Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dave Sim's blogandmail #10 (September 21st, 2006)

All this week the Blog & Mail is brought to you by

Dave Sim Collected Letters 2004

The only book ever published in the history of the human race that has literally oodles* and boodles** of comic book fans listed in the index!

* **(see cit.: World Trade Organization numerical statistics constituting internationally agreed upon definitions of both n. pl. oodles and n. pl. boodles under Davros Protocols of 2002. see also dissenting views from Non-aligned Nations and NGOs at

Dave Sim Collected Letters 2004

"Indexing the otherwise nondescript with an eye towards an uncertain future posterity because we're, you know, into that kind of s—t"

At your local comic-book shop or order from

This week's Blog & Mail is dedicated with the greatest respect and admiration to Chris Woerner who is serving with US Forces in Baghdad. He called me the night he got his "marching orders" and we had a very nice chat with the excited babble of innumerable others preparing to serve "The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave" (and the larger interests of freedom and democracy) and saying their own "fare thee well's" providing an exhilarating auditory backdrop.

He wanted to know what a set of the trades would cost him and I said, "For you? A hundred bucks. You're putting your life on the line and they're just trade paperbacks." I did warn him that one of my other US Forces correspondents told me that glue binding on books melts in the Iraqi heat. So—given that they're likely to turn into a 16-volume glue and newsprint trade paperback stew—Ger and I have since reconsidered and decided to make them a comp. Let us know what your APO address is and we'll get them out to you, Chris! And keep `em flying, soldier! We're with you all the way!

With Gerhard having been gone for a week and there was a more-than-usually-large stack of mail to go through last week—which fell into a distinct thematic pattern, oddly enough, as you'll see as the week goes by—including four, count `em four letters from long-time correspondent Scott Berwanger who readers of Collected Letters 2004 (ISBN 0-919359-23-x) will recall is the creator of Anubis, a mammoth graphic novel that he has been working on since the mid-90s and of which only the first few instalments were ever published. I ran a Plugola ad for them on the back of Cerebus 233 and, yes, that address is still valid. He tried it as a full-sized comic book, then he tried it as a digest format and just wasn't able to get enough orders to sustain publication so, ultimately, he just decided to forge ahead and produce the entire work and worry about the publication end of things when he was done.

I can't count the number of wannabe self-publishers that I've cited Scott's approach to. When he gets Anubis done (and I do think it's a matter of "when" not "if") in another ten or fifteen years, I think his letters in the Cerebus Archive are going to be of interest to a lot of guys who are going to have to take his approach into account as one of a number of options (including self-publishing, working for a publisher, web comics, etc.) and will be interested to see what he had to say about the experiment while it was still in progress. I mentioned this in a letter to Scott a while back and I think it's made him a little self-conscious now (hence the four letters in one week, clarifying his clarifications). That's good, though. He's a trailblazer so the more reports he can send back from his forward position the better for those who are going to follow in his footsteps.

Scott's also a part-time painter and he got offered exhibit space at a gallery called 49 West for an exhibition of a series of paintings based on his Anubis work and he's been going back and forth on whether or not to go for it (by letter number four he seemed to have decided not to). It's always interesting to see a problem that I never faced during the 26 years of the Cerebus experiment. What if a gallery owner had come to me at some point and said, "You remember Roy Lichtenstein? We were wondering if you'd be interested in doing Pop Art enlargements of some of your panels on canvas and exhibiting them at our gallery?" I mean even a small exhibit is going to eat up a large amount of time relative to the time the average graphic novelist has to spare from his graphic novel. Scott's proposed exhibit was twelve canvases which he figured he could produce over the course of a year or so while still producing Anubis the graphic novel. He even tried to back out at one point when there was a fixed deadline and they just eliminated the deadline and left it open-ended. I think I would have been getting migraines by that point trying to decide what my best course of action would be.

The appeal of a gallery show is unmistakeable: it's the Real Art world and that was—and is—a big plus with the Ye Bookes of Cerebus exhibit. I don't think either Ger or I thought that it was ever going to dramatically boost sales on the trade paperbacks or allow us to Conquer the World Of Real Art. But, there is a definite gratification to the Real World environment and to have people treating your work seriously.

Tomorrow's correspondent is the man responsible for making it all happen.

Today's instalment of The Blog & Mail was brought to you by pages 92, 139, 143, 154, 165, 170, 183, 213, 215, 359, 420, 459, 479 and 548 of Dave Sim: Collected Letters 2004. More pages featuring Scott Berwanger and Anubis than any other publication since the dawn of time! And remember!

Collected Letters makes an ideal Bar Mitzvah Gift.

"Today I am a Cerebus Reader!"

Dave Sim: Collected Letters 2004

At your local comic store or order from

If you wish to contact Dave Sim, you can mail a letter (he does NOT receive emails) to:

Aardvark Vanaheim, Inc
P.O. Box 1674
Station C
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 4R2

Looking for a place to purchase Cerebus phonebooks? You can do so online through Win-Mill Productions -- producers of Following Cerebus. Convenient payment with PayPal:

Win-Mill Productions

Or, you can check out Mars Import:

Mars Import

Or ask your local retailer to order them for you through Diamond Comics distributors.