Sunday, November 14, 2010

100 Days of Fantasy: Day 91

This is an ongoing series looking at books that influenced me as a fantasy author.

The Books of Magic
by Neil Gaiman

The Books of MagicIn 1989, DC Comics under its Vertigo title released a four-issue limited series of comic books known as The Books of Magic. A couple of years later that series was collected into a graphic novel format and then released to the reading public.

The series was popular enough that soon afterward the comic was made into a regular series.

The original four-part series was written by the excellent Neil Gaiman, with artwork by various artists, all quite good.

The original story lines concerns a British boy, Tim Hunter, who is contacted by four powerful mages of the modern age. Tim is told it is his destiny to be the most powerful wizard of his time, but is given the opportunity to turn aside from such a destiny. To help Tim make his decision, and to let him know some of what he's in four, each of these four mages takes Tim on a journey. One mage takes Tim to the past, and shows him many occult entities and events. Another shows Tim around the present world of magic. Yet another takes Tim to other mystical realms. And finally, Tim goes on a tour of the future.

Unfortunately, I've made this sound all rather dull. That's because I cannot compete, and have no intention of competing, with the likes of Neil Gaiman. It would be a foolish writer who would do so.

But imagine Harry Potter living in a much, much darker universe than that of Hogwart's. If you can imagine that, you'll have a pretty good idea of the world of Timothy Hunter.

Honestly, I find The Books of Magic to contain some of Gaiman's strongest writing every, in my opinion. And not all is dark here. There is also plenty of humor, though some of it is dark humor.

If you love graphic novels, reading about the occult or just like Neil Gaiman's writing, do yourself a favor and snag up The Books of Magic. You won't regret it.

Up next: Watchmen


Charles Gramlich said...

I wish I'd started with Gaiman's graphic stuff first. I've never read it, althoguh I looked at the Sandman series and just couldn't think about spending that much money for it.

Ty Johnston said...

I know it's not a popular opinion, but I believe his graphic novel work is superior to his prose today, not that what he's writing nowadays is awful or anything. But some of the ground he covers in his novels of the last few years is already covered, at least thematically, back in his graphic novel days.

Anonymous said...

For me, the high point of The Books of Magic was right after the original miniseries.
The first four books of the continuing series, collected as Bindings, is one of my favorite reads of all time.