Saturday, November 25, 2006

Dave Sim's blogandmail #75 (November 25th, 2006)

The Mystery of STAROO Revealed!

STAROO is something that I have a lot of pride in: the fact that of the seventeen volumes Aardvark Vanaheim has on the Diamond Star System, eight of them start with the "Double Zero" designation, STAR 00, because they were early additions to the Star System when Diamond was starting it up in the early 90s (the lowest number is the Cerebus TPb which is designated STAR0070!)

Every once in a while, I'm just going to run all of the Diamond order codes for the Cerebus Trades for an entire week.

If you're a retailer, I hope you'll take it as a friendly reminder during "Listing Week" to take a few minutes to go and check your shelves and see if any of the trades are missing and order them from DIAMOND while you're still thinking about it. The Trades sell a lot better when you have them all in stock than they do when there's just volumes 2, 4, 7, 10, 11 and 16 sitting there.

If you're a potential customer I hope you'll use Listing Week to call the Comic Shop Locator Service



and find out where the comic book stores are in your area

and if they don't have a volume you want in stock, you can give them the Star System order code right over the phone!

VOL.1 CEREBUS…………………….STAR0070



VOL.4 CHURCH & STATE II.........STAR00322

VOL.5 JAKAS STORY………….....STAR00359

VOL.6 MELMOTH…........................STAR00431

VOL.7 FLIGHT……………………..STAR00543

VOL.8 WOMEN…………………….STAR00849

VOL.9 READS………………………STAR01063

VOL.10 MINDS……………………..STAR01916

VOL.11 GUYS………………………STAR06972



VOL.14 FORM & VOID…………..STAR13500




Saturday November 25 -

I finished my review of The Ditko Package and, vaguely dissatisfied, I finally broke down and called directory assistance in Washington State to see if they had a number for Robin Snyder. It's one of those things that I tend to be ambivalent about in the comic-book field particularly when you're looking at a book that's from seven years back. What are the odds that all the playing pieces are still on the same chessboard and in the same configuration? From my experience, not very good. I'm one of the few people I know where I can say that I'm still in the same geographic location I was sixteen years ago, with a phone number that predates that by probably another seven years. And, no, they didn't have a phone number for Robin Snyder on Yew St. Rd. but they did have a number for a Robin Snyder on Canterbury. Now we are into serious ambivalence. What are the odds that it's the same Robin Snyder? So I phoned and asked "Is this Robin Snyder?" "Yes it is." "The Robin Snyder that works with Steve Ditko?" and sure enough it was. My first question was out of my mouth before I could even assess whether I wanted to ask it.

"How's Steve Ditko doing?"

Robin laughed heartily and said, "He's doing GREAT!" with just that level of emphasis which was more than reassuring: communicating the sense that there are probably people in the world where it would make sense to ask about the state of their health and overall being but Steve Ditko definitely isn't one of them.

Robin didn't have much time to talk—he and his wife were getting ready for a trip to another part of the state to "visit the kids"—but I did manage to get some basic information about how RSComics is doing and where he is in his collaboration with Steve Ditko. They've done a total of FIVE Ditko Packages (the one I have is the first) and besides that they've done roughly THIRTEEN other projects in the last seven or eight years. They did have a website at one time, but Robin closed that down and now they do strictly mail order. He said probably their best selling title is the smaller 32-page Ditko Package. I asked him if he had a ballpark figure of how much it would cost to buy everything they have and he guessed somewhere around $110 US. I asked if he sold to comic-book stores and he said they did on occasion but they don't offer stores a huge discount—he said the highest they go is maybe 15 or 20%—so that tends to limit their orders from comic-book stores (which usually need at least 40 to 50% off). He laughed again and said that it's more common for a huge Ditko fan to run across one of their books somewhere and get in touch and then order, you know, EVERYTHING. Which is why the $110 ballpark figure wasn't a real challenge for him.

It's an interesting field where someone who is that much of a comic-book household name (and apart from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby I don't think there's a name in that category in the comic-book field) can still be happily producing his own work on a regular basis and just selling it direct (or, at least, relatively direct) to his legion of fans without Diamond and without the comic-book stores. Not with any animosity, just that this way of doing things suits his purposes and so he's happy to just keeping hoeing his row in his own way on his own terms.

The Static volume which came out in 1989 is on its second printing, as is The Mocker.

After I hung up, I thought, You know? Wouldn't it be nice if just once we could have one of those great comic-book outpourings of affection BEFORE one of these legends kicks the bucket or we find out he's in hospital barely clinging to life? Wouldn't it be nice if everyone for whom Steve Ditko means the world (in many cases that isn't hyperbole if you've ever met a Ditko fan—this is a guy who had his own Ditkomania fanzine devoted to him back in the 1980s, long before the Jack Kirby Collector came out) could write to him—while he's still doing GREAT—in care of Robin Snyder and tell him so? And (not to be totally pushy) maybe send along a few bucks for Ditko's latest project (whatever that might be?). I mean, if you don't think it's a good idea, don't feel obligated. But if the idea just really bangs your gong, sit down right now and send a nice letter and a few bucks to

Steve Ditko c/o Robin Snyder, 3745 Canterbury Ln. #81, Bellingham, WA, 98225-1186 or at least send him an e-mail at

[parenthetically, it's the 25th of the month and that means that it's time to remind all of you that no one has yet asked Jackie Etrada or Heidi Macdonald why they chose, along with the other five board members of the Friends of Lulu to reject my suggestion of a petition signed by female comics professionals opposing censorship and in support of the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund back in 1996 OR when I raised the subject again on September 25 and October 25…thus affirming my contention that feminists get a free ride in our society for the intellectual dishonesty. See you on Christmas for my next reminder!]


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.