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Mirrormask [Hardcover]

Neil Gaiman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 21 2005

From the incomparable imagination and lucid visions of Sandman creator Neil Gaiman and acclaimed artist and director Dave McKean -- and the innovative minds at The Jim Henson Company -- comes MirrorMask, a breathtaking journey through a strange and magical looking-glass world where anything can happen ... and frequently does.

Here is the complete film book of the new high-water mark in family fantasy entertainment. The story of young Helena, daughter of the circus, comes vividly alive as we accompany her on her remarkable mission to a place far beyond wonder; a phantasmagorical quest to rescue a realm from the devouring forces of chaos and shadow in order to win back her stolen "real" life from a runaway interloper from the other side.

Containing the full screenplay and more than 1,700 illustrated storyboards of the major motion picture -- as well as movie stills, comments, appreciations, and memories from the authors and filmmakers -- this one-of-a-kind volume is destined to become a classic, a keepsake to be cherished by fans of all ages.

For all who believe in the glorious reality of dreams, for everyone who longs to ride their imagination to miraculous places, the door is now open wide. See the world anew through the MirrorMask ... and nothing will ever look the same again.


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About the Author

A professional writer for more than twenty years, Neil Gaiman has been one of the top writers in modern comics, and is now a bestselling novelist.His work has appeared in translation in more than nineteen countries, and nearly all of his novels, graphic and otherwise, have been optioned for films.He is listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top ten living post-modern writers.

Gaiman was the creator/writer of the monthly cult DC Comics series, "Sandman," which won Neil nine Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, including the award for best writer four times, and three Harvey Awards."Sandman #19" took the 1991 World Fantasy Award for best short story, making it the first comic ever to be awarded a literary award.

His six-part fantastical TV series for the BBC, "Neverwhere," was broadcast in 1996.His novel, also called "Neverwhere," and set in the same strange underground world as the television series, was released in 1997; it appeared on a number of bestseller lists, including those of the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Locus.

Stardust, an illustrated prose novel in four parts, began to appear from DC Comics in 1997.In 1999 Avon released the all-prose unillustrated version, which appeared on a number of bestseller lists, was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best books of the year, and was awarded the prestigious Mythopoeic Award as best novel for adults.

American Gods, a novel for adults, was published in 2001 and appeared on many best-of- the-year lists, was a New York Times bestseller in both hardcover and paperback, and won the Hugo, Nebula, SFX, Bram Stoker, and Locus Awards.

Coraline (2002), his first novel for children, was a New York Times and international bestseller, was nominated forthe Prix Tam Tam, and won the Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award, the BSFA Award, the HUgo, the Nebula and the Bram Stoker Award.

2003 saw the publication ofbestseller The Wolves in the Walls, a children's picture book,illustrated by Gaiman's longtime collaborator Dave McKean, which the New York Times named as one of the best illustrated books of the year; and the first Sandman graphic novel in seven years, Endless Nights, the first graphic novel to make the New York Times bestseller list.

In 2004, Gaiman published the a new graphic novel for Marvel called 1602, which was the best-selling comic of 2004, and 2005 saw the Sundance Film Festival premiere of "MirrorMask," a Jim Henson Company Production written by Gaiman and directed by McKean.A lavishly designed book containing the complete script, black and white storyboards, and full-color art from the film will be published by William Morrow in early 2005; a picture book for younger readers, also written by Gaiman and illustrated with art from the movie, will be published by HarperCollins Children's Books at a later date.

Gaiman's official website has 400,000 unique visitors per month in 2004; close to 600,000 per month are expected in 2005. His online journal is syndicated to thousands of blog readers every day.

Born and raised in England, Neil Gaiman now lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he is currently at work on Anansi Boys, the long-awaited follow-up to American Gods.


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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Behind the mask... May 1 2009
By Jamieson Villeneuve TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
What would happen if a world we created were to actually exist? A world filled with darkness, as much as ours was filled with light? What would happen if we could actually step into that world? What would happen if there was actually two of you; a dark you and a light you? A lot of questions, yes, but all valid if we are to understand the mysteries of the Mirror Mask.

Helena Campbell has such a task. Part of her family's circus, she performs with her parents and other circus employees, always wishing for something more. She dreams of something different than performing every night to nameless strangers and doesn't really share her father's dream and vision of running a circus.

Joanna, Helena's mother, falls deathly ill after the two argue over her father's dream. People talk in whispers around her, but she knows that her mother is dying. No one will tell her, but Helena has heard the word cancer whispered in the hospital halls. Feeling remorse at the words she yelled at her mother before she fell ill, Helena falls asleep on the rooftop of the building she shares with her parents while not performing.

There, surrounding her, are the black and white drawings she has etched into the surface of the roof. There are more drawings in her room, covering the walls so that not a speck of paint shows through the paper and ink. When not performing, Helena draws. These drawings help Helena deal with the harshness of her life.

Helena wakes to hear violin music. Its sadness calls to her and she rushes down to the bottom of the building to see a masked man playing a violin; another man, his face distorted, different, is beside him. He is juggling balls to the music.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Unmasked Sept. 11 2005
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Writer Neil Gaiman has crafted dozens of dark fantasy books and graphic novels over the years; the only thing to expect from him is stuff that is a bit twisted and bizarre. In a good way, that is.

But in 2001, he embarked on a different kind of creative journey: Penning "Mirrormask," a Carroll-ian fantasy movie, directed by book illustrator (and Gaiman collaborator) Dave McKean. While the movie isn't yet out, the screenplay is a lavish affair with concept art, photos and background information.

Helena is a bored young girl in the circus, wanting a taste of real life. But then real life strikes: During a performance, her mother falls seriously ill and is hospitalized. Unhappy and directionless, Helena falls into another world -- a bizarre place full of masked people, griffins, orbiting giants and malevolent shadows.

She is soon told by the Prime Minister that an evil princess (who resembles her) has stolen a magical charm, sending the Queen of that city into a coma -- and her city into chaos. With the comically mercenary Valentine at her side, Helena finds herself sent on a dangerous quest to find the charm -- the mysterious Mirrormask.

Half of "Mirrormask"'s appeal is the eerie presentation, along with an archetypical heroine and opposing light/dark kingdoms. And it's a credit to both McKean and Gaiman that their screenplay is a good read on its own, letting eager fans know what to expect when the film finally sees the light of day.

What sets "Mirrormask: The Illustrated Film Script" apart from most screenplays? The fact that Gaiman and McKean included storyboard pictures with the dialogue.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inside access to this magical film May 16 2005
By Bookreporter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In 2001, the Jim Henson Company contacted writer Neil Gaiman and artist Dave McKean about doing a film. Now, four years later, the product of all their hard work has come to fruition in the form of MirrorMask. While the film is slated for release later this year, Gaiman and McKean have put together a collector's book --- a companion that enhances one's understanding of how a film of this design comes into creation.

Complete with over 1,700 of McKean's storyboards, as well as the full screenplay written by Gaiman, MIRRORMASK is a fairy tale adventure that follows the story of Helena, the daughter of a circus family whose only wish is to abandon her life amongst performers and enter the real world. She engages in a heated discussion with her parents about her future with the circus, and soon after her mother falls gravely ill.

On the night before her mother goes in for surgery, Helena dreams she is in a mysterious and magical new world. In this world of two kingdoms, one land is eternally filled with light while the other is always shrouded in darkness. The balance is shifting in this new world as the daughter of the Dark Queen steals the MirrorMask from the castle of the White Queen. The White Queen then slips into a sleep from which she cannot be awakened. The only way to restore her is to seek out and bring her the MirrorMask.

The question Helena comes to ask is whether it is all a dream or is it something else entirely. She comes to believe that what she changes in the dream world will affect the real world. Thus, using the logic of dream worlds, her mother will be healed if she helps the White Queen. With the aid of the crafty juggler, Valentine, Helena sets out to retrieve the MirrorMask.

Gaiman weaves a beautiful tale where much is familiar and yet wholly new. The cast of characters is colorful and engaging, especially Valentine, who is both hysterically funny and also suspicious enough to be wary of. His writing style always has been one of great visual impact --- when reading a Gaiman work you can close your eyes and see his images in your mind. MIRRORMASK is no exception. Although McKean's artwork accompanies the text, you still can feel the visual component of Gaiman's words calling you to this new world.

Of equal interest are the letters sent between Gaiman and McKean that are included in the back of the book. These 20+ pages offer us insight into how the film came to be, from its creation in Gaiman's mind to its refining in McKean's hands. It also affords the reader the opportunity to see the editorial process as names and actions from Gaiman's initial vision changed by the time the screenplay was complete.

The germs of this tale came to life while Gaiman and McKean stayed in Jim Henson's house. Surrounded by all the magical elements of Jim's world, they set about the writing of the film. In reading the resulting book, they have succeeded in creating a world easily accessible to children and adults, and reawakened the wonder in all of us.
[...]
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helena in wonderland Sept. 21 2005
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Writer Neil Gaiman has crafted dozens of dark fantasy books and graphic novels over the years; the only thing to expect from him is stuff that is a bit twisted and bizarre. In a good way, that is.

But in 2001, he embarked on a different kind of creative journey: Penning "Mirrormask," a Carroll-ian fantasy movie, directed by book illustrator (and Gaiman collaborator) Dave McKean. While the movie isn't yet out, the screenplay is a lavish affair with concept art, photos and background information.

Helena is a bored young girl in the circus, wanting a taste of real life. But then real life strikes: During a performance, her mother falls seriously ill and is hospitalized. Unhappy and directionless, Helena falls into another world -- a bizarre place full of masked people, griffins, orbiting giants and malevolent shadows.

She is soon told by the Prime Minister that an evil princess (who resembles her) has stolen a magical charm, sending the Queen of that city into a coma -- and her city into chaos. With the comically mercenary Valentine at her side, Helena finds herself sent on a dangerous quest to find the charm -- the mysterious Mirrormask.

Half of "Mirrormask"'s appeal is the eerie presentation, along with an archetypical heroine and opposing light/dark kingdoms. And it's a credit to both McKean and Gaiman that their screenplay is a good read on its own, letting eager fans know what to expect when the film finally sees the light of day.

What sets "Mirrormask: The Illustrated Film Script" apart from most screenplays? The fact that Gaiman and McKean included storyboard pictures with the dialogue. It's not easy to visualize what's happening in a movie just by reading the script, and so the storyboard images let the readers follow the dialogue more easily.

And of course: the photographs -- weird ones, usually patched together with surreal CGI, computer animation and wild makeup. Valentine's masklike face in particular is odd, but strangely convincing. There are even some behind-the-scenes photographs, including bluescreen shots and faux-aged pictures of anti-Helena.

To add to the wealth of information, the correspondence between McKean and Gaiman about this film, abbreviations and grammatical errors intact. "Fantasy stories rely on cliche too much, fairy stories about fairies I think are pointless, fairy stories about the people who need to believe in fairies I think are fascinating," McKean writes in one letter.

"Mirrormask" seems to be what one would expect from a Gaiman creation: Weird, strange, and surreal, yet also funny and touching. And for anyone anticipating the film, "Mirrormask: the Illustrated Script" is a must-have.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Art Work Feb. 9 2010
By Melissa Camilini - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Purchased for myself but my 10 year old daughter has taken it from me. This is one of both of our favorite movies and having the script and the art work is an great additon to our book collection.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars delightful film script fairy tale June 5 2005
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Fifteen years old Helena works very hard in her family's circus. She hates her life, hoping to one day escape and become part of the real world. However, one day her wish comes true, just not her real world. She has ended up in a fantasy realm filled with mythological creatures in which two kingdoms exist in natural balance side by side. One eternally in light, the other forever in darkness. However, the harmony is gone as Helena and her double from this world beyond her imagination have switched places. To return home, Helena must restore the balance.

Above is an overly simplification of the delightful fairy tale plot that is some ways will remind the audience of the Wizard of Oz. The book is not a novel, but instead the film script with story boards of Mirrormask Motion Picture. This different tome is fun to follow whether Helena is performing as a sock, working at the circus as a juggler or selling tickets, or meeting strange beings in the fantasy realm as she seeks "ruby slippers' to get back home. Interesting but not for everyone, this is an intriguing picture book that tells the fun tale, but keep in mind it is a script not a graphic novel. Appendices add understanding as the MIRRORMASK -- THE ILLUSTRATED FILM SCRIPT OF THE MOTION PICTURE FROM THE JIM HENSON COMPANY is fun family entertainment with a movie to follow in the Fall.

Harriet Klausner
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The World of Magic July 7 2005
By Majo Pavlovic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First of all, i must say that i'm a big fan of fantasy, horror, and sci-fi book's, film's and graphic novel's.

As a painter, short stories writer, and graphic novella's author i may say that the Mirrormask is a great ''drive trough'' the world of magic, fantasy, and imagination of today's acclaimed writer Neil Gaiman, and my favorite painter, photographer, and one of a kind artist Dave McKean.

I'll make this short.

All of you that are interested in a way of making a good scenario, and a great storyboard, you SHOULD have this amazing book!

It helped me to see and to realise how to think, and how to make my own ideas come true!

Dave McKean is one of my favorite artists, and trust me, you'll like this book!

Also, i want to recommend you his earlier work, such as Violent Cases, Black Orchid, and Batman - Arkham Asylum.

So much about this now, and be well my friends!

Greetings from wounded city of magic: Sarajevo!
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