Thursday, February 16, 2006

The nature of change...

A few morning quick ones...

For those of you in the UK --

Hi, For those who thought that the Ottakars special edition of Anansi Boys was a bit pricey...they are offering it at half price - £20 at the moment. Suzanne

Which makes it a bit of a bargain, actually.

About the new edition of Good Omens... when you say "additional material" are you just talking about authors' notes, the pieces you & Terry wrote on each other, etc? Or does this edition have new material to the text of the story &/or footnotes?Curiously yours, Nathan Henderson Claremont, California

Nope. No new text or footnotes, although we fixed a few typos that had crept into the Ace edition over the years. The book's still the book, unchanged. The new material is an introduction, an FAQ, a thing on Terry by me and a thing on me by Terry.

Neil, I have been trying to get my husband to read Good Omens for almost as long as I have known him (10 years this summer). He would be the first one to tell you that he is not what you would call a "reader", but we have discovered that he does enjoy listening to audio books. He enjoyed listening to American Gods, and we have Anansi Boys all set up on the iPod to take with him on a trip later next week. So I am writing to see if there are plans for Good Omens to be made in a audio book with the re-release this summer of the hard covers. Thanks (and I hope that there will be so I can stop nagging, I mean encouraging, him to read this book) Jessica

There are plans afoot for not one but two audio versions of Good Omens, one in the US, one in the UK. As I know more, I'll announce it here -- look for them towards the end of the year.

This isn't really a question but I couldn't work out how else to send this - just thought you might just like to know that The Pillow Fight Club was started by brits ... I could tell you more, but then I'd have to kill you (only kidding!? as black-suited swat-men burst through my window)
London's foremost were-wolf poet (true, honest)

I now can't wait to hear from London's second most prominent werewolf poet (which sounds like a Martin Millar novel). (Which reminds me, The Good Fairies of New York is being reissued in June, using the introduction I wrote for the Italian edition.)

Dear Neil, I'm writing this with concern for your well being. I hope you're not suffering from a medical condition known as the George Lucas Syndrome. The most obvious symptom is the compulsion to endlessly go back to work you've done in the past to change and fix things. There's no cure for it so far, we can only stale the progression with high doses of angry fan mail, although the results are inconclusive. You might say that this being your work, you can do whatever you want about it, but you see, that's another one of the symptoms. I hope I'm not being presumptuous or offensive.This is about the Absolute Sandman and the things you're "fixing" in it. I'm just pointing out that if you change anything in the text that's more than a typo, someone out there might care about that particular quote and be upset with its modification. I could give you many reasons why Vader's original "Bring me my ship" was a lot better than "Tell them to prepare the ship for my arrival", as an example.
With love and respect, Thya

If anything needs to fixed, it will be. We're recolouring the first 18 issues, and may do some colour fixes beyond that (Brief Lives is particularly problematic, not because Danny's colours were bad but because the colour separators in Ireland didn't follow instructions.) There are a lot of Morpheus word balloons that are hard to read that we may simply have Todd Klein re-letter, for example. But nothing's going to be "improved" or rewritten or even changed, if that's what you're worrying about, unless it was an error at the time and we simply couldn't afford to fix it then.

It's astonishing how much better the art in Sandman #1 looks recoloured. There are sequences that didn't quite make sense before that now flow really well. The colouring process of the time involved people with scissors cutting things out, and the colour processes at the time were for cheaper paper that the inks soaked into (as opposed to the nice white paper in the books that the ink sits on and glows). And our colourist at the time was, I imagine, up against deadline issues, and in those days the colourist couldn't talk to the artists, and once something was coloured it couldn't ever be fixed -- now we're colouring with today's range of techniques, for today's paper. (Compare, if you have them, Preludes and Nocturnes with The Kindly Ones, just looking at the colour, to see what I'm talking about.)

Danny Vozzo coloured every Sandman comics from #23 on (except #50), so it's not like we're bringing a stranger aboard, and Danny's also using the original colour schemes for things, unless they were just plain wrong (so someone wearing a green shirt will still be wearing a green shirt, unless the script had asked for a red shirt for plot reasons and we got green by mistake. A brown car will still be brown, but the blue London bus in #1 is now a red London bus). We're also not planning to add any digital dinosaurs in the background. (Although there's one panel of John Constantine in Sandman 3 where he looks about three feet tall that I'd love to have redrawn. But I won't.)

Incidentally, the stories will be going into Absolute Sandman in order of publication, wherever possible, so the short stories from Fables and Nocturnes will be back in the places they came out, rather than all together in one place.

Hi Neil, I hope your deadlines are going well. Anyway, with all this talk of the Absolute Sandman books, I was curious about the possibility of including a supplemental volume that contained all of the scripts from the series similar to what Alan Moore did for the Absolute League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Something like that would be very nice. If that wouldn't be an option, would you want to do something like collect the scripts in a separate collection? Thanks. Rob

We've chatted about it in the past -- Fantagraphics wanted to do a Sandman script book about ten years ago. One of the reasons it's never happened is that there aren't any copies of the scripts to Sandman #2 or Sandman #5 in existence as far as we know. (And there are only paper copies of Sandman #1 and #4, although that's not really a problem.) Scott Nybakken suggested reprinting the script to Sandman 19 (Midsummer Night's Dream) in the back of the first volume, and I expect we will.

Also, bear in mind that each Sandman script was at least 10,000 words long, so the finished script book would be about 800,000 words long -- which, would be rather unlikely to come in at less than thousand pages...


Here's Stewart Lee's diary on the problems with taking Jerry Springer: The Opera on the road.

February 3 In my new capacity as sin-eater for the religious guilt of the entire world, I fulfil a lifetime's ambition by appearing on the Today programme, with a member of the Muslim Council to discuss the Danish Mohammed cartoon controversy. Everyone's anxious to draw parallels with the opera's persecution by the Christian right, but the Danish cartoonists wandered into a world of protected religious symbols they didn't understand. We have used a set of icons whose implications we appreciate, within a tradition of Christian imagery. And you can now buy Virgin Mary snow-globes in Vatican Square, so it's a bit late to start getting all protective.


I heard from an old friend that the Protestant Cemetery in Italy, burial place for Shelley and Keats (among others) is literally crumbling and may have to close its gates for good -- here's the article and here's her livejournal entry, with glorious cemetery photos

Right. Off to trudge through the snow and write some more.