer). He’s married Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls (perhaps his way of vicariously living the rockstar life?), and it’s partially for her that Gaiman wrote “Ocean at the End of the Lane”.
He wrote the book with Palmer in mind, as she “doesn’t really like fantasy“. It’s a fantastical tale deeply rooted in the real world.