by Dave Sim
(click image to enlarge)DAVE SIM:
Took me 40 minutes just to open and sort the mail today, so this one's going to be a little truncated. Just a LITTLE, though. Lots of stuff to cover:
1. Reconstruction of the Off-White House foundation continues. I've got three photos and captions from this week but Dave Fisher hasn't had time to come by and pick them up. As soon as he does, he'll e-mail them to Tim and get them up here. Starting to get my thinking a little more organized, though :). The left rear corner is a nightmare, as you will see.
2. Kickstarter surveys are still coming in, so not much to report on that front from my end. I am finishing the package for Tim F. our $10K retail patron. The last thing is a "Cerebus: The Last Post" piece that I've drawn on the back of a SIX DEADLY SINS PORTFOLIO from 1981.
3. "If I die tomorrow" is the new basis for my thinking. First thing: I would want Eddie Khanna to get together with Ted Adams and get "as far as I got" on THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND in print as soon as possible. Eddie knows where I'm going with it, so it should be possible to just run all of the new pages and then Eddie can take over in prose form from there on. Not the ideal solution, but preferable to trying to think of anyone who could actually finish it AS a comic book.
4. "If I die tomorrow" Part Two: I'm constitutionally incapable of destroying documents in the Archive and that includes my Last Will & Testament from 19 October 2006 which is in the office on the desk and has VOID written on it in big letters. I've also signed the envelope that it's in twice, once in blue ink and once in red ink, overlapping (so you can't really fake it) and dated both signatures 10/11/14. I'd appreciate that being called to anyone's attention you decides to take over after I'm gone. That's NOT my Will and shouldn't be followed/
5. "If I die tomorrow" Part Three: sudden flurry of JUDENHASS-related stuff. Leading me to the conclusion that it's time to put JUDENHASS in the public domain, having arranged through Lou C. to renew the website for five years.
1. I'm getting a crash course in basic construction fundamentals and it seems like the best course of action is to get everything done on the house STRUCTURALLY that needs to get done -- and then contact Heritage Kitchener and get some expert advice on what the place should -- and shouldn't -- look like. I have ideas of my own, but my ambition is really to conform as much as possible to the heritage aspects of the house while making the whole thing work between the Off-White House and Scott's place next door, not getting bogged down in property line obsessions which, looking at the evidence, seems to have a long and unhappy history (his place goes up to within six inches of my property line. Which is nuts, because his downstairs tenant really needs access. I'm not using the four feet or so of space so it just seems sensible to work something out that's a) low maintenance b) works for him and his tenant and c) conforms to what Heritage Kitchener will and won't allow.
Obviously, this isn't "front of mind" most of the time for me: but it's always there and has been there since Scott bought the place three years ago. I'll try to keep you posted but I don't know how much of this is "TMI" as far as most of you are concerned.
I'm hoping to get Tom H to post a report here on everything he's been doing. It SEEMS interesting to me and, hopefully, it isn't offensive to anyone. As I keep telling him and Scott: it's YOUR (I mean, YOU folks') money that's paying for this so I figure you should be shown everything that we're doing as we're doing it.
EVENTUALLY the basement will be a research centre. In the immediate future, what I'm planning is basically a small loading dock. I think it's time to import the CEREBUS inventory (mostly back issues) from Leamington Ontario and, basically, autograph everything. I don't know what I'm going to use them for and I've been resisting doing that because it's a HUGE job, but I basically made that choice when I had to relocate all of the glamourpuss back issues from Val d'Or and persuaded Ted Adams to take them at the IDW warehouse with the idea that we would use them for...something...when it came time to promote THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND. So, that's what I did. I wasn't crazy about the entryway of the house looking like a loading dock for weeks on end, which is why I haven't done it again. But the answer with the CEREBUS inventory -- tens of thousands of comic books -- is that WHATEVER I end up doing with them it will work better if they're autographed. And just putting in an hour or two a day "on the loading dock 'incoming' table" seems Low Stress.
So that involves digging out the rear basement in the spring and basically putting a big table in there where the signing can be an on-going thing. Un-box them, sign them, re-box them, send them to a local storage facility. Weeks. Months. Years. The journey of a thousand miles, etc.
2. John F is gradually getting all of the surveys from the Kickstarter supporters. I did have a stray thought when I saw all of the names printed out in a post a couple of weeks back. Is there a way to make the database "name searchable"? What I'm thinking is: this could be a way to tackle the "Lariv" -- anti-viral -- problem. If you have a friend who is a CEREBUS fan and their name isn't on the list, can you contact them and just ask if they're aware of Kickstarter, that the CEREBUS ARCHIVE folios in unsigned form will soon be available from Diamond and that it's an on-going series? I do get anecdotal responses from people which suggest that they don't know about it -- or A MOMENT OF CEREBUS for that matter. I'm trying not to be high-pressure here. I just don't know of any other way to contact people who read a comic book ten years ago to ask if they know what's happening with it.
I am thinking differently lately since we started doing the Bonus Prints.
A good example is that I intended to send Tim F. a SIX DEADLY SINS PORTFOLIO and to do an ink drawing on it, which I started this morning (astonishingly, I was absolutely caught up on all the mail and faxes! NEVER happens!). It was one of those things where I've looked at the portfolio folder for over 30 years and thought a number of times, "That would be an interesting paper to draw on". It's really like a watercolour paper. But -- as I figured -- it wasn't as if I wanted to do ALL of the DEADLY SINS portfolios in the Cerebus Archive (six or seven). Just one for the experience.
If you have a copy you know it has Frank Cirocco's SCHANES & SCHANES logo/illustration in white on a sky blue on the back with plenty of drawing space. So what I was picturing was in ink drawing and then putting in white highlights with white ink or white paint. So, that's what I'm doing and it's coming out pretty good, I think.
Up to now, it would be "Well, looks like Tim's the lucky guy who gets this since it's the only one I'm doing". But, NOW, with the Bonus Prints, I thought, "This would make a nice Bonus Print." And then IMMEDIATELY thought: POTENTIALLY. What I think makes a nice Bonus Print isn't necessarily what CEREBUS fans think would make a good Bonus Print. So, that's interesting. I'm going to get Dave Fisher to relay a scan of it for posting here and that will be the first FIRST RELEASE BONUS PRINT for CANIII.
I won't KNOW if it's any good (in a CEREBUS fan sense) until I see how it sells during the next Kickstarter. :)
I'm looking forward to that: WHAT Bonus Prints were the top picks this time and WHAT Bonus Prints are going to be #1/1 (because only one person wanted it)? :)
3. I'm trying not to be morbid about this, but it's hard not to be when you start something with "If I die tomorrow". So, having bummed most of you out (and cheered up some of you), let me just add a proviso to Eddie Khanna and Ted Adams working out some way for THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND HE GOT THIS FAR, FOLKS to be made available: if there's a self-evident (how can I put this) STRANGE DEATH OF DAVE SIM involved, I'd like Eddie and Ted to get together and use an appropriate visual for a Cerebus Trust Fund benefit that they would both sign and number and auction. Like if there's a news photo of me "buying the farm" or a news photo of Where It Happened. Morbid? Yeah, I suppose. But I'd hate to think of everyone getting suddenly squeamish about it since the major problem I'm facing is being ignored to death. "Oh, how TRAGIC! We'd best just ignore this".
There's no close family to speak of, no friends who are easily unsettled, no sensitivities to tip-toe around.
If it actually sells copies of Our Story Thus Far And No Further, hey, I'M in. Even -- actually especially -- from beyond the grave. WOOOooooOOOOOO.
TRUST ME if it wasn't for Eddie Khanna and Ted Adams the book would never have gotten to where it is now. After I'm gone IT'S THEIRS.
4. Not much to add to this one. There won't BE a will, per se, when I get to it: just Aardvark-Vanaheim getting folded up, all of CEREBUS going into the public domain and all assets becoming the property of The Cerebus Trust. As soon as I'm declared dead, everything will fall into place automatically. God willing.
5. JUDENHASS is very weird. Absolutely nothing happens with it and then all of a sudden I'll get two or three inquiries about it in the space of a week or two.
In this case, a retailer in a major Canadian city, contacted me because his son, Joseph, has a connection to the Hasidic education environment in that city and was interested in, you know, if something could be done with JUDENHASS and could I send him some sample copies to pass around? Certainly. I've got like four boxes of the PREVIEW edition that I took here at the house when Lebonfon stopped storing books because I couldn't think of anyone else who would want them. I mean, Menachem would take them, but that would have been a twenty-year supply cluttering up his store.
I'm not naive.
I sent five copies and included a cover letter basically saying that I could guarantee him that nothing would happen and citing the political climate today As It is (or As I Infer It from abundant evidence). No need in belabouring it here and, potentially, getting everybody all worked up about it.
Then I heard from Lou C. that the JUDENHASS website is up for renewal and he was offering to fold it into his own website. Well, no, I don't think anything can be DONE, PER SE with JUDENHASS but that doesn't mean that I want to even REMOTELY disown it. So, I asked Lou to renew the website for the longest sensible time for the money which worked out to five years. Okay, good. JUDENHASS technically exists until 2019. Not that I think anything is going to change before 2019 or after 2019 or in my lifetime, but ...as I say, it's important to me. I think it will be seen as an important work but not until long after I'm dead. So as long as I'm alive, I'm going to keep it alive.
The retailer sent an interesting observation relayed from his son, Joseph: "Despite the Hasids' attempts to live in the 18th century, they're modern enough to be infused with the attitude that it's preferable to dance with the Aloi than it is to study the Morlocks." That's good, you know? That's very astutely and wryly put. Which is really what you're stuck with in our world and you have anything that's remotely pro-Jew, Pro-Israel. You can only be astute and wry.
So, this from me, in return:
As someone who gives equal weight to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, it is inescapable that the Jews are the most inclusive of the monotheistic faiths. From the time they "got" virtually all of the holy sites in the Levant, they have been scrupulous in making sure that each faith has access to its own holy sites. And as we've seen lately, they keep strictly to the policy of Not Allowing Their Own People to pray in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. I mean, to the Jews that's the Temple Mount, but they understand...How The Muslims and Particularly the Philistines, excuse me, the Palestinians...ARE...about that. The fact that they have the power to enforce their will and yet keep the holy sites open and in conformity with those kinds of sensitivities, to me, gives them Skyer No Higher in the Monotheism Sweepstakes.
Me? Personally? I won't make the Hajj to Mecca or, in fact, go to any Muslim country because they won't let the Jews in. Excuse me? You are barring the descendants of Isaac from the "Standing Place of Abraham" in the Sacred Mosque in Mecca? You won't even let them in your country? Feh. And you plan on BRINGING THAT BEFORE G-D ON JUDGEMENT DAY?
To me, that's inexcusable. Even as I know the only sensible response is the remark upon it astutely, wryly shrug your shoulders and persevere.
So JUDENHASS will go into the public domain when Lou gets around to uploading a downloadable version of it to the website. You want to print 30 of them? You want to print 3,000,000 of them and give them away to high schools worldwide? With my blessing! Please! Don't even think of crossing my palm with silver! BELIEVE ME! Anyone making JUDENHASS available anywhere to anyone for any reason, is more than payment enough for me. MORE than enough! SO! Potentially MILLIONS OF COPIES are about to circulate, nu?
Pardon? AM I smiling? What do you know? So I am. Yes, and that was a philosophical shrug of my shoulders.
See you all next week, God willing.