Aint-It-Cool’s NY Guardian Angel Tour Report

Thanks to Zooberres for posting this to alt.fan.neil-gaiman.

And just in case anyone is interested, Neil read “Wolves In The Walls” for the little girl’s birthday. She has excellent taste for an eight year old. 😉

http://www.aint-it-cool-news.com/display.cgi?id=7223

Luke Cage Checks In With All Sorts Of NEIL GAIMAN Goodies!!

Hey, everyone. “Moriarty” here with some Rumblings From The Lab. I think Harry and I have both had the lovely opportunity to sit down with Neil Gaiman in the past, and I know that I walked away thinking even more of him after the conversation than I did before. He’s one of those guys who is in it for all the right reasons, whose gift has somehow managed to stay pure even as he’s become a marketable name. I’m always interested in what he’s got to say, and our good buddy LUKE CAGE has the scoop for you.

Reasonable rates, satisfaction guaranteed, Luke Cage, Hero For Hire is ready to serve you.

What’s happening Harry et al, I hope everything’s fine. As for me, I am one happy superhero. I just came back from St. Mark’s Church in beautiful downtown NYC, where I was lucky enough to see one of my favorite authors in the flesh (which DOES NOT mean naked) for the second time.

Neil Gaiman, writer of The Sandman, Stardust, Neverwhere, co-author of Good Omens, winner of more fantasy writing awards than I have brain space to recall, is finishing up his last tour in support of the noble Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. He’ll be reading some works, including selections from his soon-to-be-published novel “American Gods”. As a card-carrying member (all superheroes should join the CBLDF), I get to work security.

First of all, let me tell you what a nice guy Neil Gaiman is. Guys like Harlan Ellison, Grant Morrison, they’re fantastic writers, I worship them and their work. But if you ever meet them at a convention, they’re a little stand-offish. Like they’re not really into the whole “meeting the public” thing. Maybe even a little arrogant. Oh well. Not Gaiman though. See, the lucky CBLDF members and folks who paid for premium tickets got to meet Neil before the reading at a local watering hole, a more intimate, party-like gathering during which I offered to buy him a drink from the over-priced bar. At this little soiree was a young girl, couldn’t have been over 8 years old. Apaarently her father has brought her to a couple of Gaiman readings, to the point where Neil can recognize her by sight. When Neil found out that today was her birthday, he scooped her up in a big hug and promised to read her any story she wanted at the reading. What a dude.

So I know what you’re all wanting to know… Did he drop any movie news? Sweet Christmas, did he ever!

1) GOOD OMENS – From directly out of Neil Gaiman’s mouth came these words: “Terry Gilliam”. That’s right, true believers (sorry Stan), barring any natural disaster, sudden death or destruction of the universe, our American Python will helm the Good Omens movie after finishing his current project.

1a) As an aside, Neil nixed the idea of a Good Omens sequel. He said that although he and Terry Pratchett had kicked around some ideas, if they really started the ball rolling on a sequel, in Neil’s words “the entire process would be interrupted by men in nice suits with thin watches and very large cheques.” The original was written over nine weeks, during which the two giants of literature had just been trying to amuse each other, completing each other’s ideas until the book was done. He loved that magic, he said, but it would probably be impossible to recapture, no matter how much moolah got thrown around.

2) DEATH – Another direct quote: “I’ve gotten a lot of very nice people at Warner Brothers very pissed off at me.” It seems Neil promised them he’d start on the Death script after finishing the first draft of American Gods. He estimated that start date to be in May, but was waaaay off. So according to Neil, he’s on page 37 and counting. No words on casting or crew. The script is an adaptation of the miniseries “The High Cost of Living”.

3) SANDMAN – Neil shares the general distaste for Bill Farmer’s draft, calling it “too much like an action film.” He likes elements of the Ross and Avery scripts, but not in their entirety. (NOTE: It was loud in the bar at this point when we spoke, and he was trying to save his voice for the reading later that night, so I may have heard those two names wrong.) He also said that he’s unexpectedly seen a very nice draft from David Schow. That’s right, the same David Schow credited with “The Crow.”

4) BOOKS OF MAGIC – He’s a surprise entry! Neil told the audience that he’s received an excellent screen treatment/script for the Tim Hunter saga by Matt Greenberg. Is this the same Matt Greenberg who’s a co-producer of the Sci-Fi Channel’s Invisible Man series and a co-writer of Halloween: H2O? My sources say yes.

Not much else to say here. The reading was great fun. Neil reports that American Gods is his most ambitious project since The Sandman: a number of full-length novellas tied together in one over-arching narrative, about the clash between the gods of the old world (lightning, the sea, the sun) versus the gods of our new age (the Internet, taxicabs, fast food). There was an advance reading of a children’s story called “Wolves in the Walls” to be published around (Sweet) Christmas 2001. He also read a poem called “The Blueberry Girl”, a touching piece written for Tori Amos’ newborn daughter. As I said before, what a dude.

So there you have it, Harry. A complete Gaiman report from your man-in-the-projects. My bill will arrive in the mail. Anyone else looking to put my superstrength and steelhard skin to the test can E-mail me. Oh yeah, and anyone looking to learn about and join the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund can find them at www.cbldf.org.

Peace, love, and disco.

-Luke Cage, Hero For Hire