Wednesday, July 27, 2005

slowly catching up

Having coped successfully with time change after time change as I stumbled around the world, I got home and it's all falling apart. Started falling asleep last night around 9.00pm, but would only sleep for a few seconds, then woke groggy but sure I'd slept for hours... finally fell asleep at 6.00am and slept until 1.30pm. Which means right now it's 5.00pm and it feels like lunchtime and I'm behind on everything. And I owe literally dozens of people phone calls...

A few quick follow ups to things:

Firstly, ANANSI BOYS got reviewed in the last of the for-the-book-trade publications, Booklist. It got a starred review, which is nice (and means that it was starred in all three publications). Again, a tiny spoiler removed.

BOOKLIST August 2005 STARRED Gaiman, Neil Anansi Boys
Gaiman exploits the conceit of his prizewinning American Gods (2001)��that the gods of America�s immigrant peoples are living in retirement, sort of, among us��for the purposes of a romantic screwball comedy seasoned with murder, magic, and ghosts. For feckless Fat Charlie Nancy��who actually was fat only between ages 10 and 14, during which period his mother left his father in Florida and took Charlie with her to England��his glad-handin�, practical-jokin� father has always been an embarrassment, and things just get worse after the old man croaks. At the interment, the neighbor lady tells Charlie he has a brother, and to ask a spider for him if he wants to get in touch. One drunken night back in London, Charlie takes the ludicrous advice. BLAM-O! Spider (that�s his name) arrives, steals his girlfriend (she thinks Spider�s Charlie, though they don�t look much alike), gets him terminated (and put under police suspicion by his embezzling boss), sets him bouncing between London and Florida by airplane and between our reality and that of ancient African animal-gods by s�ance, and has him winding up, after some pretty scary goings-on [...] on the Caribbean isle of St. Andrews. Charlie and Spider are, you see, their father�s sons, and since he was/is Anansi the trickster-god, they can pull some pretty nifty stunts, though Charlie takes awhile learning how. As for Gaiman, he�s the folksy, witty, foolishly wise narrator to perfection, drawing us into the web he weaves as skillfully as any . . . spider.

YA: Like a PG-13 comedy about love�and adventure.

I do like "a romantic screwball comedy seasoned with murder, magic, and ghosts" which is certainly what I was hoping to write. (And my love for films like It Happened One Night and His Girl Friday and Ball of Fire definitely crept in around the edges of the book.)

I really hope that publishers don't try to sell it as a thriller, or as horror, because it isn't really either, and people will just be disappointed.


I have often maintained that the group mind of readers of this blog between them know everything. Yesterday's question is here answered:

Neil, you are correct. The book is Hooligan a history of respectable fears by Geoffrey Pearson ISBN 0-333-23400-6. Yours etc Miles Curtis

Thanks, Miles.

GMZoe went as far as to go to SHADOWS IN EDEN and find Clive's quote:

This is the last page from Flame On! from Shadows In Eden:

...can I ask a question? Did anybody here ever cry reading a comic? Serious question. Tears down the cheeks, the whole lot? We go to movies, we get a whole bunch of responses from movies; we laugh, we cry, we get an adrenaline rush, you feel you really hate the villain, all those things. Now we've been making contrasts between movies and comics and all I'm asking is a simple question: in terms of the immediacy or gut response of comics, why do they consistently fail to... Well, I cry at books all the time, I laugh at books all the time, I dropped a book out of sheer shock, I have felt so sick at books I've had to put them down. In my years of reading I've read thousands of comics, seen thousands of movies: I get an effect of some kind or other beyond the fact I've spent time with the story, an emotional effect. (I take your point that this is not a definition of art, but it's a working definition of art.)
Now, I get an emotional effect from 60% of the movies that I see. That's a very conservative estimate, it's probably nearer 85%; very seldom do I walk out of a movie and say, "That was a total waste of time." The way I view comics (and this is not a pejorative) you can't do that [i.e. stimulate an immediate emotional response] with them, and if comics aspire to doing that they are going to fail because two other media at least - television and cinema - will always do it better.
The problem is this as I see it, the challenge is this: How can a comic strip become art without becoming art house?

And lots of you have written in to let me know that bits of Sandman made you cry -- but I wonder if they would have done if I hadn't taken that as something I needed to make happen, just as Clive's comment on making art without becoming "art house" went into the Making Sandman equation as well. It was a very good evening. (And the following day, in the same bar, I looked around at all the authors and editors and thought "I wonder if serial killers ever have conventions like this?" and then had to wait over a year until I could write the story, terrified that other people would do it first.)


Over at eBay, Michelle, the wonderful Mistress Mousey, has, inspired perhaps by the Endless Doc Martens Boots that were made for Fiddler's Green created a line of Endless Skirts, as a fundraiser for the CBLDF.

(I should say that I saw her in one of her skirts at Continuum in Melbourne, and she looked amazing, and that my assistant Lorraine has practically started working for Michelle ever since Michelle sent her and Malena skirts. You can read about it at Lorraine and Malena's blog --, a blog that started out promisingly as an examination of two musicians working together and creating an album of beautiful music, but now seems, frankly, to have devolved into photographs of ladies in tight corsets, much to the disappointment of music lovers internationally.) (Miss Lorraine says I should say here that the CD will be out soon and they will get back to their regularly scheduled programming, and that I'm just jealous because they have a corset deal and nobody ever offers me expensive fountain pens to model.)

If you, or a loved one, wants a Delirium skirt, or a Despair skirt, or any of the other five, and it's all going to a good cause that really needs your money (thanks to then go and click on,


Send me links for translated versions of this website and I'll put them up. In the meanwhile, here's a chthulpoid commentary...

I realize you were out of the country at the time, but I just learned (apparently a week after everyone else as usual) that legendary DC artist Jim Aparo passed away on the 20th. See for details on sending condolences and best wishes to the Aparo family. This hit hard for me, as he was my favorite comic artist after Eisner. In fact, I liked him so much that I had a tattoo of the Joker made from one of his comic panels. To lose both these greats in one year is very saddening.

I agree. I firmly believe that Jim's work in the early 70s (the last year on Aquaman, the Phantom Stranger run with Len Wein, many of his Brave and Bolds) was as good as anything in comics, and was thrilled that, when Bob Schreck asked me who I'd like to draw the Phantom Stranger page in the Superman-Green Lantern story I did, and I asked for Jim, he consented to do it -- he was almost retired at the time. So I got to write one page of comics for Jim Aparo, and it had the Phantom Stranger on it, and I was happy. He was my first "favourite artist", before Neal Adams, before Bernie Wrightson...

I wish I'd met him.