Monday, October 11, 2010

A Very Short Interview with Neil Gaiman

I don't know if it's still true, but at the time I did this interview, I was the first journalist to speak with the great Neil Gaiman about his editorship of this year's Best American Comics collection.

The conversation went on quite a lot longer than what you see in the interview. Here's a few missing bits - consider them your interview extras for the day.

On novelists like Ames and Lethem starting to work in comics:

"In the old days, you would get, for lack of a better word, a ‘real’ prose novelist coming into the business. But they tended to create punky comics. What I love now is that we have a generation of prose writers who grew up reading and loving comics and wanting to put their own mark on them."

On the fantastic DC experiment, Wednesday Comics:

"I had so much fun doing Wednesday Comics. My first reaction when Mike Allred asked me to join him on the project was to wonder how we could take advantage of the size. How could we play with the hugeness of this thing? And we went off and we did. And the accusation that I had leveled at me on people’s blogs and reviews was the first one with which I agreed completely and said, you’re completely right. Guilty as charged. People said, he looked like he’s having too much fun.

It really was done in an interesting way. I thought that the idea of giving a bunch of people a character and telling them to go do something awesome was fantastic. The idea of someone reinventing Kamandi as Prince Valiant. Mike and I deciding to go off and do Metamorpho as a mad tribute to Bob Haney and Ramona Fradon. There really aren’t enough Bob Haney tributes in the world.It got to the point where I was thinking things like, ‘we could actually do a games of snakes and ladders that would actually be playable.’ And realizing that I didn’t care if anyone else thought it was a good idea because it made me happy.

Why comics after all this time?

It’s not at all nostalgia. The bit that I find fascinating is that nobody would ever ask a novelist why he writes plays occasionally. No one asks screenwriters why they occasionally write poems.