It’s A Dirty Job but someone has to cover it

There were only a few things I wanted to see on Saturday at the Comic Con. Some of the panels I wanted to see were big, showy TV affairs, and most of them didn’t come to fruition. But I did have one simple little dream- to get a picture of Christopher Moore, one of my favorite authors (on the right in the picture above).

So you can imagine my glee when I found myself in the second row during the Christopher Moore spotlight panel in room 5A. In case you are unfamiliar with this work, Moore has written several novels. Perhaps his most acclaimed tales are Lamb, Bloodsucking Fiends, and A Dirty Job. All of his books have been optioned for film (although no movies are forthcoming), and parts of his Shakespearean lark Fool have been performed on stages across the country. In general, his novels are centered around a reticent hero who has been thrust into some sort of ridiculous supernatural adventure. Naturally, hijinks ensue.

Moore started his panel by answering a few commonly asked questions. He shared the drama of Hollywood’s fickle relationship with his books. Disney purchased the rights to his first novel in 1991, but no treatment has been proposed. There has been interest in a musical stage treatment for Lamb, but the production company that owns the rights won’t allow it, even though they have yet to start a film version.

Another question Moore is often asked regards Lamb, which is the story of Jesus’ formative years and the adventures he has with his friend Biff. Joshua (AKA Jesus) embarks on a spiritual journey that dabbles in Hinduism, and Moore (and his audience) always assumed that the religious right would come down on him hard for his irreverence. Surprisingly, very few organizations have complained, and the book is actually taught in over a dozen seminaries across the US, including Harvard Divinity School.

Moore shared an interesting (and personal) anecdote about the impetus for his book A Dirty Job, where a mild mannered shop owner finds out that he is the angel of death. Moore’s mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and he moved in to care for her for five months until she passed on. Soon after her death, his girlfriend’s mother was also diagnosed with cancer, and they repeated the process. Moore learned that being surrounded by death makes one appreciate life, and he wanted to share that sentiment in the book. The result is a novel that is equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, with characters and situations that ring true.

During the Q&A session, Moore covered topics that ranged from the impact of social networking to a list of some upcoming projects. Here are a few highlights:

  • Moore loves social networking. He is active on Facebook and Twitter, and has answered every email he has received since 1995.
  • He plans on writing a sequel to A Dirty Job, and plans on writing a stage adaptation of Fool himself. He is currently working on a book that stars Pocket, the lead character from Fool, so either way he is not done with Pocket’s adventures. His most recent finished project is The Griff, a graphic novel.
  • While fan favorite Abby Normal won’t be getting her own book, she will probably reappear in the sequel to A Dirty Job.
  • A few questions regarded tips for aspiring writers; in a nutshell, Moore shared that he himself is not classically trained in literature. He recommends reading (and emulating) quality literature, working diligently on improving your craft, and making sure that you fully understand every character’s agenda, as well as how far they are willing to go to meet their goals.
  • Overall, the Moore panel was great fun. His tongue and cheek sense of humor, and passion for his art, come through loud and clear when he speaks. Do yourself a favor and pick up one of his books, and check him out if he makes an appearance near you.