Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How Many Lanes Must Neil Gaiman Walk Down?

While many readers will take The Ocean at the End of the Lane as a parable for an adult's hazy recollection of the intense feelings and dark fears and fantasies of childhood, a more specific perspective is possible: this is Neil Gaiman's gothic self-portrait, in the sense of a painter who depicts himself looking in a mirror, his bemused image standing out centrally if tentatively, embedded as it is in the composition among his favorite semiotic objects.

Fittingly for a creator and writer of comics, it's also Gaiman's superhero origins story, presenting how a figurative, residual hole in the author's heart from childhood traumatic events has led to his lifelong, genius ability to access his sharp, surrealistic imagination for popular consumption and illumination.


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