Sunday, February 6, 2005

Hanging Out with the Dream King: interviews with Neil Gaiman and his collaborators

Genre: Other
Author:Joe McCabe
This book gives me triple treats. Oh, wait, or is it quadruple treats? Let's see:
1. I like the size: It's in an A5 format, easy to hold and read everywhere. As a commuter I always bring a book to read in the train: it should fit into my already-full backpack, it should be compact enough so I don't have to disturb my fellow passenger (as by reading newspapers) and it should look good - which brings me to the second treat..
2. I like the design: Every page has black borders, so the book looks black all over: from top, bottom and sides. The cover has a black frame as well. So, black, my favorite color, is dominating this rare-looking book. A photo of Gaiman is at the cover; the overall color effect is greenish and moody (.. or dreamy?). It's like the color of an old wooden door once painted moss green but then bleached by weather, worn by time and use.
3. I like, of course, the contents! Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. He's unique in a way that he works superbly with various artists and media (illustrated book, graphic novel, animation, etc.), so it is very interesting to know how he deals with his also-individually-unique collabolators.
4. Well, I guess it's a quadruple treat after all: I like the illustrative information that comes with the contents. I've seen the finished works as novels, books and such, but in this book I can also see works in progress. Sketches and notes and scripts and such. I only wish there's more of these illustration in the book..

In a way, this book is a worthy collection for Gaiman's fans who like to learn more about the process, the struggle, the success: all the 'backstage' stories. This book happens to include interviews with my favorite artists (who collaborated with Gaiman) such as Dave McKean (it goes without saying..), P. Craig Russel (I like his clean, ornamental style, especially in "Ramadan"), Todd Klein (cool lettering!), Jill Thompson (I like her "Little Endless" a lot) and of course Yoshitaka Amano (he's truly one of a kind)!
The book has a friendly conversation atmosphere; it seems like I were also present during the conversations between McCabe and Gaiman and the others. Moreover, the book might inspire people who work in the world of comics and all related fields. They can see that comic/strip world is not at all about fun, fame and fortune only; in the contrary it requires a lot of hardwork, constant performance and full dedication.

Another personal note: Gaiman is a popular writer who keeps a close contact with his readers through his journal; it's very nice that he does that. I feel more attached to his works, by knowing what went on behind them - not only the business matters (publishers, distributors and such) but also the personal matters (family and friends, of whom Neil cares so much).

Hanging Out with the Dream King
Interviews with Neil Gaiman and His Collabolators
Joe McCabe
(C)Fantagraphics Books, 2005
ISBN# 1560976179


  1. Ta, gw tau kalo dia tu penulis hebat banget. Tapi actually gw belom pernah baca Sandman satupun. Pengen beli satu aja TPBnya, kira2 kamu reccomend yang mana?

  2. Karena ini seri. lebih mudah sih emang baca yg pertama ya. Ini ada summary-nya, online:
    Buat yg belum pernah baca tulisan2 Gaiman, utk baca Sandman ini perlu membangun 'acquired taste' - habis gaya art nya banyak yg gothic atau jeprut. Gue sendiri nggak terlalu sreg ama beberapa ilustrasi di seri Sandman, tapi ceritanya memikat sekaliii. Extended series dari Sandman, "The Dream Hunters" dan seri2nya Death, juga bisa jadi pengantar ringan.
    Atau bisa juga coba baca novel-nya Neil ("Good Omens" itu lucu, atau "Coraline", cerita suspense utk anak2) atau kumpulan cerita pendeknya ("Smoke and Mirrors") atau buku cerita anak2 ("The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish" atau "Wolves in the Walls"
    Hehe.. kok jadi banyak..

  3. Gileeee... Jadi bingung deh.
    Ntar kalo balik Jakarta gw coba cari deh yang pertama. Judulnya simply "Sandman vol.1"? Atau ada judul spesifiknya?

  4. Yg pertama judulnya "Preludes & Nocturnes". Tapi siap2 liat gambar2 jeprut, sebab Sandman memang masih nyari bentuk (tiap2 episode penciller & inker-nya beda2). Bear with the stories :)

  5. Okey... Eh, maksudnya jeprut apa, neh? Jelek? Masa, sih?
    Tapi kalo ceritanya bagus2 aja, aku seneng2 aja.
    Thanks, Ta!

  6. Jeprut tu apa ya? Bad mood gitu kali ya...
    Episode yg pertama2, suasanya kebanyakan muram dan kacau gitu, gayanya surreal banget. Mungkin memang sedang mencari bentuk, atau mau bikin atmosfer "mimpi buruk".. rada susah dibaca alur ceritanya.
    Tapi makin dibaca, pasti makin terpikat :)