Friday, July 20, 2001


 Not dead, only resting. Wrote an introduction for a reprint of Pat Cadigan's novel Synners, and poem for an Arne Svenson (he's a photographer) book of photos of sock monkeys, but that's been it for work. Now a huge backlog of stuff, filmic and comics, awaits me... and then off to Canada on Sunday. The schedule I've been sent runs pretty much by the minute, but there seems to be a fair amount of sushi on it, which is nice.

Last night I took part telephonically in a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. This is a not for profit organisation that looks out for comics writers, artists, publishers and retailers who need defending on a first amendment basis (that's Freedom of Speech, for those of you not immediately au fait with the US Constitution)-- every little legal case, and big ones, and ones that never turn into legal cases at all. They all cost money. And the cases the CBLDF has defended range from the Californian Tax authorities trying to reclassify comics from "literature" to "sign painting", to Mike Diana's imprisonment for drawing his mini comic "Boiled Angel" (we lost that case. His sentence included three year's suspended imprisonment, a $1000 fine, 1000 hours of community service, and he was forbidden to draw anything that anyone might consider obscene -- and the local police were empowered to do 24 hour raids on his rooms to make sure he wasn't committing art. On appeal we got him able to leave Florida...) to the normal run of the mill cases where retailers are accused of selling comics from the over 18 section of the store, marked for over 18s, to undercover cops over the age of 18.

It was a long meeting -- most of the people were in San Diego, where the meeting started at 8.00pm. Here in the midwest it started at 10.00pm, and round about 1:30 am this jetlagged author started noticing that the world on the other end of the phone was a very very long way away.

The CBLDF is always after people for money. This is because the price of liberty in the US is not just eternal vigilance, but it's also cash on the nail to lawyers, to fly in expert witnesses, to all that stuff.

Go buy their merchandise. Check out their website ( Become a member -- they send you a membership card and several goodies, but mostly you just get the satisfaction of knowing you're doing something good to preserve the First Amendment and freedom of speech (which people know applies to prose, but are a lot more uncertain about when it comes to comics).

They've got the LIVE AT THE ALADDIN video for sale -- it's come out, and it's the film of (and a mini-documentary about) the Portland leg of the LAST ANGEL Reading tour I did last October. If you've never been to any of the Guardian Angel tour readings, you should get the video to see what you missed. And if you went to any of them you should get the video to remind yourself of the fun you had.

The questions in Portland weren't quite as strange as the ones from New York ("Can I be your sex slave?" was one from New York I remember taking me slightly by surprise, and my answer "Um, no" was possibly not the epitome of a graceful comeback) and the lighting makes me look like an early Bernie Wrightson drawing, but you need this video. (And I don't get a penny of it. It all goes to the CBLDF.)

The Last Angel Tour in 2000 was the last tour I was ever going to do for the CBLDF -- I'd been doing them since 1993, and thought it was time that other people got out there and did stuff. It hasn't really happened, although Harlan Ellison and I are going to do readings for the CBLDF on alternate evenings at Madcon this October in Madison. It's .

(Yes, I know, we need an updated APPEARANCES section of this website to list things like this.)

As I was saying, no one's really leapt into the breach yet, so if any of you have any favourite comics people you want to see live on stage, tell them you'd pay to come and see them. I keep telling Jill Thompson that she could fill a theatre with Scary Godmother readings -- maybe with slides -- but I don't think she believes me.

Anyway, I've mentioned the CBLDF store on this journal in the past, but it's worth pointing you all there again. It's the only online place I know of that you can just go and buy one of the 5000 signed limited copies of AMERICAN GODS (except e-bay, I suppose. hang on, I'll look.)

(Nothing at all.)

(Hmm... try looking for SIGNED AMERICAN GODS instead of SINGED AMERICAN GODS...)

Yup. They've got 'em at e-bay, where they've been selling for as much at $60, but if you order them from the CBLDF they are a lowly $35 and all your money goes to a good cause AND they have other cool stuff too, so go and click on to go straight to their Neil Gaiman store section, or on to see what else is on offer, or just head straight over to .

And tell people to go and do likewise. Spread the word. Tell them Neil sent you. Look, if enough of you start doing it, I'll get the FAQ blogger up and running. I'll do a review of Strange Little Girls. I'll go and find some goofy stuff sitting on the dustier bits of the hard disk and set up a "Goofy Stuff From the Dustier Bits of the Hard Disk" section of the website. Honest.

And in the meantime, if you run into Jill Thompson, mention to her casually you'd pay good money to see her up on stage doing Scary Godmother for the CBLDF...