Thursday, 5 September 2013

Eight Days Of Dave - Day 4: The IDW Covers

Hi Tim - I think what I'm going to do is just blather -- since this is our first time doing "after the issue" -- and leave it up to you if you want to run the whole thing all at once or dribble it out.  Issue 2 of The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond took about two and a half months. I hope I get faster but I'm not counting on it.
The Colonized #1-4 (IDW, 2013)
Art by Dave Sim


I'm not sure how many covers I did for IDW. I think more than twenty. And yes I do plan to continue selling the originals. That was part of the deal I made with myself. "This is work-made-for-hire. You don't own these. So it makes sense Not To Own These." RIGHT, Dave? Huh? Oh, yeah, right. There's no reason to own a cover that you don't own. And if you take what I was getting paid to do them and add it to what I can sell the original for, it's actually a very good revenue stream. There are problems that I didn't anticipate: the biggest one is getting competitive with myself. I want to do better and better covers. But that doesn't...mesh...with the original concept:  if I can do four covers in four days, that will cover my expenses for the month and I can spend the rest of the time doing THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND. Which is a very, very different thing coming from a very, very different place in my creativity. So you get the "gear-switching" problem. I'm still thinking "cover" and it's time to be thinking "comics". I'm still thinking "comics" and it's time to be thinking "cover". And the covers are now taking four days instead of a day. So, at a specific point I had to stop and see if I could just do STRANGE DEATH and with my other revenue streams keep my head above water. And, yes, it looks like I can.

But I can feel myself starting not to exist.

If you're doing DOCTOR WHO covers, in a specific sense you exist in the comic-book field in a way you don't when you're not doing DOCTOR WHO covers. Certainly in a way I NEVER existed when doing CEREBUS. And I don't know how important existing is, in that sense. My impression, though, is that it's very important. So, at some point I have to start doing covers again. But I don't know how many or how often or which ones. I suspect Super Popular Genre Covers. X-FILES, DOCTOR WHO, JUDGE DREDD. Where I can do the photo-tracing, Al Williamson inking thing. I think that helps support STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND. Oh, photorealism. I didn't know what you were talking about. Oh, right. Yeah. Read the guy who did the DOCTOR WHO variant covers talking about photorealism. Cool. But if the covers stop coming out, it becomes "Alex Who? And I should care about this why?" So part of me is now picturing WHERE the covers stop coming out which is WHERE I have to have another one or two or three in the pipeline. While trying to avoid saying to Chris Ryall, "Can you toss me some cover slots that I can do or not do?" You do them or you don't do them. But you don't play Hamlet somewhere in between.

And the scheduling is strange. Scheduling doesn't seem to exist any more. There will be three weeks where I won't get a new cover in and I don't know if I slipped off the comp list --

[Part of my deal with IDW is that I get 100 copies of each of my variant covers. I'm enough of a fanboy to try for that and, hey, it worked. And if I don't get them when they're passing through the warehouse, well -- it's like asking in the cafeteria if they've got any of that blueberry pie from three days ago. We're past that now. Catch up. They stretched a point and dug up 40 copies of JUDGE DREDD: YEAR ONE #3 (I think it was). Which I know probably came out of another kind of supply entirely.  40 people didn't get theirs because I got 40. But I also don't want to bug the editor-in-chief or the publisher -- "Hey, where's my 100 funnybooks?" There are much bigger fish to fry.  Just yesterday I got in my 100 THE COLONIZED #4 -- but I never got #3. AARGHH!  Fanboy/investor/collector at one level but MORE important: I can't read #4 until I read #3. I'VE GOT 100 COPIES OF A COMIC BOOK I CAN'T READ!! And I'm also picturing bagging and boarding sets: get all 4 issues of THE COLONIZED signed by Dave Sim in this nifty display case.  Did JUDGE DREDD #4 come out yet? I've only got the first three. It's nothing that should occupy the attentions of a 57-year-old man -- going on, like, 14. Dave, WHEN are you going to find time to sign and bag and board sets of THE COLONIZED?  I dunno.]
Judge Dredd Year One #1-4 (IDW, 2013)
Art by Dave Sim
But it's really just that a book gets done when it gets done. It gets to the warehouse when it gets to the warehouse. Sometimes I get the 5 comp copies that are standard but which is really, you know, redundant. Dude, we're giving you A HUNDRED mostly because you're Dave Sim and you're the only artist stupid enough to want that many and Ted likes your work enough not to say, Get a grip, bud. A HUNDRED?!?

A box of 100 weighs about fifty pounds. They come in with big warning stickers on them DANGER! EXTREMELY HEAVY! The cab driver today: "Wow! What IS this?" Uh, comic books. "It's WHAAT?" 100 comic books. That's what 100 comic books weighs these days. They print them on thin shiny glossy sheets of... pig iron, I think it is.

So part of what I'm doing with Heritage is signing and numbering 5 copies of each variant cover to sell with the artwork. So, today I got in 5 copies of DOCTOR WHO PRISONERS OF TIME #6 and #7.  So, I sign them and number them and FedEx them with the covers to Heritage. Because Heritage has their own schedule. You send them the art and it needs to be processed and scheduled for auction and then a month after that you get paid. "Dave get them OUT OF HERE! That's GROCERY MONEY!" Which part of me understands. But I'm sweating, right? Joe Fanboy. Uh...uh...these are the ONLY ONES I've GOT. I only got to read them ONCE. What if I don't get any more? I had #5, #6 and #7 and now I've only got #5. The things that give fanboys night-sweats. And they're starting to take up a good chunk of the basement. Big stack of fifty-pound boxes. Sometimes I can only shake my head at myself.


Anonymous said...

Y'know, it's too bad that Dave can't just work with Gerhard on the Strange Death book. No doubt Dave can do it all on his own, and do a phenomenal job; but it would probably be almost as good, or equally well done, or better with Gerhard and get finished in half the time.

Considering it takes Dave 2.5 months to finish an issue, the two of them could easily maintain a bi-monthly schedule so that the book could be published as it is finished, and so that Gerhard could get paid as it is published, while Dave could still supplement his income with the IDW covers. Gerhard could still supplement his income with commissions as well. And it might be easier to promote the book that way.

I recognize that this is all so much wishful thinking though, and almost certainly impossible. Just wanted to express the idea.

-Reginald P

Anonymous said...

Great covers by the way! My favourites are the second The Colonized and the second Judge Dredd. I like how the same scene is depicted from different perspectives and at slightly different moments.

-Reginald P

Anonymous said...

A-ha! So that's why I didn't get comps for Dave's covers of PRISONERS OF TIME 6 and 7! They're all in Dave's basement!

Scott Tipton