On any normal day, the most exciting thing in the morning's mail would have been the limited editions of CORALINE, or the second volume of the collected Moomin comics, or even the new Lamy 2000 Fountain pen (to replace one that I must have lost somewhere along the way. I'm writing The Graveyard Book with a very antique Waterman flexnib, which makes it very pleasant to write but not the most legible manuscript you've ever seen). Not to mention the DVD screener of Sweeney Todd. And even on a slightly abnormal day, filled with amazing postal gifts and such, the most exciting thing in the mail would have been the DREAM OF
THE RAREBIT FIEND, a book of amazing hugeness and beauty that I had ordered from http://www.rarebit-fiend-book.com/ (and had been waiting for with suppressed excitement for about ten days). I put it down on the post-covered kitchen table and stood on a chair to take a photo of it. The book is enormous (that's a full-sized phone beside it) and I cannot wait to read it...
But the surprise of the postbag was this: The Art of P. Craig Russell, a Retrospective -- a lovely surprise. Introduction by Dave Sim, put together by Craig and Joe Pruett. It's a look at Craig's art and work from boyhood until today that is complete, illuminating and beautiful.
There's one chapter that's just Craig talking about Murder Mysteries, how he adapted it, what choices he made, how he broke it down, the design of the word balloons, the use of colour, and so on, that should be compulsory reading for anyone who wants to write, draw or edit comics.
If Craig had told me he was doing it (and I'm sure he did) I had managed to forget completely. Which made it the perfect surprise. (Craig's website is http://www.pcraigrussell.net/. )
And that was followed by a phone call from my agent letting me know that United Artists was the first studio to sign a deal with the Writer's Guild, and that if I wanted to write a film for them, or sell them the rights to a book, I could. Here's hoping that a lot of other studios follow.