When I was young-ish, I remember tagging along with my brother to the comics store. There was a comic on display there that had a cover like nothing else in the store, sort of like a photograph with rough edges. I reached for it and got just far enough to see that the inside was drawn in a different style altogether– and then a staff member stopped me and gently suggested that I might want to wait until I was a little older before I read that particular book.
I didn’t really think about the book when I was older until I had a library school assignment to read a Sandman graphic novel. I pulled one off the shelf at the library where I was working and immediately recognized the style of the cover art. Once I read the stories, I was hooked. That was my introduction to Neil Gaiman.
Both Neil Gaiman and the illustrator who first caught my eye, Dave McKean, have published books for younger readers since then. (Mr. McKean often provided the visual art to go with Mr. Gaiman’s words, as in the popular Coraline, award-winning The Graveyard Book, and is-it-too-scary-to-call-it-a-picture-book The Wolves in the Walls.)
Now that he’s as well-known for his books for children as for his books for adults, I won’t call it a shock but instead a pleasant surprise that Neil Gaiman will be appearing on the children’s cartoon Arthur. He’s appearing as himself, or at least himself as a cartoon anthropomorphic cat. The plot, as far as I can tell, has something to do with creative writing, intellectual freedom, and falafel.