Neil Gaiman on comics and scaring children, with Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman

It's a challenge to be a children's book publisher and want to put out something genuinely haunting in today's climate. We all know children have to be protected from experiencing anything too real. So we filmed Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly with Neil Gaiman at his new house in Woodstock to talk about comics and children and exposing them to fear and dark material in books.

Gaiman says, "I think if you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of, knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up. I think it is really important to show dark things to kids—and in the showing, to also show that dark things can be beaten, that you have power. Tell them you can fight back. Tell them you can win. Because you can, but you have to know that. And for me, the thing that is so big and so important about the darkness is it’s like in an inoculation. You know you are giving somebody darkness in a form that is not overwhelming—it’s understandable. They can envelop it, they can take it into themselves, they can cope with it. And, it’s okay. It’s safe to tell you that story, as long as you tell them that you can be smart and you can be brave and you can be tricky and you can be plucky and you can keep going."

Hansel & Gretel by Neil Gaiman and Lorenzo Mattotti will be released on October 28, 2014 by publisher TOON Books. More about the book here: toon-books.com/hansel-and-gretel.html