The various works of Neil Gaiman have all profoundly invoked this latter response in me. One story in particular filled me with so much covetous energy that my pride finally collapsed under its weight, forcing the revelation that I could learn a lot by earnestly examining what he did differently than I would and why. In every respect, this has been my way with the world; arriving at the simplest solution after walking the weirdest road to get there. The work which led me to this non-epiphany was none other than Gaiman's comic masterpiece: Sandman. I found a phantom mentor in the details of Morpheus's dark odyssey and by the end of the epic, Gaiman had established himself as one of my literary idols. That's him to the right. Isn't he dreamy? Do, do you get it? Because Morpheus is lord of dreams and...
Season of Mists (volume four) was where I really went rabid about the series. If you plan on reading the series, I'd suggest you skip this paragraph, because I consider the premise of this volume to be a tremendous spoiler, but if you're planning on giving the series a pass, hopefully the example will change your mind: Circumstances force Morpheus to ask Lucifer for a favor, even though the former had gravely insulted the latter earlier in the story. So Lucifer literally gives him Hell. He releases all the souls imprisoned, and relieves his demonic legions from duty, and leaves Morpehus to deal with a parade of deities and cosmic entities who all want to stake their claim on the underworld. Mythologies from all over the world intertwine at the afterlife, and they all make different case
Once again, the natural fractures of the comic form makes it the perfect media to convey long, complicated, and involving stories. The episodic release schedule makes the narrative breaks seem less arbitrary, and it also slows the pace, creating a greater sense of scale and allowing readers to consider each aspect of the plot more carefully. Even though I consumed the series all at once, my experience of it continues and grows richer
As much as I want to be the Daniel to Gaiman's Morpheus (alternate links I considered for that were "Psuedo-spoiler", and "Things That Sound Gay"), I can't say I love Gaiman's writing without saying I hate it as well. Part of it is that damn pride I began with. Part of it is that his approach to story telling seems so similar to that I wish to develop, that the difference which remains has been compressed to a needle sharp kernal of not-exactly rightness. It's like an OCD person being confronted with a row of pictures that are all perfectly straight save one, and then telling them they can't correct it. There's more to it than that, but I've left it for the next post. Look back for it soon.