Back in the late 1980s as an avid fan of DC Comics, I began to hear little rumbles in the fan press of the day (blissfully cloaked in hard copy with nary an internet news site yet in evidence) about an up and coming writer that was plying his craft on a title called Sandman. Now I knew my way around more than a corner or two when it came to the sprawling history of the DCU, which went all the way back to 1935, and I assumed this to be a title extrapolating on either the Golden Age Sandman character (whom I loved dearly) or the one introduced to DC proper in the 1970s by comic icon Jack Kirby. Turns out it was really neither of these (though Gaiman, to his good credit, brushed up against both of those iterations during his vaunted run on the Sandman series), but an altogether new creation by the English author, one that dabbled heavily in the fertile landscape of dreams and nightmares. I was not impressed. ‘Who does this Gaiman cat think he is, claiming stake to a legendary early superhero moniker that has virtually nothing to do with Wes Dodds, Sandy Hawkins, gas masks and purple and gold union suits; The nerve! It will never last!’ Luckily I was very wrong on that hasty assessment and, after much grumbling and procrastination I finally picked up an issue of the comic and quickly became a huge supporter and fan. I’ve remained a fan ever since, so much so that I lit up upon stumbling upon the news from our pals over at the always dreamy Hollywood Reporter that Gaiman will be spinning his lovely brand of magic in an all new series over at the streaming platform known as Amazon.
Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys is sorta-kinda the backstory for a major character from the author’s uber popular novel American Gods (which also recently saw a television series adaptation). It’s based off of the popular 2005 novel of the same name. The six-part series follows the early days of one Charlie Nancy (a central character in American Gods), a lad who lives in chronic embarrassment of his wayward father. After his father passes away, Charlie finds out that his old man was a trickster god of stories, also known as Anansi. Proving that bad news always travels in pairs, the youth also discovers he has a brother ominously named Spider: Cain and Abel, anyone?
Anansi Boys is set to go into production later this year in Scotland and let this be a lesson to you, Dear and Constant Reader: Never write off an up and coming heavyweight like ye olde scribbler of words did way back in the late 80s…This new series – and a veritable ton of wonderful books and comics by Neil Gaiman in all of the years leading up to this – is proof positive that you just never can tell!