Tuesday, January 04, 2005


Time to close a number of windows and tabs.

Here's the article Rob Elder did for the Chicago Tribune on Will Eisner:

(And here's a link I was just sent to a personal appreciation of Will in the Washington Post.)

(Here's the New York Times obituary:

In this article from the Guardian about the attempts to ban The Well of Loneliness, absolutely everyone has the kind of names I only seem to encounter in period plays. It was wonderful to discover that:

Radclyffe Hall, a flamboyant lesbian, wrote The Well of Loneliness to 'put my pen at the service of some of the most misunderstood people in the world'. She attended the trial in November 1928 dressed in a leather driving coat and Spanish riding hat. Sir Chartres Biron, the chief magistrate at Bow Street, ruled that the novel was an 'obscene libel' and all copies should be destroyed. Its publisher, Jonathan Cape, launched an appeal which proved abortive.

Documents show how Sir Archibald Bodkin, Director of Public Prosecutions, feared that the publisher would mobilise eminent writers to defend the book. He wrote to several doctors asking for a clinical analysis of what he called 'homo-sexualists'. In a letter to one of them, Sir Farquhar Buzzard, he explained: 'I want to be able to call some gentleman of undoubted knowledge, experience and position who could inform the court of the results to those unfortunate women (as I deem them) who have proclivities towards lesbianism, or those wicked women (as I deem them) who voluntarily indulge in these practices - results destructive morally, physically and even perhaps mentally.'

They make today's names seem so very bland. Sir Farquhar Buzzard, Sir Archibald Bodkin...

Meanwhile this news story is, in some ways, amazingly familiar -- I've seen several films, and read a number of books and stories, where the plot is "someone writes a scandalous book set in a village, in which thinly-disguised locals are lusty". I think my favourite thing about the real-life version is that the author only sold six copies and is now refusing to sell the other 494 copies of his self-published tome.

Thought you might be interested to know; pirate tattoo girl from L.A. exists on

Best of Wishes and of Delightful New Years
Molly Columbine

Oh good. (It's always nice to see how the tattoos turn out. That one made me smile.)

Incidentally I keep meaning to mention that contains some of the loveliest nature photos out there. Highly recommended.

I know that your blog tends to be the best place to get info out, so I wanted to let people know that the author Jack L. Chalker (Author of the Well World universe as well as 40-some other books) is incredibly ill at this time with congestive heart failure and complications due to that. His family is struggling and scrambling to deal with not only the emotional issues but the financial impact as well. More information can be found at plus there's a link there to make Paypal donations if anyone is so inclined.


Consider it mentioned. Learning about Kelly Freas's death, a few days ago was hard enough, and Will's, for me, was harder. I'm happy to point to a way to help Jack.

Neil: Congratulations! Your site's been nominated for the "Best Big-Name Blog" in The Best of Blogs Awards 2004. Voting is here: and continues until Jan 17, 2005. Hope you win it, although as of right now, you've got some ground to make up! Dreamtyger


One of my life's regrets will always be that I never met Will Eisner. I've read and collected his books for years now, but I never was able to actually meet him. I had hoped to have him sign a copy of 'A Contract with God' for me, and thank him for the enormous sense of life that I was always left with after finishing one of his novels. The fact that he continued to do work that was outstanding by any definition, year after year, also was inspirational. If he could do all that at more than twice my age, what excuse did I have? I'll miss him; I can imagine how much more he'll be missed by those that actually knew him.

It has been suggested elsewhere that people donate to CBLDF or the American Cancer Society in his name. Hopefully CBLDF will set something up on their web site shortly to facilitate this? (hint, hint)

Regards, David Kirkpatrick

If you go to you'll see that they've put up their condolences about Will's death, and a link to The American Cancer Society, and to the CBLDF donation page -- (And at you'll learn what the CBLDF did last year.)

My own suggestion, rather than make a CBLDF donation, would be for people to buy CBLDF memberships, or, if you're already a CBLDF member, to upgrade your membership to another level:

It's that guy from Glasgow/Devon/Mid Wales again (the one who did his dissertation on you who had the crutches first time and then you signed it at the Ross reading in London?!), asking you for the release date on Mirrormask in the UK!!! Whilst I'd love to go to the sundance festival, I'm hoping it comes to the UK shores soon...

Please advise us, your willing audiences...!
Paul Giffney

I don't know. I don't think anyone knows. Right now, the entire plan, as far as I understand it, is to take MirrorMask to Sundance and to show it there and see what the reaction is. Based on that, Sony will decide which branch of Sony distributes it, how and where it's shown in the US and so on. And how it's received in the US and at Sundance will also influence how it gets distributed to the rest of the world.

So keep your fingers crossed that people like it...

Hi Neil,

I have a question about your career, in that you have had success in many different types of writing: comics, novels, children's books, etc. and I am wondering if there are difficulties associated with that. Not difficulties on your part, since it's obvious that one mind can create many different stories, and many different stories are best told in many different ways, however, I'm curious as to whether it was harder to branch out and get other things published once you became known for a certain type of work.

I ask this because I would love to be a writer, but I would also like to write a wide variety of things. Is it difficult for the average writer to do this?


Then write a wide variety of things. There aren't any rules. Writing is really cool like that. Some writers like to find something they can do and then do it over and over, while others like to go off and do lots of things. I'm much happier doing something I've never done before, and making a whole new set of mistakes, than I am doing something that I know I can do and do well. (I understand that this may be frustrating for readers who would very much like me to write something like the last thing I did they liked.)

But I've never had a publisher or editor or agent or anyone tell me I couldn't go all over the place and do lots of things.

(Actually, I tell a lie. One editor did explain, a couple of years ago, that if I stuck to writing books exactly like American Gods over and over, under her direction, and only did that, I would become a much more commercially successful author than I am. Seeing that she was trying to get me to be published by her, and seeing that the prospect of following her advice seemed rather purgatorial, I just said no thank you, and stayed with my current publishers, and have quite happily carried on my own sweet way.)

The only problem with doing lots of things is that you have to start from scratch each time. But that's fun as well.


And this one made me happy:

I just recieved autographed copies of your books from the 13 Nights of Fright sweepstakes. I have scared the neighbors with my whoops of joy and startled my roommate, who I ran and kissed when I saw what the package contained. I love the fact that you do things like this for your fans. Though it sounds -and actually is- quite cliche, I must run and post this on my blog.-Andrea, Mississippi State University

I also got a very nice e-mail a while ago from the Fox Movie Channel people telling me that the 13 Nights of Fright thing was the most successful event in the history of the Channel, so that was nice.


Why are you letting them make a movie out of Coraline? Admittedly some books can be made into good, even brilliant movies; but Coraline is not one of them. So much of its charm takes place inside Coraline's head that they will only muck it up by trying to adapt it to film. I am a screenwriter myself (a sixteen-year-old learning one) but despite my love of the medium I think that certain books should never be adapted, and Coraline is one of them. Admittedly Henry Selick would be the ideal man to do it, if any film I have ever seen matched Coraline's tone it would have to be The Nightmare Before Christmas, but even that was a far cry from the brilliance of your book. I suppose it's too late now for you to change your mind? Well, just see that they don't bollox it up too bad. Why did you let them do it, though?

Because it's Henry Selick, and I like him and I trust him. Because if it's good (and I can't convince myself to share your absolute pessimism about this) it will make me very happy to sit and watch it, and if it's not good it truly won't hurt the book. Coraline will be fine, safe between its covers, and not a word of her story will have changed.