Monday, August 28, 2006


I am fortunate in having three amazingly cool children who, apart from loving, I also like enormously and enjoy spending time with. The youngest of them has been contributing to this blog for many years (as you'll see over at this celebratory collection of quotes at Quotable Neil -- and really is a complete delight to have around, travel with, have adventures with, watch Dr Who with (we're currently watching Genesis of the Daleks together), and read to when she'll let me.

Yesterday Madeleine was eleven, and today she is twelve, and here, for her birthday, is an informal Mimi Ko photograph of her.

Happy Birthday, Maddy.


Hi Neil. Welcome home and all that. The best part is being with family again. My Daughter is going to South America for three months and even though I am excited for her, I am dreading her being gone.
Cool bunch of goodies waiting for you when you got home. I am curious why publishers like DC can have advance copies of things like the Absolute Sandman, yet not have it available for sale? It is the same edition and they must all be printed at once. This happens often. I have had customers begging for their copies of Lost Girls,which was printed months ago but just now shipping. I am sure this holds true for Absolute Sandman and many books. I am sure their must be good reasons why publishers often do this,just not sure what they are.

Best, Jon A.

There's one good reason, and you'll find it repeated over and over. Big, beautiful, full-colour books tend to get printed in Hong Kong or in China, where they can print them more cheaply than they can in the US or UK. And then, to keep the prices down, the books published get put on a slow boat and take several months to get to the other side of the world, get unpacked and shipped to their final destination.

However, a few advance copies will get put on a plane. Sometimes, if there's a major convention like San Diego, a publisher will pay the extra to bring a whole crate of books in by air, so there are copies to sell and to help promote the work (which is, I would hazard, what happened with Lost Girls).

And I need to close many tabs and windows, so...

Bloomberg does a piece on Thea Gilmore with, quite possibly, the least interesting headline in the history of headlines.

A quote from Good Omens begins a Guardian Editorial on Milton Keynes.

The First Amendment Project is doing its next Character Name Auction. Spread the word. You could be in a Carl Hiassen novel, or a Chris Ware comic...

There's a Brendan McCarthy interview over at

The 2006 Quill Awards can be voted on over at

A collection of bafflingly creepy printer's ornaments found by John M. Ford.

You can download Sandman #1 from the DC site. (The original version, not the recoloured one.)

And lots of you sent me this link from Publisher's Weekly. The book, Cairo, looks really good, but everyone who sent it to me wanted me to know that I had, just for a little while, got to be a Muslim saint. Sort of. Kind of. Not really.


A question and an interesting link:

Do you find that your fame has offered you even greater experiences in life because of the people you get to interact with through your "fame network" (I'm sure there's some directory out there, with your name filed under "Novelist/Graphic Novelist-Screenwriter-Bloggist-Gardeners"...or somesuch).

I have thought about your friendship with Tori Amos and wondered if you have met her friend Maynard Keenan (Lead singer from the all the ways you can mean TOOL). I have a deep respect for the work that both of you produce and if the two of you have (Please don't tell me it was "Hi, my name's Neil." "I'm Maynard." "Do you know where the loo is?")

Lastly - a link to a visual history of the speech balloons. Interesting.


I think I met a lot more famous people when I was a journalist than I ever have as a writer, and I was much more impressed by meeting them when I did. (I'm afraid my one meeting with Maynard was more or less the way you've described it.) I get to work with interesting people because of the work I've already done, but there's no "fame network" or if there is, I'm happy to say that I'm not on it.

The only bit that's useful is that if I need to talk to someone they'll probably call me back. But that has much more to do with the body of work than with any kind of famousness.