Tag Archives: Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman, Eternals

(2016-04-28 001)Title: Eternals

Author: created by Jack Kirby; Neil Gaiman, writer; John Romita, Jr., pencils

Publication Information: New York, NY: Published by Marvel Publishing, Inc., a subsidiary of of Marvel Entertainment, Inc., 2007

ISBN: 0-7851-2541-8 (978-0-785-12541-9)

Library of Congress Classification: PN6727.G35

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Fantasy comic books, strips, etc.
Young adult fiction, English

Having collected all of Jack Kirby’s original Eternals title and just about every Eternals mini-series that Marvel Comics ever published, I am wary of where this graphic novel is going. It seems that Marvel, in the best imitation of DC Comics, wants to reconstitute the Eternals.

Originally, the Eternals were one of the races created by the Celestials, an omnipotent race that visited Earth thousands of years ago. The other two races were the Deviants, those whose physical forms varied because their DNA was completely unstable, and Humans, namely us. The Eternals were the beautiful ones, living for thousands of years, each with differing powers and the ability to fly. They came to live on the mountaintops; Humanity occupied Earth; the Deviants lived under the earth. Kirby intended the Eternals to having been mistaken by Humans as the ancient Greek gods. However, when Marvel originally folded the Eternals into the regular Marvel Universe, where the Greek gods–like the Norse–already existed, it was explained that Humans sometimes mistook the Eternals for their gods, but this was okay with Zeus; he had reached an agreement with Zuras, the head of the Eternals. The most prominent Eternals, besides Zuras, were Thena, Ikarus, Sersi, and Makkari.

Now Marvel wants to redefine who the Eternals are. Thena has had affairs with Ikarus, Makkari and other Eternals; she has a child which she bore to a Human male who was killed. She refuses to give up the child, and Zuras allows her to keep it, although he warns her about the trouble the child will cause. The affairs of Humans are of no concern to the Eternals; the previous relationships Ikarus and others had with them are gone. The Deviants, always a threat to the Eternals and, by extension, Humanity, are plotting another attempt to takeover the planet.

Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Author: Neil Gaiman

Publication Information: New York: William Morrow, 2014 (1st pbk. ed.)

ISBN: 978-0-06-234324-6

Library of Congress Classification: PR6057.A319

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Good and evil—Fiction

I am ashamed to say that this is the first book I’ve ever read by Neil Gaiman.

Not that I haven’t had friends encouraging me to read Gaiman’s works. I just never got around to it. So when I spotted this book, which is under 200 pages, was in Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon, I decided to give it a try. The two people who I was with had also read it, and loved it.

This is the story of a boy who ends up getting involved with the supernatural activities of his neighbors, the Hempstocks. These three women are independent, and the boy, at the age of seven, befriends Lottie, who is eleven. He is with her and inadvertently gets into trouble when his heart is used as a gateway into this universe by something calling itself Ursula Monkton, who wants to give everyone everything that they ever wanted. This is not a good thing, and the Hempstocks attempt to protect the boy while trying to get Ursula to leave this dimension. Meanwhile, she ingratiates herself into the boy’s family.

It’s a good story. Gaiman, who is interviewed in the back of the book, compares the Hempstocks to the Maiden-Mother-Crone aspect of many goddesses. (I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t even pick up on this.) The interviewer points out that the only people with names in the book are the Hempstocks and Ursula; all other characters are referred to by how they dress or by role, e.g. the boy’s sister, father, etc. The story is told from the first person, that of a man remembering an adventure when he was seven.

I enjoyed the book thoroughly. It was a good read, and Gaiman is very clever in how he constructs the story and how it eventually ends. I like how Gaiman writes, too. Listening to the man talk about his feelings and the things he says as a child is believable. This book could be read by children as well. Ursula is a nasty character, but I don’t think the action is too scary. There is violence, but nothing too graphic, and a sex scene that is seen from a child’s perspective. The entire book reads like a fairy tale or something that takes place outside the normal plane of existence.

A really good book.