So you loved Good Omens?
The Good Omens TV adaptation hit Amazon Prime like a meteor, and it caused a tsunami of positive whoops and cheers from long-time fans of the book and newcomers alike. The show, as adaptations go, is perfect. It’s a lesson in how to use costume, set, style, dialogue, and music to mimic the tone set by the book. It’s perfectly cast and delivers us a Good Omens that’s fit for the golden age of TV in 2019.
Now that you’ve finished the show, you’re going to want to read the book. If you’ve read the book – whether that’s just recently or ten times a year for the past decade – there are so many wonderful books and comics which capture that same style and tone. So, let’s take a look at some other books by Good Omens co-authors Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, as well as a few books and comics by other authors which will scratch that Good Omens itch.
Even Death needs an apprentice. Why not Mort? While Mort might not be the first of Terry Pratchett’s legendary Discworld series (in fact, it’s the fourth), it’s arguably the first one that really cemented fans’ love of his work. It’s where we can see his style, comedic tones, and witty social commentary really shine. It was the first Discworld book to elicit actual howls of laughter from me. And, despite it being the fourth book, the Discworld books can be read in any order, more-or-less. They’re all self-contained. This one is the first book to star Death, though, so it’s a great jumping-on point regardless.
This is the Neil Gaiman book most similar in tone to Good Omens (at least, in my opinion). It’s set in London, uses familiar cultural themes, plays off British references, and creates one of the most liveable, breathable, believable magic worlds you’ll ever set foot in. And you really do set foot in it, wander it, fall in love with it. Neverwhere follows the adventures of a man, Richard Mayhew, as he helps an injured girl named Door off the streets of London. From there, his life ceases to be real, and he is soon on the run from a pair of inhuman assassins. At last he ends up in London Below, a dark and mystical forgotten area of London full of Rat-Speakers, a Floating Market, and the true Angel of Islington.
One of the most delightfully fairy-tale, fantastical, dream-like settings is a circus. It’s a place which, if utilised by the right kind of talent, could be turned into the kind of tale that would hit you with a one-two punch of shock and awe again and again and again. The Night Circus does just that. Set during the Victorian period, the novel brings us to Le Cirque des Rêves: a travelling circus which opens come nightfall and closes at dawn. This circus holds real magic, both beautiful and dark. It’s a tale of two powerful magicians in friendly yet cruel competition with one another. Each magician trains a protégé – Celia and Marco – in the secrets of magic, binding them both into a deadly contest. A contest complicated by the sneaky emergence of romance.
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It takes some kind of cleverness to study the Norse Eddas, learn the stories of the old Norse gods, and then weave these stories into a single cohesive narrative. The Gospel of Loki is what you’d get if you took Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology, reworked each tale into a string of events that formed a linear story, then sprinkled that story with a kind of light, charming, childish wit that could be enjoyed by all. It’s an incredible approach to storytelling, making the old Norse myths fun and modern and simple yet endlessly fun.
First debuting in Neil Gaiman’s legendary The Sandman comic book series, published by Vertigo, Lucifer was later given his own solo series, penned by the genius Mike Carey (whose other work The Unwritten is an underrated masterpiece that unpacks and explores the very nature of storytelling). The Lucifer solo series follows our protagonist after he quit his job as the ruler of hell (see The Sandman). Now, he lives and works in LA as the owner of a piano bar called Lux. That is, until a certain heavenly creator comes to him looking for a favour.
Perhaps the most woke comic of this decade. The Wicked + The Divine takes twelve gods and places them in a perpetual cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Every ninety years, these gods come to Earth as humans, grow famous, rich, adored, and are then dead within two years. It’s an uncomfortably smart examination of the nature of fame from the perspective of both the famous and those of us who worship them. The metaphor is easy to see, but it’s how that metaphor builds, grows layers, and evolves that keeps you coming back. As well as McKelvie’s minimalist pop-art style and Gillen’s witty, snappy dialogue.
A book that caught the attention of Neil Gaiman himself before even being completed, this massive, sweeping epic is an English tale of magical realism set during the Napoleonic War. Mr Norrell is one of the last magic users of England, and with his command over magic alone he is able to repel Napoleon’s fleet. He is unchallenged. That is, until a suave and charming but naïve and reckless young magician named Jonathan Strange emerges. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is a novel which will hold your attention from the first page with a clever blend of history and magic.
Will predominantly writes about the books of Books and Bao, examining the literature of a place and how the authors have used the art of storytelling to reflect the world and the culture around them.