Friday, October 06, 2006

Dave Sim's blogandmail #25 (October 6th, 2006)

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Don't Touch That Dial or Mouse or Whatever it is

Finally got the front cover of Collected Letters 2 done. It's a wraparound cover but all that's needed is the front cover for the solicitation which I think we'll be sending in for the Previews catalogue Diamond is putting together in November. As I said before, it's in the photorealism style which is the most difficult thing I've attempted and, consequently the most gratifying even when I come up short in my own view. I don't know if Siu has the third strip up on her website—the This is Wonderland one (which is actually the fourth one—I still need one more photo to do strip #1 and strips 2 and 3 have been up there for some time) but she and John seemed to agree that this was the best one so far in terms of capturing her likeness.

We interrupt this Blog & Mail for a special Matt & Paula bulletin. I did notice on my last impromptu scan of the Yahoo dialogue in process—I used to check the "headlines" page when I checked how Ger was coming along with the website which is now under reconstruction and in the capable hands of uber Yahoo Jeff Tundis (which explains why I haven't checked it lately)—that Matt had (self-admittedly in an immature fashion) put in his vote for a Siu Ta (so far) strip dedicated to Siu's appearance in the a-little-bit-more-than-risque Harold & Kumar Go To Whitecastle (I hasten to point out that none of the even remotely risqué scenes featured Siu: although her husband John really can't stand to watch the one kissing scene she has at the end). I mentioned this to Siu and she said that there are all kinds of legal restrictions on the movie and images from the movie. She wasn't even able to get stills from the movie for her website. Of course, I'm not really using stills, I'm tracing stills and making drawings from them which, to me, is the same thing as courtroom drawings. You aren't allowed to take pictures in court, but you can do drawings. That's my theory anyway. So, here's the deal, Matt. If you can turn up some good quality stills from any of the scenes that Siu was in that are being offered for sale on the Internet or elsewhere (and there's no need for me to know where you got them), I'll see about turning them into the only unauthorized Siu Ta (so far) strip which we won't be able to post anywhere, but if I was to, you know, hand copies out to Discriminating Yahoos at the next get-together, hey, where's the harm? In fact, there's supposed to be a sequel to H&QGTW in the works right around now and Siu hasn't been contacted. Why don't some of you find out who the producer is and e-mail him that it just won't be a real sequel and you and…um…you and all your dozens of frat buddies (yeah, dozens of frat buddies, that's it) won't go and see it unless Siu Ta is in it again? End of bulletin.

It's been a real education process, I must say, and I appreciate Siu letting me practice on her. One of the first things I figured out is the larger the art-board and, consequently, the larger the photo image the better the likeness I can achieve so I moved up a size of art-board for the Collected Letters 2 cover and used full sized copies of Dave Fisher`s photographs for my reference.


Coincidentally, those photographs were originally taken for an American Splendor cover I had decided to do "on spec" for Harvey Pekar when I was looking around for photorealism subjects (it's really just like starting over in the comics game in that everything is pretty much "on spec" at this point). Harvey was coming up to Toronto, so I arranged to have lunch with him and Chester and got Dave to come down from Waterloo and take pictures of us (it's a major drawback as a photorealism cartoonist that I a) hate taking photographs and b) take lousy photographs when I do). I figured I'd start with the cover and if Harvey liked it then we could talk about my doing a story with the remaining photographs. Harvey owns all of the American Splendor material on a work-made-for-hire basis so that was a drawback to me but, again, starting over in the comics field you have to do what you have to do and I figure letting Harvey own one cover and (possibly) a story might just be the cost of doing business. Apart from Harvey there aren't a lot of photorealism markets in comics that, you know, exactly leap to mind. Anyway, long story short, Harvey liked the cover I sent him but he's currently doing American Splendor for Vertigo DC and when he asked if they knew who Dave Sim was he got back was a distinctly ominous "Oh, WE know who DAVE SIM is," response and then got filled in on my contretemps with the DC lawyers refusing to either budge or negotiate on the work-made-for-hire terms of their Fables contract and my posting the contract on the Internet as part of Al Nickerson's (unfortunately largely failed—not through any failure on Al's part) attempt to revive discussions of creator's rights. So, there was nothing Harvey could do about it. He did say that I could run the cover in Following Cerebus (which was very nice of him) so that's what I'm going to do, along with an essay about the lunch and reproductions of the photographs—and the long-out-of-print introduction he did for the first printing of the collected Ed the Happy Clown with illustrations by Chester. "Of all the people who drew Harvey, Chester's was the best," quoth Peter Birkemoe of the Beguiling and truer words were never spoken. A special salute to Harvey Pekar or Autobio Issue or some such.


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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.