Saturday, December 23, 2006

Dave Sim's blogandmail #98 (December 18th, 2006)

It's TRUE! Anyone making the best offer on

The Next Commissioned Piece

Is free to steal someone else's idea—just not an

Actual commission

i.e. if you want your own Dr. Strangeroach you got it

but it will be completely different from Sean's

Dr. Strangeroach

The next commission (God willing) will be started December 27. I'll be accepting offers up until Saturday of this week

If you want to make an offer call


– Well, this is going to be old news by now, but I was at the Victory Café on Markham Street in Toronto November 30 for Rob Walton's launch of Canada's newest graphic novel, Ragmop. Old people like Rob and me undoubtedly remember when Rob was self-publishing Ragmop through Planet Lucy Press around the time of the Spirits of Independence Tour. Anyway, I persuaded Trevor Grace to come out and do some videotaping (he is now the official Blog & Mail Live cameraman of record), starting at Peter Pan in Toronto where Rob and I did some slapstick (which Chester vehemently declined to participate in) and talked a bit about the book. Then Chet and I left Rob and Trevor to their own devices which involved picking up Rob's daughter Grace (one of the characters in Ragmop) and taking her to get her hair done. Chet and I did the Beguiling thing and then went browsing at a local bookstore for a couple of hours before heading over to the Vic where we helped Rob unload cartons of books from his car and I did a short interview with Grace (and again some slapstick as can be seen in the preview photos) as we waited for the show to begin. Chet and Trevor and I had a good chance to talk to Rob's brother Brad (who did the Adam Smith strips as a back-up in Ragmop and which are reprinted in the new graphic novel) shared church-going experiences—undoubtedly a first at the Victory Café!

Rob's a big believer in conspiracy theories and I'm not so we always reach an impasse in our discussions of most of the subjects that he covers, tongue-in-cheek, in Ragmop. Chet tried to force the issue at lunch by asking why the book isn't annotated, page-by-page, so we could get some definitive answers to what Rob believes and what Rob doesn't believe and what sort of documentary evidence he has to support those beliefs. Rob pointed out that the book has an extensive bibliography, but that seemed kind of evasive to Chet—obviously we aren't going to read dozens of conspiracy theory books to try and figure out which theories Rob subscribes to and which he doesn't. But there was no way that Rob was going to get pinned down any further than that: apart from holding out the possibility of another book.

Anyway, the book—our profound political differences to one side—is a real old-fashioned comedic romp: from the cover modeled on Jack Davis' legendary It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World movie poster from 1963 to the 1960s Marvel-style pin-up pages and all points left and right. Highly recommended at the cover price of $29.99 US (the Beguiling has it at $35.00 Canadian). Rob's Diamond rep told him the book is already on the Star System so interested retailers should be able to track down a copy or many copies over there.

And with any luck at all, the footage we shot will be available for viewing on YouTube as soon as Trevor can get a disk to Jeff Tundis which should have been sometime last week from where you are or next week from where I am (December 4).

It was a double launch night including Jim Zubkavich's The Makeshift Miracle with a Power Point review of some preliminary sketches and some finished pages (he wasn't enough of a ham to act any of it out). The back cover copy reads

How many times have you wished for a different life? [um—never, actually]

How many moments have you let pass you by? [um—none that I can think of. See what I mean about me being outside of any demographic group?]

A young boy named Colby Reynolds searches for meaning in the world around him and discovers a place where dreams can come true, if he's willing to pay the price. Along the way he'll see sights he's never fathomed and encounter hidden truths about himself he'll wish he never knew.

I had already bought Ragmop for $35 when Chris Butcher (through whose courtesy/technological expertise you get all of Chester's photos posted to the Blog & Mail) announced that you could get both books for $40 as a Launch Party Bonus Value… fortunately Amy remembered selling me the Ragmop (as she later remembered where I left my umbrella!) so, hey, for 5 bucks I'm definitely there. I was first in line to get my copy autographed, taking advantage of that shambling Toronto moment when everyone is still unsure if it's okay to get something signed even though the creator is just sitting there with pen in hand waiting. And Jim Zubkavich had actually heard of me and said that he was the one who should be asking for an autograph which was nice of him to say. Of course given that the Beguiling is your Fantagraphics/Drawn & Quarterly headquarters in the GTA I'm usually just flattered if no one spits on me (and, so far, no one has—still, I always check to make sure the little Cerebus head is on the sandwich board advertisement out front of Honest Ed's).

Scott McCloud was a big supporter of Jim's early on and provides the headline cover quote "A melancholy, enchantingly drawn meditation on imagination and yearning." Jim gets his pages done (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) in and around his full-time job and his readers cut him virtually no slack so he was able to finish "Makeshift Miracle" pretty much on schedule. Check it out at And apologies to Jim for not getting Chet to take a photo of us.

I'm going to try and make it a habit to go to the first hour or so of Industry Night at the Vic, the last Thursday of every month. Things get started around 7 pm and if I leave around 8:30 I can make it to the bus terminal in time for the 9:30 bus.

The Industry Night web presence is or you can e-mail them at Their motto? "Maintaining the spirit of the convention after party year-round." See you there, God willing, December 28.

Next: Mail's in. Thank you, Thing.




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.