Neil Gaiman Talks About A Discussion That Showed Him Why Fans Get So Invested in Comic Books

Read on to learn more about this fascinating discussion!

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Neil Gaiman, known for amazing titles like American Gods, Stardust, Neverwhere, Coraline, Good Omens, and so many more. Gaiman is also very well known for The Sandman, a comic book series that has been adapted by audible and, most recently, into a Netflix series.

Neil Gaiman In Conversation

Uproxx writer Kimberly Ricci wrote an article to discuss how, when Neil Gaiman appeared on Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast, he talked about a situation where he met an invested Superman fan who was upset with the alteration that John Byrne made to Superman’s story:

“It matters so much to them. I remember a guy, a comics fan who’s dead now, talking to him once, and he was complaining about John Byrne changing Superman’s origin story. And this is, we’re taking, 30-something years ago now. But he said to me, ‘John Byrne did all the stuff, and and and and and it just destroyed my life.’ And I said to him, ‘Well, why did it destroy your life? Is it because you were the world’s number man Superman expert, and now you’re not? Or what is it?”

Image via Audible

The fan, in return, told Gaiman, “Well, it’s a bit that, but it’s much more. He brought back Superman’s/Clark Kent’s mom and dad, and they’re dead in the comics. And my mom and dad are both dead, and I can’t bring them back.”

This response is what provided Gaiman with a strong understanding for individuals who were upset by the changes to a comic book’s canon: “‘You’ve been using Superman all your life as a way of holding onto reality and holding onto the world and using it for order, and the fact that you knew all of this stuff was what gave you protection against the world. And now, something fundamental has changed, and it’s hitting you in an incredibly basic way.'”

When one considers Gaiman’s statement within not just the context of comic books but literature and stories on a whole, it brings into perspective how important those become to us. Ricci also referenced how Gaiman was happy that Maron found The Sandman comics at a point in his life where he needed it and that his series gave him what he needed at that time. Placing Gaiman’s experience with this Superman fan into conversation with what he said to Maron serves as an excellent reminder of how we take comfort in stories by relating to the characters portrayed therein.