The weekend when Neil Gaiman was here a couple of years ago I was hanging out with some friends at Greenhills Promenade, where he was scheduled for a book signing. They asked me what the long lines at Fully Booked were for and I told them Gaiman was coming over. I also said I had an invite to the writers' forum the following day so I was in no hurry to see him.
They asked, "Neil who?"
My brow wrinkled slightly and I replied "The author. Sandman, American Gods, Coraline."
Their eyes were still blank.
My surprise was partly from the fact that Gaiman is not an Alan Moore or Warren Ellis (popular comic book writers) but a guy who has crossed over to writing TV shows (Neverwhere, Babylon 5), movies, and bestselling novels. But of course what should I expect from people who think Paolo Coelho is "deep" and "The Da Vinci Code" is good? (Oh, they didn't say that out loud but literate half who read this blog know the type well enough.)
Anyway, it just amused me to find out the Nail Gaiman consciously avoided becoming famous preferring, instead, to maintain his cult status. I think he will, despite Stardust the movie. The actors who are being interviewed on TV don't even mention him at all. Which means he'll belong to us comic book cultists, academics, and literary geeks a bit longer.