September Books 5) The Books of Magic, by Neil Gaiman
I think this was the first Neil Gaiman comic I bought, or possibly was given, strongly commended by Roger Zelazny's glowing introduction, written just a year or so before his death. Rereading it now, I realise that it's meant to be not only a Bildungsroman/Hero's Journey type story, but also a tour through the various magical and fantasy characters of the DC comics universe; I am now much more conscious of my own ignorance of that subject than I was twenty years ago. Gorgeously illustrated, with Gaiman's typical style, but I also noticed the lack of women characters this time round - not that they are absent, but the five central figures are all male.
Back in 2008 there was an exciting kerfuffle about the fact that Harry Potter, like Timothy Hunter, is also a boy wizard with a pet owl. I loved Neil Gaiman's robust response:
I doubted she'd read it and that it wouldn't matter if she had: I wasn't the first writer to create a young magician with potential, nor was Rowling the first to send one to school. It's not the ideas, it's what you do with them that matters.
Genre fiction, as Terry Pratchett has pointed out, is a stew. You take stuff out of the pot, you put stuff back. The stew bubbles on.
It will never satisfy some, of course, but at least he is on the record.