Friday, February 02, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #144 (February 2nd, 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 142 and 143:

Conan has been revived by Dark Horse in a new monthly title that's selling really, really well. It's at issue six right now and Dark Horse is on its third printing of issue one so it's definitely got the makings of a major hit. Any sign of a Conan revival is good news for Cerebus, particularly the first volume. I'd almost recommend something as simple as photocopying the front cover of the Cerebus trade and putting it in every Conan subscriber's subscription file. In the long term, I'd like to develop a promotion just around the first volume, just tailored to the Conan fans, but in the short term, it would be interesting to see what kind of reaction a bare bones approach could achieve. I'd even guarantee to two-day UPS Cerebus trades to Keith's in immediate response if they wanted to try that approach. "The next batch is coming in on [Thursday if its Monday, Monday if it's Thursday]," and then make the call for however many copies they need. It's probably jumping the gun and the Conan revival will take a year or two to actually take hold, but I thought I'd make the suggestion.

Aaron Williams

7 July 04

Dear Aaron:

Thanks for the copy of With Liberty and Recess for All. I have just spent the last two hours reading it which really makes this one of the best jobs in the world: Reading other people's comic books for a living. You've really got something good going here. It's very apparent that you have a lot of affection for the grassroots super-hero genre and a gentle way with good-natured humour that will serve you in good stead as you move forward with PS238.

In order that sending me a copy shouldn't be a total loss, I make note of the fact that on page 9 panel 1 of issue one, `who's' should be `whose' and on page 10, panel 2 of issue 2, `I'll be' should be `I'll bet.' If you intend to correct these errors in future printings, you're welcome. If not, then I apologize for irritating the DENTAL FLOSS out of you to no good purpose.

Several times in the course of my reading, I thought it would be a really good idea if you could get some of the hot young Marvel and DC super-hero artists to do guest covers. And several times I thought it would be really bad — there is a definite integrity in the merging of your subdued naturalistic cartooning style and the visual super-hero iconography.

In the former instance, I tended to think you might be swimming upstream against the perception of what Dork Storm Press is — particularly since your own Nodwick fits so much more closely with the house imprint. John staked out his own territory closer to the gaming field with an outreach towards comic books and built nicely from there. You should be able to stake out your own turf halfway between there and the mainstream. The problem with "halfway between there and the mainstream" (I speak from long experience) is that that can give you a stigma of near-invisibility. It seemed to me that connecting with the hottest artists of the moment (more uncharitably, the flavour of the week) would give you a little more immediacy in the marketplace you're best suited to and your more natural audience. Hot young guys are also usually more amenable to anything that gives them exposure in different environments and that illustrates their own versatility. You'd also be able to offer them on-going revenue as you reprint the cover in future trade paperbacks.

In the latter instance, I thought it might overpower what it is that you're doing and create the impression that PS238 isn't its own thing in its own right, that it's a raw material for others to do "right." By way of example, I couldn't disagree more with Tony Isabella's back cover quote. I think PS238 would make a lousy movie or lousy television. It really does need to be what it is. The only thing I see as missing, at this point, is the ink line and I'm pretty sure that will come with time. You just have to get your hand to render the super-hero iconographic line that we all have as a genetic memory. Everything else seems to be there.

So there you go. An unsolvable dilemma. What a great way to end a letter.

Thanks again for the book.


Paul Bach

7 July 04

Dear Paul:

Thanks for your kind note of congratulations on the completion of the 300 issues.

I particularly appreciate your observation that my `grand achievement is enough and stands tall and alone.' There isn't a great deal of evidence to support your contention at this point, but it certainly sounds good. Only time will tell.

Thanks again. I find myself looking forward to Following Cerebus as well.


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.