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Neil Gaiman
"I've always been fond of Japanese myths and history, but all of a sudden, having done a bunch of stuff on it, it was all sloshing round in the back of my head."
Emru Townsend: I see that you've got a new Sandman coming out for the first time in years, with Yoshitaka Amano doing the covers--

Neil Gaiman: He's doing all the art. The whole book.

All the art? I didn't realize that.

It's a 129-page book. It's a prose story that I wrote, with 70 paintings by Amano.

Apparently this came out of your research on Mononoke.

It did, although it came out of it in a very strange way, because when I agreed to do Mononoke, I then spent a month just reading up on Japanese lore, and mythology, and history. And I've always been fond of Japanese myths and history, but all of a sudden, having done a bunch of stuff on it, it was all sloshing round in the back of my head. And then Amano agreed to do the Sandman tenth anniversary poster, and I saw it and just fell in love. And I thought, you know, I never did a Japanese Sandman in all those years. So when my editor came to me and said would I do something for the tenth anniversary, I said sure, if Amano-san will draw it, I'm in there.

Had you ever seen his work before?

Yes I had, although I'd forgotten. But I first saw his work in 1989 in Seattle, at the World Fantasy Convention, when he was guest of honor. I remember going round the art show looking for stuff and seeing it; his stuff is amazing. And he's gotten much better over [the past] ten years.

He's also done some animated work as well.

I saw his Thousand and One Nights at the opening of his exhibition. Astounding. I cannot praise his work on the Sandman book highly enough. Really astonishing. I think people will like it.

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A Critical Eye exclusive (November 8, 1999)