Neil Gaiman was my gateway-drug to Charles Vess, since he did the illustrations for Gaiman’s Stardust. Then came his illustrations for Peter Pan, and Instructions, again with Gaiman. Finally, his work on Gaiman’s Sandman and The Books of Magic are very pleasing to the eye.
Some time ago, I picked up a copy of Vess’ The Book of Ballads, which contains the great songs and folktales of the English, Irish and Scottish traditions in sequential art form. So, it’s old tales, retold and illuminated, followed by the original. Now, I’m not that familiar with those traditions, nor very inclined to change that. The main thing I took away from this volume is that it’s quite pretty.
Charles Vess (et al.) — The Book of Ballads
I’m off to school ma. (from The False Knight in the Road by Charless Vess with Neil Gaiman.)
The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains: A Tale of Travel and Darkness with Pictures of All Kinds, written by Neil Gaiman with illustrations by Eddie Campbell, is a lovely edition of the story first published in the Stories anthology. As such, I read it before.
Two men, one small and one large, walk through Scotland towards the Black Mountains on the Misty Isle (which is also called the Winged Isle), to find a cave. A cave where gold is to be found, or so men say. They find the cave. And, perhaps, also truth.
Neil Gaiman — The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains (illustrated by Eddie Campbell)
Unlike that feeling you only can say what it is in French, there are things there aren’t any words for yet. John Lloyd and Douglas Adams’ The Deeper Meaning of Liff (the 1990 revised and expanded version of 1983’s The Meaning of Liff) matches some of those common experiences, feelings, situations and objects to some of the thousands of spare words that spend their time doing nothing but loafing about on signposts pointing at places.
Ever had to take a decision that’s very hard to take because so little depends on it (like which way to walk around a park)? There’s a word for that: deventer. That irritating man next to you at a concert, who thinks he’s the conductor? He’s a thrumster. A badly suppressed yawn? That’s a wawne. To indignantly deny something which is palpably true? To hoff. You get the point.
Douglas Adams & John Lloyd — The Deeper Meaning of Liff (A Dictionary of Things That There Aren’t Any Words for Yet)
Aalst (v.): One who changes his name to be nearer to the front.