Which Comic-Con just had over 70,000 in attendance? Where can you meet the cast and filmmakers of “The Collection”? Which Valiant character will the USA Luge Team be adopting the look of? Find out all this and more in this week’s Scene on the Web Weekly.
I was recently invited to review the just released (November 15th) 15th Anniversary Edition of Neverwhere on DVD, the BBC-produced first television miniseries developed by Neil Gaiman. I was delighted to do so as I read the novelization several years ago and have been always been curious to see the live action version. In fact, I did not know, or had forgotten, that the BBC version is actually the story in its original form; the novel was something that Gaiman wrote later. Anyway, it’s been long enough that aside from the identity of the big bad of the story, I remembered very few of the details of just what happened so for the most part, I was able to enjoy the story with a fresh perspective. There will be some minor spoilers below, but I won’t reveal everything.
The official summary of the story is thus:
In Neverwhere, Richard Mayhew (Gary Bakewell, Chef!) leads an ordinary life in London when one day a girl named Door (Laura Fraser, He Knew He Was Right) falls and injures herself across his path. Door belongs to a different world – London Below – and has come to London Above determined to learn why her parents have been killed. The next thing he knows, Mayhew’s life as he knew it is gone and he’s underground, pursued by the murderous messengers. The two attempt to find the Angel Islington, who knows the secret behind the murder of Door’s family, and possibly a way for Richard to go home.
Neverwhere is your sort of Alice in Wonderland or Wizard of Oz type of story where a normal person gets caught up in an extraordinary fantasy setting. The chief character of Richard Mayhew learns about a whole other world below London. It’s a sort of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome sort of place, but with fantasy elements thrown in, supernatural creatures and Door’s mutant-like ability to open any door she needs to. There is also an element very similar to J. Michael Straczynski’s Midnight Nation opus whereby once you are part of this world, the regular world no longer recognizes you.
The miniseries suffers a bit with its TV production values, comparable to what I’ve seen from the BBC in the past. The lead role is played by Gary Bakewell, whom I couldn’t help but notice looked remarkably like a young Paul McCartney, and, sure enough, played Sir Paul in the 2000 TV movie The Linda McCartney Story. Also, while I was taken with the lovely Laura Fraser as Door, I coincidentally was watching one of my favorite movies, A Knight’s Tale, a few nights later and realized that she played the part of the handmaid Kate in that film. The two actors that stand out in this production, however, were Paterson Joseph as the Maquis De Carabas, and Hywel Bennett as the villainous Mr. Croup. The Maquis is kind of the kickbutt guy on the heroes’ side and is played with flair by Joseph. I know that Joseph was much rumored to take over the part of The Doctor in Dr. Who before Matt Smith was cast in the role, and I still think Joseph would have made for an interesting choice. Here is a clip:
Bennett, on the other hand, just chews the scenery every time he is on screen and is a lot of fun.
As far as the story itself, my only problem was I felt like for too much of the miniseries, the lead character of Richard Mayhew was just along for the ride. While he naturally plays a crucial role in the whole affair, he often is regulated to just tagging along and even remarks on it himself.
While we do get a complete story, Neverwhere is begging for a sequel and leaves one particular hanging plot point wide open. While I doubt this cast could get reassembled so many years later, I hope Gaiman will get around to it in book form.
• 15th Anniversary Intro with Neil Gaiman, Lenny Henry and producer Clive Brill
• 15th Anniversary Audio Commentary with Gaiman, Henry and Brill
• Original Interview with Gaiman
• Original Audio Commentary with Gaiman
• Photo Gallery
• Character Descriptions
• Neverwhere Map Insert
Comic book fans will also want to note that the DVD features the original cover artwork as created in 1995 by Dave McKean.
Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer appear at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Monday, October 31, 2011 at 8:00 PM
Wilshire Ebell Theatre
4401 West 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90005
The Hero Initiative will be offering the latest edition of their Hero Comics series at Comic-Con International: San Diego starting July 20 and in stores July 27.
- A reunion of the original Sandman creative team: Neil Gaiman, Mike Dringenberg and Sam Kieth
- An original Chew story by creators John Layman and Rob Guillory
- An original Elephantman story from Richard Starkings and Dougie Braithwaite
- Personal stories of Hero Initiative from Chris Ivy, Ralph Reese and Jason Craig
Covers are by J. Scott Campbell and Adam Hughes cover with a 1-in-10 black-and-white retailer incentive cover.
Neil Gaiman, in conversation with Maria Dahvana Headley on Sunday June 26th at 7pm!
Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Avenue, Seattle (Enter on Seneca)
Neil Gaiman’s American Gods appeared in 2001 to wide acclaim. It’s a story of magic and myth, a great and towering fable that uses the American landscape as its backdrop. On this, the tenth anniversary of the book, Gaiman will appear in conversation with Maria Dahvana Headely, author of Queen of Kings, to talk about the updated and expanded American Gods. Two types of tickets are available for the Neil Gaiman event: Orange tickets cost $29.55, include one signed copy of American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition from the University Book Store, and grant admission to one person to the event. Signed books will be distributed at the event. Green tickets cost $5, and admit one person to the event. To purchase tickets, please call 1.800.335.READ or email email@example.com. Tickets available now.
Please Note: Autographed copies of books are only available after the event.
Neil Gaiman and Patton Oswalt appear on Tuesday, June 28th at 8pm (Doors at 7:00pm).
New York Times bestselling author, Neil Gaiman, discusses American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition with comedian Patton Oswalt at the historic Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills.
First published in 2001, American Gods became an instant classic—an intellectual and artistic benchmark from the multiple-award-winning master of innovative fiction, Neil Gaiman. Now discover the mystery and magic of American Gods in this tenth anniversary edition. Newly updated and expanded with the author’s preferred text, this commemorative volume is a true celebration of a modern masterpiece by the one, the only, Neil Gaiman.
CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS: $15 without book; $35 with book*
*Note: Mr. Gaiman will only be pre-signing books for ticket buyers who have ordered Admission w/ Book in advance. If you would like a signed copy of American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition from this event, it’s imperative that you order accordingly now as there will not be an opportunity after the event to get additional books signed.
**All tickets and books will be available for pickup at Saban Theatre Will Call night of show. No physical tickets will be mailed for this event.
Bestselling author Neil Gaiman has long been one of the top writers in modern comics, as well as writing books for readers of all ages. He is listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top ten living post-modern writers, and is a prolific creator of works of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics, and drama.
His New York Times bestselling 2001 novel for adults, American Gods, was awarded the Hugo, Nebula, Bram Stoker, SFX, and Locus awards, was nominated for many other awards, including the World Fantasy Award and the Minnesota Book Award, and appeared on many best-of-year lists.
8440 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Neil Gaiman appears on Friday, June 24, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.
HURRY! Tickets can be purchased through The Fitzgerald Theater’s box office at 651-290-1200.
Neil Gaiman is one of the most engaging, smart writers we know. (@neilhimself) Turns out he’s pretty funny, too. He’s behind the Sandman graphic novels – the only comics to ever make the New York Times bestseller list. He’s won a ton of awards for his writing – The Newberry Medal, the Carnegie Medal in Literature the Bram Stoker award. His written books and screenplays – “American Gods”, “The Graveyard Book”, “Coraline”, “Beowulf”. He returns to Wits™ this spring and charms us all with his English accent and his way with words.
Paste magazine has called him one of the “100 Greatest Living Songwriters.” Stephen King has said of one of Josh’s songs: “This is the most exuberant outburst of imagery since Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” in 1963.” Most everybody agrees Josh Ritter is a rare talent. (@joshritter) He will woo you from the stage of the Fitzgerald at this final Wits show of the season, where you can also be one of the first to get his new novel, “Bright’s Passage” (out in bookstores June 28, 2011). It’s a book that inspired Pulitzer Prize-winning author Debby Applegate say “In his debut novel Josh Ritter displays the same love of language and historical detail, the same irresistible combination of wit and earnestness, that make him such a brilliant songwriter. He’s created a genuine work of literature.” You would be crazy to not see this show.
Bonus: Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett – the Box Dwellers! For ten years Kevin Murphy (@kwmurphy) co-wrote and directed the Peabody Award-winning series Mystery Science Theater 3000, and starred as the plucky red robot Tom Servo. Bill Corbett (@billcorbett) also wrote and performed on the show as well, providing the voice of the robot Crow (v.2.0) and playing various other strange characters — including the all-powerful but clueless alien The Observer (a.k.a. “Brain Guy”). They both are part of the RiffTrax team that makes MP3 tracks you can play in-sync with your favorite movies. We’ve asked them to come and riff on Wits™. They’ll be in a box seat at the Fitz, talking about the show and what people are saying on Twitter. Like our own, modern-day Statler and Waldorf.
10 E. Exchange St, St. Paul, MN
Neil Gaiman in conversation with Lev Grossman on Tuesday June 21, 2011 at 8pm at the 92nd Street Y. Tickets are $29.00, click here to purchase.
To mark the re-release of his breakout novel American Gods, bestselling author Neil Gaiman discusses his career with Time magazine’s book reviewer and technology writer, Lev Grossman. Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book and Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett); the Sandman series of graphic novels and the story collections Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things. He is the winner of numerous literary honors, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker and World Fantasy Awards and the Newbery Medal.
Lev Grossman is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel, The Magicians.
The Booksmith and Berkeley Arts & Letters Present An Evening with NEIL GAIMAN Celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of American Gods on June 27, 2011 at 7:30 pm.
Tickets $12, available at Brown Paper Tickets online, or 800-838-3006, and at The Booksmith on Haight Street in San Francisco
“Mystery, satire, sex, horror, poetic prose.If you have enjoyed John Crowley’s Little, Big or Stephen King’s The Stand or the urbane horror fiction of Jonathan Carrollthen American Gods arrives just in time.” — Washington Post
“Dark fun, and nourishing to the soul.” — Michael Chabon, author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
It has been a decade since #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman (Sandman, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book) rocked the literary world with American Gods – his breathtaking tale of the war on Earth between old gods and new. For those who have yet to experience Gaiman’s bestselling tour de force — a novel USA Today called “a powerful, searing force that makes readers confront what is real and what is not” — and for those eager to enter this astonishing world again, comes the Author’s Preferred Text 10th Anniversary Edition. Winner of the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and Bram Stoker Awards, with a special introduction by the author, this is American Gods as Neil Gaiman always meant it to be.
Purchasing your copy of American Gods, The Tenth Anniversary Edition ahead of time guarantees a signed copy. This new edition is offered at a 20% discount; price includes applicable state sales tax. (Unsigned copies will also be for sale at the event.)
You may purchase a copy in advance via Brown Paper Tickets, or at The Booksmith in person, by phone (415-863-8688), online, or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Your printed receipt is your voucher, and may be redeemed immediately before the event at check-in. You must present your ticket voucher at the time of pickup. Please do not bring books purchased elsewhere.
First Congregational Church of Berkeley
2345 Channing Way at Dana (enter via courtyard on Dana), Berkeley, CA 94704
Neil Gaiman discusses his book, “American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition,” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 23 in the NPC Ballroom. As a fundraiser for the Club’s Eric Friedheim Library, this will be a ticketed event. Click the link to buy tickets.
First published in 2001, “American Gods” became an instant classic and has been described as a synthesis of “mystery, satire, sex, horror, and poetic prose” (Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World). The Tenth Anniversary Edition is a commemorative volume that has been updated and expanded.
Gaiman, who began his writing career as a journalist, is the award-winning author of more than ten novels, including “Coraline,” “The Graveyard Book,” “Neverwhere,” “Anansi Boys” and “Good Omens” (with Sir Terry Pratchett). He is listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top ten living post-modern writers. He has also worked in support of First Amendment rights, and was awarded the Defender of Liberty Award in August 1997 by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund for his efforts.
This event is cosponsored by the Club’s Book & Author and Young Members Committees. Proceeds benefit the Eric Friedheim National Journalism Library. No outside books will be permitted.
Price: $5; General Admission. You must present your printed ticket for admission.
Purchase your book ahead of time and guarantee a signed copy of “American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition.” Unsigned copies will also be for sale at the event.
Getting Your Book
The printed receipt will serve as a voucher. Vouchers may be redeemed immediately before the event at check-in. You must present your voucher at the time of pick up.
All sales are final and no refunds will be issued.
National Press Club
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045