The line-up that wrapped around a block outside The Danforth Theatre in Toronto wasn’t for a band or a celebrity, but rather it was for celebrated and beloved author Neil Gaiman, who is on what is being proclaimed his last signing tour. That is to say, the last multi-city promotional book tour in which he is going to do mass autographings. He’s shown pictures of having to dunk his hands in ice and let them soak because he has pre-signed so many copies in preparation for signing tours, not to mention the autographs he does on the spot for those who stand in line and wait to get their books signed.
I was delighted to see that by the time I heard about the event and checked the website I could indeed actually register and that tickets were still available. In the past I’ve been very disappointed by sell-outs that seem to happen within five minutes of Gaiman events in Toronto. Anyway, this time around I got lucky and even though my seat was on the balcony level, it was a real pleasure to hear Neil Gaiman read from his novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane as well as giving the audience a sneak preview of his forthcoming children’s book, Fortunately, the Milk, which comes out next month.
Some of the highlights included the interviewer, Mark Askwith, himself a Toronto legend in the comic book community, calling Gaiman Toronto’s boyfriend. As well, Gaiman related an amusing anecdote involving Shirley Maclaine and his famous mop of hair. And one of the best lines from his upcoming book, Fortunately, The Milk involves the main character saying to another character, “You’re a Stegosaurus.” When you get to that scene in the book, it’ll make a lot more sense and will be much funnier in the context of that particular scene.
I heard that the event didn’t end until two o’clock in the morning (yikes!), and that it did indeed live up to the standards of Gaiman’s other signing events, which are notorious for stretching on and on for hours with the signing portion, which he graciously obliged to. They called up rows with a lottery system, which was also interesting. For those that stuck around to get their book(s) signed, I’m told it was well worth it, and I imagine it would be. One of my co-workers, also a Gaiman aficionado, got her book signed with a charming little drawing from the author, which was also a highlight.
Overall, it was a great, well-organized event and at least I can say I saw Neil Gaiman when he came to Toronto even if I didn’t get the chance to meet him, which I’m sure would have been a spectacular treat, but one never knows what things may come in the future.