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I think somewhere between Dora’s damaged-but-won’t-admit-it breed of wounded-dog pissiness, and Lucien’s fragile (and decaying) need for neatness, is the closest I dare get to inserting myself into this story. They’re both expressions of the fear of losing control, if you get right down to it, and – because this is the Sandman Universe – in both cases “control” is reflected both in the mind and in the world around them. The difference lies in how they each respond to the knowledge of their own fallibility: Dora tries to ignore it, Lucien can’t. -- Si Spurrier

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Coda #1

Jan. 17th, 2019 12:45 am
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I've spent my whole writing career expecting to one day do a high fantasy sword-and-sorcery-style story. It's one of those bucket list things, it's an itch that I thought needs to be scratched. I kind of recoiled from it simply because the vast majority of fantasy texts which exist out there, be they books, comics, TV shows, movies, video games, are appallingly derivative. The new thoughts and new approaches to them are invariably buried beneath this cavalcade of cliches and hackneyed old story tropes. They just make me roll my eyes, and I could feel myself falling for that. When it came to Coda, there was all this stuff sloshing around in my mind, and I felt like the kindest approach would be to drag it outside and shoot it in the head. -- Si Spurrier

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She’s the rogue element. She’s the thing that allows us as comic creators, especially in a shared universe, to tell very different, very unique stories that you just couldn’t necessarily get away with with any of the more mainstream characters and groups. -- Si Spurrier

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I’m thinking right now about Cain and Abel for instance, old-time favorites, I love those two—they seem like such perfect crystallizations their own mythology. And yet when you give it any thought, you realize there’s an awful lot more to them than meets the eye and their story doesn’t quite add up. -- Si Spurrier

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What’s quite interesting is that some people will find specific contemporary reference and relevance where none was intended. [...] Now: it would’ve been really easy to make this into a thinly veiled comment on the Trump presidency. And, hilariously, readers on both sides of the political spectrum have made that assumption. In fact, the primary reference we took for all this stuff was the unhappy Weimar Republic in the 1920’s and 30’s (which – in being mistaken for an analogy of today’s world – should raise a few frightened eyebrows). -- Si Spurrier

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Merv’s another one, Merv Pumpkinhead. He’s either a terrible white-collar cliché waiting to be ridiculed, or he’s something rather more deep and profound than that. You can sort of take all of these characters and treat them in a way that is very lazy, which Neil never would, or you can find new angles on them. And that’s the approach I’m trying very hard to take, if only because it throws up so many interesting plot points. -- Si Spurrier

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We wanted to do clever crossover-y event-style stuff, and we wanted to treat these characters that we all loved with great respect, but also to try and do some new and up-to-date stuff.

But we just didn’t really know how to approach that without it seeming like we were either being a burden on the shoulder of giants or kind of taking the piss a little bit.

And Neil did this amazing thing which only he could do, which is to very calmly and very wisely and with great erudition tell us all that we had permission to be calm and not be so anxious and to treat these toys as if they are our own toys rather than as if we were borrowing them from him. And to just have a view to telling amazing stories that made sense and were valuable rather than servicing a brand in some cynical, commercial way.


-- Si Spurrier

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If a writer's known for doing A Certain Thing, especially at an early stage, it's really difficult to subsequently demonstrate range. There are plenty of creators out there who really lean into that bend, by the way. People who become so intrinsically associated with a single tone or a recurring motif that they wind up putting themselves at the heart of the reading experience. It's branding, inadvertent or otherwise. These are people (usually writers) who stand in front of their stories rather than behind them. I think that's a perfectly reasonable course to take, especially in a world so sodden with opportunities for creator/audience engagement, but for my tastes it feels a little like a gilded cage. After having a great many long, hard discussions with myself I've realised the only thing I feel so strongly about that I can imagine it saturating every single piece of work I ever do – the only thing I'd ever risk becoming my brand, in other words – is my conviction that story is an existential technology. -- Si Spurrier

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One tries to walk the tightrope between terrified deference to the character and pugnacious irreverence. Bowie’s tragic death makes the Jareth role even more drenched in complicated extremes of mystique, sexuality, and ridiculousness than before. Luckily the framing narrative means that although we spend quite a bit of time with him -- and although the whole story is abstractly about him -- he’s not the protagonist per se. As Jareth himself puts it: "Sometimes a baby is a just a thing." The story belongs to those who love it. -- Si Spurrier

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When it comes to working within these worlds, the trick is to tread the tightrope between adoring fanfic and bolshy iconoclasm. Not too similar, not too different. That’s especially true of Labyrinth, where part of the movie’s DNA -- part of what makes it unique and so fondly remembered -- is that it’s ambiguous as to whether any of it is really happening. It will come as no surprise to those who’ve read my work before that I have a huge soft spot for stories that care more about meaning than measurable truth. -- Si Spurrier

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At the heart of the exercise is a determination to preserve the ambiguity of what the Labyrinth actually is. The temptation with any fantasy is to gravitate towards endless detail–Maps! Encyclopediae! Histories!–which doesn’t suit the vibe of the Labyrinth AT ALL. On the other hand, if you take the less romantic view that the entirety of the movie takes place in the over-active imagination of a pubescent kid, it naturally restricts access to new tales. The trick is to preserve both of those extremes while finding wriggle room to do something new. -- Si Spurrier

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Wherein: TFW your whole life is one long garbage-compactor fire full of treachery and regret, and it all decides to come at you at once. With tentacles. -- Si Spurrier

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Well, it’s either a profoundly moving drama about an emotionally neglected woman trying to rebuild a relationship with her insecure mother…or it’s an ultraviolent interdimensional sci-fi action story in the company of two unstoppable kickass female bounty hunters. Or, y’know. Both. -- Si Spurrier

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