From the May 15th Warsaw Voice:
Neil Before the Master
May 10, dozens of eccentric, black-clad comic book/dark fantasy fans were gathered on the third floor of the newly opened Traffic Club bookstore, eagerly awaiting one of the masters of the genre-Neil Gaiman.
Strolling onstage accompanied to the strains of Tori Amos (with whom the author and the singer hold sway over a “mutual appreciation society”) and looking a bit like comedian Martin Short’s younger brother, Gaiman was treated to a warm wave of applause from his fans.
Gaiman is ranked in Poland as the third most popular fantasy writer in print, only surpassed by J.R.R. Tolkien and Terry Prachett (with whom Gaiman co-wrote the satirical novel Good Omens). Granted that Gaiman’s Sandman series of graphic novels are considered seminal works in this form, it was rather surprising that all of the discussion revolved around his comic books. Since he was on tour in support of the translation of his newest work, Coraline, it was assumed that the meeting would be a review of his prose-this was unfortunately not the case. Yet this did not seem to bother all of the mylar fondling comic-kids in the audience.
The organizers of the event bestowed the guest of honor with some illustrations by Polish artists that were inspired by Gaiman’s work. While perusing through the pictures he was heard to comment: “The Polish people are very disturbed… I mean that in a good way.” After a short Q&A session with the audience, Gaiman read a selection from Coraline that left the audience’s appetite whetted for more of his wry and twisted prose. He also revealed, in great detail, the plans for the upcoming second installation of the Sandman series and told the salivating fans which artists he will be working with for the stories.
Gaiman, after a short break, had a meet and greet with fans and signed the 150+ strong crowd’s “Neilobilia.” Hopefully, this will not be the last we hear from this very talented writer and maybe he will pave the way for more writers of his caliber to make Warsaw a stop on their promotional tours.