books and readings (neil gaiman related)

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005
The Sandman Companion : a dreamer's guide to the award-winning comics series.

by Hy Bender #36

It's probably been about a year since I finally finished the Sandman comics. I was getting them from the library one at a time, but I read the last 3 books right up next to each other (or maybe it was the last 2, plus one of the specials they did afterwards). This companion book is really great - he does a book by book breakdown, gives an overview, notes some special things to look for, and then has an interview with Neil Gaiman about each section. I loved finding out what some of his inspirations were for various storylines - he seemingly has read and recalls everything ever written (and how sometimes it was just a time crunch, or a good friend, or a joke), and I liked the insight into how a comic goes together - it's very collaborative, even with a writer who leaves such detailed instruction for the pencilers (and inkers and colorists and letterers). Anyway, this is a lovely companion if you enjoyed the Sandman books. When I finally acquire those (apart from just borrowing from the library), I will want to acquire this companion as well.

This all reminds me of going to the Neil Gaiman reading which as I mentioned a week ago I had forgotten most of! But I found my scrap of paper and can hit the highlights, I think.
* the reading took place in a beautiful old stone church right on the South Park Blocks downtown.
* prize given for the furthest traveled to see NG : some signed statue thing went to a woman who had ridden up from Ashland (bottom of the state) to Portland (top of the state) on the BUS!
* the reading/ Question and Answer session was exactly one hour long - this included about 10 minutes of directions of what he could and couldn't sign, and about how long people could expect to be in line (up to 4 hours!). This made me wonder the thing I am perpetually wondering about how artists, writers, and musicians are also expected to be PR people, marketers, etc these days. It's not enough to produce wonderful art for the world to enjoy, I guess.
*He read from his new novel Anansi Boys. he said that in order to prevent burnout, he's been reading from a new section every night. Our night was about karaoke, and it was very fine indeed. Anecdote: he had somehow managed to get to the podium without a copy to read from, and a nice person from the audience jumped up and offered her copy...
* ...which reminds me: we got there about an hour early, and I was one of the few people who had NOT brought or bought something to read (so I had to amuse myself looking around, which was no difficulty). I told my sister that we were in Nerd Church. (I would go to nerd church every week, for sure). all the pews had the majority of the people sitting in it with their heads down in a book.
*after the reading, NG took questions. One persistent question was about a movie version of Good Omens, which he said had been almost ready to film but for a tiny bit of financing. Johnny Depp was set to play Crowley (there was an audible gasp in the sanctuary at this revelation), Terry Gilliam was to direct. Unfortunately, the timing was bad - a movie about the end of the world looking for financing at the end of 2001. Anyway - he said that it wasn't quite dead yet, but that it was in a "glass coffin surrounded by dwarves." So here's hoping! I think it would be a very fun movie.
* My note about the "whittering on woodland animals tribulations with jam" - I still don't remember what this was all about
* He also talked about the fact that he had kept the rights for a Death movie. That Death: The High Cost of Living was just about the right story arc for a feature, it just needed to be embiggened. He kept it for himself because that way he has the most control and could prevent things like the casting of Angelina Jolie as Death.
* another note I felt compelled to take (who knows why): "disembodied hands skittering around are creepy" - oh! I remember now. there was an 11 year old girl there who asked a very smart question about Coraline.
* my last note (which was actually my first note) says "blockbuster comic book guy" which I now remember was some guy (let's call him comic book guy) passed the long, wrapped-around the building line) and said "I've never actually stood in line for a blockbuster before!"

It was quite the experience. I thought he was a very engaging reader and seemed very solicitous of his fans. He knows he's huge, but managed to be reasonable and kind about it, which is not a given.
1 comment on "books and readings (neil gaiman related)"
  1. "whittering on woodland animals tribulations with jam"
    I think this had something to do with the Salsa...


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