We wanted to try telling a story in the form of lots of interwoven strands in the form of newspaper clippings, diary entries, letters, music hall posters, etc. This would be the only way to cover a canvas as big as Mirabilis - an entire world, transformed for an entire year.
For example, there was the explorer who got disgruntled at the lack of challenge now that so much fantasy was becoming commonplace. He set out alone to cross the Antarctic, only to fall through into a subterranean jungle world populated by prehistoric animals. His increasingly desperate attempts to find solitude in his explorations were thwarted by the savages of the jungle world, who led him to a lost Egyptian colony far below the surface who insisted on crowning him their absolute ruler and god-king - much to his disgust.
Martin McKenna completed a half-dozen very nice pictures that were intended for the Gazetteer, like the one above featuring the giant removal man. The ad on his cart reads:
STOOP and SonsThe BIG name in removals
From baths and bedsteads to the tiniest teacup
“Lift it and shift it? You want Stoop!”
Head and shoulders above our competitors
We're hopeful that the Mirabilis Gazetteer will appear eventually - the current idea is to release it after the graphic novels as a back-up book to the main story, like Lyra's Oxford or The Guide to Middle-Earth. It's certainly one of the things we're signed to do for Random House. But first things first. We're got an awful lot of Jack's and Estelle's story to tell before we can return to the broader canvas.