Thursday, July 31, 2003

Next time lucky....

I've just realised (mostly from what questions are still coming in) that an entire post from yesterday never got in. Not Blogger's fault this time -- I suspect I wrote the whole thing, then had some computer problems and just shut everything down without noticing I had a longish entry unposted.

So I'll chunter through them quickly --

Hi Neil,

Whether you know it or not, the hot internet rumor right now is that you will take over New X-Men when Grant Morrison leaves with #154. I'm not sure how it started, but most people are pretty convinced, care to comment now so I don't have to bug you on August 8th(can't wait for that, by the way)?

Sure. It's bollocks.

The contract between Marvel and Marvels and Miracles (the company that I formed to help sort out the Miracleman rights situation) calls for me to do two projects for them. 1602 was the first. The second hasn't been completely decided yet -- although I had a conversation with Avi Arad just before San Diego that made us both pretty happy. When I'm certain what it is, there will be an announcement, and I'll try and make sure that the announcement happens more than a month before shipping...

I thought I'd clarified this for Rich Johnston's rumour column, but obviously I hadn't done it solidly enough.

Dear Neil,

Curious people want to know (or at least this curious person does), what TV channel has asked you to host their Halloween horror fest?

-fingers crossed - Please say it's not some local Minneapolis channel which I can't get in Denver....


No, it's a national cable channel. When it's definite I'll post the details.

Dear Neil:
I remember you saying a while ago that you were so fed up with the quality of Sandman scripts you were recieving that you stopped considering them altogether. I was wondering if this was still the case. Also, if you are willing to still consider scripts, do they have to be from writers who have had movies made in the past? Do you bother with amateur or fan scripts? And, finally, where would submissions of this sort be sent to?

Curious first time screenwriter,


Sandman movie scripts don't come to me -- they go to (and come from) Warners, who control the Sandman film rights. What you're remembering was me grumbling about the quality of scripts coming from the film's producers. Here's a review from Ain't It Cool News of the last one.

And I'm always the wrong person to send any kind of script to. Honest.

Thought you would find this amusing.

Puff pastry mistaken for explosives by French officials.
Also, we received our copies of Wolves this morning. I have indeed trained my inventory gang well. I was paged immediately & handed a copy fresh off the skid.

-Borders Mole

I did find it amusing....

Tori's chef is a really nice man and excellent cook named Duncan Pickford. (He gave me the ginger-and-honey drink recipe that got me through the reading of the whole of Coraline last year.) He's going to be launching a cooking and health and so on website pretty soon. For now, there's a pilot site up at He's got a pre-site-launch prize draw going on... check it out.

A little bit of good news on the CBLDF front, with the fight against several proposed laws, info up at While Chuck Rozanski's terrific impromptu speech after becoming the first (but not, I hope, the last) retailer to be awarded the CBLDF's "DEFENDER OF LIBERTY" award is up at

Have the Neverwhere DVDs been pushed back a month or so, or am I hallucinating again? When I preorderd them from last month, I could have sworn it said "Will ship on [some date in late July], one month before retail availability," but now it says "Will ship on August 11, one month before retail availability." What's up?

Misty Smith

I think they're now shipping at the beginning of September.

Hi Neil,

I've been dying to read your graphic novels for years now. I just couldn't choose which ones to start off with. I finally went to the library and checked out everything, but was always missing the starting issue; Preludes and Nocturnes. Do I need to read the Sandman series in order? Or am I being very anal about reading them in order? I read DreamHunters and loved it. The Sandman series has attracted me for years, but because I am more of a reader of words, I went out and bought my own copies of Coraline, American Gods, and Good Omens. I am most fascinated by Coraline and your upcoming Wolves book. Perhaps I am a newbie to existance of you, but I'd really like to know how you progressed from such 'mature' material to the same sorts of 'mature' material but for a more innocent or on the cusp of being less innocent audience? I am a big fan of Francesca Lia Block as well as Lemony Snicket. And now, you have a place on my bookshelf next to them for years to come. (This is meant as a compliment by the way.)

Oh and I most enjoyed your entries about Holly's college decision. That's just beyond words what she did. I think it was fantastic how she chose.

Anyways, I shall immerse myself in Coraline now.


-Dee (Los Angeles)

You can probably start reading Sandman anywhere except the end -- I'd not start with The Kindly Ones or The Wake. I'm still figuring out what I'm doing in Preludes, so, while it contains a lot of important stuff, and several good stories, Sandman doesn't really feel entirely like Sandman until the second book, The Doll's House, anyway.

In many ways the new Sandman book, Endless Nights, is a good place to start, even if you don't know who all these people are yet, and even though it will be a different book if you go back to it after you've read the other ten books...

Neil --

I was just reshelving our copy of American Gods, and thought I'd share a small bit of a story with you. My wife and I read American Gods together immediately after it came out. She and I were travelling through Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan at the time. When we realized how much of the book took place in our vacation spots (with a climax not too far from our home town of Lawrence, Kansas,) the mantra of our trip became "Let's do what Shadow did!"
Shadow made an excellent tour guide, I believe. If nothing else, I owe him (and you) for introducing me to Culver's butterburgers. My vegetarian wife does not appreciate the wonderful greasiness, but I'm a fan.
So . . . your novel has become an indelible part of our marital history. I just thought you might like to know.


Randy Johnson

P.S.: Now that I think about it, my first serious girlfriend and I bonded over Sandman. I'd buy two copies each month - one for me, and one to mail off to her. What is it with you and my love life?

No idea, but I'm pleased I've been able to help it along. I love the idea of using American Gods as a travel book. I'd love to know how many people turn up at The House on the Rock wondering if it's going to be as odd as the one in the book, and finding it even odder....

And a few final oddments:

Does this news story mean that the Secret Service will in future be investigating High School productions of Sondheim's Assassins?

Hey pal -- feelin' blue?
Don't know what to do?
Hey, pal --
I mean you--
C'mere and kill a president.
No job? Cupboard bare?
One room, no one there?
Hey, pal, don't despair --
You wanna shoot a president?
C'mon and shoot a president...

There's an excellent informal Dave McKean site here at

Jill Thompson is doing some commissions (and selling her Death Manga pages) at

And you can read Jeff Zaleski's Publishers Weekly article here, at least for a while. The photo of me is from the MirrorMask set, having stumbled back downstairs from the impromptu haircut.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

CBLDF auction (ends Aug 6th) mostly...

After I finished the Saturday night reading at the Comic-Con, someone came up up to me and asked if they could buy the manuscript for "The Problem of Susan" in exchange for a donation to the CBLDF. I said sure, a hefty cheque was written and handed to the CBLDF people, and I signed and handed over the manuscript.

"What a good idea," I thought. So I signed almost all the rest of the things I read, and a couple of things I hadn't got around to, (I set aside "Blueberry Girl"; she's not for auction) and gave them to Charles Brownstein, and told him to make money for a good cause with them.

One was sold the following day at the CBLDF panel. There's another up for auction on eBay right now: eBay Seller List: cbldf. You'll find some other cool things there as well, including a signed (by Alan Moore) copy of Miracleman #1.

Which reminds me....

for your readers info, the second Alan Moore book, "The Extraordinary Works Of Alan Moore" is now out. For those with long memories, you had a librarian in your attic on February 23, 2002 ( to find material for the book
link to publisher's listing:


George gave me a copy when he saw me at the San Diego Comic-con. I posted it back, so haven't read very much of it yet. I talked to Alan about it today -- he loved the two page story I wrote about him, which Mark Buckingham drew (really delightfully. He's ace, our Bucky) and Todd Klein lettered. The second page of the comic is about the pond in Alan's back garden. "Did you know I actually have a pond in my back garden?" he asked. And I didn't. But that being true, we decided that the rest of it was probably true as well.

I did read enough to learn that the book has a matched pair of incredibly funny and brutal introduction and afterwords by, respectively, Amber and Leah Moore, who are a) terrific writers and b) write about the Alan that I've known for...(Um. Eighteen years. Good lord.)

I all-too often fail to recognise Alan in pen-portraits done by other people -- he's larger than life already, but sometimes in interviews or articles I read he suddenly turns into someone who looks like the photographs. When Frank Miller realises someone is taking a photo of him, he looks at the photographer like a mad falcon who's just focused on a tiny dot of a mouse a long way below that is just about to be dinner; and when Alan gets his photo taken he sort of looms grimly, and shadows wreathe around him, and he looks like Santa Claus's thinner, more murdererous, magical younger brother. Whereas in real life and out of photos, Frank Miller is someone who, in conversation, mostly guffaws with delight, and has the sense of fun and continuous wicked grin of a really dangerous eight-year old who has just realised that the Grown-Ups can't stop him now; and when I think of Alan, I think of the way he grins, in real life, like Maxwell the Magic Cat, the strip he used to write and draw (as Jill de Rais), and of his enthusiasms, and unfailing politeness and lack of bathroom carpeting. That's the Alan that Leah and Amber so cruelly expose to the world.

(It was a joy to see the cover of George's book -- it's a painting of Alan that Dave Mckean did in about 1987, as the cover of a book I never wrote, and it's a joy to see it updated and out in the world.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Borders signing on the 8th of August...

Menachem again, i hate to keep sending the same question, but i think maybe you're other fans could use this advice as well, for me it is for religous reasons, but for others it may just be a I-Have-To-Meet-My-Favorite-Author thing.
so, anyway, as to the question: do you have any advice for how someone can make sure that they will see you at a signing? (in this case specificaly the Aug. 8th signing) and for me particularly, so that i can leave long before sundown re: the Sabbath.
Thank you so much,
Menachem Luchins
P.S. do you know when the doors open?

Well, the signing starts at 3.00pm. I'll probably start by reading WOLVES, and answer questions, which'll take about 20-40 minutes, mostly depending on how many people are waiting and can't hear, and how tightly people are packed and stuff, and then I'll start signing.

The best advice for anyone trying to pre-plan is to talk to the store and find out how they intend to do it (there is no guarantee you will reach someone who can answer that question corractly at any given store). There is normally someone there for the signing when the store opens in the morning, but most people won't start drifting in until 1:00 or 2:00ish. Some stores hand out "numbers" for people, as with a deli line (often old Far Side calendars are used for this -- "Will December get into line now?"), some don't.

The signing is at Borders Books, on August the 8th (Friday) starting at 3.00pm:
100 Broadway (at Wall St.)
New York, NY 10006

The store is located across the street from Trinity Church, and is accessible by the following subways:

1 (Fulton St.), 2,3 (Wall St.), 4,5 (Wall St.), N,R (Rector St.), J,M,Z, (Fulton St.), A,C,E (Fulton St).

And the sun sets in New York at 8.04pm on August the 8th. If you're there at midday you'll definitely be in the first wave of people and out by 5.00pm (and bear in mind it's a weekday, so lots of people who would want to be there will be working, or planning on swinging by when they get off work to see if I'm still scribbling away. And I'm sure I will be).

Did you know Coraline won the Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award?

Which message weirdly came in about half an hour after I'd opened the official letter telling me that CORALINE was the judges' unanimous choice. Weirdly, because the letter was dated (and postmarked) May 16th, and had sat unopened at HarperCollins for several months before being forwarded to me. So, er, yes. I did. Cool, isn't it?

Hi Neil ... not a FAQ but a BIG *Thank You*.

'Telling Tales' arrived with me in the UK this morning ... courtesy of those super folk at Dreamhaven.

All splendid stuff ... *wonderfully* read ... 'The Wedding Present' was already a favourite 'cos I hadn't missed it in print :-) and 'In The End' is a REAL surprise delight.

I hope it sells well ... then we will be sure to get more such treasures!

Thanks again for all the joy ... from me, and my wife Sue, who says you can read bedtime stories to her *ANY TIME* :-)


Which I only posted because it made me very happy indeed. (It's the first reaction from anyone to Telling Tales.) The next one is already recorded -- I did enough for about 2 and a half CDs when I recorded Telling Tales. It should have art by Michael Zulli (hurrah!) and music by Adam Stemple. It'll have "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar" on it, for a start...

Hi Neil,my name is Coraline I'm 27 and I live in Italy ,actually I'm both french and Italian...i was sure till today that my name was unique!Since my name has always been a mystery to me I'd love to know why and how you choose this name...that's mine...!

Well, first of all I thought I made it up (I think it started as a typing error, when I was writing something to a Caroline, and I looked at it and thought it was a beautiful name. I loved the idea of being like coral -- beautiful, and underwater, and made of dead things, and strong.) Then, later, after I started writing the book, I was reading Casanova's Memoirs and met a girl called Coraline in 18th century Venice; and I realised it was a real name. I've now met two Coralines while signing books, and I've signed copies for several absent Coralines. So you are not alone. It's a French and Italian name, I believe....


Received an e-mail from China Mieville offering to get me a photocopy of Lucy Clifford's "Anyhow Stories", which made me very happy indeed. I've read two or three of them over the years, in Victorian fiction collections, and really want to read the rest of them.

Hi Neil,
What was the last piece of music you picked up that was really fresh, that really excited you?
Take care,

Thea Gilmore's Avalanche. Which arrived in the post this afternoon...

Monday, July 28, 2003

Pasties (not the nipple kind) and blogging from a phone.

Hi Neil,
This isn't a FAQ so much as a "Hey, how about that."
Hormel Aussie Pies (a type of frozen chicken pie sold here in the States at Costco, don't know about their avaliability elsewhere) remind me strongly of Shadow's pasties in American Gods.
Just thought you should know, as until I found them I (and I'm sure others) had been craving the pasties ever since reading about them.

Love, Jen

Ah, but this being the internet age, if it's real pasties you crave, and you're on the North American continent, real pasties you can have...

You could visit Muldoons Pasty Shop, Munising Michigan, mail order available. For that matter, there's even a ( and .org) -- they don't ship pasties during the hot summer season, but tells you all about who they are and how they came to be...

Hi Neil,

just read your little post about blogging via your mobile e-mail function... well, I have no idea what kind of handy you have, but if it can do Java, then or could be just for you. I do use blogplanet from time to time, and, really, it's as simple as writing an SMS.

Oh, and thanks for the note about the Tori-Inspired calendar at RAINN. Ordered one the minute I saw it, seems like a fantastic piece of art... and for a good purpose, what more can you ask for?

May the Night bless You

Stefan Brinkmann
Der NachtPoet

Thanks for the suggestions. Blogplanet didn't want to install on the phone (a Nokia 7120) but Azure went on just fine. Next time I'm on the road I'll try and post with it -- I suspect that anything will be more successful than the "e-mail blogger" function.

Alan Interview at Locus, and other things...

You know, there's been so much going on that I forgot to mention a few things I should've. Last month's Locus Magazine was the graphic novel special, edited by Charles Vess. There are some fragments from their Alan Moore interview online -- and here's their contents list.

Locus is doing a few "Specials" now each year -- so far this year they've done the Horror and the Graphic Novel specials, with more to come (the extra length gets paid for by the publishers taking more ad space), and I'm really enjoying them. Anyway, I'd hate for comics people to miss out on that issue of Locus because someone forgot to mention it here. It's still on sale in places that Locus is sold, or by mailorder through the website.

Hi Neil,

I saw that one of the journal readers was wanting to get his hands on more of Barron Storey's work and I have a page ( set up that shows a lot of his work and gives help finding some of it. Readers of the journal should also try, were Barron has started to upload some stuff.

Jeff Avila

Barron Storey art is wonderful stuff. I'm so pleased there's a place to point people to, Jeff.

I understand that this is a somewhat odd question but here it goes anyway. My friend and I were at Comic Con San Diego and, while in the autograph line on friday the 18th, she had her photograph taken twice by a balding man going up and down the line of fans asking them questions and snapping photos as he went( I do beleive he was supposed to be there and not just insane), and she would very much like to know where she might find said photographs (as would I, because it would amuse me). I will understand if you do not know the where abouts of these photos, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask. (If you need a discription to find the photos, she was wearing fishnet, pvc, and boots (all in black), multiple rings (one of which was a claw ring of particular interest to the man), black eye make-up, blue lipstick to match her eyes, and black hair, as ever.) Thank you so very much for just reading my babble and extra as much if you do find the photos.
With a smile and a nod,

You know, there's a reason why people think that my typical reader is thin, beautiful, dresses in black and probably has blue lipstick. In reality, you could probably wildly fire a machine gun into the crowd at any large signing of mine without killing more than a couple of dozen people of any gender answering to this description.

It's the photographers we have to blame. They know what they want in their shots, and what they want wears fishnet and black pvc.

So. To answer your question, the gentleman taking the photos is a photographer for Entertainment Weekly. They are doing a profile on me, to run when Sandman: Endless Nights comes out, in mid-September. I first became aware of his existence during the Vertigo Panel, when I noticed that one of the people up on the dais was not an artist or writer I was familiar with, and was instead taking photos of me from behind. "It's okay," he said, when I looked at him. "I'm from Entertainment Weekly."

I suppose, in retrospect, he could have been a brilliant imposter...


Today's weirdest request was from a TV movie channel who wondered if I'd host their Hallowe'en movie week. It's only when faced with trivial questions like that that I become deeply aware of what a serious and respectable business being an author is, and of one's responsibility to maintain the dignity of the profession.

"As a responsible and serious-minded author," I asked myself, "what kind of message would you be sending to the world by appearing as a cheesy horror host at Hallowe'en and introducing scary movies?"

I said yes immediately. I hope I get to climb out of a coffin at some point. I've always wanted to climb out of a coffin.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

A fistful of links

The quilt that Michelle Hyman made and gave me (and which we gave to the CBLDF for the auction) is visible at Michelle's page, along with an account of its making. The quilt is based on the single most obscure Sandman image that exists -- the Vince Locke Sandman poster that was done for Best Buy in about 1992, and never sold in to the comics market. (I'd link to the Vince pic if I knew where it was...)

You can also see the final exciting moments of the actual auction in this photo: (the person wearing blue in the background is Charles Brownstein, Head Honcho of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund). Photo by Karon Flage, features editor of the terrific Sequential Tart site.

[And, incidentally, from the same source, this photo of Julie Schwartz and Ray Bradbury makes me very happy. Not only because both gentlemen are still alive and kicking, but because, well, Julie's so obviously Julie, first a fan and an agent (actually once upon a time Ray Bradbury's editor), then an editor, and then retired into a goodwill ambassador for comics, still kvetching and grumbling and having the time of his life; meanwhile Ray smiles like an ageless cherub and somehow makes it all better.]

Tori's Lottapianos Summer Blockbuster tour has started as of yesterday, supported by Ben Folds... details at: (I don't think she's played "Snow Cherries" yet.... And yes, for the dozens of you who have written to remind me, I know that I said I'd write a post about the time at her place last month. Sooner or later I shall, honest.)

There's a picture of the trade paperback (ie, larger format, more respectable version) of American Gods at (And I should mention that a lot of on-line places, and for all I know bricks and mortar bookshops, are currently selling the hardback of American Gods for less than the mass-market paperback. )

The Publisher's Weekly article by Jeff Zaleski was faxed to me this morning. He did an excellent job (although I wished he'd sent the article to me for a hasty fact-and-name-spelling-check pre-publication as I could have spared him a few letters from earnest people in the weeks to come), and he describes Endless Nights as a "comics masterpiece" in it, which "demonstrates the enormous range of the comics medium in both content and style" which made me very happy. (On the downside, I also learned from the article that I have a "slight paunch", which means, I suspect, an awful lot of a sit-ups and vegetables in my immediate future.)

Here's a small picture of the PW cover, and me with unlikely hair:


Lots of news and links and post-San Diego stuff accumulated by the tireless Lucy Anne over at The Dreaming website. There doesn't seem a lot of point in me reposting it all, so you should probably go to the Dreaming at and check it out...

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Whether or not I know how old I am....

Hey Neil,
I really love all your stuff and the blog too. I think i found a small goof in the endless nights webpage. You wrote that your birthday was November 10th, 1960 and that you are currently 43 years old. Now i have the same birthday in 1980 and i know that i'm 22 years old. Oh well, keep up the wonderful writing, and i hope to see you in Charlotte in the fall.


When I wrote it, it said 42 years old. When I handed it in to them, it said 42 years old. In the biography pages of Endless Nights, where it appears, it still says 42 years old (on the version they printed out for me, anyway). I suppose someone on the DC Comics website presumed I don't know how old I am, and fixed it, so I'm now 43. Odd, isn't it?

Incidentally, the first official use of one of the photos from the photo session in Minneapolis a few weeks ago can be seen on that bio page. The slightly unfortunate just-got-out-of-the-shower-look is a result of having dozens of different hair care products applied by the hair-and-make-up lady in an attempt to turn a sort of spontaneous hair explosion into something photographable. (Although they're the first photos of me I can remember where you can actually see what colour my eyes are. For whatever that's worth.)

There's a report on the San Diego MirrorMask panel at and a still here, and the proposal cover sheet image here, along with their reproduction of the Entertainment Weekly still...

Andy Kubert is interviewed at Newsarama -- there are also some very nice small images of pages from the first couple of issues of 1602, that link to much larger ones.

And the journal's Official Birdlady says:

I'm sure the media is going to put a spin on this that crows were trying to
aid the baby, but I think this is more along the lines of they were trying
to find a bigger predator to finish the job so they could eat it.

She attached a link to this Newsday article on some selfless crows, or no-so.

Sharon Stiteler

Meanwhile her husband Bill sends us this link, also to a smart crow... And I start to worry that either the crows or the Stitelers are trying to tell us something.

Let's see...

at san diego, did you learn whether frank miller is working on anything we can expect to see any time soon?

Nope. I forgot to ask him. He and I got to share a dinner and a signing, and we were very good and chatted to the people who bought us on eBay at the dinners (for the CBLDF), and to all the people at the signings, and in all that I forgot to say "what are you working on...?" Sorry.


And Spy Kids 3 (in case you were wondering) felt like Rodruigez had plotted one of those 20 minute Disneyworld "put on your 3-D glasses here" attraction-films, then taken that plot and made a feature film out of it. I would have loved the mini-movie, didn't love the feature. (And I was very fond of both the first two films -- smart, lean film-making which did exactly what it set out to do.)

But I loved the technical side of it.

Public Service Announcements. Also ping-pong puppetry....

This is obviously a bit late -- it would have gone up earlier if I'd had web access. (Still, the day's not over yet.) It's from Charles Brownstein at the CBLDF.

Blogging For Liberty!

The 2003 Blogathon starts tomorrow at 6 AM Pacific Time. Blogathon
is a 24 hour telethon-like event where webmasters post articles /
updates to their website every 30 minutes for 24 hours straight.
Users pledge either a flat amount or an amount-per-hour, and all
proceeds go to the charity or organization of the webmasters'
choosing. This year the following supporters are sacrificing sleep
and sanity to benefit the Fund. Pay them many visits or better yet,
make a pledge and watch the results!

Joe Peacock will be writing a 24 hour novel at to benefit the Fund.
Rob Callahan will also be writing a novel, his written from the last
chapter to the first at
Dave Hill will be reviewing comics and talking shop at
Lisa Rocci will be saying her piece at

For more information on Blogathon visit (edit: actually
These folks are going the mile for free speech, so be sure to support
their efforts by checking in. Blogathon starts tomorrow at 6 AM
pacific time and concludes on Sunday at 6 AM pacific time. 24 hours
of writing is a Herculean effort, so cheer them on!

San Diego Shellshock!

The CBLDF office is up and running again following a week out at the
Comic-Con in San Diego. This show was a monster with attendance
estimates coming in with figures upwards of 80,000 people in
attendance. We'll be offering a more detailed update next week,
but for now we'd like to thank everyone who made this year's
show the best San Diego for fundraising in the history of the CBLDF.
Very special thanks go out to all of our signers; to Neil Gaiman, who
gave a spectacular evening reading on Saturday; Chuck Rozanski whose
auctioneering brought in over $17,000 at our Saturday night auction;
and all of our volunteers who gave phenomenal time and effort to make
this show a blockbuster. Watch CBLDF News next week for a full, in-
depth report and a preview of WizardWorld Chicago!


This isn't a question, but more of just a few sentences to inform you about something Really Good. This something is the annual Blog-a-Thon(website:, which consists of a bunch of crazy bloggers (yours truly included; website: staying up for twenty-four hours and blogging every half hour to raise money for a charity of their choice. It's really a very cool project, but it doesn't get nearly enough publicity, and while I don't expect you to give us money, it would be very nice and probably a bit of karma in your favor if you'd help spread the good word. I'm feeling a bit guilty, because I'm participating at a group blog, see, and a certain member was irate because she felt some of us were not trying to get more donors.

So, see, if you help out you get not only the warm fuzzy feeling of helping the needy, but also the warm fuzzy feeling of helping me.



Mr Gaiman,

You have to see this (requires Flash):


Hi Neil,
I'm hoping you'll mention a worthwhile charity project in your blog that I helped out with. A number of very talented artists - some of whom you may have run into personally contributed. These would include artists in the comics field - Tony DiTerlizzi, David Mack, Chris Moeller, and Ken Meyer Jr.. There are also a number of other wonderful artists who lent their talent (including yours truly).

We all put together a 2004 calendar for RAINN themed around your friend, the great Tori Amos. RAINN, for those unfamiliar, is the Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network, the charity that runs the National Rape Crisis Hotline in the US (1-800-656-HOPE). RAINN is hurting for funding and unfortunately the problem of sexual abuse is still constantly in the headlines.

All of these artists volunteered their work for free to help Tori's favorite charity. 100% of proceeds on sale of this calendar go to RAINN. Tori herself endorses this project and even chose the art submissions herself.

RAINN is accepting pre-orders of the calendar now at their website. See to order.

David Louie

and this is one that Kevin Kelly at the Jim Henson Company asked me to put up. My daughter Holly did her summer internship last year at Henson's doing precisely this, had a great time and learned a lot ("Hey Dad. I didn't know you'd written something called MirrorMask. I just had to write coverage on it.")

Jim Henson Company Internships
Film/TV Development Intern Positions Available
Accepting resumes for Fall, Spring and Summer Interns
in our Los Angeles office

Internship Description:

Supporting the Jim Henson Company creative team in the development of fantasy genre films and television.

Duties include; reading lots of scripts & books, writing coverage, creative research, writer/director/design research, compiling artwork and pitch materials, general office support, assisting executives, coordinating materials with the Archive department, running occasional errands, etc.

We are looking for students with a great positive attitude, desire to learn, and willingness to be flexible. This is a fun, relaxed place to work with a lot of creative energy and a good mix of hard work.

Students must provide proof of college credit for the internship, and assume responsibility for transportation, and their living arrangements, etc. Four full days a week of interning is preferred. Students majoring in a communications or entertainment related field such as film, TV, screenwriting, etc., are preferred, but not required.

Please fax or e-mail a resume and cover letter stating your interest.
ATTN: MELISSA EATON (323) 802-1628 phone (323) 802-1835 fax


I had a brilliant idea: I'd send blog entries (very short ones, mostly saying I was on a train) from the train, using the e-mail function of my mobile phone.

I really ought to investigate why the blogger entry by e-mail thingie doesn't work. (It didn't.) But I got home this morning, and I'm glad to be home, and have already eaten raspberries and blueberries and some of the last few peas from the garden, and been chewed by mosquitoes, and opened a very large box filled with mail.

And now I'm going to take Maddy to see Spy Kids 3 because she's already seen Pirates of the Caribbean.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Very Important Day

And, because it rates a line on its own...

Happy Birthday Michael.

You're twenty.

How on earth did that happen?

Wishing I was home to celebrate, and not a couple of thousand miles away...

sundries, dry goods, knick-knacks, and animation

Johanna from the website writes to say:

Thanks for the mention! It completely made my day.

But I apologize to all your faithful blog readers -- their interest has caused my machine to fall over in a heap.
It will be back up as soon as I can get home and restart the webserver, this time with a rate-limiter.
(Just in case anyone has sent mail to you asking why they can't reach it...)

and that leads sort of logically on to...

Hello, Neil!

Your mention of MIT prompted me to finally post this question. I was one of the organisers of that event, and worked with the Comparative Media Studies group on the reading you did at MIT prior to that. Both readings were absolutely wonderful!

At the October 2001 event, you opened with a poem about your crazy hair. I was wondering if that poem has been printed or posted online anywhere. Sadly, I haven't had the chance to look for it. It was a brilliant piece of work, and I would very much love to read it.

Eva Palmerton

I love doing things at MIT. Astonishingly literate people, who always laugh at my jokes. One day, I ought to go back and do something else there...

Anyway. My remarkably goofy poem CRAZY HAIR is going to be published, as an "all ages" picture book, by HarperChildrens, with art by Dave McKean. The editor and the art director from HarperChildrens flew out and met Dave and me at the con, and, assuming we hit all deadlines, it will be published in Spring of 2005. Which seems a long way away, but is apparently pushing everything as early as it can be pushed. (Dave and I both sighed: coming from comics where things are printed the moment you're done, book publishing can seem to move at a glacial pace.)


Hi Neil!

Not a FAQ, just a comment or three. First, about the Slate article regarding "Googleholes": what a yawn. The author insists on ignoring a very basic principle: Google is not omniscient. If you want good results, use good search terms. Don't want Apple Computers when you're looking for a bushel of Jonathans? Search on [ apple fruit ], [ apple growers ] or [ apple -computers ]. Voila, no iMacs! Don't search on [ flowers ] if you want to know how to grow tulips! Search on [ tulips "gardening tips" ]. One would think the author never bothered to read Google's help section! Sheesh.

Second, more on Google: the Googlebot doesn't count words in a file, it reads just the first 100K of a web page. If you're looking to make the archives easily Googleable, make sure your chunks are 100K or less, and link, link, link! (Googlebot has a hard time finding things if they aren't properly linked, so make sure your webmaster includes good navigation!)

Thank you, as ever, for sharing so much of yourself with your fans. I really enjoy following your blog!

(Google Answers Researcher missy-ga)

Thanks Maggie. I don't mind if the archives are googleable to the outside world -- it's more realising that the "search" function on this website, which is Google driven, couldn't find any words after 100K into a page. And most months of archives are longer than that... so now we've realised why Google can't find some things, we can fix it (probably we'll let the archive be week or two weekly).

Mr. G,

I sent this question through once already, but it was the day before you said that the question box wasn't working, so you may not have received it. My apologies if this is doubling up.,, and a local Virgin Mega Store all agree that "Telling Tales" doesn't exist. Even the best comic book store in the whole world - Midtown Comics, 40th and 7th, in Manhattan - says that it's not available until August.

So, is this a Dreamhaven exclusive, temporarily (for how long?) or permanently? Or has the whole world just gone mad?

Mark James Schryver

Well, it definitely exists, as I was given one at the convention (which I passed on, unopened, to Scott from Entertainment Weekly, who was shadowing me, and who, Holly assured me before she flew home, she had closed on abandoning the whole overdone 'interview with some author' concept, for the far more intriguing and commercially viable "extensive profile of some author's delightful eighteen-year-old daughter" article. So that's a relief).

DreamHaven are a small bookshop in Minneapolis, so the moment the CDs arrived from the manufacturer they put them up for sale. Telling Tales was in the Diamond catalogue in June for August shipment to Diamond accounts (eg most comic book stores). I don't really know about Amazon and B&N: I'll ask Greg Ketter from DreamHaven when I get back...

I bumped into Bob Chapman from Graphitti Designs at Comic-Con, and we're going to chat next week about him possibly doing an American Gods or a Coraline tee shirt... I rather like the idea of putting Sam's "I believe..." speech on a tee shirt, for a start. If any of you have any better ideas, feel free to send them in.

You should add a book recommendations page here and it would be even better.

I should, I should.

Dear Neil,

At the Mirrormask (I can't type a backwards 'R' on my keyboard) and Afternoon Chat panels, Dave mentioned he was looking for 3-D animators. So first: where can someone write to Dave with their interest in working on Mirrormask? And second, where can someone write to Dave just to tell him how great he is?


I can't find Dave to ask him... so instead I phoned Kevin Kelly at Hensons and he's made an e-mail account. If you're an animator or a computer artist or 3D modeller and you want to work with Dave McKean on MirrorMask from pretty much now until next April, and you're prepared to live in the UK, and work enthusiastically on something amazingly cool for not very much money at all, probably, then send an e-mail to and give resume details and contact info. (Kevin's just created the e-mail account, so it may not be up yet. If it bounces, just wait a few hours and re-send.) Someone will be in touch.

I don't like the new main page of your website, the links to American Gods, Stardust, Wolves in the Walls etc, look like they are crowding your writing space, they should go somewhere else, people who are interested will know where to find them, we don't need to be hit over the head.

- An opinionated, but devoted reader

It has got a bit loud over on the front page, hasn't it? It's more the fault of time than Harpercollins -- we've always had a fairly discreet link on the front page to whatever was new out right now, but normally there's only one quiet thing there -- for six months it's been Two Plays For Voices, and before that it was Coraline. Now we've got Wolves in the Walls, the American Gods and Neverwhere and Stardust reissues, the link to the DC Comics Sandman: Endless Nights site... and it's only because I'm not sure where we should link to that there isn't a 1602 link as well.

I expect it'll stay crowded and loud for the next few months, and then they'll redesign it and things will start to go away, and I'll suddenly look very lonely, writing in the dark...

Incidentally, while the listings in the Exclusive Section aren't fixed yet, the Chthulu Autobiography is still up at and the Dave McKean essay is at (And, bringing it up on my screen just then, I just realised that the first line is wrong: I was actually 25 when I met Dave, and he was 22...)

Preserve Us from the House of Clocks...

I've loved watching the way that the House of Clocks website has sprung from a reading at MIT I did (with Harlan Ellison and Peter David in October 2001) of extracts from the "Walking Tour of the Shambles" book I wrote with Gene Wolfe, into a fully-functional place of astonishingly fine, mordant, and delightfully maddening clock-lore, created by dozens of diverse hands. The wonderful webmistress (clockmistress?) Johanna just dropped me a message to tell me that the Exhibits section has now started to be catalogued -- and is ready to give the guestbook a run for its money as the coolest part of the site.

Interesting article on some Googleproblems at -- although talking to my Google Mole at Comic-Con, I think I've found out why Google has problems with this site: it only checks the first so-many words of a website, and the journal archives here are simply longer than Google checks. We may split the archives up into smaller lumps, then, in order to make them properly searchable.

And, seeing it's been ages since I've linked to one of those faintly dirty, amusing and also enlightening scientific news items, you may not yet have learned that, according to the New Scientist, masturbation may protect men from prostate cancer. ...if the finding is confirmed, future health advice from doctors may no longer be restricted to diet and exercise, it finishes, drily.


Anyway. Not at the con any longer. Woke from dreams this morning in which thousands and thousands of people were crashing like waves on the shore, and I was meant to sign things for all of them...

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Not waving but drowning. Well, waving a bit.

Yesterday was fun, although the schedule was slightly punishing, and around 5:30pm I wound up with a clear-cut choice between attending a dinner, two receptions and a meeting before I did the CBLDF late night reading, or going to my hotel room to sleep for a couple of hours. Holly and Pam Noles, who is moving me from place to place at this thing, ganged up on me (it didn't take much) and I went off and slept, before going down to the end of the CBLDF Auction (the Quilt Michelle Made went for $2600) and doing the late night reading.

Today is a CBLDF panel, a Dave McKean conversation and an autographing...


Here's the Eisner Award Keynote Speech from a couple of nights ago.

Eisner Keynote Speech 2003

Being the Eisner Keynote speaker is a huge honour. Not just because they're the Eisner Awards, our industry and our artform's Oscars and Pulitzers and Tonies, but because it's a rare opportunity to speak, without being interrupted, to thousands of people who actually create comics, who sell comics, who care about comics -- and because it's still early in the evening, and the awards have not yet been handed over, people have to pretend to listen to what I say.

I thought I'd talk about awards, and why they matter, and comics and why they matter and making art and why it matters.

I don't have anything huge and controversial to say. The last time I had anything controversial to say was ten years ago, when I told retailers not to get caught up in a speculator bubble that would, I predicted, soon pop like the Dutch Tulip Bubble. Creators, publishers and retailers were bathing, Uncle Scrooge-like, in money, and I got up and told them that there were bad times just around the corner, and what mattered was selling stories that people cared about and wanted to read.

And most of my predictions, bizarrely, came true.

Ten years on, I think it's a good time to take stock of where we are. A state of the comics nation, if you will...

And we aren't doing badly at all.

I started working professionally in comics about seventeen years ago. I was writing about comics as a journalist, whenever anyone would let me, for two or three years before that.

In my dreams, back then, I would think about a comics utopia. A future golden age.

So let's look back and remember what that comics utopia would be.

First and foremost, I wanted comics to be taken seriously.

That didn't mean that I wanted all comics to be serious. I wanted all kinds of comics. And I wanted them to be able to stand beside theatre, cinema, books, TV, Grand Opera, as a valid and unique way of telling stories. A fairly young medium, perhaps, in which a lot of great work was still to come, but a medium that shouldn't be sneered at for simply existing. A medium whose name can be used as a put-down has a long way to go.

When I was a journalist, as once upon a time I was, I would ask editors to be allowed to write about comics. Normally I'd be reprimanded, and told that I couldn't write about Watchmen, or Maus, or Dark Knight, or Love and Rockets, because something had already been written about comics within the last year -- it had recently been English comics character Desperate Dan's 40th birthday, and simply mentioning this had soaked up all the available newspaper column inches. I tried to explain that the action of acknowledging the existence of a book or a film didn't preclude interviewing authors or directors in the future, and sometimes they'd let me write something about comics just to shut me up, and if they ran it it would run under the heading "Wham! Bam! Pow! Comics Are Growing Up!", a headline that every editor around the globe was convinced was original and smart.

So in my utopia, if a journalist wanted to write about comics or comics creators, his or her editor would say "of course".

I wanted to explain why people should know who Alan Moore and art spiegelman were, and who the Hernandez Brothers and Frank Miller were and why people should care.

I wanted people to know who Will Eisner was.

And I wanted to live in an alternate universe, in which the cool comics stories from the past, the ones I'd read about in the fanzines but would never have a hope of actually reading, stories by Jack Cole and Bernie Krigstein and Winsor McKay and George Herriman, in which those stories were in print, and available. A world in which lots of good, long comics stories were collected. A world in which libraries stocked graphic novels. A world in which girls read comics, and in which girls and women made comics.

I wanted a world in which collections of comics existed and were routinely sold in places that other things were sold. Like bookshops.

I wanted a world in which superheroes existed, and did just fine, but in which there was also room for any other kind of comics one could imagine.

And, frankly, we're getting there. We may not have reached that glorious shining comic-book utopia yet,

But we're getting there. Things are different. A world in which Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan can take the Guardian Best First Novel award, is the kind of future I wanted. It's an alternate universe...

I read reviews of a recent movie in which the complaint in most of the media seemed to be that the film makers had dumbed down a witty and intelligent comic. Now, this has happened scores of times over the years, and it is not unique. What was unique is that people had noticed -- that the journalists writing the reviews knew. That's the kind of future I wanted, when I started out.

We are, for good or ill, where we always wanted to be: just another medium. The bastard child of Art and Commerce has become, if not respectable, then at least no less respectable than any other.

So. Now is the time we learn that we should have been careful of what wished for...

On the one hand, we are, right now, this minute, in a golden age. There are, quite simply, more good comics available to be read than there ever have been before. More classic books, more good books of recent vintage.

Last summer, at the American Library Association, a number of comics people were invited to talk to Librarians. I was one of them. I went along, expecting to be talking to the 250 comics fans who had grown up to be librarians. I couldn't have been more wrong: the librarians were getting pressure from their reades. The librarians knew that graphic novels -- whatever they are -- were popular, and they wanted to know what they were. So they got me, and Jeff Smith, and Colleen Doran, and art spiegelman, and several other people in to tell them what we thought they should know. And the libraries have started ordering the books.

There's a potential downside, of course. Comics as an industry seems particularly prone to a peculiar sort of boom and bust. It's the place where commerce takes over from art, and we suddenly find ourselves staring at yard after yard of shelving containing lots more things kind of like what the people were buying last month, only not as good. Bad comics, bad graphic novels, drive out the good. And then, in six months, or two years, we find ourselves staring at empty shops and empty shelves.

Let's try not to let that happen again.

One way we can help avoid the next implosion is by trying to do good work. Do your best work, and then get try to get better for the one after that.

The Eisner Awards, like all awards, are flawed. But they reflect something very important, which is a striving toward excellence.

Fifty, sixty years ago, Will Eisner was an oddity and a weirdo. In a world of people who were writing or drawing comics until they could find more respectable work, who lied to their friends about what they did, people who couldn't wait to get out and make real money, make real art, Will was one of the few people convinced that this nascent mixture of words and pictures really was an art form. Other people believed it was about the quick buck. Will was certain, against much of the available evidence, that there could be well-written comics, well-drawn comics, and that the strange magic of comics that comes from combining sequential pictures and words into a story was really something powerful and unique and true.

It was true then, and it's no less true today. This is an artform in which you can make magic. Magic for kids, magic for adults. And that is what these awards are about, and notwithstanding those who like to think of comics as a cheap feeder unit for Hollywood, that's what this convention is about.

The awards that bear Will's name are about that. They're about more than patting ourselves on the back. They are more than marketing tools, more than pretty things to hang on a wall and be proud of, if you've got one, or to envy or disdain if you haven't.

They represent striving for excellence. Doing it as well as you can, and doing it better.

They're about improving the medium. If you want an Eisner award, strive for excellence. If you want one, do it better. If you feel it went to the wrong man or woman, and it should have been yours, then do it better next year, whatever it is that you do. Strive toward excellence. If the judges don't put you on the Eisner list, then fuck 'em, and let posterity be your judge. If you feel that great work by other people is going unrecognised and unrewarded, then make a noise about it. Tell everyone you know. Word of mouth is still one of the best sales tools there is.

Nobody wants a world of identikit comics. Do the comics only you can do. Tell the stories only you can tell. Do not lose sight of the fact that this is an industry that can create real art.

And in the meanwhile, do it better. And love what you do.

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Saturday, July 19, 2003

Friday Night Fever.

Too tired to think. Gave the Eisner Keynote speech -- which I'll stick up here if I remember. Did a MirrorMask presentation to what the con just told me was 5000 people, and they were really nice and enthusiastic.

If you go to the front page you'll see it's been redesigned -- links to mousecircus, the DC Comics ENDLESS NIGHTS site, and to the new editions of American Gods, Neverwhere and Stardust. There seems to have been a slight accident and the essay on Dave McKean has vanished, along with the autobiography of Cthulhu, but I've let Julia Bannon know and I'm sure they'll be back soon.

Good night.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Friday on my mind

Survived Thursday. ("What are you going to write in your blog about today?" someone asked, and I said, "Not much. I'll probably need to sleep." And I was right...)

Sucking an Olbas Oil throat Pastille right now, in a new hotel room, in a new hotel.

Friday -- let's see... It's a CBLDF annual meeting all morning, followed by (according to this website)...

12:30�2:00 Vertigo�s 10th Anniversary� From its launch, Vertigo has been comics' leader in cutting-edge comics and graphic novels for mature readers. Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, Vertigo looks to the future. Learn what's coming for Vertigo in this slide presentation with VP, executive editor Karen Berger, group editor Shelly Bond, and editor Will Dennis; writers Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Brian Azzarello, Bill Willingham, Brian K. Vaughan, Mike Carey, Andy Diggle, and David Tischman; writer/artist Jill Thompson; and artists Eduardo Risso and Marcelo Frusin. Room 1AB

and then a 2:30-3:30 autographing, with Frank Miller, in the Autograph Area. I think you need tickets (free) for the signing, available from the CBLDF booth.

4:30�6:00 Henson Presents: Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean�s MirrorMask� MirrorMask, a Jim Henson Pictures production, is a new fantasy feature film in the tradition of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth scheduled for worldwide release in 2004. Renowned comic book writer and best-selling novelist Neil Gaiman and critically acclaimed multimedia artist Dave McKean created the story of an unforgettable journey through a world filled with magic, fantastic creatures, and illusion. Gaiman wrote the screenplay and McKean is directing the film using a combination of live-action and CG animation. This program offers an exclusive first look at images from the film, as well as a question-and-answer session with the creators and producers, including Gaiman, McKean, and executive producers Lisa Henson (Good Boy!) and Michael Polis (Kermit�s Swamp Years). Room 6CDEF

followed by

8:30�10:30 2003 Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards�It�s the gala ceremony for the "Oscars" of the comics industry, featuring a keynote speech by Neil Gaiman, celebrity presenters, the Manning and Clampett Award, and of course Will Eisner himself. Room 20

Thursday, July 17, 2003

San Diego Thursday

Let's see.. places I'll be today:

1:30-2:30 Room 1AB. I'm moderating the spotlight panel on Nalo Hopkinson, who is a really brilliant writer.

(2:20-3:30 Room 1AB is the Dave McKean spotlight panel. You'll probably want to go to it. I want to catch a bit of it before...)

3:30-4:30 I am signing at the DC Booth. Go there NOW if you want to get something signed at the signing, and get a red wrist-band from anyone at the DC booth: 2731. They won't let you get stuff signed without a wristband, and there are only so many wristbands...

5:50-7:00 in room 6B is the US premiere of "A SHORT FILM ABOUT JOHN BOLTON". And I'll answer questions, and will probably show the mini-documentary that's on the DVD as well.

This evening I'll be, with Frank Miller and Will Eisner, at the CBLDF members event at Dublin Square, at 554 4th Avenue (the event is from 8:30-11:00pm). It's free for members, and a $5 suggested donation from non-members...

And that's my Thursday.


For NEVERWHERE DVD info quick here...

"Well what I say is, dear, whatever gets you through the night."

If any of you know how to fix LiveJournal feeds, or have any ideas how we can, the "official gaiman" one seems to have pretty much rolled over and died...

I woke up too early, so started reading Robin McKinley's forthcoming novel "SUNSHINE" in the bath. It's an astonishing piece of work. A gripping, funny, page-turning pretty much perfect work of magical literature that exists more or less at the unlikely crossroads of Chocolat, Interview With a Vampire, Misery and the tale of Beauty and the Beast. It's not quite SF, and it's not really horror, and only kind of a love story, and it's all three while still being solidly Fantastique. It also does that nice thing where the author assumes the readers are smart, and she treats us like we're smart, and we purr and get smarter and work harder for all that. It'll be nominated for awards, and win them; in the meantime I really hope, when it's published, it finds its audience, which is, potentially, huge.

The last few times I've been to the San Diego Comic-Con, the con has put me up in suites that have been more or less the size of football fields. So when my daughter Holly asked to come in, I said sure, and figured I'd put her up in an ice-hockey-rink sized corner of the suite. But I'm in a different hotel this time, and the suites here are very very small, and sort of politely suites in name only, and I'm now kicking myself for not having got Holly a hotel room of her own, back when there were hotel rooms to be found in San Diego. She flies in this afternoon, and I suspect we'll spend the rest of the convention tripping over each other. (But I was here first! I have the actual bedroom...)

I noticed in a recent post in your blog an excellent example of use of the word "bugger". How many British colloquialisms (sp?) are you holding on to despite several years of American residence?

All of them, except the ones which have come in since I left the country, which I tend to decline to use on the grounds that I will subtly get things wrong, and it'll be like the year (it was about 1976) that my grandmother decided that "groovy" and "whatever gets you through the night" were things that grandmothers said.


There's a Newsarama piece on WOLVES IN THE WALLS here (and it links to their interviews with me about Endless Nights and 1602.)

Borders signing info

This just arrived from Josette at Harperchildrens:

Consider the Borders event booked. August 8 beginning at 3 PM so you can tell everyone who wants to come.
Borders #566
100 Broadway
New York, NY 10005

We'll start at 3.00pm. We'll go on till we're done. I'll probably read The Wolves In The Walls and answer questions too, before settling down to sign things....

In San Diego

I'm here in San Diego, and am very sleepy, because they woke us up on the train coming in at 5.00am, so here are a couple of bits from the occasional trip diary I kept. Mostly I wrote -- an article and a speech and a comic and another comic, but I also ate and read. So here's a meal and a book.


Trip diary...

To ensure that I will always be in telephone contact, I have bought a brilliant USB port charger, which says that, to charge my cellular phone all I need to do is plug it in to the USB port.

On the train I discover that when I actually do this, all that happens is a little message comes up telling me I�ve done something that overloads the USB port�s power capacity and not to do it again. I have no phone.

Dinner on the first night: opposite me, a very beautiful black lady with her one-year-old son. The boy wears a tiny gold chain around his neck, and a very small rolex on his wrist. Next to me, (it slowly dawns on me) a slightly crazy guy in a Foghorn Leghorn tee shirt. He has the server take away his salad because, as he keeps repeating "it doesn�t like me" and then tells us he goes on cruises and trains a lot, and that this upsets his family.

He asks what I do, and I say I�m a writer.

He tells me about good writers and bad writers of his experience. He laughs at bad writers. People who can�t do cursive or who put a little extra loop on their fs or gs make him laugh. He knows some good and bad writers on television. Sam Donaldson, on TV, has good handwriting.

"How do you know?" asks the lady, who has not quite realised that the slightly crazy guy is a slightly crazy guy.

He explains that you can just tell, when you see them on the television. The worst writer he ever saw was a wrestler on TV. You just knew that he would go around and around when he did his Os. Round and around and around.


I finish reading Peter Straub's remarkable forthcoming book Lost Boy Lost Girl in the Tuesday afternoon, when I should have been writing, justifying the time I spent with it as Peter sent it to me, and I started reading it in April, and now it's July. Then again, it was a good time to read it. On a train.

It's a strange and wonderful webwork of a book. It arrived in five e-mails: I have no idea how long a novel it actually is. It's a murder mystery, a ghost story, a haunted house tale, a serial killer tale, while also being, in the final analysis, a magical realist examination of the webs in which family ties bind us and hold us down, and how those ties can be loosened. It's funny, and heartwarming, and genuinely scary, and unsettling all at the same time. It left me going "how the Hell does he DO that?", while wanting to force other people to read it and ask if it had the same effect on them.

Really good stuff.


Dear Mr.Gaiman,

I write for myself because I have no right to write for anyone else.

I don't think that You are a "leftist loon" even though I supported (and still do) the liberation on Iraqi people from Saddam's terror. I don't agree with everything You say but that's natural...I still read You're blog almost everyday and I think that fact speaks for itself.

I noticed You were very careful about Your political leanings before and during the war. However, on occasion You did slip in a few links to a few thoughtful articles here and there (Umberto Ecco's comes to mind).

And then there was the link to the Hitchens "thing" on Sunday (July 13th) which in itself was interesting but the rambling infront of it was an ad hominem attack on the man (first words desribing the man "drunken fop"!) because of his politics there-by putting the whole story that follows on uncertain ground, at least for me.

As You linked to the story - someones opinion - it leaves (to me at least) the impression that You agree with the person's opinions. It contained few arguments (if any), and quite a few statements that were false or misleading. I've read a lot of what Hitchens has written and said but I haven't encountered anything that would lead me to suggest that he warrants this sort of ad hominem attack.

I would also like to point You to an article here:

that makes a good point about Hitches boozing and the situation of the left that is more fair and balanced. Then again...that's just my opinion.

But You were (and in my opinion still are!) a journalist, someone who should look at all sides and when linking something. Hitchens is worth more attention than a bitter post.

Hopefully, I have not been too arrogant :)

All the very best,
J�ri Saar

As You linked to the story - someones opinion - it leaves (to me at least) the impression that You agree with the person's opinions. Not at all: I've never met Hitchens and have very little opinion about him of any kind at all either way. I just enjoyed seeing one of Roz's memoirs up on the web. It wasn't a piece of journalism: it was a live journal entry by someone remembering their experiences of someone, which I read as, in the main, a rather fond remembrance.

And yes, I was a journalist. But this blog isn't a newspaper, nor is it anything more than a place where I burble, and point to things that interest me. Roz's live journal is something interesting. If Christopher Hitchens had a live journal and wrote about Roz in it, I'd link to that too, but not really for balance, just because it would be sort of fun.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Cry loony, and let slip the blogs of war

I just read Blogs of War and learned that I'm not only a Loony Leftist, but am also, in all probability, Un-American to boot. In addition, right-thinking people are warned that they visit this journal at their own risk. (Of course, I'm in good company.)

Bugger. I wish I'd known how dangerous I am. I suppose now I'll never get that Green Card renewed...

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Autograph times and Entertainment Weekly -- but which week?

Hello, Mr. Gaiman!

I just recieved in the mail the latest copy of EW. I was dismayed by the lack of quotes from you in the blurb, but at the same time delighted with the beautiful picture they printed. The mask of the Dark Queen was undeniably a beautiful work of art. Who designed the costumes for the MirrorMask? He/she is wonderfully talented.

Before I forget, I'm also attending Saturday of the Comic-Con. Are you doing any signings that day? If you are, let me know!

Your journal is so helpful and intriguing. Thank you for spending the time to work on it!

Elise, California

I think Entertainment Weekly did fairly well, considering they only had 100 words to explain what the film was, what the image was, and run half-a-quote (and mention this website).

Dave McKean designed the costumes (when he e-mailed me a picture of the Dark Queen's costume, complete with huge beetle-mandibles on one shoulder, I assumed that the whole costume would be computer generated). Robert Lever was the costume desgner and maker whose job it was to take Dave's sketches and ideas, and turn them, with the aid of a sewing machine, fabric, glue and polystyrene (in the case of the beetle parts) into things people could wear.

Signings are:

Thursday: At the DC Booth 3:30-4:30pm

Friday: CBLDF signing from 2:30-3:30 pm with Frank Miller, in the Autograph Area

Saturday: 2:00-3:00pm, Autograph Area (this is the one they've left off the Con website, either in order to keep the lines down, or just because they have hundreds of people signing and human error is going to happen).

Sunday: with Dave McKean, 3-4pm just as everyone's packing up to go home.

This should be a short question, hopefully, depending on how much I ramble from this point on.

I was wondering what the generally accepted word lengths are for different classifications of stories. Like what is a shortstory, novella, novel etc... Anyway, I know I've read it in your journal before, but I have no idea when.

If you answer this, thanks. and if not, thanks for all the great stuff you've written (or varying lengths and classifications).

If you any of you think you've read something on the journal, please, first of all, click on the search function, and go and look for it. I don't normally repeat things, figuring that people can go and look them up. (I clicked on the search function, typed "novella" and the second entry it offered was
, which should be just what you're looking for...)

And I know that Googling the site still doesn't always turn things up that it should, particularly where the archives are concerned, but give it a try first...

I've come to the conclusion that I must be doing something dreadfully wrong.

After going to 3 different places trying to find the new Entertainment Weekly, I finally found myself a copy of the July 11th issue. I looked carefully through the issue 3 times and, very upsettingly, found no images or writing about Mirror Mask anywhere.

Bewildered and confused, I came home and decided I might as well try the website and would more than likely find the info I need there. Alas, after a thorough search of their site, I found nothing on Mirror Mask. I even looked for info about you in general and the last update they have involving Neil Gaiman is their review of 'American Gods'.

In a final, futile attempt I searched for "mirror mask" and "entertainment weekly". This promptly returned two websites to me. The first was your online journal on The second was your journal on

I've said it once, and I'll say it again: I've come to the conclusion that I must be doing something dreadfully wrong.

Yours truly with a side of coleslaw,

Ah, the July 11th issue -- with July 11th on the cover -- cleverly is the one that goes off sale on July 11th, or it would if people remembered to pull these things. The process of trying to work out what the current issue of Entertainment Weekly is has been known to drive people to madness, particularly when you can buy three different issues of EW in three different newsstands in Minneapolis Saint Paul airport.

Anyway, you've made the same mistake that was made in my house. The copy of EW you actually want is the one with the MirrorMask "First Look" in it, which is a full-page image somewhere around page 60. At a guess it'll have a July 18th cover date on it, and officially it went on sale on Friday (the 11th).

Neil, or, er. . . Mr. Gaiman,

I was looking into the artists on Endless Nights out of curiosity, and I was wildly impressed by Barron Storey. Googled him, and found his books are out of print and a bit expensive for a college student like myself. So the question:

Is there any talk of reprinting his Marat/Sade Journal, or any of his works, because of the attention Endless Nights is attracting? Or, if this isn't a question you would have the answer to, who would I ask? This book seems like Dave McKean's short films-- something that everyone should have a copy of, and yet no one can easily acquire.

Many thanks: for stories that seem infinite and a journal that feels like afternoon tea. And hopefully for an answer to my question.

Alex groff.

I'd be thrilled if that happened -- I love my copy of the Marat/Sade journal. Let's wait until Endless Nights comes out, and people have seen -- and been blown away by -- what Barron does, and see if there are any wise or adventurous publishers out there.

More tidbits: Roz Kaveney and the Extraordinary Gentlemen

Roz Kaveney hasn't finished writing her autobiography (or possibly her memoirs) although every now and again she'll send me a chapter in e-mail. Roz knows everyone, more or less. She's like Jon Singer in that respect, only in leather and female, and nothing really at all like Jon Singer now I come to think of it. (You don't know Jon Singer? Oh, just wait a little while. You will.)

Anyway, Roz's occasional chapter memoirs are astonishing things, filled with strange and sacred monsters. Maybe she'll stick her work on it to date on line at some point, or build it into a sequence of enormous interlocking web pages. Meanwhile, up on her livejournal, she tells the story of Christopher Hitchens...

Checked in at the incredibly useful Rotten Tomatoes site to see the roundup of reviews on er, LXG. Rather a dismal bunch of reviews, alas, but at least they all seem to take pains to separate the comic, and Alan's work, from the film.

This Post Guaranteed Free of Wolves (this statement has not been verified...)

A couple of small before-I-forget things, which will come in little before-I-get-on-the-train posts like this one...

We've not made the big announcement yet, but Mousecircus, the junior sister-site to this one, has been completely overhauled, and it now has a whole new Wolves in the Walls section. My personal favourite bits are the downloadable print-out poster-or-save-and-use-as-computer-wallpaper-or-website-logo-images, including a wonderful poster which guarantees that your computer is free of wolves (and then, in small print, doesn't).

The Wolves site also has a pig-puppet cursor, and a unique navigation mode that took me a while to figure out, so will be a doddle for any small children to use, but it may perplex adults. Anyway, go and poke around on (there's flash animation and it may take a bit to load).

There will be a launch to go along with the release of The Wolves In The Walls...

copyright notes

I was sort of hoping that someone would correct me/ amplify on the copyright comments from yesterday... Go back to Scrivener's Error and learn from my mistakes.

(Having had to fight a legal case which involved, amongst other things, a publisher filing fraudulent copyright notices some years after the publication of the work I wrote for him, claiming on those notices to have written what I wrote, and claiming that these were valid copyright notices and I had lost my copyright because I hadn't found out about them within the the three years of the statute of limitations of copyright, I may be slightly more sensitive to the issue of losing one's copyright than most. Then again, I won the case.)

children, diseases, CDs, bestsellers, plays, links.

Of course, other things I forgot to mention are now nipping out of the woodwork, the most obvious of which is my part in the latest one of art spiegelman and Francoise Mouly's marvellous Little Lit collections, "It Was A Dark And Silly Night" (the book has its own website at and very cool it is too). My story was drawn by the wonderful Gahan Wilson. (It was Maddy's second favourite story in there, after the Lemony Snicket and Richard Sala Yeti tale.)

and while I didn't quite manage entirely to forget it, I didn't say anything about this book, which Luis Rodrigues writes from Portugal and from Fantastic Metropolis to tell me about:

Cheers Mr Gaiman,

I have an advance copy of the Lambshead Guide in hand and I must say this is
a beautiful, beautiful thing. The illustrations and design by John
Coulthart are impeccable, even though he's not yet finished with them.

The stories (at least those I read, including yours) are hilarious, I
heartily recommend the stuff by Stepan Chapman, Jeff Ford and Michael Cisco,
woefully under-appreciated writers if you ask me. Not that the others
aren't as good: everything is great here.

The section on past editions of the Lamsbhead Guide is another big
highlight. Mike Moorcock's disease (the Samoan Rat Fever) is great, and
perfectly laid out in flawless mock-Victorian design by John Coulthart.
Another disease, supposedly from an edition of the guide compiled by J. L.
Borges, is presented in both Spanish and English versions.

A magnificent book, thanks and congratulations for being a part of it!

All best,

Also in the mailbox:

Bob Garcia
writes to say

Do you think you can plug the booth at Comic-Con on your
blogger? Nancy and I will be running it for Greg Ketter. We'll have hundreds of
TELLING TALES, and other stuff. The booth number is #1035. We'll be setup for the
Preview Night on Wednesday.

Lovely article on bestsellers in the Observer by Tim Adams, who had to read all the current bestseller list and write about them. Oddly, for someone who doesn't miss much, he doesn't mention something fairly specific, which is that this is a late summer bestseller list, consisting mostly of books which publishers published as big beach books. (There's a reason why Wilbur Smith was on the same list for the same time of year ten years ago and twenty years ago. It's not a coincidence.) It's a different kind of mix to, for example, your September-October lists, in which publishers roll out the big books that they think may take them to Christmas.

Hello -
I just have a question about 'Two Plays for Voices.' I was wondering if a text of it is either included with the Cd/tape or floating around anywhere. I'm hearing impaired, and the description of the audio is lovely, but I might have some difficulty, well, hearing it.

Thank you,

Hi Jenn -- no, there isn't. And apart from Biting Dog Press's beautiful limited editions, with engravings by George Walker, the texts aren't available anywhere. And a quick look at Biting Dog's website ( shows that their books are now out of print.

Several other people have written in and asked about getting the scripts for Two Plays in order to put on local productions of "Murder Mysteries" or "Snow, Glass, Apples" or both.

What I may do is just put them both up here on the website as exclusive materials, where they can sit alongside the Chthulhu autobiography (which I wrote when I was about 22) and the Dave McKean essay (which I didn't).

(Incidentally, someone wrote to ask when this blog would get permalinks. It's had permalinks for quite a while now -- just click on the time, after it says "posted by Neil Gaiman".)

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Small oh well post

Two things happened today. I finished watching the final set of MirrorMask online dailies. And then, about half an hour later, I got the call from DirecWay satellite people, that my upgrade to their professional level had gone through, and that for thirty dollars a month more I would now get a really fast internet connection. So I went on and set it all up... and now have magically, blindingly fast internet speeds that I really could have done with for the last six weeks, that being the only time in my life I ever needed to watch lots of internet video each day.

So... Back in the UK they finished shooting MirrorMask yesterday, had the wrap party and everything. Having said that, it's not done. The middle of the movie needs to be animated -- and there are over a dozen creatures from the animated side of things who haven't even been cast, not to mention the chicken. "3000 man-days of work ahead," said Max, who will be running the computer department, very sagely. Or 30,000. Lots of man-days of work ahead, anyway, many of them probably really woman-days.

I don't know if rough edits or footage of the animated stuff will be going up on the dailies online service, but if they do, I'll be ready for them.

Anyway -- no idea what footage or images Dave McKean will be bringing to the San Diego Comicon panel on MirrorMask, although I notice ruefully that we're on at the same time that Quentin Tarantino and friends get to do their preview panel on Kill Bill...

PreSandiegan ramblings

Let's see...

The FAQ submission box doesn't seem to be working, right now (the weekend curse) nor does the Livejournal feed (and I tried splitting the long post from yesterday into two, just in case that was causing the trouble, but it didn't change anything).

I'll be unable to post at the beginning of next week for a couple of days, as I'll be travelling and away from anything I can post with (and yes, I suppose I could set up some kind of wireless system that would work on trains, but a lot of the fun of travelling on a train across America is the quiet to work in, and to look out of the window). Then I'll be posting occasionally from the San Diego comic-con, but they'll be squeezed into any spare moments I don't need to sleep in, so expect mostly short posts along the lines of "Survived today urgh" and "the 2:30 signing has now been postponed to 3:15", then a few proper posts about interesting movie things, and then radio silence again as I ride the train home.

Over at Scrivener's Error I note that the Morris vs. Business Concepts case is having knock-on effects that are seriously worrying. That's the case that said (I'm not a lawyer, am doing this from memory and will undoubtedly make some huge goof here) that a writer whose article had been reprinted without her permission or any payment wasn't entitled to any restitution under copyright because copyrighting a magazine or anthology essentially only copyrights those articles in that sequence, it doesn't copyright that specific article, feature or story. That you should have filed a separate copyright notice on. And if you don't have a copyright notice filed, you may have moral copyright on your side, but you can't sue for damages, you can't make someone stop.

For an author, it's particularly worrying from a short story point of view: The McSweeneys Mammoth Book of Thrilling Tales only carries two copyright notices -- copyright 2002 McSweeneys, and Harlan Ellison's story is copyright 2002 The Kilimanjaro Corporation. (Some people mistakenly thought this meant Harlan's story was a reprint. Nope. It means Harlan knows his copyright stuff inside, upside down and backwards.) So unless Stephen King and Michael Crichton and Elmore Leonard and I have filed separate copyright notices on our individual stories (we might have done) they are now effectively in the public domain... Which is to say, I think, that unless he's filed a separate copyright notice, Stephen King still has his copyright in his story. He just can't do anything if you reprint it in your anthology. This is not good.

Seeing as I'm in New Zealand and can in no way make it to the auction, I was wondering if it was possible for there to be a picture of the Sandman Quilt put on the website?
I would love to see it, and so would my Mum.
Thanks muchly

We'll see what we can do...

Not a FAQ, but you may well get buckets of email telling you this: the Clarion workshop in danger of losing its funding is Clarion East. There is also Clarion West, which is still very much a going concern. In fact, this is CW's 20th anniversary, and they've been having celebratory events all year. Even as I write, some 17 students are wrapping up their week of study with Elizabeth Hand; next week China Mieville (I can't get the accent over the first 'e', sorry) is the instructor. Clarion West has a very strong alumni community, which includes some, like Octavia Butler, who actually attended the Eastern workshop... you can have a look at their website at - they're a non-profit, and they have a truly tireless cadre of fundraisers who do things like auctions, readings, and the convention Potlatch.

While I'm writing, I'd like to offer a heart-felt thank you for all your work, and especially your blog. Your willingness to share the sometimes gritty details of being a working (touring reading writing family-raising etc.) author means a great deal to me, as a model of "how it's done" I can read and relate to. There's lots of good information on how to write available, not so much on the day-to-day mechanics of the trade - so when you write about French door problems in foreign hotels, or taking your daughters with you on parts of a signing tour, it makes it all seem like a reachable goal. I'm not sure if I'm conveying what I mean very well, but the thanks is nevertheless sincere.

-Joy Ralph

You're welcome. I think if this journal has any point to it, apart from being an amazingly easy and pleasant and quick way to let people know things that are happening, it's in trying to explain the mechanics of being a writer, and of what it means to make stuff up for a living.

(Much of the most exciting stuff is very dull, by the way: yesterday was spent with superletterer Todd Klein sending me and editor Shelly Bond giant PDF files of the Delirium story from Endless Nights to proofread, decide on lettering styles -- there are about nine different fonts in this story, one for each person in it -- and balloon placement and so on. And we were doing it against deadline, and Todd was doing the impossible... and it's the sort of thing that sounds pretty dull, and that, when people read the story, they'll only really notice if we screwed it up.)

Friday, July 11, 2003

Several things I left off the previous list...

dear neil,
thank you so much for that wonderful list of when everything is coming out, but you did forget one. you never mentioned when AT DEATH'S DOOR is coming out. I know that it should be soon, but i have been given different information from different people & places.
on another note, i am looking forward to MirrorMask and hoping against hope that NEVERWHERE will be done as a feature in the US. thank you so much for all your work.

pepper reed

I forgot At Death's Door. I suppose because I didn't write it -- or rather that the bits of it I wrote, I wrote 14 years ago... it's Jill Thompson's lovely black and white fantasia on other things that could have been happening while Season of Mists was going on. It's not canonical, it's, well, pure Jill. And very funny.

Hi Neil --

Was reading your journal this morning about books and things you have coming out this summer, just wanted to remind you that the Moore book (The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore) we've done is being released at San Diego with your strip. I'll be there and I do hope to meet you.


Right. Mark Buckingham and I did a two page comic for George Khoury's book on Alan Moore. (I had failed to notice that there were in fact two, not one, books about Alan Moore out there -- the other one is Gary Spencer Millidge's book, already out, which had to be content with a poem about an imaginary city that Alan and I once invented, which is a companion piece to "When We Went to See the End of the World".)

I also gave George the contents of the files that would have been a book on Alan Moore I was asked to write in 1987. (In the end I didn't, mostly because I thought that a book about Douglas Adams was probably enough for me to have written, and it was time to go on to my own stuff. But there was some remarkable material in the files, by the time I decided that, including Alan's first published short story, and several unpublished Watchman period interviews.) I hope he made good use of it.

More early questions

Good morning!
I was just wondering if you could put together a list of everything you have coming out this summer. I'm a little confused between the Neverwhere DVD, 1602 and the Wolves in the Walls, and I think I may be missing something. I want to be sure that I can get everything!

Also, I recently gave the illustrated version of Stardust to my 8-year-old neice. She refuses to give the book up, she carries it around with her all the time. And, even though she's eight years old, every time I see her, she crawls into my lap and asks me to read it to her, since "it's not the same in my head." (Really, you should see it, it's the cutest thing in the world.) I think she's a little young for some of your other books, but I have a gift-wrapped copy of Coraline hiding in my closet for her birthday next week!
I think it's wonderful, the way that readers can grow along with your books, and, even though some of your books could be considered fairy tales, or for children, they're still so well-written that adults find themselves lost in the worlds you've created.
Thank you,

I may forget something. Let's see...

1602 part 1 and The Wolves in the Walls come out in August. So does the NEVERWHERE DVD. So, I believe, does Coraline in paperback.

September brings Sandman:Endless Nights and the Sandman: Endless Nights Special (which is a comic with the Miguelanxo Prado story in it, for retailers to use on nervous customers who aren't sure if they want to buy a big hardback book.)

Telling Tales, the new CD, just came out. (Yes, I realised too late that it has the same title as the Alan Bennett autobiographical sketches.)

Angels and Visitations's 10th anniversary edition comes out in around October, which will make people who aren't really sure that they want to pay $150 for it on eBay happy.

Neverwhere and American Gods come out in September/October in handsome trade paperback editions from Harper Perennial.

Alisa Kwitney's Sandman: King of Dreams book comes out in September as well, filled with lots of art that no-one's seen before (including the uncensored J Muth Desire painting from the Sandman trading cards) and much odd and cool stuff. I did the introduction to it.

My short story "A Study in Emerald" is published in Michael Reaves and John Pelan's "Shadows over Baker Street" in September as well.

It looks from the Amazon UK entry on the Silverberg Legends II anthology (this is the cover) that it may come out in September 2003 as well, with the new Shadow (from "American Gods") story in it. On the other hand, I don't believe it, and suspect it's an Amazon goof, because I can't find any mention of it anywhere else. Aha -- the Del Ray newsletter says it's coming out in January 2004.

(For many years DC Comics and I have been talking about "The Compleat Death" -- a collection of both the Death graphic novels, along with Sandman 8 and Sandman 20, and the Jeff Jones story. It's just been put on the schedule for this Autumn, and I've asked if it can be moved to the spring, because there's too much stuff coming out, and it's not fair on people.)

There. I've probably left something off.

Hello Neil!

I'm hoping, once MirrorMask is released, that you might grant a wish of mine: I am insanely curious as to what a script treament would look like, and I am hoping you would share the one you did for MirrorMask. I say once it's released mainly because I would hate to have it spoiled. Is this a possibility or a pipe dream?

My second bit is just a quick thank you. Due to work situations, my husband and I live four hours apart these days. On those long weekend drives, playing "WARNING: Contains Language" helps keep me sane.

Best to you and your family.


You're very welcome. You know, there never was a treatment of Mirrormask. I had half a plot idea, about two girls in different worlds and an undependable guide, and Dave McKean had half a plot idea, about a dark queen and a light queen and a mirrored mask that was lost, and we got together in Jim Henson's house in Hampstead and stared and scribbled, and by the point we knew more or less what it was about I skipped the whole treatment bit entirely and started writing the script, which meant that most of the things that happened were as much a surprise to us as they were to Helena. (This is probably a highly unprofessional way to write a film. On the other hand, the dailies look wonderful.)

And Entertainment Weekly comes out today with the first MirrorMask image in it.

And they finish shooting the live action part of the film today as well. (It's a wrap! Now there's just ten months of animation to go...)