Twenty Years, And Yet I Am Remembered

Arvid Nelson is a comic book writer who lives in Northampton, Massachusetts and pays tribute to John on the twentieth anniversary of his death, back on March 8:


Why John Bellairs isn't more widely appreciated perplexes me, especially now that "young adult fantasy" novels are so much the rage. I always got the feeling Bellairs wrote himself into his books; he was Lewis Barnavelt, Johnny Dixon and Anthony Monday. Or maybe it's just that I identified with his characters so much. It was nice to know I wasn't the only person in the world who was chubby and shy and weird.

Bellairs was also my introduction to the illustrations of Edward Gorey. Gorey and Bellairs are one of those perfect combinations, like thunder and lightning, or peanut butter and jelly. Gorey's legend has only grown after his death, while Bellairs, for some reason, has faded a bit. It's maddeningly hard to find editions of Bellairs' books with Gorey's illustrations; it's hard to find Bellaris' books at all. I love Gorey's original books as much as anyone else, I just there were a wider appreciation of his Bellairs illustrations. If ever a publisher did a comprehensive edition of Bellairs's writing with Gorey's illustrations, I'd gladly buy ten copies of the complete set.

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