Monday, 29 February 2016

Dear "I Don't Believe Dave Sim Is A Misogynist" Lou Valenti

Re: Lou Valenti's comment on the petition from a couple of days ago:

Yes, Lou, you did sign the petition very early.  And thank you.  According to the print-out that I have, you signed on May 5, 2008 and you were #19.  So my math is off:  EIGHT years and roughly 80 signatures a year instead of SEVEN years and roughly 90 signatures a year.

It's not unusual for a name to "disappear" off of the petition, but I don't know what to recommend.  Anything I say is going to take us -- as pretty much everything does -- into "Crazy Dave Sim" territory. It's "Crazy Dave Sim's" fault that signatures keep disappearing.  "Crazy Dave Sim" is just being paranoid that signatures are being deleted.  It's just a computer glitch.  Move along. Nothing to see here. Just "Crazy Dave Sim the Evil Misoygnist".

The petition isn't mine.  The petition belongs to everyone else who is concerned (as I think they should be concerned) with being on the wrong side of the "if you aren't a feminist you're a misogynist" "debate" here in the early part of the 21st century.  As I've said elsewhere, that's the equivalent of saying "The only reason you're not a Communist is because you hate Workers."  The reason I'm not a Communist is the same reason that I'm not a feminist: it's structurally unworkable.  The 15 Impossible Things To Believe Before Breakfast explain WHY I think that feminism is structurally unworkable. No one wants to talk about that.  Just "Crazy Dave Sim".

I'm sorry, Lou -- and everyone else who signed the petition in good faith -- but that's the situation.  You can't count on the signature staying on there and, presumably, will have to check on a semi-regular basis to ensure that your signature is on there.  I assume that's the idea:  to make the petition seem even more futile than it already is.

Maybe Margaret could publish the complete list once every six months or something?  Yes, that will DEEPLY IRRITATE everyone besides the 654 (and MIA) signatories.

But, that's up to Margaret and the 654.

Wish it was otherwise, but that's the...malignancy?...we all inhabit.

[The full list of signatories to Dave Sim's Petition can now be found here...]

John Funk Update Mon Feb 29 2016

A lot of the problem is that different people have different attitudes towards timely delivery.  "Glen" is obviously in one category and everyone (?) else in another.

I've got a faxed list of weekly penalties from John. I'm not sure that they're severe enough to improve his performance.  The COLLECTED LETTERS, as a digital file should have gone out to everyone who ordered it.  That was one way of trying to work around John's (to me, unconscionable) procrastination.  It's a digital file.  Just hit "send" and everyone goes home happy.  At least they're getting SOMETHING that they ordered.

For the record, I turn everything around pretty much within 12 hours of John delivering it.  And then have to sit and wait for months for him to do something with it.

And I'm aware that I will always be The Bad Guy no matter what happens.  Crazy Dave Sim.

I'm now at the point -- the same as happened with CA3 -- where I don't have enough money to pay John, so I'll have to, as I did last time, borrow against the life insurance surplus to do so -- whenever he gets around to doing anything.  At least the way the penalties are structured if he doesn't do anything until, say, June, the bill will be substantially lower than it is.  I would far prefer a NORMAL level of reliability.  NORMAL even for the "slacker age" of 2016.  

By the time you're doing the same project for the fourth time, if you are still looking at four months for something that should be done in a few weeks (at most), then you have either a productivity problem or a structurally unsound business model.

It's time to figure out which one it is and do something about it.

$31,000 is impressive until you start figuring out how much of that money goes to FedEx and the Post Office and...John.

"Fill My Grave With Their List Of Complaints"

"Dave Sim"

That paracosm where old dogs
They live forever
Prester John meets the Great Khan
For lunch around the pool
A place where you talk
But your merits never measured
Says, "I feel made up."
Replay, "I feel that sometimes too."

Obstructionist party all invited
Spinning bomb dropped on a highway
Can't get here from there
Chatter form chatter void always crying

Fill my grave with their list of complaints

That old chestnut that some topics are haram
Arthur and King Lot
Arrive separately to lunch
Plates uneaten
But a nagging question eats their calm
Says, "Are we real?"
Reply, "Not sure but I have a hunch."

Obstructionist party all invited
Spinning bomb dropped on a highway
Can't get here from there

Chatter form chatter void always crying

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Cerebus Archive Number Four Update


Dave Sim and John Funk's successful Kickstarter campaign for Cerebus Archive Number Four to fund the ongoing Cerebus restoration work ran during October / November 2015 and raised CAN$31,640 from 250 backers. In recent comments posted on AMOC, Dave Sim addressed the delays experienced in fulfilling  the promised Kickstarter rewards.

DAVE SIM:
(from AMOC Comments, 26 February & 27 February 2016)
...I've asked John Funk to suggest "financial penalties" because he keeps missing his target dates. His target date for CAN4 was February 15th and his revised date is April 18th. I'm pretty patient, but eventually patience runs out...

...On the subject of CAN4, I still haven't heard back from John. It's worth pointing out that it took MORE than six months to get CAN3 into the Pledge Partners' hands. I'm very loyal to -- and patient with -- the people that I work with. TOO loyal and TOO patient and I think that's the situation here. Sandeep and I talked about it in our weekly meeting and I think the answer is to "assign" Sandeep and Fisher to John Funk and just say, Okay, this time next week everything is going to be done. Sandeep and Fisher KNOW how to do that so, John, pick them both up at home, take them to GEPS and the three of you get busy. And then "debrief" Sandeep and Fisher: is this a hopeless situation? Or can you whip things into shape as you are with the warehouse. I can promise you this: we will know SOON (i.e. well before April 18th).

The BIGGEST problem we're facing right now is the amount of scanning that needs to be done, which was ONE kind of problem when we were looking at nine SECONDS per scan -- the original scanner purchased -- and ANOTHER kind of problem with the scanner Sean ended up needing: which is close to three MINUTES per scan.

So, we're looking to launch a fundraising effort designed by Sandeep -- while we're figuring out if the CEREBUS ARCHIVE program is salvageable (I think it is, maybe just not with John) -- in the next few weeks dedicated PRIMARILY to raising money for scanning.

As you can see with the C&S II situation, we're having to GET WAY ahead -- and STAY WAY ahead -- of the actual "revenue producing" application of what is being scanned (to the tune of $15K with C&S II). Sandeep, I think, has come up with a REALLY GOOD "low cost to the consumer" program. But, we'll find that out after we launch.

And remember, in the wise words of Steven Wright, "If at first you don't succeed... skydiving is probably not for you."

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Jeff Seiler: Dave Sim & Me

JEFF SEILER:
Eleven years ago, when Cerebus ended, Dave Sim decided to answer all of his back mail. A month or so later, he had his "Jeff Seiler Day" in which he answered multiple letters I had written over the previous year. After I received that letter, I decided to keep writing, and he kept his promise to answer every letter he received. Now, I have a foot-high stack of letters written and received over 10 years or so. I'll be running interesting excerpts from those letters each week.

There is a gap in my stack of letters between the last one and this next one. I hope to fill that in soon, assuming I can find it. In the meantime, here is one from September of 2005:

23 September 05

Dear Jeff:

Thanks for your letter of September 10. If you’re serious about being celibate this time, I’d really recommend not talking about it if you’re going to continue to socialize with the unfairer sex. If you think about it to any depth, I think you’ll realize it’s waving a red flag in front of the cows-who-think-they’re-bulls to do so. Fundamentally, what you are doing is telling them that they aren’t irresistible. Desperately needing (to the point of psychosis) to think of themselves not only as irresistible, but as objects of such profound fascination and slavering desire that men are driven mad in proximity to them is a core element of the largely mythological female “character”. It’s the downside of being warned about rapist when they’re too young to comprehend nuance and when they all still believe themselves to be radiant beings (Daddy’s Little Girl). And then, of course, there’re all the theatrics and histrionics that men go through in trying to get laid (I’ve never met ANYONE who makes me feel the way that YOU do) which also serves to carve the mythology in stone. It’s certainly true that Kitchener is the best place I’ve ever found for being celibate because the women in this city are universally repugnant to someone who is attracted to femininity, but I would certainly never say something like that out loud to one of them for the obvious reasons cited above. Their only reaction would be to say, “Wow, that’s a new approach”--again, because they’ve been raised to believe that everything men do is, however indirect and however masked, a sexual overture. With the exception of myself, they’re not too far wrong, I don’t think. It’s up to you, of course, but I think that all you can really accomplish by broadcasting your celibacy is to incite one of them to rise to the bait, which rather defeats the purpose of choosing not to fish. Try not to conceal your own motives from yourself if that’s what you’re doing. If you want to get laid and telling them that you’re celibate works, well, hey, go nuts--but it seems to me a little suspect to do that when you know the effect it’s going to have.

I’ve been of the opinion for some time that women aren’t actually attracted to men; they’re attracted to soap operas in which they need men to be cast as the principal characters (the best girlfriend, my adoring family, my best gay friend, my arch rival, the boyfriend, the would-be suitor, my best guy pal, my drinking buddies, my friends from school, my ex-lover who still adores me and will do anything for me, etc, etc.). The casting call is a 24/7 occupation with them, but to think that because she made doe eyes at you and struck a pose signals a level of attraction, to me, seems dramatically premature and excessive. Just as they need to believe that they drive men insane with desire, they also need to believe that they are amazingly nice people who attract friends the way you-know-what attracts flies. That’s where the “I don’t think of you that way” and “can’t we just be friends?” thing comes in and why they get so irritated and upset when you don’t want to be friends and why they become incandescent when you do. Again, it reinforces the mythology they have about themselves. Of course, secretly, they realize (if they’re at all attractive) that they take a back seat to their sexual equipment and that men really are only interested in one thing, so they use the equipment to snare the friend and then put the equipment into storage at that point. There are a lot of guys who are still friends with women they don’t really like because they’re still hoping to sleep with them at some point and they can’t bear the thought that they’re so typical of the male gender that they lose interest because no sex is forthcoming. So, they get swept up in the 24/7 soap opera with no means of escape from pretending that they think a way that they don’t think. I wanted to boink her a few times and her I am babysitting her cat. Oh, well, as long as it keeps her from thinking that I’m shallow and sex-mad.

Well, yes, as regards your experience with Jerri Dawn. All I’m pointing out--as an overarching truth in getting involved with women--is that these situations get complicated right away. There’s no such thing as just getting laid, there is always a soap opera attached to it somewhere early on where she puts the metaphorical thumbscrews to you and you have to pretend to think a different way from the way that you’re thinking and to react a different way from the way that you’re reacting. You have to demonstrate a willingness to jump through hoops and believe impossible things before breakfast because--if you do end up sleeping with them--that is what your life is going to consist of from that point forward: jumping through hoops and believing impossible things before breakfast. It’s really just a perversion of courtship where previously they attempted to lure their intended victim with home cooking and demonstrations of wifely and maternal aptitudes. Now it’s a matter of finding someone willing to sit still for a complete “masculinectomy” so they can stuff you full of all the things they’re going to need from you, like unquestioning obedience, a complete lack of demonstrable self-worth and the sincere belief that they are just as masculine as you are, so if you never actually exhibit any sign that you question if this is actually a sensible way to live, you just might pass the test.

Yeah, I’ll be happy to draw a cover for your mini (you mean digest, I think--each folded typewriter sheet making four pages, right? A mini is usually considered to be one typewriter sheet folded to make eight pages). You send me a layout and the necessary photos and when I get around to it, I’ll get around to it. I’m not sure what it is that I’m going to be doing next, but I’m trying to keep “Everything Else” confined to one or two days a week so I can actually think in terms of what I want to do, rather than what others want me to do.

Thanks for the clippings. Yes, it’s interesting the number of times I find my views intersecting with those of Charles Krauthammer. The idea of massive retaliation against the Palestinians any time there’s as rocket attack against Israel--particularly a blind response that is automatic and, thus, non-negotiable and in fixed 5:1 ratio seems to me the only way of dealing with any Muslim threat. If you remember, back in “Islam, My Islam” [Ed: a seven-part essay in the back of Cerebus in the early 2000’s, before and after 9-11], I suggested just such a scorched-earth methodology was what was missing from the US withdrawal from Lebanon after the Marine barracks was bombed. You have to establish disproportionate ratios commensurate with your firepower. If you have ten times the firepower, [then] you have to kill ten times the number of Muslims as they have killed of you in order to establish preeminence. As I think I said in “Islam, My Islam”, there are two natures in the Muslim, the Actual Muslim and the Tribal Arab. If the Actual Muslim can be reasoned with, the Tribal Arab cannot and if you respond to the Tribal Arab in a Tribal Arab fashion--that is to say, ruthlessly and cruelly--you will eventually compel him to act like an Actual Muslim. It may take years, but ultimately you will compel him to act like an Actual Muslim. The Israelis have been getting it backwards for a number of years in their prisoner exchanges, offering a hundred freed Palestinian terrorists for every Israeli soldier that is freed--and sometimes just the remains of deceased Israeli soldiers. To me, that sends exactly the wrong message and grants disproportionate leverage and self-delusion to the enemy in negotiations. Of course, I think Sharon has finally realized that there’s more theatre than battlefield to the whole equation and that abandoning Gaza so the world could see what the thugs look like when the Marxist gangsters pour into the resulting vacuum does more to demonstrate the core point than anything he could have done in a conventional sense at the negotiating table, the UN, or the White House. And, once the Israelis have themselves surrounded by the security fence and if they continue to import their workers from civilized countries, then you just leave the mad dogs to tear themselves and each other to shreds. I don’t imagine it will take much more than twenty years for the Marxist Palestinian terrorists to wipe each other out, down to the last man, woman, and child in the Tribal Arab pattern and then produce an Actual Muslim, a genuine partner for peace. On my optimistic day, I think it could happen in ten years, but realistically, it’s probably closer to twenty. I can’t think of a better investment of the West’s time and energy and resources than to support just such a program with state-of-the-art sensors and missile technology.

Interesting the City Council mess that you’ve got down there [in Dallas, in 2005]. The fact that Lee resigned before Jesse Jackson could show up and organize a boycott of the Dallas Cowboys or something is a good vital sign. Although, I really wish the mayor would have countered the accusation that no white council member’s car had been searched by saying, “Oh, by all means. Let me put forward a motion that this council be adjourned so Councilman Lee can search my car. All in favour>” You know--”I’ve got nothing to hide. There are a bunch of candy wrappers and McDonald’s packages on the floor in the back seat, but in the interests of the Dallas City Council glasnost and perestroika, I will gladly bare my personal messiness to public scrutiny.”

Okay. gotta run.

Dave

Friday, 26 February 2016

Weekly Update #123: Kitchener ComicCon


Dave Sim talks about the upcoming Kitchener ComicCon and why he won't be there...
...hint... Dave's iPetition

Thursday, 25 February 2016

A Movie Review: Julia

MARGARET LISS:
A few years ago I scanned all of Dave Sim's notebooks. He had filled 36 notebooks during the years he created the monthly Cerebus series, covering issues #20 to 300, plus the other side items -- like the Epic stories, posters and prints, convention speeches etc. A total of 3,281 notebook pages detailing his creative process. I never really got the time to study the notebooks when I had them. Just did a quick look, scanned them in and sent them back to Dave as soon as possible. So this regular column is a chance for me to look through those scans and highlight some of the more interesting pages.

Last week in Hunting Lodge Thespians we had our first look at Dave Sim's notebook #29, which said it was for Cerebus #255, and we saw pages #2 and 3. Well, what about page #1? Was it blank? No, it wasn't blank, but I couldn't make heads or tails of it. It looked like Dave was writing a letter to someone.

Notebook #29, page 1
As an example, if you are Lillian Hellman I see no reason why you should not write a story about a writer and give her a brave friend name Julia and write your story about a writer and her brave friend Julia so that it is inspirational and makes people say "Bravo" and perhaps try to be a little brave themselves. To me, however it is quite another thing to tell people that you are the writer you are writing about and to make yourself as brave as your made up Julia in your story. A story about a made-up Julia which is inspiring and makes people say "Bravo" and perhaps be a little brave themselves is a very good thing. I think, to do. A story you make up about being brave yourself when the bravest thing you ever did was to be around Dashiell Hammett when he was very, very drunk because you needed him to fix your amateurish writing anonymously is a very, very bad thing, I think, to do.

So issue #255 was dated March 2000, so this notebook entry could've been written in the late 1990s. I had to google the names as they didn't ring any bells.

Lillian Hellman was a writer, who died in 1984 at the age of 79. She had written a book entitled Pentimento: A book of Portraits published in 1973 which one of the stories was turned into a movie, Julia, starring Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave. It was nominated 11 Academy Awards and won three, but it turned out there was a controversy regarding the veracity of Lillian's story.

Perhaps Dave was thinking of it because Martha Gellhorn, Ernest Hemingway's third wife, had just passed away in early 1998? Or perhaps he had come across some mention of Hellman and Hemingway's dinner to raise money for anti-Nazi activists? Or perhaps he just read about Gellhorn's opinion's on Hellman?

It looks as if Dave didn't care about if the basis for Julia was made up or not, but he didn't care for Lillian making up stories about herself.


Wednesday, 24 February 2016

C + S II Restoration Update: Look At The Pretty Pictures

Sean Michael Robinson:

Greetings Cerebites!

After polishing off Reads two weeks ago, I've been pounding away at the remaining work on the Church & State II restoration. Good news--I'll be done with the bulk of the work (excluding layout, essay, and any revisions) by the end of this week.

All of this cleanup work, especially the tone cleanup which takes up the bulk of the work time, gives me a strange kind of relationship to the artwork. Specifically, I get to see it up close. Really up close. Closer--so Gerhard told me--than it was ever intended to be seen.

Mostly, this leaves me with a greater admiration for the sheer sweat expended on these pages, the visual invention and flare, some of which never made it to the printed page.

I was interested to see Michael G's comment this week on the just-released Church & State I--
 I hope we get to see some convincing updates on the progress on Vol. 2. In any case I can't wait to read it, and I hope that a quality printing of both volumes generates some newfound enthusiasm among Cerebites for these books because they're just as great to re-read as HS and Jaka's Story.

What better way to see the improvements than to take a look at one of my favorite issues with some direct comparisons?

Issue 89, "Dead Friends", is the third "Odd Transformation" story in the series so far. It's a dream sequence, and like the previous Odd Transformations stories, is visually stunning, but in a more subdued way than the previous installments, which relied on more dramatic cinematic techniques and double-page spreads/size of images to carry the visual weight. Instead, "Dead Friends" has a fairly static "camera," and it's the imagery itself, and the drawing and rendering itself, that is powerful and surreal.

Which makes me very happy that we have scans of all the original artwork for this issue!

Here's a scan of the lower right panel of page two, from a ninth-printing copy of the C & S II graphic novel, followed by a cleaned up version scanned from the original artwork.



This is a particularly dramatic example, as this page was replaced by a second-generation negative at some point in the print run of the book. Second generation negatives make up around 4 percent of the whole book previously.

On page 13 is another image that's made illegible in previous printings by fill-in in photography and dot gain in the printing. Bran and Weissapt/Thrunk fight in the Prime Minister's office while the tower grows around them. These dense dark areas, especially with fine lines or tone, can be difficult to keep "open" in print.


Page ten has some really inventive use of photocopies on the part of both Dave and Gerhard. I always wondered how they achieved this effect-- now, looking at the color scan, it's clear-- Gerhard photocopied the panel, cut arcs out of the photocopy, and then pasted down the remainder on top of the original drawing, leaving a sort of visual distortion/smearing effect across the architecture. (Am I mistaken in thinking the Weisshaupt figures are photocopy transfers, i.e. acetone rubbed on the back of a photocopy to transfer the image to the art board? notice the gray area of overlap)




The panel directly to the right has some similar work in both the figures and the background, with the repeated, size-varied figures standing in really well for the dizzy/seeing stars result of collision.




(This required a bit more cleanup than normal, as the raking light of a flatbed scanner tends to exaggerate paste-up/height differences in artwork, turning cuts in paper into visible lines)

Poor elf was suffering from second-generation neg syndrome as well. Here she is, renewed and rejuvenated.


Hope you enjoyed this peek under the hood. Next post we'll take a look at the original artwork, and some designs, for another favorite sequence of mine, "So."

Questions about the restoration work or the original artwork? Hit me up in the comments!

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Drawn & Quarterly

Cover art by Tom Gauld
DAVE SIM:
(from a comment posted on AMOC, 17 February 2016)
Glen from a couple of days ago: I don't read anything apart from Scripture and STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND research materials (most recently Willie Seabrook's autobiography and the book his second wife wrote about him, THE STRANGE WORLD OF WILLIE SEABROOK). I DO read comics material that people send to me (a very rare occurrence).

I think Drawn & Quarterly has made it abundantly apparent that they are firmly in the Feminist Theocracy camp: Dave Sim doesn't exist and CEREBUS doesn't exist. I would read a Drawn & Quarterly book if the cartoonist who created it sent it to me. However, for the hate-filled people of that political stripe, the unlikelihood of that happening verges on the astronomical. So, for all practical purposes, for me, Drawn & Quarterly doesn't exist and its cartoonists don't exist.

I used to meet people halfway, but you can't meet closed-minded people halfway BECAUSE they're closed-minded people.

Live and learn.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Michael Grabowski: The Restored "Church & State I"

Cerebus Vol 3: Church & State I
by Dave Sim & Gerhard

MICHAEL GRABOWSKI:
(from an AMOC Comment, 28 January 2016)
I am thrilled to be reading the new edition of Church & State Vol 1 (and thus re-reading C & S Vol 1) this week. I have to force myself to put it down when I get the chance to dig in. Like High Society last year, the pages are just lovely to look at in a way that they haven't been before. Pure white space and solid paper really bring out his linework, and when he does go for detail in his backgrounds in the first half of it, they really look exquisite. Not drawing backgrounds probably ensured Dave would be able to complete the series on time, but I think something was lost because there's some great work of his there in both HS and C&S.

I read the original comics 30 years ago, re-reading them every few months as the story got longer. I read the volume itself a few more times in the 80s and 90s. My last thorough re-read was 13 years ago, though, so this new edition gives me a reason to pick it up again. So I have probably read parts of this as many as ten times. It still holds up, and in some ways I think it's superior to High Society. Combined with Vol 2 it has a Dickensian scope (to match its Dickensian bulk) as we see more interactions and character arcs that don't include Cerebus (although it dissatisfies in not necessarily completing any of those other character arcs). The humor is more subtle and often gets completely out of the way so the story can develop.

Probably the only thing that bugs me are the occasional faces that Dave left blank. Did he forget to draw those? If it's deliberate, it's still distracting and a misguided choice given his skill at otherwise showing good expressions on cartoon-real faces even at a distance. It really pulls me out of the reading experience and it's one of the few instances where I wish modern Dave (or especially 1987 Dave) had stepped in to fix young Dave's mistakes.

I hadn't planned on buying this new edition until Sean's posts demonstrated what kinds of improvements they have been able to make over past printings. I hope we get to see some convincing updates on the progress on Vol. 2. In any case I can't wait to read it, and I hope that a quality printing of both volumes generates some newfound enthusiasm among Cerebites for these books because they're just as great to re-read as HS and Jaka's Story.

Congratulations to Dave and thanks to Sean and Mara for producing a truly quality edition of this seemingly under-appreciated book.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone

"Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone" by Gerhard
Standard Blue Edition $65; Variant Grey Edition $100
Blue Select Foil Edition $150; Grey Select Foil Edition $150
GERHARD:
(from Gerhard's blog, 18 February 2016)
A long, long, long time ago, I was asked by Dark Hall Mansion to draw a limited edition poster of the first installment of the Harry Potter Series... It has been a "secret" project for quite a while, and I'm pleased to announce that it is now print ready and available for purchase.

DARK HALL MANSION:
Dark Hall Mansion is thrilled to finally reveal yet another project long in development, contemporary artist Gerhard's stunning entry for DHM's ongoing limited edition Seminal Film Series fine art print releases, "Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone", and available Thursday, February 18th to Sunday, February 28th - ONLY!!

Dark Hall Mansion, under license from Warner Bros Entertainment, will release Gerhard's evocative and lovely take for the first film in J. K. Rowling's singularly magical series, "Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone." As always, the essence of DHM's Seminal Film Series print releases is to showcase a key artist's personal contribution's to a notable film, and the pairing of the first film that cinematically introduced us all to Harry, Ron, Hermione and the extraordinary world of Hogwarts finds a most gifted collaborator indeed via Gerhard's gift for rendering highly intricate and detailed tableau via the handcrafted and labor intensive care of his arrestingly meticulous crosshatching technique. Gerhard's prints beautifully illustrate the singular moment when first year students initially approach Hogwarts, all mood and tone his print's exquisite detailing is nothing short of beautiful, particularly when the sheer mastery of his cross hatching elegance is viewed up close. Gerhard also knew capturing the tale itself was paramount to us within this print, and we simply loved the moonlit, pensive, and meditative nature of Harry and Hedwig quietly reflecting on the life that was and the world that was just now beginning to open before them. Gerhard's gorgeous blue Standard limited edition print is pure emotional resonance, while his Variant limited edition print underscores and showcases Gerhard's extraordinary skills with light, shadow, and the finessed beauty of just what cross hatching can yield, truly Gerhard's skills stagger the eye with the sheer minutiae he deploys in creating his worlds.  

All Dark Hall Mansion "Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone" fine art limited edition prints by artist Gerhard are strictly limited, hand numbered, and screen printed. These are neither posters nor lithos, but fine art limited editions that are skillfully screen printed one individual color at a time.

Gerhard's 2016 Convention Itinerary:
March 18-20: Comicon Toronto, ON
April 8-10: Wizard World Madison, WI
June 17-19: Wizard World Sacramento, CA
July-August: Gone Sailing Georgian Bay, ON
September 8-10: Wizard World Nashville, TN
November 4-6: Wizard World Pittsburgh, PA

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Jeff Seiler: Dave Sim & Me

JEFF SEILER:
Eleven years ago, when Cerebus ended, Dave Sim decided to answer all of his back mail. A month or so later, he had his "Jeff Seiler Day" in which he answered multiple letters I had written over the previous year. After I received that letter, I decided to keep writing, and he kept his promise to answer every letter he received. Now, I have a foot-high stack of letters written and received over 10 years or so. I'll be running interesting excerpts from those letters each week.

17 June 05:

Dear Jeff:

Thanks for your letter of June 12. I read it in the 10th floor cafeteria at City Hall this morning and almost laughed out loud at your comparison of the paragraph from the SAT [test] that your are scoring to Japanese fusion jazz. I can certainly understand how you could phone [me] in the middle of that as a kind of lifeline to a saner world. I count myself fortunate that I don’t have to immerse myself in the Kafkaesque nightmare of facing head on what feminism hath wrought in the education system, which is something of the problem, I guess. I mean we didn’t get here overnight and there is a certain level of fatalism that we’re just learning to live with rather than speak up and out. The question seems to be--how long can the feminist keep a straight face through this and how far does society erode before they either crack up laughing or break down in tears?

The root canal went fine--I opted for sedation: Halcyon chased by steady inhalation of nitrous oxide and came awake with about five minutes to go in the game. Last thing I remember is asking the dentist is Halcyon was in the opiate or barbiturate category and Schedule I or Schedule II (which, as my last conscious thought, I suspected is an American designation). Ger came and got me and drove me to pick up the painkillers and penicillin substitute (I’m allergic to penicillin). So far, I haven’t had to use the painkillers. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s a long way from what I would describe as pain, so I would appear to have a ten-year supply of Tylenol 3s at this point.

“Teen Gets Life Sentence For Helping Girlfriend End Pregnancy: 19 Year-Old Stepped on Stomach While Girl Punched Self.” Yes, it does have that epic quality to it, a kind of “Yes, well. There you are.” It’s just part of the zeitgeist is my reaction, now. That’s what happens when you decide that abortion is a human right--it gets into the blood of people who should, as you say, know better. If you make pregnancy into a good thing/bad thing relative to how the mother-to-be FEELS about it, then you’re going to get these sorts of stories. I don’t FEEL that I want to have my babies after all. Now they’re dead. Oh, shit, now I FEEL bad. I better find a therapist show can make me FEEL good again. Oh, my boyfriend is going to jail for life. Now, I really FEEL bad. Why can’t they let him go so I can FEEL good again? There is a certain consolation for in the fact that while I’m typing these letters and discussing these issues square on, I can sense the vindication of history up ahead. How far up ahead, I have no idea, but certainly there is a level of gratification in knowing that you’re Winston Churchill warning about the storm clouds of war across the channel. You put in an interesting way: “I don’t begrudge you the fact that you have such a keen perception of the feminist ethos…” [Dave said: italics mine]. I have been aware for some time that that’s the problem. Scott Berwanger wrote me along the same lines about how angry he was with me for bringing up this whole gender war thing. It seems to me an intermediary stage towards society getting well. Everyone who thought of me as a deranged paranoid misogynist is now having to read these stories and make the hard decision. Do I keep Dave in his “deranged” box and just ignore what I’m reading? Men are too sensible to indulge in wishful thinking forever, so I see the schism coming up ahead because women will indulge in wishful thinking until the jackboots are coming up the front steps and even then think that there might be a way to talk themselves out from under. You have to part company with it or accept that you’re “going under” into the same shared lunacy. All the anecdotes are of a piece, indicating not only that it’s too late to find the last good woman on the planet (and the degree of accommodation and self-deception required to insulate yourself from reality long enough and thoroughly enough to shield yourself from your own sure knowledge of who and what she is on an on-going daily basis in order to maintain the illusion) but that these issues now straddle far more perilous and (dare I say it?) infernal borderlines. I’m warning men, in general, not to consciously go down into (metaphorical for secular humanists, literal for Deists) The Pit: very different thing from spoiling someone’s good time and potential for future happiness which is how my warnings have been viewed for ten years now.

Mm. I won’t have an epitaph. The funeral plot I purchased is only sanctioned by the cemetery for a square marker flush with the ground. No headstone permitted. “Dave Sim 1956-20--” That’s it. I still have to get out to the stone place to buy one. Keep forgetting. It’s the last thing I need to do vis-a-vis my final arrangements.

Yes, Mr. Tierney’s “Peace In Our Time” item was well-thought out. I think it represents the core of the otherwise inexplicable feminist reaction to the democratization of Islamic countries, which I suspect stems from YHWH’s compulsive urge towards martyrdom on the grand scale (having realized some time ago that a win is definitely not in the cards). Worldwide feminism is just going to hasten the day when it is seen as a worldwide delusion and the sideshows are gradually working themselves out: fascism and communism and fanatic Islam getting un-kinked and de-knotted. There just isn’t anywhere for clinical YHWH insanity to run anymore and certainly nowhere to hide. Maybe a hundred years left on the clock which in terms of the life the earth is barely an eye-blink. After that, there’s only the very straightforward submission to the Will of God on the grand scale or oblivion on the grand scale. Either/or.

I don’t really practice halal, mostly because I very rarely eat meat. By contrast, I consciously don’t drink alcohol, watching myself scrupulously when, as an example, I’m at the local hockey game and someone’s chugging a beer with gleeful abandon in front of me and I get that taste in my mouth or I’m eating at a good restaurant with a good wine list by the glass. Whereas, if I saw someone chewing down a cheeseburger with comparable abandon, I might order one once in a blue moon and pay the gastric consequences later. There was one funny episode when my parents took me to an Indian restaurant staffed by Muslims (having mentioned that their son fasts in Ramadan and prays five times a day) and I told the waiter as I tucked into my lamb that it was relief to know that at least here it was “kosher”. Turned out it wasn’t. The place was staffed by Muslims, but it was Hindu or secular restaurant. Oh, well. My heart was in the right place.

No, no pork--at least, not consciously. I do miss bacon in a big way. Anytime I’m in the City Hall cafeteria and they’ve just made up a few breakfast specials, I ache for a peanut butter and bacon sandwich. Haven’t cracked yet and that goes back to ‘99 or so, I believe.

Yes, by all means, post the new info on S.P.A.C.E 2006. I think we’re gradually getting the thing whipped into shape, year-by-year, so an help with publicity is all to the good.

Also glad that you’ll be doing the Reliant Energy thing in Corpus Christi again--this time with less of a sense of ball-busting urgency. It sounded like a very coherent and sane way for a teacher to spend the summer.

Best,
Dave

Friday, 19 February 2016

Weekly Update #122: A Comic Book Shop... In Space?!?!


Dave takes a quick look at Steve Peters and Bianca Alu-Marr's Comicverse.

Oh, and Cerebus posters are coming soon...!

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Hunting Lodge Thespians

MARGARET LISS:
A few years ago I scanned all of Dave Sim's notebooks. He had filled 36 notebooks during the years he created the monthly Cerebus series, covering issues #20 to 300, plus the other side items -- like the Epic stories, posters and prints, convention speeches etc. A total of 3,281 notebook pages detailing his creative process. I never really got the time to study the notebooks when I had them. Just did a quick look, scanned them in and sent them back to Dave as soon as possible. So this regular column is a chance for me to look through those scans and highlight some of the more interesting pages.

We haven't yet seen anything from Dave Sim's notebook #29. It covers Cerebus #255 and while the notebook had 32 pages in it, only 18 were scanned, the rest were blank. Issue #255, or Form & Void phonebook page 467, opens with Cerebus surprised at seeing an airship for the first time. Then on page 475 or page 9 of the issue, Cerebus starts thinking to himself of a future conversation he'll have with Jaka and Ham. That conversation starts on page 2 of the notebook:

Notebook #29, page 2
The dialogue on the notebook page pretty much follows the dialogue in the finished comic. Notice how Ham's line is in a different hand written font then Cerebus' dialogue. The 'I'm back' with a musical note is Jaka's actual dialogue, and not just Cerebus' thinking of how the conversation will go. In the finish comic, it looks the same with a musical note as well.

There are small differences in the dialogue on the notebook page and the finished page - having Cerebus think Ham will say shit rather than crap, instead of Cerebus saying 'What?' just giving him a face that conveys that thought instead, having Jaka say 'asked' instead of 'said', etc.

The dialogue continues on page 3 of the notebook, and here the whole top bit of dialogue isn't in the finished book.

Notebook #29, page 3
Rather than say 'Look I give up! First you', Jaka just raises her hand cutting Cerebus off. Then when Mary comes in down at the bottom of the notebook page, she states the story she is about to tell happened about six years ago. In the finished book, she just says a long time ago.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Gerhard: Church & State Revisited

Church & State I: Final Scene recreation
Art by Gerhard 
(Click image to enlarge)
DEAN REEVES:
(from ComicArtFans, December 2015)
This is the third in a series of commission pieces I've asked Gerhard to create for me.

The first was the Regency cover recreation from High Society, the second was the street scene from Melmoth, next one after this will be from Jaka's Story (I'm really looking forward to that), and I've actually thought of anther one but I may just have to stop and simply be happy with what I have/will have. We'll see. Besides, he might be getting sick of me asking for all of these little black lines.

The reason this series of commissions began, aside from my selfish desire to have my very own High Society cover, was to highlight Gerhard’s contribution to the epic story that is Cerebus – while I know he didn't contribute to the Regency during the High Society run, his contribution to the cover for the phone book is mesmerizing. His settings helped to ground the book and give it a sense of realism and place, and his backgrounds probably had every other independent creator jealously wishing they could have their own Gerhard. Not to mention that, with his taking over the backgrounds and settings, it allowed Dave to focus on other things that make this book one of the greatest achievements in comics.

Cerebus (or Gerebus if you will) is in the scene to emphasize the scale of it all, and this scene has scale. What I think is fantastic about these piece, compared to the original double page spread, is that Gerhard added details that make the piece stronger. I was originally thinking he was going to leave the upper right corner blank, since in the book that area was completely covered with Letratone, instead he added the lower city, which looks amazing! Through the smashed wall of the hotel you can see the remnants of the furniture of the room where Bran committed suicide. And in the courtyard you can see the impact crater of the Great Stone Thrunk from where he landed after Cerebus blew off his leg and then asked him who Tarim is.

If you ask me, Gerhard has done it again.

Gerhard's 2016 Convention Itinerary:
March 18-20: Comicon Toronto, ON
April 8-10: Wizard World Madison, WI
June 17-19: Wizard World Sacramento, CA
July-August: Gone Sailing Georgian Bay, ON
September 8-10: Wizard World Nashville, TN
November 4-6: Wizard World Pittsburgh, PA

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Larry Marder: Beanworld Self-Publisher?

Tales Of The Beanworld

DAVE SIM:
(from Patreon Update Bone & The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond: Part 10, 31 January 2016)
...I first met Larry at Petuniacon back in '84 in the fanzine BEANWORLD days and then again when he had quit his advertising job to do BEANWORLD full-time... and was, self-admittedly just not producing. Like Bissette with TYRANT: "My big chance to do my dream comic for a living!" and then he just froze. Inexplicable but far from rare. The IMPRESSION that he always left was of someone who intended to self-publish but, in retrospect, that might have been play-acting so he could be associated with self-publishing while not actually self-publishing. His next major appearance was at the Northampton Summit in '88 where he just sort of arrived with Scott McCloud -- which made me think, "Well, I know what LARRY is doing here: but what are YOU doing here?" And, of course, Scott waylaid the whole process of the Manifesto we were putting together, defining the boundaries where distribution/publishing/self-publishing overlapped and pulling that 180° over in the direction of a labour/management agreement from labour's side, his Creator's Bill of Rights. That really pushed me out of the picture, but all I had really been concerned about was the Right to choose how to distribute my work (i.e. sell direct to fans when that made more economic sense). Kevin and Peter had started publishing other artists and Richard Pini -- who was doing "work-made-for-hire” at WaRP -- was there. So I figured "Let THEM hash out the labour/management thing". Missing the point that without ME pulling all these people into the same room they weren't going to continue meeting. Kevin and Peter would continue to use work-made-for-hire on TURTLES work they didn't do. Richard Pini would continue to use work-made-for-hire on outside ELFQUEST titles, Kevin would start Tundra as a creator-owned imprint (I suspect to APPEAR to offset Peter's stricter work-made-for-hire way for the two of them to run Mirage). And Image would come along four years later portraying itself as the ideal of creator ownership -- and almost immediately the partners were hiring other creators to do (what I would consider) "their" work for them which the partners owned lock, stock and barrel. There's nothing ILLEGAL about work-made-for-hire, but it tends to be UNETHICAL: people ending up at the end of their careers owning nothing while their work continues to generate large sums of money. That was what I was trying to fix. Society has evolved in the direction of fixing that -- no one thinks anything of a creator selling a book on Kickstarter AND making it available later through Diamond. But no one foresaw that the Internet would STRUCTURALLY change everything roughly fifteen years later. Gerhard was never work-made-for-hire. He had the right to reproduce anything he worked on and still does -- Sean is under strict instructions to provide Gerhard with restored scans of any CEREBUS page he worked on and Gerhard has the right to reproduce it, which is what he does, paying A-V a courtesy royalty of 4% on sales of his prints. He could certainty sign a deal to do a GERHARD ART book without asking permission. If you worked on it, you have the right to reproduce it is my position -- and the agreement I have on TURTLES 8 and SPAWN 10, as an example. Gerhard was a definite (if you'll pardon the expression) Bone of contention at the Northampton Summit because my position was fully formed even then. Gerhard couldn't sign with Disney for a CEREBUS movie, but HIS work is HIS work and HE has the right to reproduce it. I was a dissenting contributor on the "We have the right to FULLY own what we FULLY create." For me it's “We have the right to reproduce and sell what we create.” Someone can draw Cerebus on a print and sell reproductions of it without asking permission because he or she created the print. It's really not a problem. The instances of someone doing that are anecdotal. There is no cost or cost to the copyright holder. Just a misapprehended mindset that if you don't jump on people with legal hob-nailed boots you risk losing ownership. The law profession propagates that myth for obvious reasons: they make (or used to make) lots of money from cease-and-desist letters. A kid drew an ELFQUEST character into a freelance art job for a crossword puzzle magazine. Richard saw it and jumped on the kid with hob-nailed boots and the kid was crushed and quit drawing for a living. The Spermbirds used CEREBUS on the front of their album cover "Something To Prove" and their t-shirts to this day. I don't see how CEREBUS or Dave Sim are harmed by that.

It was a Comic Art Metaphysics "Something To Prove" and I think I proved it and continue to prove it each time the band sells a t-shirt. 


In terms of Larry, I think that it was not uncommon to have an inaccurate self-perception particularly in terms of what both Larry and Jeff would have deemed "tribal matters" -- being both strong adherents of what I would call an "overly romanticized" First Nations view of the nature of Reality. Larry always referred to Comicon as "the gathering of the tribes," as an example. Most of BEANWORLD can be construed as Larry's inferences of Hopi Indian culture made into iconic narratives. Of course, Larry isn't a Hopi Indian. But that kind of cultural misappropriation -- which First Nations are beginning to "call out" people like Larry and Jeff on -- tends to lead to the idea that you are whatever you perceive yourself to be. "I self-identify as a native American" or, at least, NON-white, NON-European. If all that's required for self-identification is self-declaration then it isn't that difficult to say, "I self-published an ashcan for this convention, therefore I'm a member of the self-publishing tribe. Even though I'm really shopping for a publisher." Jeff has a more valid claim there, since he's published by Scholastic but self-publishes his own projects and the complete-in-one BONE volume. Self-publishing a behind-the-scenes book in violation of your Dark Horse contract JUST so you can call yourself a self-publisher seems... odd... to me. I don't think it benefits self-publishing because it creates a smokescreen which hides ACTUAL self-publishers behind semi- and demi- self-publishers. But I think that's the UNCONSCIOUS impulse behind it: the last thing the Feminist Theocracy wants is AUTONOMOUS MEN freely expressing creative political entertainment independent of the levers of feminist control: pressure on advertisers; pressure from editors and publishing executives; pressure from licensors.

It's really Larry leaning on and trying to maintain his Nexus of All Comic Book Realities stature, which was true to a degree: he did fit in with a lot of disparate people. But, as I say, I think the self-publishing distinction is important because of the (increasingly?) potent threat posed to creative autonomy by the (increasingly?) restrictive forces of political correctness. I hope it's not too late to come up with a means of dissipating the smokescreen with a strictly defined SELF-PUBLISHERS ONLY website context (which I’m working on right now)... [Read more at Dave Sim's Patreon site...]
 Backcover, Cerebus #167 (February 1993)

Monday, 15 February 2016

Seeing Profound Truths

Cerebus Vol 9: Reads (1994)
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Jeff Seiler: Dave Sim & Me

JEFF SEILER:
Eleven years ago, when Cerebus ended, Dave Sim decided to answer all of his back mail. A month or so later, he had his "Jeff Seiler Day" in which he answered multiple letters I had written over the previous year. After I received that letter, I decided to keep writing, and he kept his promise to answer every letter he received. Now, I have a foot-high stack of letters written and received over 10 years or so. I'll be running interesting excerpts from those letters each week.

Today’s entry is a letter from Dave to me, dated 26 May, 2005. It refers to an ongoing illness that he had been going through, the first one in my experience with him, but certainly not the last:

26 May 05

Dear Jeff:

To be honest, I have no idea of the state of my health. This has certainly been my worst year health-wise that I can recall but whether that was just “luck of the draw” or symptomatic of something worse, I have no idea. Because I’m pretty well disenchanted with this world as constituted, that very much includes medical “science”--metaphorically, I’m always in the Big Departure Lounge with my bags packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice, which is, I believe how you are supposed to be in the eyes of God--and, as a result, it would take an awful lot for me to see a doctor or go to an emergency room. I have no confidence in what they do there nor to I believe in repairing the human body. This is the body God gave me. If the clockwork was made to run down by ‘07, that’s when i’m going; if it runs down by ‘18, that’s when I’m going. I have a very bad couple of teeth right now which give me a lot of trouble intermittently. I’m just waiting to hear from a dentist about a couple of root canal appointment and in the interim I bought some Orajel which I’ve used a couple of times but most of the time when the pain gets really bad, I’ll just let it go and it usually subsides after about ten minutes. I think that’s the better way to go. Masking the pain seems like a really bad idea. The same as the bad shoulder that I had. I could go to the emergency room and get a shot of cortisone which would mask the pain but what’s the point of that? If the shoulder really hurts, I’ll take much better care of it than I will if it’s been numbed by some chemical. The shoulder has gotten better and ahead of the schedule I set for it: no exercise until the beginning of summer, so I’ve started doing things like carrying my groceries in my right hand to get it used to lifting weights again and yesterday I shovelled some dirt and gravel that needed shovelling. Ger would’ve been happy doing all of it himself but there’s only one way to find out if something has healed and that’s to test it, so that’s what I did. It’s a little stiff today but I obviously didn’t re-tear whatever I tore in it before and that’s the extent of my interest. So, short answer, my body could be ravaged by cancer and I wouldn’t have a clue nor would I care. Nor, I think, should you. Take care of your own body and pay attention to it, develop the self-discipline to live with pain when you have pain and when you’ve “done your time” the pain will go away. If you dick around with it with needles and chemicals, [then] most of the time you’re just going to make it worse. Prayer and reading from the Koran work a lot better than aspirin but I try not to rely too heavily on those either.

I have no real idea what the relationship is between the mayor and council here in town. I’m sure that there’s an on-paper structure, just as I’m sure that the actual structure probably differs from it. The three principal council committees, Community Services, Development and Technical Services and Finance and Corporate Services are each chaired by a different council member and the mayor is just another member with one vote. In the event of a tie, the chair of the committee casts the deciding vote. The mayor chairs the council meetings and casts the deciding vote in the event of a tie. THere are the various steering committees of each sub-committee of the overall committees and the moves the agenda items forward. At this point, the council is primarily made up of what I would describe as “tax and spend” liberals where the overriding perception is that government is charged with all of the big stuff--major capital works projects primarily, as well as bestowing tens of thousands of dollars on people who have learned how to suck up in the right way and to speak “municipal government speak”, which is a dialect of “regional government speak” and “provincial government speak” and “federal government speak”. In Kitchener, pink, pink, pink centre left. Marxism from the municipal level to the regional level to the provincial level to the federal level--Liberal Red from top to bottom. The urge is always to spend more taxpayer dollars and to pry more money out of each level of government in doing so. The balance of power I would describe as the momentum behind the sincere conviction. It’s a runaway juggernaut that not only can’t be stopped, it can’t be slowed down. The mayor and council ride the beast and try not to wind up in its belly.

Yes, definitely second thoughts on the poll of political affiliation among the [Cerebus] Yahoos [which refers to the old chat group at Yahoo.com]. I do think that everyone tends to see their own positions as being moderate and that was what I was trying to point out to you. I’m seen as a lunatic right wing extremist--you edge over in the direction by acknowledging that you can understand how people can see me as being paranoid in you email to Charlotte Allen--so all perceptions are “relative to”. I see myself as a moderate and liberal thinking person in the dictionary definition 4, 5, 7 and 8 and also definition 1 and 2, depending on how you define “progressive” and “reform”. I would certainly like to see post-1970 attitudes towards women make some progress and reform themselves along sensible lines (and see society’s reactions as being universally “knee jerk reactionary”) and since I see gender as the primary demarcation in society (after “monotheistic” vs. “pagan”) that means that I’m about the only one in the middle and everyone else is standing on tippy-toes leaning as far out to the left as they can. I don’t like labelling because I think the pathological[ly] profligate spenders and social engineers--when scientists go bad--have usurped the term liberal and made it into an unthinking definition. In much the same way that they have usurped “gay” so that it can no longer be appropriately used about a certain vivacious, bright and charming manner of female. A great loss to me but no great loss to a society which take a dim view of a female who isn’t mordant, pedantic and grimly masculine. Why have a term for a condition you’re trying to eliminate?

Loved the Opus [comic] strip; thanks for sending it.

And, yes, I have to give Bill Cosby major marks for cashing in some popularity chips telling his people what they don’t want to hear--and probably knowing that they won’t, in a general sense, do anything about it but realizing that that really isn’t the point when the condition has worsened as bad as it has. [Remember, folks, this was over a decade ago. Not one of us knew about Mr. Cosby what we now know.] If he can address 2,000 parents and get three of them to actually turn back into what parents are supposed to be, it’s still going to be worthwhile. The journey of a thousand mile begins with but a single step, and all that.

I think that I’m reaching an accommodation with the Yahoos about S.P.A.C.E. My biggest concern last year and this year was that I didn’t want to jeopardize what I see as my obligations to S.P.A.C.E [Ed: Sorry, that stands for Small Press and Alternative Comics Exposition--look it up and go, folks] and independent publishing by indulging to too great an extent in a decidedly “me” thing. It isn’t just the Yahoos. Last year and this year, I missed the S.P.A.C.E Blast party at the Laughing Ogre [comic book shop] because it’s such a long ways downtown and the dinner with the Day Prize recipient seems to take priority. {Ed: The Day Prize was initiated by Dave to award what he and Gerhard deemed the most worthy independent comic book or graphic novel of the year from all of the submissions from the previous year’s S.P.A.C.E convention, in honor of his old friend and mentor, Gene Day. It ran for about five years, if memory serves, and then was renamed and continues on at S.P.A.C.E, under the aegis (and a different name) of Bob Corby, the founder and continuing organized of the convention.] But Gib Bickel puts on this party for all of the exhibitors and he’s one of the best retailers in North America and sells a lot of Cerebus, so I’m loathe to give it up. This year he asked if I wanted to have breakfast with him and his crew and I said sure. I had already had breakfast but I had coffee with them so I think that might be how that one resolves itself. I won’t be at the S.P.A.C.E Blast party but I’ll have breakfast before the show with the Ogre guys. Just as this year I thought it worked well to move from the Day Prize recipient dinner to having coffee with the Yahoos, so I hope it will be possible to make that another tradition by coordinating what restaurant the Day Prize dinner takes place in. If the Yahoos start dinner forty minutes or so after the Day Prize dinner, it should work out pretty well. The dinner with the recipient isn’t rushed and I’m not joining the Yahoo table after everyone’s been done eating for an hour. The thing I have to avoid is eating six meals a day for two days and we seem to be working that out pretty well.

S.P.A.C.E next year will be held on May 15 at the Aladdin Shrine Complex, which is out in the Easton Town Centre part of Columbus, with more restaurants and things within walking distance. The convention hotel will probably be the Hilton (which will be within walking distance) but no final word yet, in which case that’s probably where the various dinners and breakfasts will take place. Obviously, we want to keep everyone in the same hotel if possible so Bob can get the benefit of booking a block of rooms. I don’t think we’re particularly fussy about where we stay. It can be the Hilton or Motel 8 as long as everyone’s in the same spot.

Actually, Bryan wasn’t shooting a documentary [Ed: This refers to some video interviews Bryan did with some of us Cerebites at S.P.A.C.E, 2005; the project got cancelled, for reasons unknown to me.]; it’s actually a Cerebus infomercial expanding on the seven-minute tribute film he did in 2004 and my best guess is “slowly”. The tribute film actually started as Laughing Ogre’s contribution to Campaign 2000: Four More Years and was barely ready for S.P.A.C.E 2004, so that should give you an idea of the progress. He’s won two Emmy awards, though, so it will be well worth waiting for. We’re trying to limit the exposure of the short video for the moment so it doesn’t become stale by the the infomercial is done. If I change my mind on that (which I might well do) I’ll be happy to send you Bryan’s contact info.

Gotta run,
Dave

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Cerebus Goodies

MARGARET LISS:
A few years ago I scanned all of Dave Sim's notebooks. He had filled 36 notebooks during the years he created the monthly Cerebus series, covering issues #20 to 300, plus the other side items -- like the Epic stories, posters and prints, convention speeches etc. A total of 3,281 notebook pages detailing his creative process. I never really got the time to study the notebooks when I had them. Just did a quick look, scanned them in and sent them back to Dave as soon as possible. So this regular column is a chance for me to look through those scans and highlight some of the more interesting pages.

We've already looked at notebook #3 a few times, most recently last December in His First Firth Notebook Notes. It covers issues #52 to 59 and had 158 pages scanned. This week we're looking at two bits of Cerebus merchandise: one that was made and another that wasn't.

First up is page 58, on which we see a sketch for what would become the Official Elrod the Albino t-shirt.

Notebook #3, page 58
The sketch is pretty close to the finished shirt:

Official Elrod the Albino t-shirt
The one difference is Elrod's left hand - on the notebook page it is extended out and on the t-shirt it is pointed to the shirt he is grabbing. The text in his word balloon is also different, but the text on the t-shirt is on the notebook page as well - just up above the 'Albino Lover" text.

The other bit of Cerebus merchandise, which never was published, is the "Untold Tales of Cerebus". It shows up on the next to large page of the notebook:

Notebook #3, page 157
As much as part of me would have wanted to see more Cerebus stories, part of me is glad this never saw the light of day. I just wouldn't want to see Dave piling more work on top of his already busy schedule. Though if other creators were to do it? Perhaps, but would they be able to live up to what Dave and Gerhard did? I find it hard to think they would.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

The Berlin Wall

Cerebus graffiti on the Berlin Wall, Germany

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Cerebus Re-Read Challenge: Cory Foster

CORY FOSTER:
Cerebus Vol 5 - Jaka's Story: 
...I've been looking forward to this one big-time. The main reason I love Cerebus is that its scope is so huge. The focus (and sometimes the lack of it) and dedication of Dave and Ger is astounding, and the source of much of my admiration for them. I've always been into "big" projects. Even if they aren't entirely successful, I still highly appreciate the guts that it took to produce the thing. I sometimes think of this series as the Sandinista! of comics. Warts & all. It's quite interesting, then, that in addition to crafting something so admirably gargantuan, this creative team also pulled off one of the greatest single volume graphic novels of all time (and my personal favorite, overall). ... [Read the full review here...]

CORY FOSTER:
Cerebus Vol 6 - Melmoth: 
...While researching Oscar Wilde for Jaka's Story, Dave was sufficiently inspired by what he read to devote an entire storyline to the author/playwright, and in the process, befuddle fans of the book by giving Cerebus even less to do than in the previous 34 issues.  As if that wasn't enough, he confused longtime readers even further by making it clear that this wasn't the same Oscar Wilde from Jaka's Story. Of course, Oscar had been taken away by the Cirinists at the end of that book, so he was a bit busy at the time. Luckily for Dave, there just so happened to be another author in Estarcion with the exact same name, appearance, and ready wit. Lucky for us, too, because this is a fantastic, haunting work that never fails to grip my heart. This may be because this is the first time that Cerebus has flirted with non-fiction, as Melmoth is the story of the real Oscar Wilde's final days... [Read the full review here...]

CORY FOSTER'S
CEREBUS RE-READ CHALLENGE:
Cerebus Vol 7: Flight
Cerebus Vol 8: Women
Cerebus Vol 9: Reads
Cerebus Vol 10: Minds
Cerebus Vol 11: Guys
Cerebus Vol 12: Rick's Story
Cerebus Vol 13: Going Home
Cerebus Vol 14: Form & Void
Cerebus Vol 15: Latter Days
Cerebus Vol 16: The Last Day
Cerebus #0 (#51 Exodus, #112/113 Square One, #137/138 Like-A-Looks)
Cerebus World Tour Book 1995 (Swords Of Cerebus Back-Up Stories) 

The Cerebus Re-Read Challenge! How far will you get?
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