Saturday, December 23, 2006

Dave Sim's blogandmail #95 (December 15th, 2006)

Thanks to everyone who has responded so far to

The Next Commissioned Piece

Which I'll be starting December 27

As of December 7 the highest offer so far is $850

I'll be accepting offers until December 23

Your Direct Line Commission Phone Number is


Our operators are standing by

Answering the mail at the speed of light so I can get back to some uninterrupted work on my secret project: A form letter from Charles Brownstein at the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund dated October 23 with an update on the Georgia vs. Gordon Lee case:

The charges Lee faces arise from accidentally distributing Alternative Comics #2, a Free Comic Book Day anthology including an excerpt from Nick Bertozzi's "The Salon" depicting the first meeting between Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. On three pages of the eight-page section, Picasso is depicted in the nude, a factually accurate detail for the period during which the story is set. There is no sexual content in the story. The comic was inadvertently distributed to a minor during a 3-hour Halloween promotion where 2,200 comics were given away. Lee offered an apology, but it was refused and within days he was arrested and fighting for his survival.

Your support helped the Fund knock out both felony counts of "Dissemination of Unsolicited Nudity/Sexual Conduct" and three of the five misdemeanour "Harmful to Minors" counts. Lee still faces two remaining misdemeanour charges of "Distribution of Harmful-to-Minors Materials," each of which carries penalties of up to 12 months in prison and a $1,000 fine. To date we've spent over $60,000 defending Mr. Lee. We anticipate spending more if the case goes to trial, where our odds of prevailing will be strong. It's a battle we will continue to fight, but we can't do that without your support.

I haven't renewed my membership yet, but I certainly intend to and I encourage everyone who is a comic-book fan to support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. You can find out how to help at or Also, they should have something up there now—or soon—about auctioning or raffling the #3/50 Lithograph No.1: Neil Gaiman. Basically, I did a Lithograph of Neil back in 2004 and now, every year, he and I sign and number one of them and he adds his own artistic enhancements to the three images of his face.

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The return address was from "Crumb Clone" in Michigan so that pretty much narrowed it down to Nate Neal, of Hoax (along with Karl Kressbach and Lydia Gregg) fame. Uh-oh. I had been pretty blunt in correspondence with Karl about the fact that I found Nate's work to be too heavily influenced by Crumb, so I might be about to get an epistolary earful. Nope, no letter, just a new comic book, which is entitled Picture of a Bison. Actually it isn't called that, it just has a cave-style picture of a bison overtop of an image of a caveman drawing on a cave wall. The inside front cover has the picture of the bison looking the other way and the title The Sanctuary 1, so I'm going to throw caution to the winds and say that The Sanctuary isn't just the name of this instalment, it's the name of the series.

It's definitely not Crumb Clone material. Instead it's a genuine and pretty imaginative attempt to explain where, how and why those ancient cave paintings of animals (and the outlines of human hands) co-exist. Nate has invented his own primitive language ("Fft! Ka nu kas!") and tells the story of a small tribe of cave-dwellers without English translations, so he's set a pretty daunting task for himself and possibly for the reader. The last person to attempt an extended narrative in a fictitious language was Chester Brown with Underwater but that was another set of problems, I suspect. It's a pretty generous helping that he offers for $3.95 US (40 pages in black and white), so turning this into the success it could be is probably a matter of getting it out on a regular schedule and keeping all of the instalments in print.

You can order a copy or copies from OM Comics, 55 Ionia NW Ave Apt. 315, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 or e-mail him at

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Bob Corby sent along a Day Prize nominee comic book that slipped through the cracks…

(Aardvark-Vanaheim awards a $500 cash prize and a plaque to the winner selected from the previous year's exhibited comic books at SPACE Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo—for details on next year's SPACE which is being held at the Aladdin Shrine Complex in Columbus Ohio or to sign up as one of the 150 exhibitors, go to

…Love in a Time of Super-Villains (with cover cleverly adapted from a 1970s era DC romance comic) answers the question that I'm sure we've all asked ourselves from time to time: what would happen if Wonder Woman got roaring, amnesiac level drunk and ended up marrying Superman in Las Vegas? They aren't called Wonder Woman and Superman, but you'll get the idea (wink wink). Very funny material from Michael Wood of Space Monkey Comics, 4 Alpen Strasse, Latrobe, PA, 15203. Contact him at HATEMAIL@SPACEMONKEYONLINE.COM . 24 pages for $2.50 (it says on the cover).

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James Turner sends along issue 6 of Rex Libris. Lots of inside thinking on where he's going with the next few issues, so I don't want to run that part of his letter (I'm trying to give myself amnesia so I won't remember them myself!). He does say that he's wanted to introduce book reviews to the back of each issue but hasn't had the time to do it yet.

I just read Christopher Hitchens Thomas Paine: The Rights of Man which is either a short book or a long essay. Still quite interesting. A moderate who got caught between the crown and the revolutionaries in France and never failed to argue for reason, responsibility and democracy. Before that I read Jared Diamond's Collapse, which I thought was absolutely fascinating. I loved his earlier book, Guns, Germs and Steel. But writing reviews of these texts would take a bigger time and attention investment than I really feel I can afford. I'm already behind on the current issue, and haven't gotten it plotted completely (even in the vague way I plot before starting on the pages). No doubt I'm over-thinking it, but I feel obliged to give their books a worthy review, and I'm not sure I can pull that off without seriously impinging on illustration and comic content time. Perhaps when I get ahead of schedule, or become faster at turning out issues (the style change has resulted in Rex sucking up more time) I'll give it a whirl.

He's added greyscales to the pages which definitely gives the book a different look (and certainly appear time-consuming). My own view is that the fun of Rex Libris is the riff on 1960s Marvel super-hero comics, using an intergalactic librarian as the title character with all the grandiose "When Titans Clash" style dialogue which James is so great at. I'd probably still buy the book if he just ran it with thumbnail sketches. But, maybe that's just me. As far as I'm concerned, the "Barry's Brain" note from fictitious publisher B. Barry Horst is worth the price of admission, as is the side feature "How to Read Advanced Visicomboics" ("The Innovation of the Millenium!"). Besides, Dan Vado's kids probably need new shoes or something. Call 1-800-8668929 for a free Slave Labor catalogue or click on

I'll be back to talk to you some more about Rex Libris when I've finished my introduction for the trade paperback shipping in March.

Tomorrow: Much More Mail!


In Today's


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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.