Monday, September 29, 2003

In which I leave out the Alan Rickman televisual anecdote in favour of bed

I was sent a copy of Neal Pollack's rock and roll novel to end all rock and roll novels, Never Mind the Pollacks, some months ago. The publisher wanted a blurb and they needed it immediately, and given the amount of time I had when they asked, it wasn't going to happen. But I finally read it a few weeks ago, thought it was hilarious, and promptly picked up The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature to read on the plane. It was wonderful fun, parodying attitudes and styles of self-obsessed essay-journalism (mostly) to (mostly) hilarious results. Neal Pollack's on tour at present -- he may be coming to your town. Tour schedule at
Go and see him. Tell him I said hi.

And I'd write a whole proper honest to goodness journal entry here, but sleep beckons. It doesn't just beckon, actually. Right now it's more or less jumping up and down on the bed waving both arms, shouting my name through a loud-hailer, and it's clutching a home-made sign with "WILL YOU GO TO BED ALREADY?" lettered on it rather crudely.

So. Norway tomorrow. Then Sweden. Then Croatia. Then Germany. Details and a couple of new tour stops added over at Where's Neil:

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Am I wearing Eyeliner, and other important questions of the day

Neil. NeilNeilNeil. Saw the EW photo of you. Are you in fact wearing eyeliner in the photo? Your public needs to know.

Gregory from Middle Tenn

P.S. Thanks for signing our copy of Endless Nights (and for the wonderful Sandman sketch) at the Fort Lauderdale Barnes and Noble thing that was presented to you by our Stepson, Adam.

Nope. No eyeliner. Just lots of squinting and scowling and suchlike, while a huge fan blows my hair and coat about, and I have to keep my hands where the photographer put them. Also, in that photo, sucking an ice-cube, to cope with the bleeding tongue. And a lady who would nip in every couple of minutes and powder the shinier bits of my face.

As I explained to someone recently, I felt like they got exactly the photo they wanted. I just didn't quite understand why they wanted it.


I checked the Where's Neil page and I could find no mention of Scotland. Are you not touring here this year?? You gotta! I've introduced all these kids to your books, and they're like 'where's neil????' and it'd break their hearts if you couldn't come, leaving them bitter and gaiman-less forever... or something... Anyway! I hope you can make it this year, and I hope anansi boys is coming along ok.

Hamza Khan

While I don't think the list is complete yet, I also don't think they're actually sending me to Scotland, based mostly on the fact that they kept sending me to Scotland last year -- Glasgow, Dundee, and two weekends at the Edinburgh Festival, and things in all the Scottish papers, mean that the Bloomsbury Press office want to send me to places I've not been to for a long time, like Bristol. And I don't get a vote.

But you never know -- some Edinburgh bookshop could make a frenzied appeal that would melt Lucy Chapman at Bloomsbury's heart, and make her decide to send me to Scotland. But it probably won't.

(There should be at least one Irish signing to come, though.)

I posted this question elsewhere on the site and then it came up with this, so I may as well write it again. Right. For an aspiring author in high school who is currently writing a manuscript of her first novel, would you read and give literary critiques... or is that too much to ask? Many thanks for reading this- Jennifer

Afraid not. I don't have time (multiply your manuscript by everyone who'd like me to read their manuscript, and then try and figure out when I'd have time to eat and sleep). Your best bet is to find an encouraging writer's group, on-line or in the flesh.

If ever I get talked into teaching any kind of writing course I'll post it up here in plenty of time. So far I've succeeded in saying no.

I can't buy Good Omen in my country. Can I buy Good Omen in your shop?

Well, this website doesn't have a shop, and nor do I. There's which isn't my shop either -- I just gave them the website name because I owned it and it wasn't doing me any good, and it could help them. Really it's DreamHaven Books, my local SF, Fantasy, Cool, Comics and Everything Else Bookshop, and I support them through a sense of enlightened self-interest; if they close down, I won't have anywhere to go and buy weird books. Also, they order enough of my stuff that I can send people there with a clear conscience.

And I just checked, and they seem to have both editions of Good Omens available.

Hi Neil,

I don't know if you'd be interested in this but I remember that you were acquainted with Douglas Adams who wrote for the original version of this show. Dr Who is back! Daily Telegraph Link here.
Also, on a slightly different note, I'm making an Endless Dinner where all the parts of the meal are based in some way on one of those characters. When I am done, would you like pictures and/or the recipes?

Good news about the Doctor.

And that would be fun. (I believe the Deadly Nightshade Creme Brulee is de rigeur for the Death Course, although some prefer the Arsenic Surprise.)

I'm doing a thesis paper on Emperor Joshua Norton, and the first place I heard about him was in the Sandman series. Mind if I ask what kind of research you did on the man? Was it difficult to locate sources? Any advice about where I can begin would be appreciated.

I first ran across him in a book called THE EMPEROR OF THE UNITED STATES AND OTHER ENGLISH ECCENTRICS, but most of the information in the Sandman story was taken from his biography, NORTON I, by William Drury. (And I just found a whole Norton Bibliography online here.)

A review of Neverwhere DVD over at the Boston Globe. Bit puzzled by the bit where it says that:
Gaiman supplies an interview and commentary, but when he notes that, for instance, the series strove to make its sets look expansive, the argument isn't convincing. I can't remember saying that. What I said was that most of the sets aren't sets but locations, badly lit so they look like sets, and that the locations themselves looked amazing. You just never got much of a sense of that on the screen...

Are there any plans for releasing your reading of "15 Portraits of Despair"? I was at the New York reading and I really loved it. I would adore a recording and I'm sure other people would as well...

-Kate (that Bard girl who looked a bit deathish)

Er, I don't think it had occurred to anyone, no. I mean, that was the first time I'd ever read it out loud (and if I'd been warned about the large Irish contingent in the audience beforehand I might not have done Dermot's accent, either).

Being a budding writer, I naturally have a question for you on writing. But I must first confess that I'm actually an artist with a deep need to tell my own stories.

After reading a great deal of your own work, which really showcases the storytelling aspect of, well, telling a story, I want to really just concentrate on writing short fiction. I was born an artist, so I'm very comfortable with letting my art take a back seat to writing or, more specifically, I see art and writing as very much related, or even interchangeable in some instances, so concentrating on writing is like gaining a different perspective on art, and thus will only be benificial to me.

I know this is beginning to read like a loveletter but I'm getting to the point. My question to you is: When writing scripts for The Sandman or any other comic you did, or for that matter any kind of short fiction that had to be turned in on a deadline, did you afford yourself the time after finishing the piece to stick it in a drawer for a day or so, and read it again later with fresh eyes? It seems like writing a monthly periodical you would have to make compromises at some level with something. I hold The Sandman series as straight fiction, just a sweeping story cut from whole cloth I don't even consider it a comic book. It could've easily been a giant series of novels. That is why I pose this question to you. I want to know how you were able to stay on your toes so consistently and be so creative while still maintaining a strict, timely deadline. What shortcuts did you use? Did you use any?

I'm sure this question has been asked many, many times before now so I will expect your prompt reply in the FAQ section 'On Writing'within a couple of days. Yeah right. You won't answer, the question is too damn vague, and besides, there are a hundred and ten thousand books "on writing" so why don't I 'Mr. I Wanna Express Myself" just schlep my ass to the bookstore or at least the library and research it my damn self. OK. Off to the library. Hey, it was worth a shot. Did you even read this far?

All the best,
Steve Krach

P.S. I've saved this as a Word document and will cut and paste it to the FAQ section as many times as I have to until I get an answer. Just Kidding. Maybe.

Well, seeing that you didn't, I'll post this (but as a rule, any kind of "I dare you" or threat or anything automatically means that things don't get used).

Once I threw away part of a storyline (in Season of Mists) because I realised that the story would just get too damn big if I used it. It had hundreds of dead babies in it, two fashion satanists, and a girl called Isolda Bane, who swore a lot. Once I rushed the end of a story in order to leave for a convention, and it wasn't right, and I knew it as soon as I got on the plane, and I called everyone and told them not to draw the last five pages and I'd fix it when I got back. And I did. (Sandman 24 -- the one in the School.) Other than that, mostly it worked. I rarely got the re-reading time, but I just about always had the thinking time, with the deadlines pushing hard enough that I rarely had the second-thoughts time. And that was good.

Warming up slowly

Yesterday was a signing in a book shop, for about 400 people. Things got a bit tense when I learned that the shop was going to have to throw everyone out when they closed at 6.00pm, and I sped everything up, and made it with a couple of minutes to spare. A bit fell off my Lamy fountain pen, rendering it sort of useless, and I asked the bookshop if I could buy another fountain pen. Instead they brought over three Shaeffers and told me to take my pick, as a gift. I took a nice black one with a good sort of heft to it, and was happy.

Today I used it a lot -- the space at the Helsinki comic convention was too small to contain the people who wanted me to sign things, so after doing a Q & A inside for everyone who could get in, I signed outside, in a sort of open tent in the road, for a long line of people stretched down the edge of the pavement.

I slowly got colder and colder (and have not yet totally warmed up), which is an occupational hazard to signing books and comics I'd not hitherto encountered. Hoping that the rest of the signings of the tour will be inside. Intellectually I know that I'm not going to catch a cold from just being out in the cold or the rain. On the other hand, I think that the last time I typed something like that here it was in Paris in January, and was immediately followed by flu.

When I went on the road with Tori to Chicago last year, I got to meet Kitty, who was cooking for the whole of Tori's crew. Kitty is a mother-goddess, worshipped and adored by Tori and the crew. She immediately adopted Maddy and taught her how to play with her food (it was food they couldn't take to Canada with them, and, having been opened, couldn't be donated with the rest to Chicago Food pantries: I saw Kitty teaching Maddy how to frisbee tacos, catapult sugar cubes, and bowl with lemons). Kitty's also an artist -- she showed me some lush photographs, drenched in colour, which she encases in glass and frames with copper, so I thought I'd repost the details of an upcoming show she's doing from her e-mail.

it is a group show, this time around.
when: oct 5-26, 2003 (coinciding w/ the maryland microcinefest film fest)
where: G-spot gallery 2980 falls road baltimore, md 21211
show: "get your grille on" (the indian summer BBQ show)
what: i am showing my "glass candy bars"
color-saturated cross-processed photographs--encased in hand-cut recycled glass, framed in copper.

If you're in the area, go and check them out.

So what is the etiquette (I'll be amazed if that wasn't spelled horribly wrong) for tipping servers/waiters in Finnland? Because if I or someone at my table were served food that might kill us, I would probably tip considerably less. (this sounds silly, now that I've typed it...)
on a lighter note, I just finished Stardust whilst eating sushi. it was truly a perfect moment. hope your trip is going well.

~silly american girl

I don't think the Finns are really into tipping. (I was told "We don't tip. We pay our waitresses instead.")

It was great to meet you at the signing at the Equitable Center last week during New York is Book Country. I'd like to ask my favorite interview question, which is: If you could give your younger self -- the one just starting out in the business -- any advice, what would you tell him?


I think I'd probably just suggest to myself that I try to enjoy the journey more, because it's going to be interesting.

A fellow named Davey suggested I pass along a post I put on the message board to this FAQ box. It is regarding The Wolves in the Walls. Having just finished Coraline, I bought the new book as soon as I found it. I teach kindergarten in a fairly poor area of Toronto. The children haven't been exposed to a lot of literature so I was interested in how they would react to a book with no cutesy illustrations. Experience has taught me that when I read a good book to children, they listen. They don't become distracted or chat among themselves. As I read the book, there was silence in the room. They were totally involved in the story line and how it played out through the illustrations. They empathized with Lucy's attachment to her pig puppet and one little girl started bringing her favourite doll to school so she wouldn't be separated from it. At the sight of the elephant's footprint on the last page one boy commented "Oh, here we go again". I'll read it again to them closer to Hallowe'en and ask them to draw their favourite part. Writing creative stories is a regular part of their weekly routine and I plan on also asking them to continue the story from where the elephants move in. It is a great book. I hope your daughters will inspire some more. Siobhan Duart

I'm pleased. When I finished writing it I went and read it to Maddy's kindergarten (or possibly first grade -- same teachers and children) class, and they liked it, which meant I was suprised by several of the reviews which claim it's not really for small kids, being too scary, or too wordy. Kids seem to like the words, and it's very hard to be afraid of the wolves for very long.

CRAZY HAIR is the next children's picture book, probably in 2005. (Although the HarperChildrens new edition of THE DAY I SWAPPED MY DAD FOR TWO GOLDFISH will happen in late 2004.)

And that fellow named Davey is actually a lady...


I was reading the following summary of entertainment news:
And wanted to ask your opinion of two of the items. The first is the mention that Fox is being sued for "ripping off" LXG (I can't bring myself to call it the same name as the Alan Moore comics ;-) from some unmake script in the early 90s, and they are also claiming that Fox paid the esteemed Mr Moore to write the comics as a way to cover up the original story source. I"m assuming that you, knowing Alan Moore, will disagree with this rather silly assertion.

Second, and not nearly as important, but still interesting, is the blurb that Madonna is refusing to pose for pictures on her current book signing tour prompting her new kids book. As I've seen you happily (if wearily) pose for countless shots with your fans at signing, I was wondering what you thought of this.


Disagree? Sure, it's silly. It didn't happen like that. I do love the idea of putting Alan on the witness stand, though, looming and huge like a yeti in a suit, to explain his creative processes. It's true that they started working on the film before The League was finished, but that was because Don Murphy snapped up League, based on (if I remember correctly) the first issue and the outline for the rest.

As for Madonna... on the one hand I think she's giving author signings a bad name (she will "hand presigned books to children, but will not personalise them"? Honestly!) On the other hand, I do understand that she really doesn't want any bad or unflattering photographs out there. It doesn't matter to me if people take red-eyed photos of me at a signing looking like a stunned demonic lemur with a bad hair day. But it probably matters a lot to her (additionally, the phrase "an' you 'ave ter understand, Neil, that wivart any make-up on, that woman looks like an 'andbag," reverberates in the back of my head, but will not be further explained).

Hi Neil,

Received my tickets from Foyles today and are most excited to be seeing you, Dave McKean and apparently Jonathan Ross in the flesh which is a most welcome surprise (no i just have to convince someone to go with me). I know this question is asked over and over again but how many things will you be signing because I will have the first 4 issuses of 1602 that all require signatures for my retirement fund and of course Wolves in the Walls.

hoping Christmas is coming early,


I'm pretty sure I'll be signing more than just Wolves in the Walls and Coraline at the signing... but how much more, I'm not sure (probably one or two items-from-home or whatever else Foyles is selling (Endless Nights? Cages? American Gods?), plus Wolves and Coraline if you have them). I think it's very probable that you won't get all four 1602s signed, though, given the probable numbers that night. Your best bet, if you have extra stuff you want scrawled on, is to get to one of the UK lunchtime bookshop signings if you can, as well -- they tend to be smaller than the evening ones, and will definitely be much smaller than the Foyles event (although they won't have the reading, the Jonathan Ross live interview, or Dave McKean).

Friday, September 26, 2003

Small talk about a meal

There was a Russian Meal tonight, at the oldest Russian restaurant in Helsinki, with authentic Russian food, and what I was assured was authentically surly service, which reached its high point when my editor and translator enquired about the apple pie, and explained to the waitress that they would go into anaphylactic shock if they ate nuts, and she told them huffily that there could not possibly be any nuts in the apple pie, because it had raisins in. They ate the pie, and asked about the little hard bits, and were told that they were cooked raisins. Then my editor started poking about in her pie. "What's that?" she asked, nervously. I reached across, and took it, and looked at it, and ate it. "Hazel nut," I said. "Is that bad?" They told the waitress that just because there were raisins in the pie, it did not mean there were not also nuts, and they sent her back to the kitchen to see if there were cashews (which would have been very bad indeed) but there weren't. Just hazel nuts. And walnuts. I asked if they had adrenaline injectors, and my editor did, and my book translator had left his at home.

We waited to see if they would die, and I told them encouraging stories about friends of mine who had stopped breathing in restaurants but survived and gone on to live long and productive lives, to cheer them up.

But in the end, neither of them stopped breathing. And when the bill came, they told the restaurant they weren't paying for the pie, either.

My meal was great, actually.

And that's all for tonight, except that I learned that Finns Don't Ask Questions In Press Conferences. I was told they wouldn't, and that I should just talk and talk, because otherwise it would be very short and embarrassing. I doubted it... but it seems to be true. They don't. (This is not, of course, entirely true. The first Press Conference I was at in Finland, in Kemi, in 1994, all the journalists, of every nationality, asked lots of questions. Then again, everyone was naked, sweating, and slightly drunk. Probably the rule is just that Fully Dressed Finnish Journalists Not Drinking High Alcohol Beer in Very Hot Town Saunas Don't Ask Questions.)

blinking at the daylight in helsinki

Photographer Mimi Ko writes to say,

The new EW is out, and that picture -- it's exactly as you described
it! It looks nothing like you in mood or gesture, but I assure you that
it is still a lot of fun to look at. It kind of reminds me of Ian
McKellan's Magneto in the X-Men movies, actually. (The little picture
of you with Death now, that looks more like you, except for the wide
angle distortion. ;)

So the magazine's out, now that I'm safely out of the country.

And I better go and find breakfast. It's got to be in this hotel somewhere.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Two Rules of Booktour.

This is being typed on the plane to Amsterdam, where I will change planes and go to Finland. This is the story of my plane journey so far:

I got onto the plane. I picked up some newspapers, got comfortable, read several pages of a newspaper before it slipped from my fingers onto the floor. The dreams went on for millions of years and I remember only the ones about black cats slipping into television screens, and then I woke up and stretched, groggily, momentarily waking up the man in the seat next to me, and I checked my watch. I'd been asleep for well over four hours and the meal service had come and gone.

I wasn't hungry, but the first rule of BookTour is probably Eat If You Can. Because you never know when there won't be food and you'll be on the road, so I ate what they had, which was a sad salad and a cheese plate and some melted ice cream. (Rule two of BookTour is probably And Grab the Hotel Bedtime Pillow Chocolates you don't want, and drop them in your computer bag, because one day it'll be 4.00am somewhere there isn't any food, and you'll remember you have hotel chocolates somewhere, and it's better than nothing.)

And then I wrote. The middle of 1602 part 7 seems to have gotten over its hesitations (I tend to stop a bit before killing a major character, trying to see if there's any way out. I don't do it with relish until I have to) and I answered all of the questions from journalists that have come in this week, except for the interview ones, which I feel some sort of obligation to write a longer reply to...

Did I mention that I flew from Miami (very early in the morning) to Minneapolis, was driven to DreamHaven Books where I signed several hundred copies of ENDLESS NIGHTS and WOLVES IN THE WALLS before going back to the airport via the Mall of America to pick up a speaker for the iPod, and going away again? No? Well, that was the morning, before I got on the plane and fell asleep.


Now in Amsterdam Schiphol... leave for Helsinki in 80 minutes. Then on to Sweden, Norway, Croatia and Germany.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Rabbit rabbit rabbit rabbit

Lots of messages in on the Stephen King and Harold Bloom front, of which my favourite is probably:

Re: Stephen King

Of course, Mr. King isn't above a bit of snobbery himself. In a recent Entertainment Weekly article, he trashed James Patterson as "dopey" and dismissed William Gaddis and Paul Auster (as well as their "ilk") as "dull" and "overpraised." I am sure the late Mr. Gaddis wishes he had been able to please Mr. King more by having written about a group of childhood friends who, as grownups, fight monsters; choosing instead to write about such dull topics as politics, law, religion, language, music, economics, education, art, and love were surely mistakes which he now greatly regrets from beyond the grave. I am sure he also wishes he had been praised less (if such a thing were possible in light of the sort of reviews he received during his lifetime) in order to have made his writing more palatable to Mr. King.


and if your point is that authors (and columnists) say dopy things sometimes, you're absolutely right (I know. I'm one of them, and I certainly do). If your point is that authors write bad books from time to time, or retread, worry and chew over old themes, not always for the best, well, you're right there as well.

But I can't make the jump from there to anything other than puzzled irritation at the Bloom article in the LA Times, in which King's faults are demonstrated for the world to see. They appear to be 1) he is a writer of "penny dreadfuls" and 2) he liked Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and said so in print. (Bloom then goes on to explain that it would be better for children not to read at all than to read J. K Rowling, and be led down the slippery slope to reading Stephen King. Read the article if you don't believe me.)

Now, I like and respect Steve very much as a person, and I've been a fan since picking up Salem's Lot on East Croydon station when I was fourteen. I've reviewed his work (not always positively), and twice now I've wound up on the BBC World Service talking about Stephen King as a writer, and his strengths and weaknesses. If I wanted to write an article about why Stephen King shouldn't be honoured as a writer, I bet I could come up with some more cogent and convincing reasons than Bloom's (and by the looks of it, so could you).

King's written some really solid non-fiction (Danse Macabre, and On Writing), many excellent short stories, several very fine novels. He's also a working writer who has raised a family by writing. He's written enough that there are some stinkers in there, but that's what happens when you write a lot. (And very few writers set out to write a stinker. Most of us hope that this next story will be one of the beautiful, angel-winged children we are proud of, rather than one of the evil malformed ones who should have remained locked in the cellar forever.) But I'd say that his strengths, like Twain's, far outweigh his weaknesses. And the man understands story...

And this was my other favourite comment:

I read your comment about the Harold Bloom piece and thanks to the login id and password provided by a fan went ahead and read the article by Professor Bloom. Much of Blooms comments are just part of a problem that exists in the academic world, especially in literature departments. I earned a Bachelor's degree in Literature from a pretty respected program at the time and found a lot of snobbery that I just didn't understand. One example, is the idea that certain people understand literature and some people just can't really "get it." There were numerous examples of people who came to me asking for help in their composition or literature classes who had made it all the way to college and were otherwise obviously very intelligent people but were struggling in some way or another. With a little dedication and some teaching to how these people needed to learn I was not only able to help them improve their grades immediately but I found their performance improved on following tests and assignments because their foundation was better. I understand that at the college level it's virtually impossible for a professor to teach to each individual but I think in 13 years of public school they could have gotten, as a foundation, what it took me a few days to give them. Unfortunately, these people were led to believe they just couldn't perform as well as people with more "talent" for it and they should just accept scraping by with minimum passing grades. In one instance I was astounded to find a college junior whose research for a paper was excellent but couldn't put sentences together to make a coherent paragraph. Not only did her grade on the specific paper on which we worked reflect my help, but future papers which she brought me to look over showed a definite improvement in organization and clarity. By asserting that King is unworthy of the award and Pynchon, or any of the other writers he mentions are more so, Bloom is clearly showing he "gets it" and the millions of people who read King don't. I think this is related to a myth that is propagated, in society at large, if not in the literary academic establishment specifically. That being, that great artists (writers included) are not really appreciated in their own time. I can't speak to other art forms but when it comes to writers this just isn't true. All members of the canon of western literature I can think of were popular in their day (and I'm willing to bet all the readers of your blog could only come up with maybe one or two exceptions total). Poe, Twain, Hemingway, Dickens, Shakespeare, Plato, Dante, you name it and they were very popular even when they were alive. Shakespeare's plays at The Globe were very popular among both the illiterate and the literate of his time. Dickens was wildly popular. So much so, that not only did he sell his novels in serial form but then turned around and sold them again bundled together as whole books. Twain was not only popular for his writing but was a sought after speaker who traveled not only on this continent but Europe and Asia as well. Now, Huckleberry Fin is considered one of the greatest works of American fiction.

Another of Bloom's comments is patently untrue and again I base this on personal experience. He says he would rather kids not read anything at all rather than read J. K. Rowling. That reading the Harry Potter books only prepares them to read King and not more worthy works. The first book I remember enjoying is The Hobbit (another book frequently derided by the literary critics and professors). This led me to read the rest of Tolkien's works and then on to other books in the fantasy genre. Eventually, I began to read and enjoy works other than fantasy including those works part of the western literary canon. This all led me to choose to seek a degree in literature. There is a gap in literature from Dick and Jane beginner reading to heavier material that turns a lot of kids (mostly young boys) away from reading. If only a fraction of those kids go on to enjoy or even just appreciate the works of Shakespeare or any of the other great works of literature as a result of reading Harry Potter, then I applaud Rowling. If one person of any age reads King, or you, or whoever and decides they want to pass on their enjoyment of the written word by becoming a writer or a teacher then I think anyone who already loves the written word in any form should be overjoyed.

Always a fan,

Larry Johnson, Jr.

Hello Neil,

Just curious - the Silver Bullet Comics page you linked to a few days ago mentions that the picture and story about Endless Nights for Entertainment Weekly was supposed to run in the September 19th edition. Well, there was a short (pictureless) review of the Neverwhere DVD in there, but I didn't see anything else pertaining to you in that edition, nor in the September 26th one either.

Did the story get pulled or something, or am I just incredibly blind?

Thanks for all your wonderful work,


it'll be in the one that comes out on Sep 26th (which is cover dated a week on from there -- probably 3 October 2004. Bizarre matrix-male-model photo and all.

High points of today:

Went to see Will Eisner for 50 minutes in the afternoon, during my only down time.

Met (and signed copies of Endless Nights and Wolves in the Walls) for many hundreds of Barnes and Noble Managers. And while many of them were "You have to sign something for my assistant manager who hand-sells your stuff and reads your journal and says she'll stab me in the night if I forget to get something signed" there were also an awful lot of "So who is Virginia Dare?" and "I've been reading you since Sandman #1" and so on, just like a normal signing. We ran out of Endless Nights for them. Then we ran out of Wolves in the Walls. Then, about 5 hours after I started, I stopped.

Low points of today: just got to my hotel. It's nearly 1:30 am right now. I leave for the airport at 6.00 am. I need to figure out how to connect to the internet do e-mail and post this...

Posting may become a bit irregular, as I will probably next be logging on from Finland. Or maybe Amsterdam airport.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Hi Ho the Glamorous Life...

New York is already starting to recede into a strange signing hand-aching braindead sort of blur.

I stayed at the Library Hotel -- having mentioned it on the journal I thought I'd try it -- and was disappointed. The concept of themed book-filled Dewey decimal-numbered rooms is a wonderful one, but I felt like they'd missed out on the whole hotel bit that goes with it. There was no food, for example. No room service. There's a restaurant attached to the hotel that you can order food from and go down and pick up, when it's open (which it isn't on, for example, Sundays) but nothing else, which meant I kept rediscovering how weird it is to stay in a room-service-less hotel, normally by being very hungry (during days like the last few, when food doesn't always get included in your daily schedule and you grab food wherever you can). It also had a patchwork of amazingly nice and helpful staff, along with some amazingly unhelpful or clueless ones who managed a couple of times to slide over into a sort of Basil Fawltyesque rudeness, astonishing Fred, the driver who DC had assigned to me to make sure I got to all the events on time.

On the other hand, the conceit is nice (and I hope the lawsuit is dismissed), they don't mind if you have your photo taken in their hotel (lots of hotels get very twitchy if you're being interviewed and there's a photographer there, and I had a day of interviews), and I ran into a bunch of nice readers-of-my-stuff-and-this-blog-down-from-Boston in the elevator , which was fun -- they were there because I'd mentioned it here, which is why I'm shaking my head and giving it a thumbs down in the journal at this point. I don't think I'd ever stay there again. It's not cheap, and for the money you're paying for a room there, you could get a room in, well, an actual hotel. New York's full of them, even if the rest of them are a bit further from the New York Public Library, and don't have books aplenty everywhere. (Would I have been more forgiving if my room had been something other than "New Media" and filled with books telling me how to survive the Coming Millennium Bug? Possibly. Might it be a lovely hotel if you're not an author on a crazed booksigning spree? Also possibly.)

(Remember: if you're in New York, go to the Public Library on 5th Avenue and 41st, go up to the third floor, and --this is not a joke -- follow the signs to the Men's Toilets. Just before you reach the toilets, you get to the Charles Addams original art exhibit, which changes several times a year, and is always wonderful.)

Sunday was fun in a smashed sort of way. (Saturday did the smashing: an hour of talking and reading to 500 people, followed by seven hours of signing. It was made easy because everyone was so nice, but I was punch-drunk by the end.) The highlights of Sunday included a signing in the middle of the street for a hundred or so wristbanded people, eating ice-cream with Shelly Bond, Scott Rowe-from Time-Warner, Danny Vozzo and his family (he met his wife, Stephanie, because she was a Sandman fan who went looking for his name in the New York phone book, long enough ago that they have a ten year old daughter...) and Fred the driver, and doing the talk in the evening with art spiegelman at the 92nd St Y.

After the talk at the Y art and I signed, and I was made happy to see how many of the people there had things by both of us. Then got a hasty something to eat, once it was done, and was in bed by about 1:00am. I got a very small amount of sleep before the alarm call and a 5:45 am pick up by a driver and on to the airport.

No-one at DC seemed quite certain why I had to leave New York so early, but there seemed a general consensus that it was important and Rich Johnson, the man who sells the DC graphic novels to the book trade, and who would be my host at this Barnes and Noble thingie in Ft Lauderdale, would explain why when I saw him at the airport. He stumbled, grey, morning-eyed and uncoffeed, up to the airport gate this morning. "Rich, why am I on this plane?" "No idea," he muttered. "I only discovered we were on the same plane a couple of days ago. I didn't book it."

So I slept on the plane. This was a good thing...

Oh well. The sea is pounding outside my bedroom window, and it bought me a little writing time, and one of my favourite characters in 1602 will meet a nasty end in a couple of minutes.

Barnes and Noble Fort Lauderdale signing tonight...


Several people asked if I was serious about Steve King at his best being as good a writer as anyone. As good as Shakespeare, or Rochester, or Tyndale? Probably not. As good as anyone on Bloom's list of "more worthy" writers. Absolutely.

(A helpful one for anyone who wants to read the Bloom comments and doesn't want to register:

Hi, Neil,

I hate having to register to use otherwise free services on the web. To save your faithful readers who feel likewise the indignity, here's an ID they're more than welcome to use to access the LATimes:

login: gaimanfans
password: gaimanfans



And I commented during the Equitable Centre talk -- during a question on why the idea of reading the future through entrails and innards cropped up in my fiction -- that I'd never understood how you could tell the future through Cheese, although I knew it was a real way of looking into the unknown.

And someone's replied to say:

My curiousity was piqued by your comment about Tiromancy (sometimes with a "y", though that would suggest a rather different Latin root), the telling of fortunes through cheese. According to Shaw's "Divining the Future: Prognostication from Astrology to Zoomancy" (1998), it was probably practiced by looking at the formation of mold spores on the surface of the cheese, much in the same way as divination through tea leaves. Other (less reputable) sources argue for attaching notes to pieces of cheese, then seeing which is the last to be eaten by a mouse (which seems more like sminthomancy, if such a thing exists), or which is the last to go moldy.
I'm sure you've got a flood of responses on this, but thought I'd throw in my two cents.

and GMZoe writes to say:

We have some people on the message board wondering how long the Sandman library editions (as opposed to the new editions) will still be available through bookstores. A few of them have invested in half a set so far, and want all their copies to match, but can't afford to buy the rest all in one go.

Well, as the books go out of print, and need to be reprinted, as they do every few months, the new covers will go on. Preludes and Nocturnes should be drifting into stores over the next few weeks. No-one's going to take the older editions off-sale. There are thousands of them out there, in bookstores and comics stores, and I expect it'll take several years until they're harder to find (much as the first run of Sandman books are now. And you still run into them on shelves from time to time).

I'm encouraging DC to do a Boxed Set of Sandman books as well. This is not something for people who already have the books, but something that just makes it easier for someone who wants to get them all, to get them all. Few and far, far and few, are the shops -- even online ones -- with all ten books on hand and for sale.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

In which our author types while braindead

The biggest problem with long and interesting and exhausting days is that once they're done, the last thing I can do is type a coherent account of the doings of the day. Dull, routine days are much more likely to produce interesting posts.

So, for whoever's interested: DC has just bound up the last 20,000 previously unbound copies of Endless Nights, and will be sending them out to the stores, bringing the first printing to 120,000, and DC has ordered a second printing, so there should be about 140,000 copies in print in a couple of weeks. It also looks like we can correct the tiny bunch of typos that crept in (the oddest of which, the word "memory" spelled "memery" in the seventh Despair story, is the most mysterious typo in the world, because it was spelled correctly in the files that went to the printer, and in every version before that).

I need to close a bunch of Opera and Explorer windows that are marking things I meant to link to when I got a moment. So...

Here are some strange and beautiful photographic images:

What else? Well, Harold Bloom is a twerp. Steve King's best work -- Misery, for example, or The Body, or the Man in Black short story about the kid who met the Devil, picking a few just off the top of my head -- are as good, sentence by sentence and story by story, as anything out there, by anyone. This LA Times article is just puffed-up snobbery of the worst kind.

Here's a link to some articles on Endless Nights I may or may not have remembered to post:

It hadn't occurred to us that people who already had the Sandman books would see the new Sandman covers and want them, but lots of people have written in en masse and asked about ways of obtaining them to put on their own books. DC's investigating a way of packaging the ten covers alone, the hardback versions with dustflaps, with a slip of cardboard, for more or less cost, for those people who want them. I'll put something up when it's figured out, if it happens.

Here's the first part of Orson Scott Card's essay on Internet copyright, piracy and MP3s:

There's more on the same subject, some different but equally interesting opinions, and a fascinating look at Harlan Ellison's case against AOL at

There's a short and not particularly accurate review of Wolves in the Walls at the New York Times (you need to register, I think). It's not as good as the outraged Amazon i-have-read-this-book reviewer who complained about a book in which
"Children live in a house with noises in the walls - and the noises turn out to be wolves with blood dripping from their jaws that come out of the walls and attack the family!"
She seems very certain that that no children must be allowed to see these bloody-jawed wolves; I wonder if she'll start a campaign to stamp out this sort of thing, and if anyone will tell her that if she had read the book she'd realise that it was jam...

Interview with art speigelman and Francoise Mouly about Little Lit 3 here at

I loved this article about an interview with Johnny Cash that changed someone's life:,11710,1043707,00.html

I'm a Guest of Honour at next year's Mythopoeic Conference:

Someone wanted to know where the expression "safe as houses" came from. I like to think it's because houses are safe places, but really it's from the Victorian middle classes feeling the safest possible investment was in property -- a safe investment was safe as houses.


I have seen the Entertainment Weekly photograph, the one I talk about here:
. I don't look like me at all. It's a billowy coat shot, and I look, well, as I suspected, rather like a Bond villain -- one of the normal-looking ones, not one of the creepy bald ones with no earlobes -- in some Matrixy film, who is doing something very odd with his hands...

Friday, September 19, 2003

European Son

I know this is missing information, and I'll update it over at Where's Neil as I get bookstore names and addresses and times... but we're running late enough that I figure that this is a start...


> SATURDAY September 27
> Host: Helsinki Comic Books Festival
> 15.00 - Interview (Interviewer Hannu Blommila) and signing at Suomalainen kirjakauppa, Aleksanterinkatu 23, Helsinki

> SUNDAY September 28
> Host: Helsinki Comic Books Festival
> 15.00: Interview (Hannu Blommila) and signing at Aktia Hall, Yrj�nkatu 31, Helsinki where the Helsinki Comic Books Festival is held
I believe that Aktia Hall, Yrjonkatu 31, is the address

> 16.00 - 17.00 Tronsmo Bookstore - presentation of "Coraline" and book signing
at Kristian Augustsgate 19, Oslo
The bookstore's website is here:
> Thursday October 2
> Neil arrives from Norway.
> 7 pm Seminar at Kulturhuset lead by Kristoffer Leandoer, the Swedish translator of Coraline. Neil Gaiman starts with reading from his book/books. (About Kulturhuset:
Kulturhuset is located in the centre of Stockholm on Sergels Torg. The website has detailed directions. Here is the mailing address:
Box 16414
103 27 Stockholm

> Friday October 3
> 5 pm - 6 pm Reading and signing books at one of largest bookstore in Stockholm, Akademibokhandeln.
M�ster Samuelsgatan 32, Sergels Torg 12, Stockholm SE, 111 57
The website is here You might want to direct people there--I am not 100% sure the above address is the correct one.

> Saturday October 4
> 3 pm (??) reading and signing books, Science Fiction Bookstore
Address: V�sterl�nggatan 48 Gamla stan Stockholm (NB - it's 14:00 on the store website, which is probably right.)
Late afternoon (TIME NOT YET SET): promotion and signing in Bookshop Algoritam, Trgovacki centar King Cross, Skorpikova 34
19:30: promotion in: Klub Knjizevnika trg Bana Jelacica 7 (accross the street from the hotel)
Neil--we are finding out what these "promotions" are exactly entailing.
Monday: October 6th
12:00: signing in Bookshop Zagreb (Gajeva 1)
19:00: promotion in Osijek, Franck Caffe Club, Trg slobode 7 (Osijek-Zagreb about 300 km/ 180 miles)

> Readings and signings (always English/German with actor Martin Semmelrogge):
> Thursday, Oct. 9. in Cologne: 20.30 (8.30 PM) at Mayersche Buchhandlung, Neumarkt-Galerie, Neumarkt 2
> Friday, Oct. 10. in Hamburg: 20.00 (8.00 PM) at Abaton Kino, Allendeplatz 3/Ecke Grindelhof
> Saturday, Oct. 11. in Frankfurt: 14.00 (2.00 PM) at Frankfurt Book Fair, Hall 4.1/ Forum
> Book signing (and participation in the Guinness world record for the longest ever comic): Sunday, Oct. 12. in Frankfurt: 11.00-12.00 AM at Frankfurt Book Fair, Hall 3.0 / J 807 (Comic-Zentrum)

In which I sort of lose track of the point but cover a lot of ground anyway

Dirk Deppey over at the Comics Journal Journalista blog says...

Neil Gaiman prepares himself for the "comic shops are underordering my graphic novel" blues. Given where I work, I can of course sympathise. Fortunately, I'm sure the royalty checks from the many, many, many copies sold in bookstores will ease his pain somewhat.

... which is funny, but kind of misses the point. I'm sure that Dirk doesn't feel that the sales of Ghost World or Jimmy Corrigan through bookstores makes up for the absence of many excellent Fantagraphics books from lots of comic store shelves.

There were a lot of reasons for doing SANDMAN:ENDLESS NIGHTS, but money wasn't really one of them. I got (I just worked it out) exactly a 40th the advance for it I would have for spending the same amount of time writing a prose novel, and will make a tiny fraction of the royalty that I'd get for a novel (DC pays a real royalty, but not a big one, and it's being split with the seven artists, which is as it should be). Most of the other reasons took care of themselves: the joy of seeing a Manara story drawn by Manara, for example. Finally working with Bill Sienkiewicz. Giving Karen something really cool for Vertigo's tenth birthday. Creating an original hardback graphic novel that the book trade could get behind was another bit of the whole.

But a big part of it was wanting to give the comic stores something. These are the places that I started, and Sandman started, after all. Back when we used to release Sandman hardbacks, I'd hear from delighted retailers that they'd shifted a hundred or more, and I'd paid their overheads for the month. That they liked getting new people, some of them even female, into their stores, and that these people would go on and buy other things, would discover Alan Moore or the Hernandez brothers or, or, or....

And I liked that, because it felt like we were giving something back to the comic shops, which were the places that everything started.

Where ENDLESS NIGHTS was concerned, we've tried (with varying degrees of success) to make sure that the comic shops had the book before the bookshops, hoping to be able to send people into comic shops.

Paul Levitz mentioned to me, several months ago, that DC Comics decided, earlier this year, to survey comic store customers and bookstore customers to find out who was buying their graphic novels. They put reply paid cards into several of their top-selling graphic novels, coded for where people bought their books, and waited for the replies to come in. The results puzzled and astonished them: there was no significant difference between the two sets of buyers. Gender, income, education, age spread, all that was, rather counterintuitively, identical across the two groups. Whether the bookbuyers bought their graphic novels in Borders or at Midway Comics had more to do with accidents of geography and availability than anything else.

And it's worked, to some extent: there are lots of nice messages coming in from people who have gone into comic shops for the very first time, now that Endless Nights is out.

I'll extract from a few, to give you the flavour:

I went to the Atlantis Fantasywold Comic shop here in Santa Cruz for the
first time ever...not sure why it took me so long--mostly because i bought
most of your work on eBay or at signings i guess!

It's not icky in there at all! ;-) It's bright and lovely and there was
actually even a girl working there (what a shame that it surprises me!).
Both she and the man behind the counter were friendly had wonderfully
helpful and I walked out with Endless Nights and both issues of 1602. Not
hard to find either. There was a huge display with Endless Nights on the
counter and a spinny thingy full of Sandmans...again, why have I never
gone in there??


Thank you so much for mentioning Golden Apple Comics on your site. I've spent a good chunk of today searching for a comic store in my area, as I just moved to LA. One of Golden's locations is just a short bus ride from me - perfect. I even talked to a gentleman, who I am assuming is the owner, who spoke highly of you and said he was just on the phone with you this morning. You had called to make sure he had Endless Nights. It was in. As was 1602 issue 2 and Neverwhere DVD. I spent a bit more money than I'd planned but I am quite pleased with everything I purchased. 1602 is amazing and I can't wait until the next issue. Endless Nights was both amazing and depressing. Despair had me almost in tears. Very powerful writing in all of them, and the artwork was amazing as well. Please pass on my appreciation to the all of the artists!

And now I think I will go and treat myself to sushi. It seems like a good end to a good day.


And lots of ones from comic store regulars who did just fine:

Dear Mister Gaiman:

I'm one of the fortunate folks in Raleigh, NC where the comic book proprietor was savvy enough to get Plenty Of "Endless Nights" Copies. There were enough that they put my copy aside more out of habit: "Sandman book, yep, Garrett'll want this." Great stories, lovely stories, by the way. I guess I'm writing all this to stave off the rising wave of "Why in the heck am I at work before a hurricane?" panic. At any rate, please keep up the great writing. You're my favorite writer, bar none.

Sincerely, Garrett


Regarding Endlesss Nights - happy dance, indeed! Got my copy from the Silver Snail in Toronto, and had to elbow past the group pawing the few remaining copies. Devoured the first story illuminated with a tiny flashlight while my wife slept beside me. Batteries for the hurricane be damned!

I get many of my odd links thanks to your diligence. Here is one in return. It lists over 4000 bunny names, and is quite comprehensive. For a bunny-name-list type of thing.



My god. The bunny names....

The next one is also pretty typical, though:

I'm sure you're going to get a stack of accolades and stories and other such e-mail...but here's one more.

I dutifully went to my local (Pasadena) comics shop to get "Endless Nights" to find (despite their assurances last week) they'd sold all their copies. (They apparently only got half their order. I don't know why. I'm not sure they know either.)

Undaunted, I went to the very first comics shop I found when I moved out here and found that they, too, had sold out. The proprietor (somewhat sadly) told me his competition down the street would probably have books left, but if they didn't would I please return and ask him to order one for me?

I had a moral dilemma then, wishing I could both patronise the shop and read the book tonight. I ended up driving to the other shop, where I did find the book and had a lovely conversation with the guy at the cash register. Then I came home, read the book, and can declare that it was worth every mile driven.

I also solved my dilemma by deciding to go back to the second shop and buy a copy for a friend who won't otherwise read it. Everyone wins, right?

I hope none of your readers complaining of not being able to find "Endless Nights" are in the LA area, 'cause there are definitely books to be found with a little effort. If not (say, if the impending rush tomorrow makes the rest of them disappear), Phil at Kings Comics and Cards in Burbank will happily order them.

Oh, and good luck with the huricane...

-- Heather

Some people have had to go into a lot of comics shops in order to actually find a copy, which may be good for teaching new people where their comics shops are, but is lousy from a making new customers point of view. And while I'm sure that that some of the shops who are telling the people who are going in that they were shorted on their order really did only get half -- or a third -- or none -- of the copies they ordered, in my experience this is also what comic shops tell people when saying "Heck, we jes' didn't order enough," is too embarrassing actually to admit.

The comic stores that really puzzle me are the ones who are saying that they didn't know there was going to be a demand for it. It's not like DC didn't take the cover of Diamond Previews, or warn the retailers that there was going to be a lot of media attention for the book.

And if I've devoted too much time to maundering about this, it's from a sort of frustration. I do understand that lots of comics shops are small, and are out on the edge, and only have so much money to spend on things every month, and have to guess about where they put their money. But if the same people are buying the graphic novels in both places, I'd like to send them out of comic stores holding a copy of Endless Nights, and maybe something else they wouldn't otherwise have known about.


Hi Neil,
Thanks for making my day with 'giddy harumphrodite'. Wonderful expression. Or is it a quote?

Also, I think that your Village Voice picture isn't so much a Minneapolis Weird Hair Day photo as an Oh My God He's Turning Into Michael Chabon photo. That may be because I have just finished re-reading Kavalier & Clay, and I keep wondering just how well and how long you two know each other.
Enjoy your hurricane,

It's a half-remembered and probably mis-spelled quote from a Rudyard Kipling poem, where he explains that a marine "is a kind of a giddy harumphrodite, soldier and sailor too".

I can guarantee I'm not turning into Michael Chabon, who is much better looking than me, and whose hair always looks as though it's happening on purpose. I first met Michael on a panel in Chicago, with Chris Ware and Scott McCloud and Will Eisner and Ben Katchor, and we've not seen each other as much as either of us would have liked since, but when we're in the same place we take advantage of it, and chat and eat and chat some more.

Hi Neil.

I see that you are doing two conversations followed by signings at San Jose State University on Oct. 16th. I'm going to the later reading, the one at 7:30pm, and I was wondering if there was any significant reason why one is free and the other is priced? Will one be privledged to something that the other won't be?


I don't know. I think that one's a kind of "in conversation" while the other will be a much longer reading/talk/Q & A sort of thing. But that's my assumption from looking at probably the same websites that you've been looking at.


hi neil,
you mention the article by the journalist who saw the line of hundreds of fans waiting in line... the best writer you never heard of, etc... if i remember correctly, isnt that the article that mentions you signing girls' breasts? heh. no wonder you gave us no link.
has anyone mentioned the inspector linley mysteries on pbs? because for some reason my brain seems to think he looks slightly like you.
no, you havent signed my breasts, just my sandmans. :)

I don't remember if that was in that article or not, but the reason I didn't link to it was that it's a pay-per-view article, and not a very long one.

Hi Neil,
Bust Magazine just released its "Tales From The Dark Side" issue and named Death one of the "Top 25 Dark Ladies of All Time." There's an image from Endless Nights and the following:

Death first appears in Neil Gaiman's Preludes and Nocturnes, the first sequence of comics in The Sandman series. Her brother Dream is sitting on a park bench feeling sorry for himself when she arrives, talking about Mary Poppins, and telling him, in the way that only a sibling can, to stop being so "bubble-headed." This is her role in the comic, to be the voice of reason for her family. Death's job is also, by definition, to be there when your time is up, but she is the last personification of the Grim Reaper one might expect to see. Dressed like Siouxsie Sioux in a pair of black jeans and sporting a gold Ankh pendant, she is there to usher the living to whatever comes next. Not in a depressing way, but matter-of-factly, and with care. As one of the characters in The Sandman describes her, Death is "...just a friend. Sometimes. Maybe." - Shelley Brooke

Other top "Dark Ladies" include Elizabeth Bathory, Joan Crawford, Frida Kahlo and Medea.


Yay for Bust. I meant to mention this when it came out -- my assistant Lorraine has a subscription to Bust -- and completely forgot.

I love ENDLESS NIGHTS so far, but a quick comment about the photo in the back - no black, leather jacket? I nearly didn't recognize you. Did you break out a leather jacket when writing the stories for ENDLESS NIGHTS, like you wore during the writing of THE SANDMAN?

dave golbitz

It was a hot day in a hot studio, so I didn't bother.

But oddly enough, the mysterious possibly elephant-hide (according to a leather worker who pointed out that she'd destroyed several leather needles trying to penetrate the thickest, hardest, wrinklediest leather she'd ever encountered, while customising it, and had also discovered that it was made in India and decided that that probably meant it was elephant) black leather jacket, worn from 1995 on, which had been sitting in a dark closet since around the point I started writing American Gods, has just surfaced, and is being happily worn again.

The original Sandman leather jacket (1988-1995ish) was auctioned on eBay for the CBLDF, and made over $6000 at the time -- and has made more since, I understand.

Hey Neil, when you have a moment, could you post on your journal that our site is now able to sell CDs again? Due to the link in your journal yesterday, our album sold out and the page was refusing people. Huge, massive thanks to you.

-Adriana and David Roze


And let's see... someof these answer themselves:

I missed you on NPR earlier today and was wondering if you knew of anywhere I could hear the program online?

Hullo Neil--
I'm sure you've already received a thousand or so copies of this link, but
I'll make it 1001...

Great interview, hope you're staying out of the storm!

--Bill^2, ex of the Well crew
"We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are." --David Zindell

Nope. You were it.

And I'd talk about NPR and things but it's too late and this is already too long, and tomorrow will be a long long day...

Thursday, September 18, 2003

"Isabel makes love upon national monuments..."

My hotel is weird. It's so cool and stylish that they have a pretty much nonexistent room service menu, and when you order the hamburger from it, while they do the expensive hotel thing of charging you $20 for it, they also bring it up in a plastic bag of the kind that makes you suspect they picked it up from the burger place next door and charged you (well, AOL Time Warner) $15 to bring it up to your room. Said room is decorated with giant photos of barbie dolls in pyjamas, and is decorated in a style I like to think of as Early Pimp. The imitation wolfskin throw rug on the bed is a particularly interesting touch....

I have a son currently watching the Jay Leno show, because Eddie Izzard's going to be on. "You know," I said, "I don't think I've watched Jay Leno in ages." "Like how long?" he asked. "Er. I think Hugh Grant was on that night to apologise for getting a blowjob from a hooker," I said. He looked at me as if I'd told him that it was back when Jay was still making topical jokes about the Albigensian Crusades, and said that that was a very long time ago, and I agreed that it was.

His college is cancelled tomorrow, due to hurricanes. The train I was going to take out of here has also been cancelled due to hurricanes. Life is certainly interesting.

Hi Neil,
Just curious, when you say the NY Times "tracks" books so if they aren't tracked they won't be listed. Does that mean that there can be books that are huge sellers, best-sellers, that are not on the list? Could, would, the paper purposely not track something? It seems rather scetchy and unethical. Kind of like the electoral college...

Here's a four-year-old article from that explains it fairly accurately: It's a really interesting article.

There are other bestseller lists. The weird thing is simply how important the Times list is perceived as being.

No, I don't believe they'd intentionally not track something. But it's easy for books to fly under the radar.

The Northern Californian Booksellers Association bestseller list is always similar to the Times list in braod strokes but just, well, sharper.

Dear Neil,

Please take pity on a confused librarian and answer the following question: Is the Wolves in the Walls a picture book or a graphic novel?

Allow me to explain: today, my library's copies of the Wolves in the Walls arrived, to much jubliation, after sitting in cataloging purgatory for some time. Upon recieving the book, I noticed that our cracker-jack catalogers had classified the book as a Picture Book. I immediately said "That's wrong! This is a graphic novel -- look at the word balloons! Look at the sequetntial art! It's a graphic novel, it should be in the Juvenile Graphic novel collection!"

I took my complaint to a co-worker, who said "But it looks like a picture book" Me: "But it's a graphic novel" Her: "But it looks like a picture book" Me: "But it's a graphic novel" And so on and so forth for the better part of the afternoon.

Finally we agreed to ask you, and let you be the final word on the subject. Should The Wolves in the Walls be shelved with the Picture Books, with things like Madeline and Curious George (among others) -OR- Should it be shelved in the Juvinile Graphic Novel collection with things like Scary Godmother and the Batman Adventures (among others)?

Thank You

...can't you just get two copies, and put one in each place? To be honest, I think it's probably an amphibian, or even a giddy harumphrodite, and will be equally at home in either location.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003


Okay. Off to Washington now...

You did a happy dance for Endless Nights coming out today (Wednesday) so I walked into my local comic store today and asked if it had come in yet, same as I did last week. They said "It came in ... it sold out. Should have more copies soon."

Good news for you (it's selling well, at least around here), bad news for me (no copy yet, asked them to put one aside for me when they get more).

-- Peter Radcliffe.

Sorry about that, Peter. I think I'm going to be getting rather a lot of these "my comic store sold out of both of the copies it ordered" messages. It'll probably get worse tomorrow (?), when the USA Today piece comes out, and worse again next week when Entertainment Weekly comes out, and more people go into comic stores to be told that, nope, they've sold out.

There are sensible comics retailers who've ordered high numbers, or high for them. (Brian Hibbs at Comix Experience wrote to say he's ordered well over a hundred copies as his first order. Bill Leibowitz at Golden Apple has many hundreds of copies across all three of his stores, and a photo of me taken about fifteen years ago on the front page of his website. Yes, Virginia, I was that thin, and the dark glasses really were that big, and please let's not talk about the hair.)

But lots of them didn't order enough -- and will now start grumbling about people buying their graphic novels in bookstores.


And yes, I know that the North Carolinas and Virginias and lots of other places than Washington DC are in the path of Isabel. Honest.

And I'm rather looking forward to seeing whatever hurricane there is to see.


You're on!!! I'm sure everyone else has mentioned it by now.

CNN) -- The day on which Neil Gaiman finally breaks through to the culture-at-large -- and it seems a good bet that he will -- a lot of folks will be blindsided.


Interesting review of both books.

It's fascinating the way that different people have favourite (and least favourite) stories.

On not missing Isabel

My New York friends are being as reassuring as they can. "Don't worry about Hurricane Isabel," they say. "It's probably going to miss us completely. The latest news is that it won't trouble anywhere but Washington DC, and that only on Thursday."

I will, of course, be in Washington DC on Thursday, doing NPR's Talk of the Nation. (People have asked if it's prerecorded or live. It's live; Talk of the Nation's a phone-in show.)

So, several years ago a journalist looked out of his window, and saw a line of many hundred people wrapped around the New York Virgin megastore building, and discovered that it was all for a signing by someone he'd never heard of for a book called Sandman: Dream Hunters. (That was me and Yoshitaka Amano signing. Try to keep up.) And there was an article in Forbes Magazine very soon after, explaining that I was the most famous author you'd never heard of.

And now Forbes does one of the first reviews of Endless Nights, at The Sandman Returns in an article that also mentions such things as Alisa Kwitney's SANDMAN: KING OF DREAMS book (it's a sort of a big, heavily illustrated introduction to and overview of Sandman) and Adriana and David Roze's band "The Endless" (I have their CD "...and I'm the Queen of the Moon" in front of me as I type this. It's aetherial, intelligent and catchy at the same time).

Which reminds me, Lorraine-my-assistant-and-goddess-of-the-Minnesota-renfest (see her on the Ship stage, the one that looks like a boat, before Puke and Snot) is terribly happy about her latest CD review, over at Green Man review: and thinks that everyone should read the review, buy the CD, make her rich, etc.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Twas the Night Before Endless Nights was published...

Sandman: Endless Nights comes out tomorrow (Wednesday). (Does a little happy dance.)

I hope you all like it. I'm really really proud of it, and think it's got some of the best comics work I've ever done in it. And the art makes me very thrilled indeed.

Everything that I see has Endless Nights listed as #12 in the Sandman series. I have 1-10, and I can't seem to find a #11 anywhere. Could you tell me if it really exists and what it's titled?

I think it's only, as far as I know, who've decided that Endless Nights is Book 12, and I suppose they've picked Sandman:Dream Hunters to be Book 11 by that reckoning. Unless Sandman: Dust Covers, the Dave McKean covers and art book (which also contains one new story) is their #11.

Endless Nights is really not Book 12, unless it's also Book 0 at the same time. As a rule, the further into Sandman you go, the more wise it is to read the books in the order they were published. (Starting with THE WAKE, the last one, is not recommended at all.) Endless Nights on the other hand, is a book that anyone should be able to pick up. People who've already read Sandman will find things in it that people who haven't won't notice, but it should be accessible to anybody.

Dave McKean's done a new set of Sandman covers, patterned after ENDLESS NIGHTS (you can see some of them in this press release at Click on the thumbnail covers to see them full size). We've made sure that those books have numbers on. Endless Nights, intentionally, isn't numbered. It's its own thing.

I did a web-search for Virginia Dare. It says she was a real person and that there is a story that she turned herslef into a white deer. Did you know this? There's a page about her story at amd more on the legend at

Yes, I knew it. Truth to tell, I sort of automatically assumed that most Americans probably were familiar with the story of Virginia Dare and the White Doe, because I first read about it when I was a little kid in England, and, well, you people live here.

(And I just googled, and this -- -- was the first thing that came up, which seems a good retelling of the version I'd heard.)

So, yes, she was a real person, who was, in many stories, killed in the form of a white doe, by a silver arrow. She, and Elizabeth, and James of Scotland, are pretty much it for my real historical people (although there are innkeepers, soldiers, papal assassins, and executioners who just walked on when I needed them and aren't meant to be analogues of anyone really.)



John Giuffo's you/sandman article for the Village Voice is online.
(nice picture... ?)

Thanks. That's the Minneapolis Weird Hair Day photo.

Next to be published will be the USA Today "I want a sort of knowing smirk. No, you're not smirking. Just sort of smirk and look at me sideways," photo, to be followed by the Entertainment Weekly "Stand in front of this giant fan and grit your teeth as hard as you can -- no, I want a real scowl," photos.

I'll stand by my comments about the final Manara page in the Voice article, although it makes more sense if you've read the Desire story. On the other hand the statement that "Gaiman expects that it will be the first graphic novel since Art Spiegelman's 1992 Pulitzer-winning Maus to reach the Times bestseller list" is balderdash: what I expect is that it will sell in numbers which would put it on the Times list, if the Times were tracking it, and if 30% of the sales weren't through the direct market and thus invisible. I'd love to be able to put a graphic novel on the Times list (if you don't count The Wolves in the Walls, which is now in its fifth week on the list), but I'm certainly not holding my breath.

(The New York Times "tracks" the books it expects to see on the list. It sends out queries to reporting stores, asking how many they sold of the books in question. If you're not on the list to be tracked, you won't be on the final list.)

And this one's being posted as a public service announcement...

Hello Neil,

Two partners and myself are starting a monthly zine for the younger crowd (8-12 is what we think but you never can tell, can you?) and we are in need of several comic strips. We're aiming for a full page of comics. Either strips or one panel would be great.

I'm thinking that out of the 20 myriad readers you have there must be some who are just starting drawing comic strips and would like a venue for their work.

We can't pay much at all to start as we're doing this with the change we find in our couches, but we will increase pay as we increase our market. We're all firm believers in treating others as we'd like to be treated and we're all tired of writing, drawing, etc. for no money.

If you'd be so kind as to run the following blurb we'd all be quite grateful. The email is one of my partner's but anyone can also get in touch with me at

Thanks very much,


We're looking for never-before-seen comic strips for a kidzine start-up. In the manner of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Ren & Stimpy, or the Far Side, strips should be kid-friendly but also amusing to adults. We are asking for first syndication rights only. You would retain all other ownership of your work. Query by email at

Good luck.

Hi Neil

First of all - it seems that the Neverwhere DVD does indeed work on dvd machines. So that will be good noise for all those people out there who don't have multi-region dvd players.

Secondly - I'm reading Nick Sagan's Idlewild at the moment- on the strenght of your little blurb I might add and thought you might like to know I'm enjoying it very much.

Lastly - I'm coming to see you when you do your talk at Foyles and i have what might be a problem and might not be. Despite attending the event you did with foyles to launch Coraline we've never met- having hat to leave when half way through the signing queue. Something which has always disapointed me, since you've always been one of my favourite writers. Now I was hopefully going to stand in line this time and get to thank you personally for the many hours of enjoyment your work has given me, however, and here is the rub - I already have Wolves and ALL of your previous work (including an order of Endless Nights) so how CAN i queue to meet you? I was hoping to meet you, as I'm an artist (you can see some of my now quite old work at ) and was hoping to present you with a painting. Just as my little thank you.

Is this going to be at all possible?

Christian Ward

Well, seeing that Foyles is charging for tickets, I very much doubt that they'd try and insist that you buy something new from them to get into the signing line. They certainly didn't last time.

And it's far from unknown for people to get into signing lines and wait for hours to just shake hands and say thanks, or similar. So I wouldn't worry.

And the last word for the night goes to a soon-to-be librarian.

Dear Neil, other people who may or may not read this

I am a 23-year old soon to be school librarian and have been enjoying a lot of the random library banter that's been on your blog lately. I thought I would send in some more info and thoughts becuase I am sure whatever in box this goes to isn't clogged enough.
1. "Where's Waldo" has been challenged and banned so many times because one page features a beach scene on which the sharp eyed viewer may notice a sun bathing woman who has been startled and whose bikini has fallen off. This small illustrator reveals the shocking truth to our children that there are breasts in this world and that women have them. Thank God for all right thinking parents out there who have shielded the innocent lambs of the world from this menace.
2. Libraries sometimes have to play games with where they put their books, because the librarians feel it's more important to have the books in the library. Hence you find some graphic novels in more adult areas, while others may be in a YA section. Librarians want to buy the books that people want. My public library used to have the all of the Sandman graphic novels, until someone stole/lost. Library patrons, tell your librarians what you want. Library budgets are being cut like crazy, but if a couple of people say they want the same things, your librarians should try and find a way to help you out. Graphic Novels are The New Hot Topic of library science so strike now while the iron is hot. Frankly I can't wait till I finish my MLIS in Dec. and get myself a high school library so I can start a graphic novel collection and get angry parent phone calls.

And in the event this gets posted for the wider world to see, do something really radical and subversive that will threaten the morals of society. Read a banned book, banned book week runs from Sept 20-27. If nothing else, pick up Harry Potter. Hundreds of parents swear it will cause you to lose all respect for authority and worship Satan.

Oh, I think you're going to be an excellent librarian...

Monday, September 15, 2003

Golden loo-women, 1602 stuff, kitten-eating aliens, the usual

In the ideal environmentally correct home of tomorrow, the humble toilet will save water, the bath tub will be for fun and games rather than just hygiene while the wash basin will come in a range of exciting new colours as the bathroom becomes less about keeping clean and more of an "private intimate space, in which scary-looking ladies in gold jump-suits, probably from a planet where they eat kittens, will intrude upon your privacy while caressing the porcelain in an off-puttingly intimate fashion". Normal people will find the experience of visiting a toilet or a bathroom deeply terrifying, and only the brave will ever wash or perform intimate personal functions inside a house. The rest of us will go out to the woods and the walls and the rivers to wash and so on.

They left off the last half of that in the photo caption, but it's implicit in the image, so so I put it back in for them.

You better click on the picture to see what I'm talking about.

Dear Mr. Gaiman:

Regarding your series for Marvel "1602" --

After reading 1602 #2, I am very surprised that you seem to be suggesting that Magneto, a Jewish survivor of the Auschwitz death camp in the Marvel Universe, is the Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition. Magneto couldn't be more opposite from the Grand Inquisitor that you portray.

I realize this might not be the best venue to voice my deep concerns, so I apologize. But I don't understand why your editor, the Editor in Chief, didn't tell you that Magneto is not only Jewish, but that his acitivites have always been those of the outsider, the anarchist, the terrorist, even in the Silver Age days. It seems incredibly wrong to turn a Jewish survivor of Auschwit into the Grand Inquisitor of what was nothing but a cats paw for the Spanish and then Hapsburg rulers. Magneto in the Marvel Universe is a man twisted by his rage and pain. He has become that which he hates the most, like the Nazi thugs who killed his entire family and sent him to Auschwitz.

He is the embodiment of the paradigm that hate and violence give birth to more hate and violence. Young Magnus wasn't just a prisoner at Auschwitz, he was in the Sonderkommando -- he helped the Nazis gas, cremate, bury, and plunder hundreds and thousands of his own people each day. He was one of the crematoria ravens, the Jewish men the Nazis forced to participate in the process of genocide.

You always do your research. I'm really surprised you have ignored the Jewish culture alive at this time -- except to make the politically correct reference to the persecuted Jewish victim of the Inquisition. Everything in this story is from a warped Christian perspective, including the importance of the city of Jerusalem.

Ignoring the Jewish and Muslim civilizations of this era, or even the Golem of legend who was being created at this very time in Prague by Rabbi Lowe, is your perogative as the author. But in the context of taking one of Marvel's most prominent Jewish characters -- a Holocaust survivor -- and making him a priest and Grand Inquisitor, and in the context of Marvel's sorry history of past attempts to eliminate their Jewish characters and Magneto's Jewish backstory, I am completely at a loss to understand why you've written 1602 like this.

Please don't let Marvel use you to erase Magneto's Auschwitz history and Jewish identity, which is something various biggotted staff and writers of Marvel have been maneuvering and pushing for years.

I apologize for imposing on you like this, or imposing on this FAQ question site, but I am so very confused and surprised that either you or Andy Kubert (his father is coming out with a magnificent Holocaust graphic novel, for gosh sakes) could participate in a project that took a Jewish character and made him a Catholic priest and the leader of an institution tantamount to the Nazis of the 20th century.

Again, I apologize, and remain a fan,

All the Best,

Rivka Jacobs

I'm not sure why you're blaming poor Joe Quesada for the story or the characters. It's all my fault, honestly. He has nothing to do with the content, except for telling me to make the exchange with the Innkeeper a bit clearer in Issue #1, and letting me know I'd written two page 12s in one issue. There's no evil Marvel revisionism going on, just me telling the story I thought it would be fun to tell.

I'm also not sure why you're deciding what I am or am not doing with any of the characters on the basis of the first couple of chapters. Generally speaking, it's a good way to make yourself look silly. Better to wait until the end, and then complain about what I did, when you have all the facts.

I do find the bit in your letter where you talk about the reference to the Jew killed (not, as you put it, "persecuted") in issue #1 to have been put there for reasons of "politically correctness" to be, well, rather troubling. The Spanish Inquisition tortured and killed a lot of Jews. That was pretty much their prime initial purpose -- they watched for the marranos, the secret Jews, the ones who had pretended to have converted in order to keep their lands or livelihoods, after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, and burned tens of thousands. (The last Auto da Fe was in the early eighteenth century.) That really happened. Brushing it aside as unimportant (or "politically correct" -- and what the heck does that mean in this context?) compared to what I may or may not be doing with Magneto and my omission of a Golem leaves me blinking. Rabbi Lowe's Golem is, more than likely, a story. An important story, but a story. Magneto's a fictional character. Obviously an important fictional character to you, but fictional. Torquemada's team were very real.

I put it in because I wanted to make clear what the Inquisition really did, even in a world in which they're burning boys with wings, not because it was "politically correct".

And remember, it's rather hard for me to put Auschwitz into 1602. I'm not "erasing it" -- how could I? I'm just setting a story several hundred years before it happened, with a bunch of characters that the universe is pushing into predetermined roles.

How they came to be in those roles, and how and whether they succeed or fail is part of the journey, as is what happens. I'd say "trust me" but I'm not sure that you're going to. But you might want to anyway.

Is there an annotation attempt for the second issue of 1602 somewhere? My searches have found nothing? I don't want to miss out on the discussion? By the way, where do you think is a good site to get into a discussion about that series?

And really, only 8 issues? It seems like it could be a lot more? I am really engrossed.

Sean Murphy

It probably ought to have been longer. Now I'm in the final act I'm trying to make every panel do several different things, and I'm already wondering about doing an additional story which explains some of the stuff that no-one in the 1602 world really knows, except for one person, and he's not talking.

Let's see. More annotations. I should have put these up as they came in, I suppose:

Julian Darius's 1602 annotations (at were expanded this morning by 4,000 words to include #2 (published yesterday). Thought you'd want to know.


I'm writing to let you know that the second in my series of articles, "Mysteries and Conundrums in Neil Gaiman's 1602", has been posted on Comic World News.;f=19;t=1837

This is the analysis that gives names to all the puzzles in the story and tries to solve them in real time, as the issues come out. There's also a message board afterwards and the discussion that followed the first article was lots of fun.

The true identity and significance of Virginia Dare has been hotly debated. So far, suggestions for analogues have included The Hulk, Thor, Storm and Gwen Stacy. (Personally, I think she's an Animorph!)

Thanks for all the stories.

Jason Pomerantz

In addition, Jess Nevins' annotations for 1602#2 are at

Links to all these, and to any others that appear, can be found at

(Incidentally, it was only after the book went to press that I noticed that I'd bubble-headedly typed Lombardy when I meant Picardy in 1602#2, and that no-one had caught it, which is going to make following Matt's trip across Europe rather difficult for any annotators. Calais, not Milan. Sorry about that, I'm an idiot, and I'll fix it in the collection.)


Hi Neil,

I'm a big fan, excited to get a chance to finally meet you at one of your signings. I missed out on one chance at a store that a friend of mine was working at- and he inexplicably didn't get me a copy, which considering that I had introduced him to your work, such was my fandom, upset me at the time...But I'm digressing...

I'm turning suddenly paranoid, that I'll be unprepared when the time comes...will copies of Endless Nights be available to buy before the signing at the NY book country events, or should I come in laden with stuff in hand. I hope to pick a few actually, for friends who can't make it. i would expect so, but I think my nerves need some reassurance.


Yes, there will definitely be copies of Endless Nights on sale on Saturday, and at the signing on Sunday. (I don't know about the signing at the YMHA on Sunday Night -- that'll probably have copies of Little Lit "It Was A Dark and Silly Night" for sale. They may have copies of Sandman and of Maus, but they may not.)

And there's an article on Endless Nights in the Boston Herald at

Further to my "which dimension is this again?" ponderings of this morning, even without the future toilets, I think that it's pretty obvious that Canadian politics has been infiltrated by aliens.

The increasingly bitter tone of the Ontario campaign took a surreal turn Friday when a press release from the Tory election machine labelled Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty a pet-eating alien. "Dalton McGuinty," the statement said. "He's an evil reptilian kitten-eater from another planet."

Conservative Leader Ernie Eves blamed the release on a staffer who apparently "had too much coffee this morning ... too much time."

But he refused to retract the statement.
(Could he know this because... he is also an alien? One from a planet where they dress in golden all-over jumpsuits and caress toiletware? I think we should be told.) for anyone who thinks I'm making any of this up.