Saturday, December 23, 2006

Dave Sim's blogandmail #100 (December 20th, 2006)





A very nice letter from Kevin J. Maroney (brother of the late Tim Maroney—remember, I was giving away his returned Fan Club newsletter from the 1980s in an early edition of the Blog & Mail?) dated 26 November:

I hope this letter also finds you well.

Your phone call came at the very start of a lengthy vacation, and then I was swept up in work in its wake, so this long weekend for our Thanksgiving is the first chance I've had to respond.

First, thank you so much for calling. The package containing Tim's newsletter and the Christmas card arrived last week and are now up by the stuffed Cerebus.

Second, in absolutely no way should you feel that this has "blown up in your face" (as you put it on Blog and Mail). I thought that your prize offer was funny, and, knowing Tim he would have, too. (One of our oldest friends said that "You know, I can kind of see Tim in the Andes. He'd have been the one charming a condor down from the sky and roasting it on a spit while the other were having Filet of Human Butt and toothpaste for dessert.") I've spent much time in the last three years dealing with ghosts from Tim's life, and these days they're welcome reminders of his embeddedness in the world.

Third your offer to draw a portrait of Tim was so unexpected that I still have trouble believing it—not in the sense that I think you're having me on or any such, but simply in that it's such an astonishingly generous and apt offer. There's a photo I'd very much like to use as the basis of such a portrait, but unfortunately I only have it in a (quite tiny) electronic thumbnail. I am soliciting my sister and my sister-in-law (Tim's widow) for their recommendations for pictures and should have something for you in a few more days.

Thank you for everything.

Oh, well. Thank YOU. Considering how many people have "jumped ship" over the last number of years, the fact that someone would actually want a relative who had "passed on" to be remembered in any kind of context that included Cerebus or Dave Sim is pretty darned rare. A black and white photo would be best—failing that, something with a lot of contrast between light and dark areas. I'll try and make it a good likeness of the photograph but I'm afraid that's all I can do, not having any mental image of Tim from "way back when." And you're welcome.

Another letter from Scott Berwanger. I'm going to not even mention the rough outline of the contents of this one since I only recently wrote and told him that I've been mentioning the subjects of his letters and quoting from them over the last while. I figure I should probably wait and see if the Pariah King of Comics has now been banished from Scott Berwangerland on a permanent basis or if he's going to be okay with me sharing dispatches from the Anubis Graphic Novel frontlines. In this day and age it could go either way.

And a relatively long letter (probably the result of my whining that I don't get long letters from him anymore) from Darrell Epp, our Resident Poet which I will condense as follows: he sent a full-page strip that he did with David Collier—"Egg Buns"—which I'm not going to run here because it's really too good. Also he sent the original art (I don't know what he was thinking). For all I know my readership consists of you Yahoos and two winos in Oxnard which is not exactly a demographic that you want to use up a rare collaboration on. The offer still stands from Darrell to send you twenty bucks worth of poems if you send him twenty bucks. I repeat, I really like his poems. Darrell Epp, 4-526 King St. East, Hamilton, Ontario, L8N 1E2. His website is David Collier's works of comix journalism are collected in many fine books like Hamilton Sketchbook and Just the Facts and can be ordered from E-mail him at I think what I might do is hang onto the strip and if David gets a new book out that he wants to publicize, I'll run it there, offering him the same deal as Darrell—fill up one day's worth of Blog and Mail and see if you can drum up some business for yourself.

Darrell works at Dofasco in Hamilton, a non-union shop and sends along a funny union story. A guy was caught stealing from the Sobey's warehouse in Milton. Sobey's fired him. He filed a wrongful dismissal grievance that went to arbitration. The union lawyer asked if management had specifically TOLD the guy that stealing the company property was prohibited. Long story short, the company lost, the guy got his job back and the company had to post a sign saying stealing is wrong and will be punished. "True story. Twenty bucks of my paycheque was going to finance shenanigans like that, so I split, and Dofasco is a REALLY pleasant place to work, a well-run company."

He goes on: "Not sure, I might have mentioned this already, but awhile back I got an email from John Totelben, whose work I greatly admire, and he said he was recuperating from having surgery on both eyes…AGAIN! So, if scalpels haven't sliced open your eyeballs lately, you have something else to be thankful for (I think I'm writing this sentence on US Thanksgiving)." Yes, he had mentioned it and I had forgotten to say something last time out. Get well soon, John! I admire the work and I admire the guy. Who can forget what a bolt from the blue the inking on the Moore/Bissette/Totelben was? Like steel engravings. He always gave 110%.

Darrell sends along another Caravaggio (a colour photocopy, that is, Dofasco doesn't pay him that well), this time his David and Goliath which is a corker all right. Evidently David is the young Caravaggio and Goliath the old Caravaggio. "He (Caravaggio) was always drunk, fighting, vandalizing, he once killed a man because the guy had beaten him in a game of tennis and he died at age 37 from injuries sustained in yet another bar-room brawl." [See, that sounds like demonic possession to me: psychiatry just doesn't cover it]

"Do you miss Rumsfeld yet? I sure do." Well, yes, sure. But that's the problem when the American people expect absolute peace as the immediate result of ultimate warfare. Iran and Iraq used to regularly lose tens of thousands of combatants in a single day when they were at war with each other. What's going on Iraq is a tea party compared to that. I still think "stay the course" was the answer and is the answer. Iraq is like a bucking bronco and as long as Uncle Sam can stay in the saddle my money is on Iraq getting broken, not Uncle Sam getting thrown. But, that's what makes a democracy a democracy: not enough voting Americans agree with us so it's now the other team's turn: it's up to the Democrats now. They control both the House and the Senate so it's up to them to come up with a foolproof plan for Iraq that will win the approval of the American people and make it impossible for George W. Bush to veto it (just as they made it impossible for him to hang onto Donald Rumsfeld). The last thing they need is me or anyone else harping at them while they come up with their foolproof plan. Donald Rumsfeld was given a lot of room to manoeuvre from 9/11 to 2006 so it's only right to give the Democrats a lot of room to manoeuvre from 2006 to January, 2009 (and from January, 2009 to January 2013 if they can find a presidential candidate with that foolproof plan). But one way or the other, the only responsibility I see the Republicans having for the next two years is keeping an open mind and accepting that the Democrats may very well come up with a foolproof plan and an ideal candidate for president to implement it. That's what makes a democracy a democracy. Bill Clinton persuaded a BUNCH of Republicans to vote for him. Twice. George W. Bush persuaded a BUNCH of Democrats to vote for him. Twice. A solid plan crosses all party boundaries. Okay, that's all I'm saying. If another Republican gets elected in 2008 I'll start offering my opinions on American politics publicly again. But, for now, it's the other team's turn.

Tomorrow: More Fun with Darrell Epp & Friends




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.