Thursday, June 26, 2003

A test to see if Blog This! now works.... (it does)

Ciao Neil!
Not a question at all, it's just that you are on the front cover of this week's italian music magazine Il Mucchio Selvaggio (! Er... not one of your best pictures, but the interview is OK.

Oh, it's not the worst picture of me I've ever seen (I mean, they can get pretty bad) -- I think it was taken at the Torino book festival, after I'd done the talk and the impromptu mad signing. Hair looks fairly unlikely, though.

Last tuesday I attended the HQMix, which is the equivalent of the Eisner Awards in Brazil. And Sandman won this year as "foreigner monthly comic book" since it has been republished monthly again for a great number of new readers who had never heard of it the first time around, or were just too young to pick it up.

Anyway, during the award presentation, there were no one there to accept your award in your behalf, and I wondered why that was. I found no answer in my mind but a growing desire to get the awaed myself and simply say to the audience "Well, Neil is very grateful for this award and, since I will be attending the San Diego Convention this year, he sent me to get the award and deliver to him. Thank you".

But I didn't.

If I see you in San Diego, I shall greet you empty handed, then.

Not really a question, but many questions crossed my mind during that event.

Thank you for your wonderful work,

Fabio Moon

I wonder where the Brazilian awards go. When I was there in 1996 Sandman won some awards, which I didn't want to pack in my luggage and take home, mostly because they looked like bombs (the black kind in cartoons with fuses coming out of them) and even then airport security people were lacking a sense of humour about such things. Never seen them again...

I hope I get to return to Brazil in the next few years -- perhaps I'll have a cache of awards to bring home.

"I was once found and got by a feral white cat I barely knew who somehow persuaded me to follow her, mostly by taking a few steps at a time and looking exasperated and worried, and eventually led to the place where one of her kittens was strangling on netting."

So did you save the damn kitten or just stare at it or what man?! Honestly...

Anyway, sounds like the new Blogger sucks. Why not just go back to the version you had before you upgraded?

Also, the last post on your journal concerning Bill Sienkiewicz it kinda sounds like he was dragging his bum on the project. Is that how you feel? I remember reading The Sandman Companion where you stated that after one of your initial meetings with Karen Berger and Dick Giordiano that you and Dave McKean went home, you banged out a rough draft proposal for Black Orchid and McKean slammed out three or four paintings for it and I wonder if Dave's ability to deliver art faster has spoiled you. I've always WANTED to see artists and writers take their time with their work rather than bang out a 22 page script or art as fast as possible to avoid the deadline crunch. It just makes for better work overall. To hear you tell of agonizing for weeks over a Sandman script validates this. It is the best comic book ever written. And really, why WOULDN't DC Comics and Warner Bros. relinquish the rights to all Sandman related propoerty to you? Yes, I understand that they still make a significant amount of money from the Trade paperback sales(which I think should continue because they gambled on you as an unknown at the time) but what a hell of a practice. It's just as bad as American comic strips. It's yours. It came out of your head. That's America to me. Cash in as fast as possible, for as long as possible, don't worry about getting an original idea, rather worry about learning the best way of exploiting the creative people responsible who are are too busy thinking about their creative work to bother with such pettiness as accululating mass quantities of money. It makes me want to wave my flag, bigtime.

Got a question about how you were paid for your Sandman scripts. How were you paid? Did they give you more cash as the comic sold more? Was it enough to live on? C'mon, man, I want details!

Gotta jet, I'm at work, blah, blah, blah.


I went back inside, and got some scissors, and cut out some of the net, then cut the kitten loose, and expected to bury her. She's now nine years old, weighs about 30 lb, and is fairly affectionate, although not very bright. She's called Furball.

The upgrade is at Blogger's end, not mine, if you see what I mean. They've changed their software and systems, and now the bugs are coming out...

The post about Bill is more relief that the art is in than sighing about how long it took him. And the art was good enough that no-one's grumbling about how late it was, even though it really came in just under the wire, and I'm madly rewriting to make it work.

ENDLESS NIGHTS has already moved over a year from its original planned publication date to take into account getting the artists we wanted, and to give them (and me) enough time to do their best work. Bill just had us biting our nails there, towards the end: there wasn't any more room for the book to be late.

As for ownership of Sandman, it's DC's. They own it like they own Superman. If I'd started doing it about 18 months later, it probably would have been creator-owned, like The Invisibles or Preacher -- or like Stardust was. It was 1987, and it was the only game in town.

Payment for Sandman scripts started about $1500 and I think it crept up to about $2400 a script by the end of the run. But then, they made royalties -- not much to begin with (we were barely at the bottom of the top 100 comics when we started, and slowly crept up the list as the sales of everything else dwindled), but they've sold astonishingly well in hardback and trade paperback ever since. I worked out a few years ago that to have earned the royalties I've made for Sandman in trade paperback over the years, every one of those 75 issues would have had to have sold well over a million copies.