Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #135 (January 24th, 2007)

Dave Sim's Collected Letters Volume 2 will be released in late spring/early summer 2007. Until Dave (who currently has the flu) is feeling better – and to whet your appetite for the book! -- The Blog & Mail will run two-page excerpts from the manuscript each day.

Today: Pages 18 & 19:

It seems to be a centerpiece of Marxist-feminism that anytime a Marxist-feminist wants to evade reality and the implications of free-will choices, they blame society. Personally, I don't pretend to have emotions that I don't feel. I don't pretend to like people that I don't like. I keep the lines that I see between right and wrong sharply drawn in my mind and I try as much as possible to stay on the right side.

Personally, I don't see there as being any "we" in it. You, individually are either an emotionally dishonest creature or you, individually aren't. Dishonest is always a free-will choice. It can't be forced on you. That's where it helps to remember that everything we see around us is a temporary stage set that, in a cosmological sense, is only going to last long enough for us to "strut and fret our hour upon the stage" as individuals, as a civilization, as a planet.

Given that, all we really have are our thousands and thousands of individual daily decisions which, to me, are headed up by "pray" and "not pray." "Pray" is right. "Not pray" is wrong. I can't see anything else that this temporary reality would be for. Anywhere in reality if you have a temporary place it is because you or some part of you is being tested. Why would overall reality be any different, given that your own awareness is the only thing you can be certain is not composed strictly of oscillating energy wave/particles flying in temporary loose formation?

2) Fiction reflects our emotional landscape much more precisely than our lives do.

C'mon, B. Reread that sentence and think about it. I mean, really think about it. I would maintain, again, that this is Marxist-feminist reality. This is Woody Allen hunched down in the movie theatre watching Casablanca un-spooling before his eager eyes and deciding that the fictional reality that Humphrey Bogart was pretending to enact on a soundstage in 1942 is more real than his own life. I mean, I can see that that whole constituency believes that and lives that way — fiction and movies are more real than reality. To me, that just means that you're living upside down, choosing that which is demonstrably less real — movies — than your own life and choosing both movies and your own life over the super-reality represented by God. It brings a whole new and appalling level to grasshopper behaviour.

Bad enough that the grasshopper just fiddles away the time when he should be storing food for the winter. How much worse if he sat hunched down in a movie theatre watching another grasshopper pretending to be still yet another grasshopper.

To me, mind-boggling.

Take care,

George Bailey

9 June 04

George: How's yourself?

Thanks for the copies of Sins of the Past: intimidation and Eden 3. I remembered reading the first part of Sins of the Past so, I have to tell you that that's a very good sign considering the amount of work that I see and how few things stick.

I would have to agree with you that your artwork is not quite at a professional level yet. It's hard to tell in some ways because you have a very idiosyncratic drawing style, but, yes I would agree with you. I'd say one of your problems is that your pages are too crowded right now. You're trying to put too much information — verbal and visual — in the many panels that you're using. It certainly makes for more story, but it also makes it more difficult to read. There's a major difference between the inside front cover and the rest of it, just as an example. On the inside front cover everything is nicely differentiated, the grays are used to create compositions within the overall composition which is what comic books are all about. This is almost totally missing from the interiors where the grays seem to have been added arbitrarily and never to establish an interior composition but (it seems) just to keep the pages from being straight black and white. I mean, one of the problems with going by my reaction is that I got these free and you're looking for some kind of feedback on them. That's very different from attracting a casual browser/buyer which I suspect was the reason for your despondency at the Bristol convention this year that you allude to.

I think I'm safe in saying that "upping" your game plan at this point is perhaps a bad idea. I think you might be better served going into a comic-book store with your eyes wide open and looking at who your actual competition is and what you are going to need to do to attract attention. One of the things you might reconsider is the size of the project given that it doesn't appear you're going to be able to keep to a monthly, bi-monthly or even quarterly schedule. Like Jacob Marley's ghost, fated to wander the earth, I sometimes think that for my 6,000-page perfidy, I'm condemned to wander the earth cautioning wannabe self-publishers: start small. Start self-contained. If you only do one book a year, you really need to make it a self-contained story. Even doing Cerebus bi-monthly, I didn't actually do continued stories until issue 14. Before that they were pretty much self-contained. It's an enormous challenge because it means you're betting on the here and now instead of two years or five years from now when you figure you will have improved and will have built a following.

Start with the idea that the comic book you produce that's twenty pages long is the only comic book you will ever produce. This is what you will be known for. You might even...


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.