Wednesday, March 30, 2005

One down

The best thing about going into hiding to write is that when I need to be utterly antisocial, I can be. Last night I was on a roll, doing the MirrorMask "graphic novella" (which is what they're calling the picture book version). I'd sort of planned to do a 2,000 word, WOLVES IN THE WALLS like book. Instead, I've written a 12,000 word version of the story for it, entirely from our heroine Helena's point of view, which is sometimes the way of things -- one starts out on something that was meant to be an easy sort of instant novelisation and it turns into something quite different, bigger and odder and probably much cooler. It's more like a companion to the film now: you'll learn stuff that isn't in the film from it, and it untangles a few things that otherwise you might have to see the film five or six times to understand (although because it's all from Helena's point of view, it completely misses out any scenes she isn't in). And yes, it was a lot more work than I'd expected, but I'm prouder of it than I would have been of the book I had in mind when we agreed to do it.

Dave's now doing 22 new full-colour illustrations for it (again, he'd originally planned just to reuse stills from the film, but he got all caught up in this book too.)

...anyway, I was on a roll last night. So I just kept working. And somewhere around seven this morning I realised I'd actually finished it, so I sent it to Dave McKean and went to bed. Up around eleven this morning, with a message from Dave waiting letting me know that I'd given one section short shrift, and I looked it over, and he was right, I had, and it needed to be longer, so I simply made a cup of tea and turned it into a full chapter, and did a final tidy.

It went off to Dave, to HarperChildrens, and to Bloomsbury, about half an hour ago. And now I'm going to do all those things I've normally already done by five in the afternoon, like shower and make breakfast.

And then it's back to the Anansi Boys second draft.


Back in 1988 in the UK, Margaret Thatcher's government passed a clause in a local government act that was intended to forbid schools from talking about homosexuality as a family relationship or depicting positive images of homosexuality. It was a clause aimed, as one minister explained, at eliminating "the entire concept" of homosexuality, something that many of us found rather chilling. it was called Clause 28 and was introduced by Dame Jill Knight, who, coincidentally, had recently tried to get banned a comic of retold bible stories I'd contributed to. Alan Moore felt it rather personally, and he and his wife and their girlfriend put together a comic called AARGH! (artists against rampant government homophobia, if I remember the acronym correctly). The comic raised enough to buy a photocopier for the moore clan's local gay and lesbian centre, who, if memory serves, then decided that the entire Moore clan wasn't actually gay or lesbian enough.

Clause 28 was repealed in 2003, never having been used to prosecute anyone -- although it certainly cowed and confused a number of local councils.

There are those who believe that it was us doing AARGH! all those years ago that eventually caused the downfall of the clause, but they are probably the same sort of people who believe that wearing silver foil inside your baseball cap will keep you safe from meteorites.

Aargh! is now part of history and so is the clause, but Alan's piece for it, the Mirror Of Love, is available in a gorgeous book form -- Some of the pieces people did for it are up on the Internet (Dave Sim's is up at -- it's the first four pages.) Bryan Talbot and I just gave permission for the piece we did all those years ago to be put up online.

It was called "From Homogenous to Honey" which is roughly where you go in a small dictionary if you remove the word Homosexual.

Anyway, it's a bit clunky and there's at least one typo in the lettering, but I do like the fact that, online, it's not four pages, it just keeps going. And it makes its point, although I think it also demonstrates why I normally leave political comics to those better qualified than I am to do them, which is pretty much everyone who doesn't believe that putting silver foil in your baseball cap will keep you safe from meteorites... gives you the link to the comic.


Yesterday my mother called to get tickets to your University of Chicago appearance (I was trying to get you a new fan!) and apparently they are sold out. They told her to call the day before and see if there are any seats available.

Ah. Well, they sometimes hold tickets back, and they sometimes get returns. Possibly dodgy men with pencil-thin moustaches will be scalping tickets outside the venue (although I wouldn't count in it). Here's the info, anyway:

Several of you have asked whether I'll be signing books that night, after the talk, and the answer, from what I've been able to establish so far, is yes.


Work beckons.

Actually right now it doesn't beckon; instead it holds up a megaphone in front of its mouth and is shouting "OY!" through it, and then making rude gestures as soon as it's got my attention.