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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Death, Tentacles and Pip.

Bet you thought I was dead. Well, unless you were looking at the Twitter feed down the side of the blog, and even then I might have been Dead but Still Twittering. It could happen and probably does.

But I am not dead. I am not even sick.  I am home, got home yesterday afternoon, six weeks of mad peregrinations are over, and, because I was asleep by nine last night, I am wide awake at six am, so I grabbed my computer, and am now blogging in bed in the dark.

(Cabal the Dog was very pleased to see me. He's 90% better after his operation -- he still has about ten days until he's allowed to go up and down stairs [so I am still sleeping on makeshift downstairs bed]  but he is allowed to run, and he has -- for the first time ever -- an appetite, like a normal dog, and has thus put on several pounds. He looks more like a white German Shepherd Dog and less like a big white greyhound.

And I was pleased to see him. Here is a smily picture of us saying hello...



So when last heard of, I was blogging in a little hotel in the Highlands&Islands, off on a mysterious errand. (The best bit was throwing chips to the seagulls in a little Scottish harbour.)

Then I drove to Inverness and I flew from there to London, where I saw Holly, sat in the hotel library and wrote, saw friends, had some meetings about films and TV and books, ate more fish and chips, drank tea, and finally, given the choice between seeing Dave McKean for the first time since Hallowe'en and going to the UK Watchmen premiere, I had a lovely dinner with Dave, and caught up with friends who'd been to the premiere afterwards. Their feedback left me a bit more interested in seeing it, though.

(Also, my friend Duncan Jones showed me his upcoming film Moon, and I will blog about it soon. It is a solid science fiction film like they don't make any more.)

Let's see. The Newbery Award for The Graveyard Book continues to do good things. Bookshops are getting their copies with the gold medal on the cover, it's selling like (I'd say hot cakes, but I've honestly never seen people going "are these cakes hot? Then I will buy all of them!" in real life) and it's being reviewed in places that hadn't reviewed it before it was an award-winner:

Gaiman's ghost story is not just about the thrills and chills, although there are plenty. The book is in fact literary and layered. Gaiman gives reassurance that even sinister circumstance cannot squelch our human capacity to grow and change for the better. So as in all worthy coming-of-age stories, the ending turns out to be a new beginning.
The Chicago Tribune,
...combines realistic dialogue and fantasy possibilities to tell a story that's not about sensationalized violence but about life's potential for happiness. Take time for this one, as it's quite remarkable; many adult readers, no children attached, have found it quite a compelling read.
The New York Times made it an Editor's Choice, but not The Boston Globe, in the first example of Thumper's "if you can't say something nice about someone don't say anything" motto book-reviewing I can remember. The entire review is:
I found the book ghastly, literally and metaphorically, and since Gaiman is a writer whose inventive genius I respect, I'll pass on without further comment.
...which just left me wondering how something can be metaphorically ghastly. ("It was ghastly -- and I mean that metaphorically!") and concluding that Liz Rosenberg is probably trying to use metaphorically as the opposite of literally, whereas what she actually meant was that it was ghastly in several senses of the word (ie. filled with dead things and ghosts and she didn't like it one little bit). Ah well. I hope she likes the next thing, whatever that is.

Which reminds me, the Who Killed Amanda Palmer book is, I am told, being printed and should be on its way into the world soon. (Preorder info here.)

Here's a short story from it. The stories are all short and all very different, and an Amanda dies in all of them. This one was a fairy-tale. It starts at about 2:19.



(You can see the photo Amanda is holding up here. And if you want to know what the event looked like from the front, photos, and more photos. Also, a review of her Sugar Club gig. I am tousle-haired. Who knew?)
...

Right. Now on to CORALINE...


It was predicted that it would be the #3 film this weekend. But by the end of the weekend, we were actually #2. Champagne would have been drunk if we weren't losing most of our 3D screens to the Jonas Bros on Friday.

Okay. Coraline tab-closing time:

Here's a great article on Coraline computer modellers, whose modelly creations were then made using 3D printers, saving about four man-years in face sculpting. (Is it still CGI when you press a button and it becomes real?). An interview with me and Henry Selick.

A review I enjoyed. The reviews from Christianity Today, Catholic News Service, and the Episcopal Life are all sane and positive, although we are all waiting for the Capalert review. (Then again, they thought The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was well dodgy.)


Irene Gallo has started collecting links to Coraline design and animation work on her blog (http://igallo.blogspot.com/). And Chris Turnham's design work at  http://christurnham.blogspot.com/ is wonderful. Stef Choi just put some art up at http://stefchoi.blogspot.com/(Again, I'd love to see an ART OF CORALINE book. Steve Jones was limited in his Coraline Film Companion to the art and information that Laika would give him. Now that no-one's actually in the mad final stages of making a film, it would be marvellous to gather together the entire concept art process.)
...

There were many glorious things on the kitchen table waiting for me. I'll try and take a photo. My copy of The Lifted Brow was waiting for me. So was my copy of the DVD of American Scary. (The first ten minutes is up at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukvJYs4Kq_k)

I've talked about Julie Schwartz here a few times. Read this. It's wonderful, in all senses of the word.

March 1-7th is Will Eisner Week. As we learn at http://www.cbldf.org/pr/archives/000386.shtml

Will Eisner Week is intended as an ongoing celebration that will promote graphic novel literacy, free speech awareness, and the legacy of Eisner himself to a broad audience. This first annual celebration is themed "The Spirit of A Legend," examining Will Eisner's seminal Spirit comic, as well as the spirit inherent in his work that has inspired generations of comic readers and artists. This theme will be explored at events in Minneapolis at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, in Savannah at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and in New York City.
In addition to events, a variety of academic papers and group activity assignments are available on WillEisnerWeek.com.


And last of all...

On Saturday March 7th, at Books of Wonder in Manhattan, Charles Vess and I are doing a signing. The event starts at 1:00pm. I'll read Blueberry Girl (it isn't very long. Maybe I'll read it twice, or verrrry sloooowly) and Charles will have art on display and prints for sale, and we'll do a Blueberry Girl Q&A, and it should be fun. I was worried that there wouldn't be enough space, but Peter at Books of Wonder reassured me that they've moved into a new shop since last I was there, and hosted J.K. Rowling, so they will have no problem coping with numbers of people who will turn up. So, hurrah, turn up. They'll be donating a percentage of the profits to RAINN, because I originally wrote Blueberry Girl for Tori and her as-yet-unborn-daughter, and that seemed like the right thing to do.

(Click on the poster to make it bigger.) (An early Blueberry Girl review, from a young girl and her mum.)

(Worth mentioning that Please note that you are welcome to bring one book from home to be signed for each book you purchase on the day of the event is a mistake. It may be true for Charles, but it's not true for me. Current plans are that I'll sign three things per person, and if the numbers of people get too big, that may have to go down.)

And this has been a long enough blog that I shall stop here and resume later.

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