There’s been a lot of interest in the items I posted for sale here a few days ago with the aim of helping to fund Mossy Hare’s Excalibur documentary Behind the Sword in the Stone. Thanks to everyone who has helped spread the word, and especially to those who have made donations and will be getting their signed and doodled-in books in the New Year.
Meanwhile, author and blogger Julie Bozza has written a nice piece about the crowd-funding campaign here. And my partner-in-Seawigs Sarah McIntyre has also joined the cause, rather gamely in her case since she’d never heard of Excalibur until she heard me going on about it. She’s painted this fine Father Christmas/Sword in the Stone mash-up, which you can read all about – and indeed BUY – on her blog.
And lurking in my cupboard I found this painting of four rusty knights which I must have done in about 1989 in the gouache/watercolour/indian ink style I used back then. The old piece of Daler illustration board it was done on is showing some speckles of damp around the edges, but the picture seems OK, and these knights are so rusty that a few extra splodges would barely notice anyway. It’s a clumsy thing in many ways, but I quite like it, and it’s obviously heavily influenced by the spiky, spiny armour of the knights in the early scenes of Excalibur, so I’m going to make it the final item in my funding campaign: if you fancy owning an early Reeve original, pop over to the Indiegogo page and donate $75 (which is about £45). Then e-mail your receipt to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll sign the picture and send it to you. SOLD.
Like many other people (but not enough yet) I’ve made a donation on their Indiegogo page. But while the rewards they’re offering contributors all look highly desirable to a dyed-in-the-wool fan like me, I thought it might be worth adding some of my own. So if a signed photo of Clive Swift isn’t enough to get you hitting the ‘Contribute Now’ button, you can claim signed editions of my books or a piece of my original artwork as well.
All you need to do is make a contribution via the aforementioned Indiegogo page, then forward a copy of your receipt to me at email@example.com. I’ll then get the item to you as quickly as possible by standard post (air mail if you’re outside the UK).
I do realise that this a bad time of year to be running this – I can’t guarantee posting anything in time for Christmas now, and if you’re anything like me your credit card has just melted from prezzie-buying – but the Indiegogo campaign runs till the 15th January, so hopefully there will be some takers.
I have four items on offer, and they’ll be dished out on a strictly first-come, first-served basis.
UPDATE: All these items have now been sold. Thanks very much to all the generous people who donated to Mossy Hare. I’ll be doodling, signing and mailing the books early in the New Year.
1. Sorry: SOLD! Goblins and Goblins vs Dwarves, signed and doodled in.
You may have to wait a while for delivery, because my new book Goblins vs Dwarves is so new that it isn’t actually out until next spring (I’d hope to have copies by March). I’ll sign them, dedicate them if you like, and draw an original Reeve goblin (or dwarf) on the title pages.
It’s yours for a donation of $25 or more.
2. Sorry – SOLD!
The Mortal Engines Quartet (AKA Predator Cities), US editions, signed and doodled in.
Unfortunately the only spare copies I have of the UK edition are the new ones with the sub-X-Box covers which nobody likes. But the US paperbacks are lovely (though UK readers should be warned that the spellings have been Americanised, and they call Shrike ‘Grike’).
These four are the only signed copies currently in existence, and if you like I’ll do a quick doodle of a character of your choice in each book.
Minimum donation of $50
3. Sorry – SOLD! Fever Crumb 1st Edition hardback, signed and doodled in.
As with the books above, I’ll draw a character of your choice on the title page. Unlike the ones above it’s a hardback, with a fantastic David Wyatt cover complete with peek-a-boo hole which opens to reveal a huge landscape on the endpapers. It’s also a first edition. It’s therefore quite collectable, and a bit more expensive.
Minimum donation $100
4. Sorry – SOLD! A pen-and-ink drawing of London
Last year Scholastic asked myself and Jeremy Levett to write a short guide to the world of Mortal Engines, which we called The Traction Codex. I think you can find it attached as a sort of appendix to the ends of the current UK e-book editions, and I’m assured that it will eventually be available as a separate e-book (although it seems to be taking a bizarrely long time and there is still no firm publication date as yet).
Anyway, I did some illustrations for this project, and this is one of them: the only time I’ve managed to draw the Traction City of London and make it look even remotely like the thing that was in my mind’s eye when I wrote the book. It measures approximately 24.5 x 18.5 cm, and it took flippin’ ages, so I don’t part with it lightly. I had planned to have it on my office wall, but I’d rather see Behind the Sword in the Stone finished, so I’ll exchange it for a whoppingly generous donation of $800 (about 500 of your British Pounds).
LATE EXTRA: Sorry: SOLD
For $75 you can have Four Rusty Knights, a very old picture by me. Details here.
Please don’t approach the Mossy Hare people with queries about these – this is my own initiative, and I’m sure they have enough on their minds already! All queries should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. I try to check messages there at least once a day, and will reply as soon as possible.
Long-time readers of this blog may remember me mentioning the 1981 John Boorman film Excalibur from time to time. Here I am on a trip to Ireland a few years back, having a fanboy moment at Powerscourt waterfall, one of the iconic locations used in the film.
Excalibur was what opened my eyes to the richness of the Arthurian legends, so I would never have written Here Lies Arthur without it. But I might never have written anything at all, because it also opened my eyes to a lot of other things – it led me to seek out John Boorman’s earlier films, like Point Blank and Deliverance, which in turn led to me to lots of other great film makers; it got me reading Malory and Tennyson and Wolfram von Eschenbach and T.S.Eliot and T.H.White: it introduced me to the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites, which in turn led to me back to the Romantics and on the Symbolists and thence to Picasso and the whole of Modern Art… In many ways, Excalibur was what I had instead of university. Perhaps if it hadn’t been made I would have seized on some other book or movie as inspiration at that age – but perhaps I wouldn’t. Anyway, my Life’n’Work would have been very different without it.
When I wrote my own version of the King Arthur story inHere Lies ArthurI knew I had to avoid the fantastical, mediaeval fantasy-world that the movie conjures up or I would just produce an Excalibur pastiche, so that’s how my Arthur ended up so resolutely un-magical and as 5th Century as I could make him. But by way of a tribute I started and ended the book with the same images with which Excalibur begins and ends; riders in a burning wood, and the ship dwindling on a twilit sea.
I mention all this now (and will probably be mentioning it again in the coming weeks) because I’ve just found out about a project called Behind The Sword In The Stone, a documentary film about the making of Excalibur by two Irish film makers working under the banner of Mossy Hare Productions. They’ve managed to track down and interview most of the surviving members of the cast, as well as John Boorman himself.
Even if you don’t share my love of the film (and there are many who don’t) it should make a fascinating documentary. I’d kind of forgotten just how many careers it started: Patrick Stewart, Gabriel Byrne, Liam Neeson, Cherie Lunghi and (I think) Nigel Terry all made their screen debuts in Excalibur, and it was a fairly early screen role for Helen Mirren too. Here’s a sneak peek:
Anyway, having shot all this great stuff, these Mossy Hares are now seeking funds for post production work – editing, sound mixing, voice-over recording etc. They have an Indiegogo campaign page where all donations will be gratefully received, and various perks in the form of signed photos, DVDs etc are available to people who donate. I shall certainly be kicking in something, and I hope other Excalibur fans and lovers of cinema will too – I REALLY want to see this movie!
Thanks to Frank Kelly for telling me about this project. Mossy Hare Productions also has a Facebook page.