Friday, December 23, 2011

three new winners----all great stories.

winners!! a couple of winners!! no--THREE new winnahs.

the submission for the winner of the Neil
"birthday laminate" just charmed me with this story:

I nominate my friend Julia, who last night went down to a local Target with a friend and did the following:

...we held up one awesome cashier's line buying stacks of gift cards, putting $20 on each. We immediately gave one to the guy waiting behind us in line. Then we parked at the front door and began handing them to people as they entered. Most people showed the initial reaction of "oh god someone is shoving a flier I don't want at me," but then they'd look down at what they just accepted and, well, a multitude of reactions occurred. Some people didn't say anything and continued into the store. Some said thank you. A few stopped and said, "Really?" One woman ran back to give us both hugs. Another woman in a headscarf with a strong accent asked us, "Why?" and I said, "Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid, solstice, whatever!" (Or something to that effect, but more formal.)

Twice people came back and gave us the cards back, telling us to give them to people who needed them more. One of those men kept asking us who we were and what organization we were with. It was fun to say, "We're just... us!" and, "Well, my name is Julia," and such. Heh, at one point he said, "How did you get the money?" and we replied, "Work." He asked us where we worked, so I said I worked for Harvard and Sandry said she worked for Whole Foods, and he said, "Wow, so you're not even really raking in the big bucks."

We ran out fairly quickly; it was a busy night at Target. We sat on a bench outside for a little while longer before heading home. One of the women we had given a card to--and possibly one who had given it back?--thanked us on her way out and said that she had been inspired by us to pay for the man at the register in front of her.

this one is for you, Julia! (not sure who your nominator was, an email address suggests Alex?)

here is the winner of the CONJUNCTIONS print, Thesa, who makes an excellent point in her closing statement:

Thinking of Neil Gaiman always brought back memories from 2007. A dinner with Neil Gaiman was set up by the bookstore that organizes this graphic fiction awards (Neil Gaiman was one of the judges, I guess. And he also wrote the foreword for the compilation of the stories.) I was fortunate enough to attend the dinner because my mentor helped make the video presentation for the program so I tagged along with him. Back then I was only able to read The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish and Eternals. Sitting in front of me I saw him doodle a guy in long black coat whenever he sign copies of his works, back then I thought it was his self-portrait. A year later I worked as a storekeeper for a graphic novels and designer toys shop that my mentor owned, and fortunately part of the perks of it is I get to read the books for free, yay! and that was when I get to meet Dream for the first time and that's when I realized that he was actually drawing Dream in every copy of the Absolute Sandman not a portrait of himself. I can't say that I'm fan. Some may get offended if I say I am, because I honestly haven't read much of his works. Aside from the Sandman, there are just about 5 more works that I was able to read before I resigned from my job. After the job, there are just slim chances of me getting my hands on and reading a Gaiman (quite expensive). I may not be a fan but I really love the works that I was able to read. And I promise myself that once I get myself a much stable job, I will start investing on all the graphic novels that I fell in love reading while working at the store. I may not be a hardcore fan, but I believe I deserve the print as much as any avid fan is. I plan to build a mini library for me and my siblings and one day when I'm older and I have my grandchildren, I would like to show the print to them and encourage them to read more and say 'see? Not all things can be bought by money'.

Thank Thesa, send me your address! you have my email--

and this is from ??, I honestly don't know much more than this twitter handle:

everytime i've worn my I Believe tshirt someone has started a conversation - "Have you heard about Am Gods being made into a series?" "What do you know about Am Gods on HBO? " etc. This has happened everywhere from Chicago to Austin and small towns in Iowa.

Coraline shirt on the otherhand usually just creates knowing smiles.

it's Kitty-Cat again, if @d2p (the web Cinderella/Cinderfella, who left me only this message much like a glass slipper)
can send me an address, I will send off a good @Neilhimself surprise.

meanwhile, I got so so many great submissions. SO many. I may be playing missus Claus into the new year, dropping some deserving people with notes and prizes.

I am with my beloved family now, healing up my ribs-- (don't sneeze with a broken rib, is all I can say)
Neil is in Australia with his lady love and we watched him ace it on the broadcast of "Wait..wait..don't tell me" on BBC America tonight.
my wish is for everyone to have a lovely winter solstice, warm holiday nights by the fire.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Hello dears & happy holidays!
I have been trying to keep up---
Haven't yet decided on the winner of CONJUNCTIONS,
in fact, i have a few balancing on my hand.
might need a vote situation.
However, I am off to the post office to send out
the last of the orders, then off to see my wonderful family on the east coast.
So be patient, and if orders are made, anything now will be sent out after Christmas.
This will be the next prize to give out,
a very rare treasure indeed,
a laminate from Neil's 50th birthday party.

this pass was designed by the so-talented Christopher Salmon.
PS if you haven't watched his latest video update (posted on the same day I got hit by that car!)
you must go! WATCH! DO!
(i just watched it again, just for a certain "mind-blowing" scene!! @Xtopher, you be crazy!!)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

contest winner #4

i am going to give the Beowulf prize along with something that can be more enjoyed in a classroom--
a signed-by-Neil poster of the cover of the Newbury Medal winning GRAVEYARD BOOK. Why?
This entry from Chris S. of New York :

I will not pretend to be a Gaiman-fanatic since the inception of the Sandman graphic novels, but I can say Mr. Gaiman heavily contributed to my current career path, which is to teach English at a secondary level (I am currently in my sophomore year, having just returned from a semester in Ireland).

In 11th Grade I read American Gods. And for the remainder of the year I pestered my friends, and even my English teacher, to give the book a chance. They all loved it, and now 3 1/2 years later, are huge Gaiman fans. I went on to read as much as I could, starting with Neverwhere, Stardust, Coraline, Good Omens, and of course Anansi Boys ("The Lime" has become an inside joke among myself and my friends) along with Neil Gaiman: Prince of Stories, which I didn't know existed until I found it as a remainder at my local shop. The Sandman comics are incomplete on my shelf, but simply because I cannot afford the rest at the moment...student budget. I have the first two Sandman volumes - they were actually a gift from a great author and former English Dean at Hofstra University, Paula Uruburu. After the 11th grade Gaimain-spell was cast, I would continue reading voraciously and passionately completing my many English courses and electives, eventually receiving my school's most prestigious English award upon graduating.

In 11th grade I had decided I wanted to become an English teacher. Neil's work captured my imagination and transported me to world that I simply needed to share with others. I want to lead students into the amazing (and often scary) worlds that Neil Gaiman created for me, and allowed me to take leave from what was (without being too candid or adding much detail here), an extremely rough home life that seemed inescapable.

Now I am currently close to starting my student teaching, and cannot wait to introduce Neil's work to my students when the first chance arises. I cannot even remember why I started writing this email... for a prize, right? Well, I've enjoyed talking about Neil's influence on me and my future as a teacher, regardless of prizes.

Neil Gaiman has proved, to me at least, that books not only encourage reading. They can encourage choices that radically alter the choices shaping your career, and subsequently shape your entire life as well. The environment for teachers is scary right now, but I will not be deterred. Even seeing one student with his nose in a good book I thrust into his or her hands is worth entering a career field in such a precarious position.

This is not a crazy story of coincidences or fantastical occurrences (as I have read the other story winners, which lowered my hopes significantly). Yet, it is all truthful...simply put, Neil Gaiman's work has added one more English teacher to this world, and one more person to foster a love and appreciation for reading. This is my dream, and it is a dream that Neil's writing caused to develop in the mind of a shy, uncertain 15 year old teen. Now, four years later, I am on my way to being a teacher, and doing Mr. Gaiman proud! Perhaps, one day many years in the future, I will stand next to him in a theatre hall, and we may deliver a lecture together.
One can always dream, and in fact Neil would probably say that we should be doing it more often.

None of this would have been possible without Neil's work of course, but more importantly, my 10th, 11th, and 12th grade English teacher, Erin Maginn. She encouraged my reading and writing when I was really in a bad place, and helped me use Neil's writing to escape an abusive home environment and learn to love literature, leading to my current career path as a teacher. She is the greatest teacher I have ever known, and my greatest role-model. Neil Gaiman's work helped create a love for literature, but Erin Maginn kept me afloat during the hardest times of my life, talking to me about American Gods after the last bell rang, when I was scared to go home. Erin was teaching a Mythology class that year, so she took time out of her very busy schedule to talk with me about all the great mythology in the novel, not because she had to or because she had any free time away from grading papers, but because she knew that the kid in front of her really needed it. She is one of the many heroes in our education system who go unnoticed. Any sort of gift will go directly to her.

Me again-
the prize for tomorrow will be the (unsigned) CONJUNCTIONS by Jouni that didn't go to winner #1.

A Jouni Koponen-drawn print of Neil's poem CONJUNCTIONS.
(see it HERE for more information)

I will send to anywhere in the world, at my cost, as a gift for you or who you specify, if you tell me why the gift is deserved.
Fit it into the comments here or on my Twitter feed @neverwear OR if you don't want your "nomination" made public, you can write to me:

I will decide each day who deserves the gift.

Your nomination can be as simple or complex as you wish, funny or serious, from the heart or from the cuff. Make me laugh, make me cry, it's up to you---

Thursday, December 15, 2011

contest winner #3: a fricking tie!

now we are getting some stories!
i am going to call it a tie today, between Chris (daughter of Cecily) and Mr. David G

I want to nominate my eldest daughter, Chris, to get the Scary Trousers shirt. Chris was failing horribly with anything having to do with reading. She had been tested over and over and over again for learning disabilities and any issue they could think of to put an answer to why she couldn't read properly. Well my husband got the brilliant idea that it was the content. So he started reading Coraline with her. After just a few nights of it, she was reading it on her own. It has been a long hard path to get to grade level and have passing grades. She is about to turn 14 next week, is reading Neverwhere, and just brought home a report card with only A's and B's on it. I think that she has worked her ass off, with the help of a great writer giving her something she wanted to read, and she totally rocks.

email titled: "Why I SO merit that @NeilHimself goodie" moved me to declare a tie.

Dear Cat,

when Neil Tweeted Amanda's urgent plea for a practice keyboard before their joint Evening With... gig in Portland, OR, I responded without hesitation, trusting her with my pride and joy Nord keyboard, which I wasn't able to afford until I was 50, along with stand, stool, and ace studio monitors; and,

because Amanda liked the Nord so much she kept it until the performance and then used it on stage during their epic, 4 hr marathon peak performance here; and,

because I never asked for anything in return, (even though Eric* promised me "a special gift" after the show);
(*I'm sure it just got forgotten in the mad shuffle, and I wasn't gauche enough to ask, so don't blame poor hardworking Eric) and,

because I was a Gaiman fan *before* it was hip, and introduced my daughters to his fiction when they were frighteningly young, which turned them into fans and actually affected the course of their careers, one being an aspiring game developer whose passion for linguistic anthropology is a direct result of Neil's work, and the other an actor, who was inspired by Neil to take pen to paper and write magically; and,

because my older daughter brought a very old, out of print copy of one of Neil's first books to the evening for him to sign, but she never got him to, and

because Amanda did end up, randomly, giving my younger daughter a hug, which was so utterly the right thing to do at that particular time which Amanda had no way of knowing, that it left us all speechless; and,

because my daughters watched Amanda's career from her very early days busking in Harvard Square (we used to live in Boston) and attended her very first concerts, and one of their best friends danced on stage with her and Brian when she was just knee high to a grasshopper (my daughters and their friend, not Amanda) when the Dresden Dolls had their very first beginnings; and,

and, because, even though Neil is almost to the day a year younger than I am, I was an old fart until my daughters saw my keyboard up on stage with Amanda an Neil, at which point I belatedly became the hip Dad I secretly was all along; and,

because, no matter what, we would never, ever, sell said goodie to anyone but would, instead, pass it on to our daughters who would pass it on to theirs, and so on and so forth in the great unbroken chain of human existence.

And, most importantly, because I am among the truly rare Americans who still uses a semicolon. Unironically.

Otherwise, no particular reason, really.


David G, Change Agent

Editor's note: we will try not to blame Eric, because we love Eric, but he does always have to take all the blame, poor Eric, but don't worry, we may blame him somewhat anyway even if we say we won't, because he's used to it. Love you, Eric!

It has come to light that winner Nat (in true spirit of holidays) also gave her prize to Miss Chris, so she gets 2 prizes, how you like them apples?
also! Winners, please email me w/ ship-to addresses and indicate what size on the shirt, i have youth medium, youth large, adult small, medium, or large. (

tomorrow, I give away a very collectible and rare letter opener, a tiny dagger, fashioned after Beowulf's Grendel killing blade. Comes with a tiny, pixie-sized sheath with the Beowulf film logo stamped into the leather. You know, I really loved that film, I wish they would bring it back through the 3-D theaters.

last but not least, you can take five bucks off ANYTHING at NEVERWEARfrom now until December 25th 2011, by using coupon code "nice-kitty"--
watch that space because I just cleaned out my closet and am going to be posting all kinds of tour swag for el cheapo.
Tori, Tool, Motley Crue, Britney, Zombie, there's something for everyone.
(I even found a still in the package bar of Fight Club soap and a Braille Playboy. What the!!?? Kitty yard sale!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

contest winner #2

Nominated by DragonSally, our resident Australian....
(these are her words)
I think this prize should go to Spacedlawyer {Nathalie Boisard-Beudin}, because, knowing I've had a rough time lately, she bought me my ticket to go and spend NYE with Neil and Amanda and other people. Generosity like that deserves to be known!

me again:
SpacedLaw has long been the picture of generosity, she has given all the way from overseas to every single benefit-type deal that I have ever posted, she supported Trevor's plight (& has been very patient waiting for her lost items from him--), she helped when Michael Zulli had towering vet bills, she helped when my friend was in a car accident, and oh so many other times.
I agree with you, Miss Sally, this prize is for you, lovely Nat. I will send your magnet right out!

next prize up:
the black-as-midnight Scary Trouser tee (i have sizes youth med, youth large, adult small, med, and large to pick from)
featuring the cutest lil' Neil imaginable, drawn by superheroine Kendra Stout. I am wearing one here:

me in the new Neverwear tee

Drew in his at ComicCon:

Drew on the hotel balcony

and (demon eyes) Neil strikes the same pose next to that Oscar-winning Roger Avary:


to hear the story of why Alan Moore nicknamed him Scary Trousers or to buy one for yourself, go HERE!

To nominate someone for acts of kindness or stories of bravery or other deserving situations, please post a comment, email me ( or go on my twitter feed @neverwear. I will ship, at my cost, their present to wherever in the world you wish.

Yesterday, Neil phoned me from the airport before heading off to Australia with his bride, to give me words of advice on being clear and direct about my contest rules. As always, he was wise to point out I used the word "deserve" and should have been more clear about the contest--This is a chance to honor good deeds and give onto others. I know I have read many tough luck stories, and I know that is one justification. I am looking for a bit more...thanks, you interesting lot. Happy winter to you all.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

contest winner #1

so my darlings.
I am getting story after story of woe. Maybe it's my Irish lace curtain upbringing but I thought it would be more stories of nominating someone for the good they have done---not that your spouse left you and/or you just need a present.

Hey, i am just the judge here, but I am going to have to get Charles Brownstein in on this (like he has the time!!??) because he is a judge of character like a hot knife through butter. He is the executive director of the COMIC BOOK LEGAL DEFENSE FUND--he fights out in the streets daily for our basic rights as humans.

Anyone that can prove to me they have donated $20 or more in the month of December 2011 to the CBLDF fund in the next 9 days will get a coupon code for $10 off anything at Neverwear. Please send me your proof at

now back to the contest.

winner of the CONJUNCTIONS print?

James aka @ ChaosNeverwhere of lovely Seattle. His story, in brief, he had tickets for the Amanda/Neil show in Seattle this November and had to give them up at the last minute to work. Not just any work, James does heating repairs for many Habitat for Humanity properties. Here is a bit of his story:

November 9th, 4:00pm. I am getting ready to leave work and go home, clean up and head up to Seattle for an evening with Neil & Amanda. Excited all day. It was as if to be married again. Yes, I was glowing. A phone call came into the office and was directed to me. Answering to a desperate family with their elderly mother living with them, they had no heat. (the temperature actually dropped below 40 degrees that night). Right then and there, I will never forget that moment. I was crushed. But I knew the right thing to do. Put together an emergency crew and go install a furnace for this family so they may have heat. A hard job with, at times, difficult hours, however it’s worth knowing that I’ve help bring warmth to a home.

This is my story of why I think I should receive the Neil Gaiman signed print.

Me again! Here's the thing, James. I totally agree that you should get the prize. But this was to be given away with no signature, because I haven't yet seen Neil to have him sign any of the Conjunctions prints. So I am going to substitute for you a signed SAUCERS. You can email me your address.

Today's prize will be the Lucifer magnet & just because I haven't picked your story doesn't mean I won't. Just mulling them all over.

Monday, December 12, 2011

9 days of Neverwear holiday giveaways...

Hello my faithful Neverwearers--
I am back from my mini-tour with Maynard from Tool's solo act, Puscifer. It was a great little tour, with the sad exception of me being hit by a car in San Francisco!
I was getting my luggage out of the bay of the tour bus, we were parked facing on-coming traffic and I got whacked by a car. Thanks goodness as I broke was my rib. The tour wanted to send me home, but it takes a bit more than a broken rib to get rid of me.
Here's our crew photo (can you see me in the stripeys?):

so. I am home now and am shipping out holiday orders. Wanted to give some thanks for all of your kind support this year by doing a giveaway contest, an item a day for the next 9 days, via Twitter & Fbook & this blog, everyday will be a different thing, from signed prints to t-shirts to my glass comic book magnets--
this is the first gift I will put up for the contest:

A Jouni Koponen-drawn print of Neil's poem CONJUNCTIONS.
(see it HERE for more information)

I will send to anywhere in the world, at my cost, as a gift for you or who you specify, if you tell me why the gift is deserved.
Fit it into the comments here or on my Twitter feed @neverwear OR if you don't want your "nomination" made public, you can write to me:

I will decide each day who deserves the gift.

Your nomination can be as simple or complex as you wish, funny or serious, from the heart or from the cuff. Make me laugh, make me cry, it's up to you---

Any orders made by Dec. 20 will be shipped out before the holiday season, anything shipped by Dec 18th should get to where it needs to go, after that, more of a gamble--
my sincere thanks to all of you!

**next gift will be this magnet, made from water-damaged Sandman issue # 68, May 1995, a panel of Lucifer by his piano, get your nominations ready!:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

24 hour sale at Neverwear

for the next day, until midnight tomorrow night,
use the code:
to get ten bucks off any purchase of $20. --
go get 'em, tiger!

that's half-price, baby!
to see what we've got, go HERE.

stay tuned for a new Neil mailbox---

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CONJUNCTIONS has arrived...& meeting Olivia...

I went and picked up the new prints from my local printer late yesterday afternoon. The sun was most welcome after the shattering downpour of the day before. Sitting in the back of Ghosty, with his top down, you can see the rich blue hues...
The Jouni illustrations are stunning, the first frames of Cabal in the snow and the tree horizon line and the fish swimming...they just stir the mind. I thank you for your early orders, I think this will be a strong print and I will be happy to gaze upon it daily.



Speaking of supporting the arts...
Our dear friend Adriane is back in town on a break from the Janet Jackson tour, and I invited her time-zoned, jet-lagged person go get sushi with me to catch up on all things. After sushi, we stopped by the La Luz de Jesus/Wacko gallery to see the wonder that is Olivia.
She of the fine-art pin-up, she has done a painting in every Playboy for the last number of years, she of the one name, like Cher, she is so filled with talent. Now I know from speaking to her, she is also super sharp-witted and possessing a clever sense of playful humor.

For those that love the ladies and didn't attend her opening, you missed the crowd there, almost ALL gorgeous XX-chromosomes. She was selling her own prints, packaged and stamped and signed and sealed with authenticity certificates. I bought two (shhhh, don't tell Husband, they are for him) and would have bought several more if i had the dough. They are knock-out beautiful.
Her new book, Malibu Cheesecake is available HERE.

Here she is signing my copy:

and here I am with the lady herself...

hmmm, I wonder if she would ever want to do an illustration for one of Neil's poems....Can you imagine what she would do for the nudity poem of his that I love love love that has not yet been done...?

Lucky new year spirits, hear my wishes....

Saturday, November 19, 2011

a few Neil mailbox among them.

It's crisp fall out, i am living off homemade soup, life is busy, beautiful and good.
was laid out with some sort of sickness, but am on the mend, truly i get sick VERY rarely,
usually my Wolverine healing powers are excellent.

made some new comic book magnets while hibernating (will post them soon):


and opened a boatload of Neil fanmail.
It was his birthday week, so the Boss got some presents as well---

lovely package from our friend in Kauai, the macaw-toting Hindu monk, mister S.

this gorgeous book from Kevin in Florida, and he was sweet enough to send me a copy. I think it is so beautiful, from the title "The Bargain I Made for her Heart" on down--

a copy of mister Hodgman's book with Neil's observation on the back--


a little lucky rabbit engraving, from Robert in Kentucky...

a duo set of books from Michael Bull:

another reminder to people sending in things for the Boss, please please include an email address, so that I can let you know package arrived safely. While we try (we do) to answer everyone, things get shuffled about and with no email, I can't always answer right away. I do thank you! There are many more photos to post, but I want to get this up in good time.

two days left to get this at the $10-dollars-off price (they will go to normal price at midnight west coast time on Monday,November 21):

click here for more details!

meanwhile last week, I went to another Simpsons table read, brought the bass player from Zombie's band, mister Piggy D. Miss Bonnie P had come out to our show this summer in Portland and she took an amazing portrait of him outside before the show, she surprised him with a big print of it--


Patton Oswalt was the stellar celebrity guest in the table read, and Hank Azaria, to his left, was just stunning. (also apparently made of steel, those muscles-- Bonnie took a photo of us, will post when i get, she uses real film, bless her heart)


tonight is Neil's appearance on the show, please tune in! here is his blog post, i was with him at his read, and I cannot wait to hear which bad American accent bit they chose...he must have done 40 different bits, each driving Matt Selman into a frenzy of direction, once he saw what our Neil was capable of...:

Monday, November 14, 2011

NEW PRINT: Neil Gaiman's CONJUNCTIONS drawn by Jouni Koponen

I remember well the beginning stages of the courtship of Neil and Amanda.
Two artists, one big bang.

Winter 2008.
Amanda was on tour with her wild bunch and they stopped by Neil's while I was on a work visit out there.
Neil took them to a trout farm to pick out our dinner.
I remember they had to park their tour bus down the street, we trudged through the snow.

Neil and Amanda both wrote pieces about this time, this magic early time, and both had working title of Trout Heart Replica, in a tip of the hat to that delicious Captain Beefheart. Neil changed the title of his piece to Conjunctions.

here is a video of Amanda singing her side of the story:

When we asked our Finnish superstar, Jouni Koponen to illustrate Conjunctions,
I sent Jouni a few reference photos that I had taken from around the time Neil was composing this beautiful, heartwrencher of a poem.
Here is the treeline view of the actual conjunction of Venus and Jupiter that cold December night.


and here, Neil cleans a rainbow trout in his sink:


they signed the inserts for Who Killed Amanda Palmer? at the big kitchen table.

Here is our Fabulous Lorraine with her still-long hair and her backstage laminate, after we had returned from seeing AFP in Chicago and we picked up The Bengal Royals on the long drive home.

Amanda posing for the Graveyard Book tshirt that we had just put out (get the Graveyard Book shirts HERE.)

Limited numbered edition of 750 print run, these will be sold unsigned, I have a few signed by Neil. Get them HERE!

and here is Neil's poem:

Conjunctions by Neil Gaiman

Jupiter and Venus hung like grapes in the evening sky,
frozen and untwinkling,
You could have reached and up and picked them.

And the trout swam.

Snow muffled the world, silenced the dog,
silenced the wind...

The man said, I can show you the trout. He was
glad of the company.
He reached into their tiny pool, rescued a dozen, one by one,
sorting and choosing,
dividing the sheep from the goats of them.

And this was the miracle of the fishes,
that they were beautiful. Even when clubbed and gutted,
insides glittering like jewels. See this? he said, the trout heart
pulsed like a ruby in his hand. The kids love this.
He put it down, and it kept beating.
The kids, they go wild for it.

He said, we feed the guts to the pigs. They're pets now,
They won't be killed. See? We saw.
Huge as horses they loomed on the side of the hill.

And we walk through the world trailing trout hearts like dreams,
wondering if they imagine rivers, quiet summer days,
fat foolish flies that hover or sit for a moment too long.
We should set them free, our trout and our metaphors:

You don't have to hit me over the head with it.
This is where you get to spill your guts.
You killed in there, tonight.
He pulled her heart out. Look, you can see it there, still beating. He said,
See this? This is the bit the kids like best. This is what they come to see.

Just her heart, pulsing, on and on. It was so cold that night,
and the stars were all alone.
Just them and the moon in a luminous bruise of sky.

And this was the miracle of the fishes.

Jouni's illustration:


Here, to get his side of the story, I interview Jouni via email from the land of Vikings, Finland.

1. This is a very different style than your piece SAUCERS. How did you arrive here?

Pretty much the same way I arrived to Saucers before, or to The Study in Emerald before that, or to any other project before those... by stepping out of my comfort zone and wanting to try something else. I always felt that Saucers was quite light on emotion and relied more on "technical cleverness" both in text and in illustration. With Conjunctions I wanted to try doing something that would be as much as possible just "raw emotion" illustrated with some very basic techique.

2. English is not your first language. How do you go about translating Neil’s words to Finnish and/or do you?

Now that you mention it, it seems I do not conciously translate English into Finnish in my head anymore. So, in some extent I'm apparently capable of processing English data as it is in my head. Weird... However that DOESN'T mean my English is perfect or anything, merely sufficient.

3. Did anything lucky happen to you during the process of illustrating CONJUNCTIONS?

Lucky? Does the fact that Neil really seems to like the illustrations count as luck?

4. If you could meet any of Neil Gaiman’s fictional characters, who would you like to have a conversation with? (or a fist fight -- or any interaction?)

I really love Dream of the Endless, but I'm sure I'd end up seriously f***ed up after meeting him (somehow pretty much all interactions he had with mortals seemed to end up with the mortal dying, or bein' banished to hell... or both... or something even worse). Wednesday, perhaps... or Silas... or Matthew the raven... or Fiddlers Green... or...

5. Who would play you in the movie version of your life?

Hmm... The problem with "A-list" actors is that they are too good looking to play me. Of course it would be fun to have Johnny Depp doing the part. I'm sure it would do marvels to my illustrating career and it would be interesting to have Johnny crashing at my home for two months trying to get into the role, but there's not much of resemblance between the two of us, I'm afraid...

On the other hand, Edward Norton did a real good job playing a chronically tired and confused person in Fight Club... yes... Ed, you got the part.

I've also been told that In Return of the King, in the scene where the elves are re-forging Narsil, the one who is wielding the hammer looks like me. Personally I think he is too good looking too.

6. Did the success you met with on SAUCERS change your artistic outlook in any way?

I don't think the success did anything per se, but as an Illustration project, Saucers was/is definitely very significant for me. The whole visual idea of the poster (the zooming out thing) is probably the coolest gimmick I've ever come up with.

7. Can you share here some of the best advice you ever got as an young artist?

I personally think all visual arts are skills of the EYE more than skills of the hand. You have to train seeing... everything else is just making smudges on some surface with some technique.

8. What upcoming project on the Jouni-slate are you most excited about?

Right now I'll take a little breather and concentrate spending more time with my wife and kids, but in the deepest corners of my soul of souls I know Odd and the Frost Giants comics (a project I started couple of years back... and never finished) deserves another shot. I know I owe it to him.

9. Here is a chance for you to answer a question you wish that I had asked: (fill in blank!)

OK. The Question would be: “Is there any truth to the rumor, that as a young art student you once tried doing sigil magic after hours of reading Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles and drinking beer... and, that the results of the ceremony were quite dramatic and still affect your life?” And my answer is: “Who told you that? I... It didn’t... Umm... No comment.”

*note from Kitty, Jouni always signs off with Cheerio, which i have told him is an American breakfast cereal. He remains steadfast.

CONJUNCTIONS is now in pre-sales, while it is at the printer this week, I will have it at $38.00.

It is the same size as the SAUCERS piece, 10" x 28" printed here in Hollywood, US of A. on a creamy silk stock.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

catching up with mid-November...

It's Neil's birthday today and last year, at this time, we were all down in New Orleans for quite the bash.

i had these laminates made up for his birthday party, complete with Christopher Salmon's artwork:

cut to a year later: Christopher and I made the trip out to "Castle Gaiman" (Kyle Cassidy's nickname---but it shall always be the Addams Family mansion to me) for work on some behind the scenes footage for THE PRICE.
Here is a mini-clip I took of Mr. Salmon being white-German-sheparded, while directing Neil:


I especially love the way he has captured the little Halloween-town in his video, i got chills once I realized what it was.

The look of joy on Christopher's face when Neil presented him with the see-in-the-dark binoculars was worth the whole trip.

Meanwhile in other news, Mr. Jouni Koponen has been hard at work over in Finland to bring another one of Neil's poems to life in print. Hope to have the finished file this week, it looks so beautiful, in the spirit of his interpretation of SAUCERS (see below as Jouni and Neil sign SAUCERS) but heartbreaking in a different way. He has illustrated Neil's poem CONJUNCTIONS and as soon as it is available, I will share it with you all.
Happiest of birthdays to our Neil.

the men sign Saucers

Thursday, November 3, 2011

World Fantasy Con, Late Late Show & the Neil Gaiman/AFP tour...

I am sitting in a hotel room in Omaha, Nebraska, wishing that there was a bit more snow falling, but so far only blue skies.
Visiting the rehearsals of TSO, where Drew is doing lasers.
Finally have a minute to catch up with some of last week, so many things happened--photos galore.

As Neil was coming in, I decided to rent a car, instead of stuffing him into Ghosty, which, while amusing to watch him unfold himself in and out of, thought I'd drive him in some style:


A sparklepaint gun-metal gray Dodge Challenger, which I nicknamed Dodgey. On the way to LAX, i got that baby up to 100 mph without even a look back. I was in love...

our first stop was a mini-speaking engagement hosted by James Blaylock for his students (him what is said to be a founding father of steampunk movement...)


Neil did a reading of SAUCERS which knocked me off my chair, and then he read ORANGE, which, all i can say, I hope someone got on video.

(read SAUCERS here for yourself.)
here is Neil with lovely Serena & Tim Powers & James and miss Vicky:


We leave there and head down to San Diego, where Neil is guest of honor at World Fantasy Con.
The ride down was especially memorable, as Neil practiced some of his tour song numbers, and damn, he can actually sing.
We rolled up on Tom Galloway in the parking lot, and this was the nighttime view of the pool outside my hotel...

Lions greeted me in the morning as I went to get our credentials:



After the opening ceremonies, the San Diego Zoo did a terrific presentation, this isn't a great shot of the regal owl but the movie i took is not uploading...


everyone gears up for the big author group signing...


I spot Patrick Rothfuss in the corner, and that's it for that guy. I am attached like a moray eel! He was fascinating conversationalist, we talked of many things, including a Neverwear team up for his charity, Worldbuilders.
stay tuned for more on that!

Patrick shown to the right of Mr. Gregory Noveck of SyFy Channel, (wish you could read Gregory's badge, do ask him about it!):


why yes, i Did have Patrick sign my badge:


The ever-patient Les Klinger then helped me find Charlaine Harris (she of True Blood fame) and I made her sign Neil's nameplate, because while I had nothing else, these authors are my rockstars. She kept saying, but this is...Neil's sign...and I said, well no, now it is mine mine mine--she was so sweet, but she kept one eye out for any sudden movements by yours truly.

here, people are polite as they wait in a Very Long Line that goes Far Out The Door for Neil to sign their books:


We pull the plug exactly at 11 to take Neil to his wife's show down the road, leaving a few sad waiting book-holders, so he promises to do ANOTHER signing,
and when he does, I can't help but corrrect the signage with my handy sharpie (was that wrong?)
click here to see the photo, Neil pointed people to my Twitter post of it, 5000+ views!

Les takes us off to see the close of Amanda's show, where I get to meet mister Rothfuss' assistant, Valerie. Somehow I didn't get a photo of the lovely girl...but here's the marquee:


Merrilee, Neil's superagent, stands out on our balcony.


We drove to Ocean Beach very early to have breakfast and watch the surfers from the pier. Dolphins, seals and several pelicans greeted us. It was such a beautiful morning.


Every con I go to, my first stop is to see the art exhibit, and get in on the auctioning. It inspires me and reminds me to keep doing my own exhibitions, that art is alive, trying to set one up now. This sign was the best:


and this is the haunting mermaid I won:

When I went to pick it up, things were already down, so I sadly have no clue on the artist's name except a signature of Lee, can anyone put me in touch with this artist? write me: as I would love to do some work with this wonderkind.

Miss West McDonough and Mr. Jonathan Pendragon were in attendance, and Jonathan did many card tricks in the hotel bar, we had a great time watching his cards.


here with Sally, our New Zealand friend:


West invited me to the Castle for the Edgar Allan Poe event this Sunday night, amen't i the luckiest Baltimore girl in the world?

Let's have one more look at that delicious pool, I couldn't stay away from it:


Dodgey under the big con sign, what you can't see is the scratch i put on him, more than sad, I may need to do a Kitty benefit auction, as they are taking me to the cleaners on the repair...insert female driver joke here, but I was truly gutted to hurt such a gorgeous vehicle.


The con ended and we had to jam back up to LA, Neil played several songs for me on the drive up and each one that I made him stop and tell me who it was, the answer was always Stephin Merritt in some form/band or another. The new soundtrack to my life, his voice is can easily cure the sick. go here for more on Stephin, i am truly smitten.

We picked up Amanda at #Occupy LA and I dropped them at their hotel to have some time together before the tour kicked off..
Neil signs all the very rare LAST ANGEL hand silkscreened art-by-Craig Thompson prints, blog on them coming soon...


The next day Neil, Amanda, Moby and Mr. Merritt were to appear on the Late Late Show w/ Craig Ferguson.
Neil's mug from Craig, i believe he needs a new Sharpie...


I have long been a Moby fan, so of course I only died four deaths when after shaking my hand, he peers closely into my face and says, "you have...something your teeth...just there..." pointing, while Neil says "oh yes...i saw that too.." Lovely! But Moby was just a doll, we talked about the ups and downs of the touring life. (and it was cupcake, not spinach)
I thought miss SuperKate, Amanda's assistant would die her own four deaths when we met our host, who in his brilliant Scottish burr stated, "But these are not assistants, they are superheroes!" referring to us.
Here is SuperKate fanging the glitter devil horns that Neil would wear for his costume:


Neil goes on and we all go wild in the greenroom over the Simpsons clip they show:


The supergroup as they perform a song from Rocky Horror Picture show, my childhood refuge.


I went to pick up the flawless Allan Amato portraits that are being sold on the tour, lookit:


The Ebell Theater on Halloween was full of costumes, sadly mine, complete with glowy green contacts and superball wish-granter sequin cape stayed at home, too much running around to get it.
Drew sent me this of his contacts, man, i need a Halloween re-do!


look at Rod as Hunter S. Thompson:



Allan and his new bride, bookended by Belinda and Chuck:


Our dynamic duo on stage:


after the show, a crowd gathers:



the next morning, i see them before they drive up the coast to do their tour, Neil & AFP fanning his Craig winnings...
the last image i have: