§ Does giving things away for free work? Neil Gaiman reports on AMERICAN GODS download stats. The novel has been made available for download for the month of March.

It’s worth drawing people’s attention to the fact that the free online reading copy of American Gods is now in its last six days online (it ends 31 March 08). I learned this from an email from Harper Collins, which also told me the latest batch of statistics.

American Gods:

68,000 unique visitors to the book pages of American Gods

3,000,000 book pages viewed in aggregate

And that the weekly book sales of American Gods have apparently gone up by 300%, rather than tumbling into the abyss. (Which is — the rise, not the tumble — what I thought would happen. Or at least, what I devoutly hoped would happen.)

300% eh? This free sampling thing may have legs.

§ Jennifer de Guzman’s “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now column” returns at [email protected]

§ Detective Johanna Draper Carlson of Toontown yard has many unanswered questions about this year’s Free Comic Book Day. We’re not quite so sure why she’s so darned suspicious of the event, which has become a huge PR event for retailers savvy enough to jump on board, but it is reasonable to ask some of the questions. Our 2¢: Making the comics offered be All-ages is not such a big deal. We’ve got the adult nerd demographic covered pretty well, let’s try to open things up.

§ Canadian retailer strives to recommend comics for kids

Comic books are known for their fantastical characters, dynamic artwork and controversy, but are they useful mediums to get fickle teenagers and kids to turn the page?

George Zotti, manager of the Silver Snail, a Toronto comic book retailer, seems to think so, but adds it can be difficult to pick up a title and immediately follow the story.

“The only problem with buying the standard comic book is that the stories continue from one issue to the next — they’re serialized,” he says, adding that some story arcs span months, which can make it difficult for new readers to follow.

His solution is to get parents to buy trade paperbacks — including anime and from the ever-adapting publishers Marvel and DC — which include entire story arcs in one book.

§ ‘Wimpy’ author entrances tots with visit

§ Actor James Sturgess tells more of his involevement with the SPIDER-MAN musical

Director Julie Taymor was so pleased with Sturgess’s work in Across The Universe that she asked him to become involved in preliminary development on her projected Broadway musical version of Spider-Man.

“It’s there and Julie’s definitely going to make it,” Sturgess says. “Whether I’ll be in it or not, I don’t know.”

What he does know is that his input during a two-week workshop in New York helped shape the show that will eventually hit the stage. Taymor phoned him to ask if he and Evan Rachel Wood would come to New York and “help out” with her new musical.

“I love Julie. She’s kind of a mentor for me. Evan is one of my best friends, so it was a chance for us all to get together and we just saw it as a fun thing to do for two weeks in New York City – writing songs with Bono and The Edge about Spider-Man.”

Confession: We’re mighty anxious to see this musical.

§ Georges Jeanty, artist on the Buffy comics, is rarely given the spotlight so so it’s nice to see an interview with him at horroryearbook.com

HORROR YEARBOOK: What were your feelings on Buffy sleeping with another female slayer, Satsu? Was it hard or easy for you to draw?

GEORGES JEANTY: This was the thing that I thought was going to be the climax. I mean how do you come back from that? And we’re only in the 12th issue! I knew how important this was going to become so I was thinking about this issue months before I was to draw it. When I did start to draw it I thought that first page of Buffy and Satsu in bed was something we were going to have to handle very delicately so there would be a lot of back and forth about what should be seen—or so I thought. I read the script from Drew, who is an absolute joy to work with, and sat down and drew out the page. I expected lots of changes when Joss, Drew and Scott saw it, but they thought it was perfect. Rarely do I hit something on the first try. I was on a high the whole day after that!

§ Fun bonus link: § In author’s day men did not loaf!


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