On Fairy Tales

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Did you read this fascinating piece by Neil Gaiman in the Guardian, on the art of fairy tales?  It’s a witty and very informative piece, which serves as the perfect intro to the movie of Gaiman’s Stardust which comes out next week.  The film is written and directed by Matthew Vaughn, producer of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and director of Layer Cake. Gaiman is pleased at the final result, and I’m looking forward hugely to seeing it.

As well as his novels and original graphic novels like Sandman, Gaiman also wrote what I think must be one of the boldest and most brilliant Marvel Comics stories of all time – the extraordinary 1602, which posits an alternative reality in which the spymaster to Queen Elizabeth I is not Walsingham, it’s Nick Fury; and the court magician is not John Dee, it’s Dr Stephen Strange. 

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1602 is a dense, dark piece of storytelling, with multiple protagonists which is laced with brilliant gags (there’s a character called Peter Parquah, a silly flourish which I find indecently funny, I’m not sure why.)  And appalling things happen to some of our best loved Marvel characters, giving the narrative a shocking bite.

Damn, I wish I’d written this; or even thought of it. 

I suspect, however, there isn’t a movie in it, because the storytelling doesn’t stand alone; it relies on a thorough and geeky knowledge of Marvel lore.  (The minute we meet a character called Bruce Banner, we know what will happen…) 

Oh and there’s a Templar treasure…and guess what that turns out to be….1602  gives us Gaiman at his most subversive, and funny, and serious.

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