Dave Sim's blogandmail #46 (October 27th, 2006) (Double Size Issue!!)
ALL THIS WEEK THE BLOG & MAIL
IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY
UM…GUYS. THE TRADE PAPERBACK.
THE GUYS TRADE PAPERBACK IS VERY, VERY SORRY ABOUT YESTERDAY'S SUPPOSED "FUNNY LEAD IN" AND THE GUYS TRADE PAPERBACK NOW REALIZES THAT THERE IS NOTHING FUNNY….ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FUNNY…ABOUT THE SUGGESTION OF A "HETERO PRIDE DAY" IN COMIC BOOK STORES. THE GUYS TRADE PAPERBACK (SNIFF) JUST MADE THE WHOLE THING UP (SNIFF SNUFFLE SOB) BECAUSE THE GUYS TRADE PAPERBACK IS IN…IN…
INSENSITIVE! AND…(SNIFFF) UNCARING!
THE GUYS TRADE PAPERBACK IS VERY, VERY, VERY SORRY AND ENCOURAGES EVERYONE TO NEVER BUY A COPY OF GUYS AGAIN EVER. JUST MELMOTH…JUST…SNIFF…MELMOTH.
BOOHOOHOOHOOO..BOOOOOOOHOOHOOHOOHOO BOOOOOOOH HOOHOOHOOOHOOO
Besides being the author of the graphic novel Road to Perdition and besides being the co-creator of Ms. Tree—a title that Deni and I published back when the earth was still cooling—Max Allan Collins really got his start in the comics field writing the Dick Tracy comic strip from 1977 to 1993 as Chester Gould's heir apparent. It's his participation in the reprinting of the complete Dick Tracy that really makes this a very, very promising comics project since he knew Chester Gould from 1973 on. As he relates in his introduction to volume one "Dick Tracy Begins":
In recent years I haven't been associated with Dick Tracy and haven't said much about the strip, or frankly even thought much about it…Now enough time has passed that I can look at Tracy with the old warmth and appreciate it both on its own terms as one of the truly great comic strips and as the first major "break" of my storytelling career…I will gradually tell the story of my friendship with Chester Gould and my own years on Dick Tracy over the course of future introductions…
"Storytelling career" is right. Check the pointed use of the term "gradually" here. If the comics field can just get its act together in time, we're not only going to have the complete Dick Tracy in all it's 50-year careening narrative glory (be still my beating heart), but Max Allan Collins, a world-class storyteller of our time and one of a handful of a) Dick Tracy experts and b) one of a handful of Dick Tracy insiders (he was one of Chester Gould's pallbearers) is going to get all of his ducks in a row and tell us exactly how the whole thing happened right from the beginning with his own voluminous wealth of information. Like any good storyteller, he jumps ahead of his narrative at several junctures offering a foretaste of what's in store, including one of several luncheons with Chester Gould and "the foremost Dick Tracy fan/collector of them all" Matt Masterson (with whom he interviews Gould in a piece reprinted from NEMO:The Classic Comics Library #17):
Oddly enough, Chet had nothing to with my getting the Tracy scripting job. In fact Matt and I had lunched with Chet in July, 1977, at the Tavern Club in Chicago, one of several luncheons. Chet insisted that he would keep doing Dick Tracy forever. When I went back to the comics convention at the Congress Hotel (where Chet had just made his one and only comic-con appearance), Murray Bishoff, then a columnist for The Buyer's Guide for Comics Fandom, cornered me to ask if Gould had revealed whom his successor would be. Rumour was, Bishoff said, that Gould would be retiring soon.
I laughed that off, told Bishoff that anyone who told him Gould was retiring was a fool or a liar. A month later, I was signed on as the writer of the strip, with Fletcher as artist.
Well! Stay tuned for volume twenty, I guess, to see that little anecdote fleshed out.
I really can't recommend this series highly enough. Just the idea that all of those classic strips from the 1940s featuring The Brow and Mumbles and Flattop are set to be reprinted between hard covers and on heavyweight glossy paper stock…Quoth the Fanboy: "Wow!"
The more I look through this first volume, the more I see. Where did Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson come from—that sincerely odd bachelor-and-his-ward combo that strikes such a weird note even seventy years later? Check out the daily strips for October 14 and October 21 1932 and the Sunday page for October 23—where the police detective brings a nine-year-old boy along to break-and-enter criminal premises!—and see if the early appearances of Junior Tracy don't strike as resonant a note with you as I suspect they did with an adolescent Bob Kane…Tess Trueheart, turning her back on Tracy ("But, Tess—Don't you love me—don't you believe in me—don't you have enough faith in me to give me a chance to clear myself? Hello—hello—hm. She hung up.") after falling for a frame-up that has the fabled detective cast as a counterfeiter and thrown off the force and then falling for the criminal who has framed him (What!?) a criminal named "Stooge" Viller (WHAT?!):
Tess: M-mmm? "Stooge"! An awfully funny name—but—very, very fascinating!
Hmm promptly at eight—the Ritz Club—music gaiety—and a new thrill—!
Tess: But you know, there's something mysterious about you—this name "Stooge"—
that—that isn't your real name is it?
Stooge: Could I lie to anyone I'm as crazy about as I am about you? Besides—tell
me this—what's wrong with a little mystery?
Stooge: Listen honey—when I go back east, how would you like to go along with me
as Mrs. "Stooge" Viller? We'd make a team that would wow `em—honest!
You see, now that I've known you for about an hour I feel I can propose.
Tess: Why, I would think of answering that question till I'd known you for at least an
hour and a half
Seriously, if you have $29.99 US to throw around on a big fat glossy hardcover, do yourself a favour and pick up The Complete Chester Gould's Dick Tracy Volume One (October 1931 to May 1933) at your local comic store this week. Or, if they don't plan to carry it, order a copy from www.idwpublishing.com. And find out what state-of-the-art careening narrative is all about!
IN LIGHT OF YESTERDAY'S INSENSITIVE AND DEPLORABLE LEAD-IN, THE BLOG & MAIL JINGLE WILL BE TYPESET IN A COMPLETELY DISPASSIONATE TONE FOR THE REST OF THIS WEEK, WITHOUT ELLIPSIS OR BOLDFACE OR ITALIC ENHANCEMENTS AND ALL BLOG & MAIL READERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO READ IT MENTALLY AND NOT SING IT MENTALLY AS A GESTURE OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE DIFFERENTLY SEXUALLY SELF-IDENTIFIED WHO WERE SO GRIEVOUSLY AND INEXCUSABLY INSULTED YESTERDAY.
THERE'S MORE FOR YOU IN TODAY'S BLOG & MAIL.
Written Wednesday morning October 18
ALL THIS WEEK THE BLOG & MAIL IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY
MELMOTH THE TRADE PAPERBACK.
THIS WAS ALWAYS OUR INTENTION FOR THIS WEEK'S BLOG & MAIL AND THE BLOG & MAIL SINCERELY REGRETS EVEN MENTIONING ANOTHER TRADE PAPERBACK IN THIS SPACE EARLIER IN THE WEEK. MISTAKES WERE MADE AND THE BLOG & MAIL NOW FEELS THAT IT IS TIME TO BIND UP THE COMIC-BOOK NATION'S WOUNDS AND MOVE FORWARD.
MELMOTH. AT YOUR LOCAL COMIC BOOK STORE
IN THIS TIME OF HEALING.
I guess God must've wanted a big push on the Dick Tracy book since I came up very light in the mail department this week. As I'm writing this Wednesday morning, I'm in a bit of a rush since I still want to finish up my three-page "Reply to Roberta Gregory" strip for Following Cerebus 10 which is being worked on in pieces. Ger took page one to Sherwood to get scanned so that he can do any necessary touch-up (since I've patterned it on Mort Drucker's Hollywood parodies in Mad, this is my first time working with washes in a good thirty years) and scan in the typesetting (yes, square word balloons with Franklin Gothic Demi-Condensed type—it's not an exact match to Mad magazine but it's pretty close) before he leaves for Salt Lake City where we both are right now (God willing) as you read this through the Miracle That Is Cybernetic Time Travel.
[What's the strip about? Sigh. Oh, you know. The usual stuff. Mostly it's just an excuse to draw a lot of pretty Queen Street West girls in a more understated version of Drucker's style: there are, I have found, only so many ways to address totalitarian feminism in our society. How many different ways can you say, "Oh, come ON, people. Open your EYES!"]
NOTE TO FEMINISTS: TO AVOID BEING OFFENDED BY THE ACTUAL PRACTICE OF FREE SPEECH IN OUR SOCIETY PLEASE SKIP THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH
[Did you just make a face there? Yes, you did. I saw you. You made a face and rolled your eyes. So, very quickly because I know you are all shutting down like the computer HAL in 2001 because the subject of feminism has come up let me reinforce the point that totalitarian feminism gets a free ride in our society. Way back on September 25—a billion years ago in Internet terms—I brought up the fact that I had asked the Friends of Lulu back in 1996 to solicit their membership to find out if any of their members were willing to sign a petition, as female comics professionals, deploring censorship. Basically, they said no and said they didn't want to discuss it further. One viewpoint over seven signatures. As I said a month ago, it was a good idea in 1996 and it's a good idea today. In the ensuing four weeks, has anyone asked Jackie Estrada or Heidi McDonald—both very, very high profile members of comic-book society—to explain WHY they didn't think it was a good idea? Has anyone asked the Friends of Lulu if they're willing to solicit their membership now—and "if not, why not?" No. Why? Because totalitarian feminism gets a free ride in our society. It never has to explain itself, it just starts with the assumption that if you're a feminist whatever the subject is, you're right and to ask any questions of a feminist if you're not a feminist means you're a misogynist. Ergo, totalitarian feminism gets a further free ride even as it is getting a free ride because anyone who doesn't kowtow to it gets crushed beneath its wheels, just as you are all now thinking that it's no wonder I'm the Pariah King of Comics and that I only have myself to blame for disagreeing with totalitarian feminism. I reiterate: "Oh, come ON, people. Open your EYES!" even as I know that I'm, once again, wasting my breath)
I also have to get a column done for Sandeep Atwal's new Versus magazine the first issue of which has just come out which includes Part One of my series "How to Fight City Hall" which is really intended to try and generate more civic participation here in town (I'm not sure what Sandeep's doing as far as out-of-town ordering goes, but he has all of his contact info right at the top of the masthead, so presumably he's cool with everyone bugging him about it: 39 King St. North, Suite 1, Waterloo, Ontario, N2J 2W9 OR sandeep.s.atwal@gmail OR find out if his new phone is working: 519.500.9977).
Mayor Zehr always gets a good laugh when he's finished presenting citizenship awards or design awards before a City Council meeting when he says to the recipients "You know, you're welcome to stay…" I mean, invariably he gets a good laugh, as if nothing could be more ridiculous than someone staying at a City Council meeting unless they're paid to be there. He was over talking to one of the city staffers just before a Committee meeting a couple of weeks back and caught sight of me and he said, "So, I didn't see your name on the final list of candidates." [Municipal and Regional elections are coming up in November] I smiled and said, "No, you didn't." And then he said, "Of course, I know you said that you weren't running…" and then trailed off and I knew exactly what he was thinking: the only reason people come around Council Chambers this regularly is to get a feel for the place so they can run for office. Quite apart from the fact that I don't have five minutes to rub together these days, I think it's important to have SOME representation of the citizenry in the audience. As a provincial politician lamented recently contemplating the slow pace of provincial and federal legislation, "It was different at the municipal level…there we just had to decide what we wanted to do and then we voted and went ahead and did it." Personally, I find that terrifying when what is at stake is tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money (or in the case of EDIF, $110 million—see my letter to Mayor Zehr in Collected Letters volume one].
"You know, you're welcome to stay…"
Hahahah. That's a good one, Your Worship.
And in this corner, representing the interests of the citizens of Kitchener who are all home watching television: Citizen Dave!
Anyway, I've got my subject: DTS (Development & Technical Services) Report No. 06-138 with the catchy title: Zone Change Application ZC06/10/K/JB scrawled with my notes from the September 18 meeting. I just have to find enough hours between now and next Tuesday night (October 24) to distill it all down to 2 or 3 thousand words.
I also have to write descriptions of all the material we're sending to Craig for Following Cerebus 10, dig out my original letter to Roberta Gregory and hopefully get a start on the Young Cerebus commission Uber-Yahoo Brian Coppola has requested. I also have to go out to Wilf's office and sign my years-in-the-making Last Will & Testament and go to an open house at The Working Centre and St. John's Kitchen in downtown Kitchener. Aardvark-Vanaheim alternates its charitable giving between the Food Bank and the Working Centre/St. John's Kitchen (5% of our monthly revenue) which qualifies us as a "special donor" so we're being invited to take a look at the remarkable (I mean, REMARKABLE) job that Joe Mancini has been doing single-handedly downtown in redoing this big warehouse at 97 Victoria St. North to combine St. John's Kitchen (a food kitchen for the poor), a medical clinic, public washrooms, showers, laundry and Worth a Second Look Furniture & Housewares almost all of it done with volunteer labour and materials. Joe knows how to take every penny we donate and make each one scream. If I really just have too much work, I'm going to miss it [and that turns out to be the case, I'm doing my final proofreading at 7:15 pm Thursday night for this week's Blog & Mails] but I do hope to make it over there. I finally got to meet Joe briefly at last Monday's City Council meeting where he had come out to put in his bid for some more grant money. I couldn't stick around because I had a prayer time to get home for, but the way his eyes lit up when I introduced myself was very gratifying indeed and I'd like to see his operation close-up. Coincidentally the building used to house Dumont Press Grafix, a communist printing collective that used to shoot all the negatives for Comic Art News & Reviews and the first few issues of Cerebus.
You know, this really is a cushy job where you can get a whole day's Blog & Mail just out of "things to do."
Onward to Friday.
THERE'S MORE FOR YOU IN TODAY'S BLOG & MAIL.
LEST WE FORGET.
written Wednesday morning October 18
REPLIES POSTED ON THE CEREBUS YAHOO! GROUP
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.