Toronto visit by Neil Gaiman results in plugs for Toronto comic stores

On June 8th, popular writer Neil Gaiman will be doing a reading/signing in Toronto. The media seems to have picked up on a thread that Toronto comic shops are directly responsible for Gaiman’s Hogtown successes. Last time there was love for (former Silver Snail manager) Mark Askwith… and this time…

From CTV (The Canadian Press)….

Gaiman’s Toronto appearance will mark the first time he’s promoting “The Graveyard Book” in Canada and his first doing a book signing in the city in three years.

Toronto fans have been particularly good to him so it’s important that he get to reconnect with them again, he said.

“I’ve had this strange and rather lovely relationship with Toronto going back even before I ever came out to Toronto,” he said.

“The first time I was out I think I think was about ’89, ’90, but even before then, Toronto was the place where (comic bookstore) Silver Snail sold more copies of my first graphic novel, `Violent Cases,’ than were sold in the rest of the North American continent.”

Toronto is also where Gaiman was first recognized in the street, he says, and where — in the early ’90s — he first saw one of his book signings go on for hours longer than it should have.

“The signing was going to start at three o’clock in the afternoon and there was a lovely dinner set up at eight — and at eight I was still signing, and at nine I was still signing and at 10 I was still signing,” he said. “Finally at about midnight, long after every restaurant was closed, I was dropped off at my hotel with sore hands.”

“I just remember sitting in the bathtub, drinking fizzy water and eating chocolate chip cookies which was all that was in the mini bar and just thinking to myself, `This is the glamorous life.”‘

Then, there’s the Toronto Star’s Raju Mudhar who reports:

Gaiman also name-checks Toronto as one of the first places where he was recognized on the street, and he credits Markham St. comic book store The Beguiling with helping him start doing author readings in the first place.

“The very first public reading I did was organized by The Beguiling, the Toronto comics store in … I think it was about 1992. They basically said we’d like you to come up and do an event for the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund.

“They had this big old church hall and they sold tickets for it, and I remember I was terrified at the idea that I was going to do this thing. And I did it anyway, because they asked, and I walked out of there going, `Oh my God, I can do this.’ And all of the reading tours I’ve done, they all go back to that one I did in Toronto.”