Today is a lucky day for speculative fiction. November 10 is the birthday of Neil Gaiman and Jack Ketchum. If November 10 never happened the world would be denied American Gods, A Girl Next Door, Coraline, Off Season, Neverwhere… the list goes on.
Jack Ketchum, a.k.a. Dallas Mayr, passed away on January 24, 2018 but in this post I’ll refer to him in the present tense. Essentially, he is still with us through his writing and his memories. I only met him a handful of times but he had a big impact on why I write horror today. That’s how Jack was. He made a big impact on everyone.
Neil Gaiman is also a big part of why I write. A long time ago somewhere in New Jersey I picked up a comic book called Sandman. I was there, waiting for someone else and not a big fan of comics, but Sandman riveted me.
It was a comic book, but complicated. The art was lush. The plot was intricate. I don’t think the term graphic novel was being thrown around a lot at the time, at least not in my world. This thing I read opened my eyes. Gaiman showed me something utterly unexpected. The thing I was reading transcended expectation.
Two great trailblazers born on the same day. Seems like if we can have things like National Milkshake Day, surely we should have a day set aside to honor these men, and all those who build bridges of words for the rest of us to travel on.
I began this post with one of my favorite Neil Gaiman quotes. I end it with one of my favorites from Jack Ketchum.