Cerebus Archive Number Three
Signed Limited Edition Prints From 'Church & State I'
Kickstarter Ends Saturday 21st March 2015
Kickstarter Ends Saturday 21st March 2015
Well, when I stick my foot in it, I really stick my foot in it:
1. Sincere and abject apologies to all of our U.K. and European pledge partners who missed out on the TRAUMA ONE and TRAUMA TWO pages on Wednesday. No excuses.
2. Sincere and abject apologies to the owners of the original pages who made them available for restoration. You should have been asked for permission to use your page whether you perceive it to be "your page" or Your! Page! Your Page: your perception.
3. Off-White House Copies have been moved from the basement to Camp David and two work stations are being developed for processing them
4. Scanning of the Cerebus Archive original pages hits a -- hopefully - temporary wall but has now been accomplished up through page 3 of issue 142
1. To be honest, I thought, if anything, we'd be facing the opposite problem: a backlash because of the price point on the TRAUMA ONE and TRAUMA TWO pages. I was really bending my mental slide rule almost double in response to a fax from Sean explaining why the hourly rate for scanning had ballooned over the previous week and asking if something could be done about his and Mara's hourly rate on those pages. It seemed to me a "shortest distance between two points" situation: if we could get sponsorship for TRAUMA pages, we wouldn't have to recalculate the CHURCH & STATE package deal (which should be covered with the remaining funds from CANT or -- at worst -- a dip into the CAN3 funds).
Then Funkmaster brought up the "economies of scale" problem -- another sharp bend in the slide rule -- having to do single prints is more time-consuming for him. All his calculations are based on 10 pages/roughly 300 copies. The Bonus Prints -- once they get down around 20 or so as with the Barack Obama Zombie Cover -- is really pushing his numbers the wrong way.
By the time we had crunched the numbers, I thought "This is going to be Sticker Shock Squared" and I assumed that would hold for -- however long -- a few days? A week? Worst case scenario: the end of this Kickstarter. In which case we would just roll the TRAUMA pages over into the next campaign.
Funkmaster faxed me at 12:30 am and I was already asleep so I didn't get the fax until 4:30 am when I got up.
"Oh, boy." Well, in one sense it was GREAT news: sold out in 90 minutes! In the other it was TERRIBLE news: unfilled demand. So that was what I attempted to solve: could we contact the people who had purchased the 1/1 prints and see if any -- or all -- of them would agree to have TRAUMA ONE and TRAUMA TWO FUNDRAISER prints done? Clearly separate from what they had, with them getting "remarqued" Cerebus drawings on their 1/1's and the #1/20 of the subordinate prints for their trouble.
This isn't completely "off the table" but it ran afoul of another problem:
2. This runs into a Wave vs. Particle angle of perception.
Wave Perception of CEREBUS original pages is that the person who bought the original page owns that page and has absolute control over it and its use.
Particle Perception is that Dave Sim owns the artwork in any meaningful sense. It isn't possible for Dave Sim to steal or misappropriate CEREBUS artwork.
There's no right answer. Either answer is right for the people who hold that answer to be right.
So, if you have a Wave Perception then please let me know what compensation you would like for my theft of your personal property. I'll be happy to work it out with you in complete privacy. Likewise if you don't want your -- or "your" -- original art used in any way besides restoration purposes. I can't close the door on the TRAUMA ONE and TRAUMA TWO pages already offered, but I can create a firewall wherever you want it created.
I don't think anyone would just -- perversely -- hold Wave Perception. For them, it's sincerely arrived at and intellectually honest. I am not prepared to argue Particle Perception with that for one second.
If you have a Particle Perception, as I say, the idea of making a subordinate batch of prints available for the UK and European pledge partners is not "off the table". But it is getting there. :)
I'm not saying that in that sense that I Own Your Artwork and I'll Do What I Want. I'm saying that in the sense that the reason that we did this was to try to raise money to take pressure off of Sean and Mara on the TRAUMA pages so they don't have to rush through them and to take pressure off of the Kickstarter funds so we don't get these "bulges" in the budget.
The Particle Perception is really two different Particle Perceptions as well: the person who owns the actual page and the person who bought the 1/1 BEFORE and AFTER TRAUMA prints.
My first instinct in the aftermath is just to -- as I've done -- apologize sincerely and abjectly to all concerned and Just Leave Bad Enough Alone.
There is always pressure in crowd-source funding to keep coming up with new pledge items. That's what everyone who is successful at it recommends. I don't know if that's true, but I also get a certain amount of static from people who are saying "You're SCREWING UP, Dude! Follow up with MORE STUFF!" and then citing what other people who are making hundreds of thousands of dollars are doing.
Again, there's no easy answer.
But, I am sorry that this turned into such a fiasco...and such a pressure cooker for Sean.
In future, we'll try to introduce the idea of pledge items at least a week ahead of time and if there's ANY static in any way from anyone, to just back off. "We'll try again with something else and we'll only do pledge items that cause ZERO STATIC."
3. Dave Fisher and Rolly S. got a lot of work done on Tuesday getting ALL of the Off-White House Inventory out of the basement and into Camp David.
I have to admit that it's a little disorienting now that I'm down to sorting of the last few items still downstairs. A big plus there was the discovery of a cache of Letratone I didn't know I had -- including several full sheets of LT3 and LT10. If I'd have known they were down there, Dede Gardner and Brad Pitt wouldn't be getting albino and cross-hatched aardvarks respectively! :)
I've made up a FedEx box for Sean of all the specialty tones (textures, mostly -- great relief for Sean that he knows he has vintage Thrunk tone on the way). Different sizes of scraps. The idea being that the actual physical sheet of tone -- no matter how fragmentary -- is going to be better than any scan that we could shoot of it here. And he's going to be the best judge of what is going to work the best by scanning it himself and then comparing the different sheets for discolouration, fading and other things that aren't going to be readily apparent to the naked eye. There's a large chunk of LT 936 and then multiple pages of scraps. It could turn out that one 1" by 1/2" piece could have all the best original elements, clarity, lack of discolouration, etc.
I'm sure Sean will be posting some of the tone for you to look at as he sorts through it.
There are also mechanical tones in the microscopic range that Gerhard used prolifically on GOING HOME which -- hey! If you're patching those pages, that's what you're going to need.
I thought: well I can just throw away the Letraset, the transfer lettering itself. Then I thought, Well I have no idea where we used some of it. These are the sharpest clearest copies we have of the letters.
Ooops interruption. Going to post this and then hopefully continue.
Back shortly I hope!
Okay. That hasn't happened before. I didn't know if I was going to lose all my typing so I published it and now I'm back -- so if you want to read the start of this Update, you'll have to scroll down. TimW, I'm sure will fix it when he gets home from work. Sorry, Tim!
[Now fixed! ~ Tim. W]
Where was I?
Oh, right -- getting the last few things out of the basement preparatory to the complete basement "redo" -- God willing -- starting in the Spring.
Moral questions: I have a long box of PUMA BLUES and a long box of JOURNEY back issues. We haven't checked them for grading. I THINK I'm okay offering them for sale. I did publish them at one time. Should I autograph them? As the publisher? I can autograph the last issue of THE PUMA BLUES that A-V One did: I did a pin-up in that one. But, what about the others? At least there was no question about moving them back to Camp David.
Should I offer them to Stephen and Michael and Bill Loebs? Should I autograph them and make them into Off-White House copies before I send them? Does anyone know where I would send them? I'll make give Stephen a phone call. Weird stuff. Like the giant pile of "Michael and Stephen" photo PUMA BLUES posters. I asked their editor at Dover if he wants them to promote the forthcoming book collection. "I mean, if you don't, don't say you do. They weigh a ton and they're going to be expensive to package, so it's really pointless to be polite about it if you're just going to throw them out. Think about, 'Well, okay, what can WE do with them?'"
I seem to spend a lot of my life in these kinds of situations. No idea what to do and no one I talk to about it knows what to do. And they've all heard these horror stories about Dave Sim. DON'T UPSET HIM! HE'S CRAZY, YOU KNOW!!
LOL. Well, no. I'm not upset and I'm not crazy. I've just got all these we're unsolvable problems. At least soon none of them will be in my basement anymore!
I can't really say that about the three boxes of letters and weird little gifts, cheques, stickers, etc. that I got from Neil Gaiman's fans when I offered to send a free copy of an issue of the SANDMAN parody autographed to anyone who wrote me a physical letter.
Uh. Do I REALLY want to hang onto these? I mean, it was definitely a TRIP at the time and it certainly dwarfed by quantum levels of magnitude the response to, say, issue 300 coming out (so at least I got the one-time experience of literally getting boxes of mail).
They're a little bulky, but yes, I think I do want to hang onto them. Even if no one ever actually looks at them, they'd probably make a nice free-form sculpture "Letters and gifts from Neil's Fans: 2004".
And then one of the last boxes that was sitting there, I opened up and it was a box of issue 164, second printing, which was the last one I had sent up from Leamington after I had already mailed out, I think, all of the 165's and 164 first printings and a box of 164 second printings. Hundreds of free comic books. And then the letters dropped off to nothing. Although I still get the occasional letter from people who are reading Neil's "back issues" and wonder if the offer is still good. So, for those of you with higher numbers on Kickstarter, the odds are pretty good that you WILL get a #164 second printing Off-White House copy.
I forget what number I was on but...
Spoke to Tim L at Diamond the other day and the VERY good news is that they got orders for 850 of the signed and numbered 30th ANNIVERSARY GOLD LOGO SIGNED AND NUMBERED EDITION of HIGH SOCIETY. That's about three times what I thought we'd sell after re-listing and cancelling and re-listing three times. So thank you to all the stores that kept ordering those books and all the CEREBUS fans who have booked them. Sean is all ready to head up to Valencia to supervise the printing as soon as we have our final price quote.
We've been here so many times before I'm not sure even "God willing" is a good idea to bring up...but, God willing we should have the books on their way to the Star System warehouse in Mississippi before the end of March.
As I told Tim, after this many years of the book being out of print, I feel as if I should bake it a cake!
Nothing much to report on CEREBUS: FRACTURED DESTINY, but then I didn't think there would be for a Long, Long, Long While. "TT" reports that he's "terribly excited" but that HAS to be tempered with "How AM I going to do this?" That is, approaching Dede Gardner. What do you say?
Oliver is being very kind and saying that the drawings will be an "honour" (er -- "honor"). But, man, I don't know. LOL. Speaking as someone who does really detailed scratchy ink line drawings 12 hours a day, they don't really...register...with people. At All. They're from a completely different planet from computer animation which is really all the average person sees these days that would be called "cartooning". I mean, literally, maybe one in ten people coming to the house will say "You're a cartoonist?" with the SDOAR pages there on the wall. Nine out of ten, I can see by looking at them, it just doesn't fit their radar screen which is cellphone-sized and computer-sized and television-sized. But pieces of white cardboard (which is what they would see) are obviously not cellphones or computers or televisions, so they don't register as VISUAL ANYTHING. "This guy has white cardboard on his wall for some reason. Well, okay, the office knows where I am if it's something Really Weird. He doesn't look scary or anything. Just old."
People used to "register artwork", way, way back in the early 90s.
I mean, it doesn't bother me. The same way it doesn't bother me that I'm almost 60 and not 40 anymore. Here and now is here and now. Back then is back then. I really like what I'm doing. I didn't like it back in the 90s because it registered with people and I don't NOT like it now because it doesn't register with people. It's more a rhetorical question I won't get any kind of answer to: "What are they going to see when they look at this?" I could as fruitfully ask, What would Martians think if they could see me? It's one of the reasons that I thought the pieces should be framed. "Oh, okay. A FRAME! This must be ART of some kind."
Okay. Sorry for the inopportune break and the fractured Executive Summary.
Hope to see all of you next week.
And THANK YOU to all of the pledge partners who have made CAN3 so successful so far despite my bungling!
Have to finish answer the mail on hand and then go and get groceries and more mail and drop off a few things at the accountants' office. Tax time, you know!