Dave Sim's blogandmail #38 (October 19th, 2006)
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TODAY'S BLOG & MAIL MARKETING DEPARTMENT
– Uber Uber Yahoo Jeff Seiler of Texas writes:
"Pursuant to what you wrote in your blog [shhh. Cue theme music. Okay. Cut] of September 19, 2006" [essentially, "Ask not what Aardvark-Vanaheim can do for you, ask what you can do for Aardvark-Vanaheim"] "I am enclosing sample pages for the following proposal: a 30th anniversary booklet highlighting long-time readers and uber fans, with retailers’ answers to certain hand-picked (by you) questions. (I’ve enclosed some sample questions, as well as a sample retailer’s answers).
What I envision is an 8.5” x 5.5”, saddle stitched booklet that I would produce on paper of a stock similar to or better than that used in Cerebus Readers in Crisis #1, with a color cover. Each participating retailer would get one free page (with room for store information at the top or bottom of the page) on which their answers would be printed. Each retailer would have the option to purchase some part of or all of one page for further advertising, at a minimal rate (I envision this to be a break-even project, not a for-profit one). Each booklet would be priced low enough for retailers to make a small profit by selling them to their regulars and potential new readers, should they choose to do so, but fair enough to cover printing and shipping.
Your part would be to provide new color cover art (presumably themed to the 30th anniversary) and an interior advertisement or two (I’m thinking about that ad with the stacked up TPBs). I could pull previous art to fill interior blank spaces (perhaps sequentially aging Cerebus figures, like you did in 288/289), if necessary. Also, you could provide me with a list of known long-time retailers to solicit. Of course, I could also put out a general request of the Yahoos for retailers names and e-mail addresses.
So whaddaya think?
Well, I’d certainly be interested in something that celebrated the 30th anniversary (December, 2007) that involved the stores (as opposed to some masturbatory self-congratulating It's also the twenty-fifth anniversary of the First American Tour and, just off the top of my head, Mile High Comics (Hey, Chuck, Hey, Nanette, Hey, Rowan) and Lone Star Comics (Hey, Buddy)—as well as Great Escape in Louisville, KY (Hi, Mark!) are still in business. The question is, really, 1) what level of interest is there on the part of the stores? and 2) what level of confidence do the stores have in such a project being saleable to their regulars and to potential new readers? Just offhand there doesn't seem to be a lot of retailer incentive here: there's the "small profit" and the chance to sell someone a publication with their ad and their comments in it. Whoop. Pee.
I've got my Tour Diary (already typeset) and a lot of photographs from 1982, as well as sketches, some press clippings and so on which, as far as I can see, is just too specialised a thing (too many pages, too little general interest) for Following Cerebus. It does seem it might be viable in a "print on demand" context. AT LAST! AARDVARK-VANAHEIM DARES TO PUBLISH A BOOK WITH EVEN LOWER POTENTIAL SALES THAN COLLECTED LETTERS! That kind of thing. My plate is kind of full right now with the Blog & Mail experiment and the various other things that I'm working on, but I would be willing to "kick in" Tour stuff from 1982 as a means of getting the ball rolling.
I guess what I would suggest here is that retailers contact you directly if they can figure out an angle that would take this out of the "MAX specialized MIN sales" category, how to make this into a viable sales tool to promote Cerebus and their stores. Maybe a core of the 1982 Tour stuff and then any other stores willing to supply you with anecdotes, artwork, etc. from the various signings?
CEREBUS: Ground Zero of the Comic Store Revolution 1977-2004
I really have no idea how many stores actually qualify as "long-time supporters" these days and how many stores have "moved on" since issue 300 came out so I'd be uncomfortable giving you a list of names where they would feel obligated to "prove" their long-time support. Let's say they only devote twelve minutes out of every month thinking about Cerebus as a separate product line/revenue stream these days (which I think is probably terrifically optimistic). In that case I'd really rather that they spend those twelve minutes checking to see if they have all 16 volumes in stock than rooting around in their filing cabinet for a letter I wrote them back in 1982 or a flier from a store signing in 1980.
But, yes, if you're willing to coordinate it I'm up for whatever becomes feasible, Jeff. From a saddle stitched digest to a print-on-demand to a coffee table book. There hasn't really been enough coverage of the stores and store owners themselves particularly all the guys who were around back in the "when the earth was still cooling" days. If Cerebus's 30th
could be a vehicle for that I think that's great and I'm willing to supply some of the contents but I really think the major push has to come from the stores themselves.
The questionnaire looks good. I'd change question 8 from "If wishing could make it so, what new Cerebus stories (either prequel, in between or sequel) would you like to see Dave and Gerhard produce" to something with real-world application (given that there AREN'T going to be any new Cerebus stories and all you can do with this is to create an expectation that just ISN'T going to be met). How about: "If wishing could make it so, what promotional tool would you like Dave Sim and Gerhard to produce to help you sell more Cerebus trades?"
Interested retailers and others should contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org if they want to contribute to Jeff's project in any way.
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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
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:
Or, you can check out Mars Import:
Or ask your local retailer to order them for you through Diamond Comics distributors.