Saturday, February 03, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #145 (February 3rd, 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 150 and 151:

Sandeep S. Atwal

15 July 04

Dear Mr. Atwal:

Very nice to hear from you again. If it's any consolation, I have heard indirectly from several people that Todd Klein is really kind of embarrassed that he keeps winning the best letterer awards and that I keep getting shut out. His operative quote is that Dave Sim "is the best letterer of the last twenty years." A lot of the debate comes down to how intrusive lettering should be. Bill Payne, my mentor, as an example, thought that Walt Kelly was a terrible letterer because his stuff was so ornate for some of the characters that it was unreadable (that is, intrusive). That's a pretty common view and to be honest I can't do traditional comic-book/strip lettering to save my life. Real comic-book lettering has a definite look to it and Klein has that look down cold.

I'm sort of a magpie. I stole the lettering look of the late forties Eisner studio and then varied the sizes. As a matter of fact that was the first question I had for Will when I cashed in on my free dinner a few weeks back in Toronto. What was his letterer's name? Abe Kanegson. It was a brilliant look. Will said Kanegson used to edit him, change the phrasing, cut extraneous words. Used to bring the pages up to ask if he could change things and he was always right so Will, after a while, just said, "Change it. You don't have to bring it up and show it to me." Evidently he was an ardent leftist who used to bring his guitar to work and would sit and strum it and sing songs during his breaks. Tall, thin guy.

Anyway, I can't tell you how happy I am to have been awarded the 2004 Sandeep S. Atwal Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in the Field of Achievement. That should look good on my resume no matter what I try next. I'm thinking of dish-washing or selling energy-saving hydro plans door-to-door.

Yes, I'm eager to see more of Ray's work on the Founding Fathers. I suspect that the entire U.S.A. experiment was intended to be incredibly provocative against God (E Pluribus Unum — "From many, One" — being a pretty good monotheistic slap in the face right there). Benjamin Franklin's exhortation that "a house divided against itself cannot stand," after all, is a direct quote from the Synoptic Jesus…in reference to Satan. All of these separate jurisdictions clambering over state rights versus federal rights: What a perfect recipe for Complete Chaos. And guess what? Nothing of the kind. God wins His point again.

Thanks for the Philip K. Dick material. Looks definitely like a YHWH job to me. It just never seems to work out for he/she/it. They get dazzled easily enough and he/she/it always wants them to DO something, but there never seems to be anything to DO in particular apart from trying to figure out exactly what it was that happened, why it happened and what it all means. Note that the biggest miracle is having a sudden insight that allows him to save the life of his kid. To me, that's just natural misdirection that results from family life. That's where extra abilities are going to squirt out. So, he saved the life of his kid. His kid is still going to die someday.

YOU MISSED IT IN THE DRAFT OF THE COMICS JOURNAL PIECE! {"He [Peter Bagge] corralled Gilbert Hernandez into doing the art chores but had had a difficult job getting a definitive answer until he sent a `now or never' fax specifying what the job would pay — which Gilbert's wife evidently saw. And that was all it took. Big laugh, the audience reveling in the shared reality of how a good marriage works. They were back in Peter's pocket." The underlined passage was deleted.} I was sure you'd catch it. They cut my line about Gilbert Hernandez and the audience responding to how a good marriage is conducted. They just couldn't allow that observation in there. "Say, this makes it sound as if Gilbert is pussy-whipped." But, that was the point of the story. His wife saw the fax and [told] him he's taking the job because they need the money. That was what everyone laughed at. That was why Peter put it that way. That's fine, but YOU CAN'T ACTUALLY SAY IT THAT WAY. It's the way of our sad feminist world.


1) Give me a call when you're back in Waterloo. I'm not sure if it's a false alarm (and I hesitate to jinx it) but it looks as if the mail is finally tapering off (shhhh). If it does prove to be the case, it will be a lot easier to say, "Let's go this Saturday." I can even get Tom to come up and give us a lift.

2) Haven't seen Fog of War, but I'm glad you're really addressing the structural problems through hard analysis. Always the best way.

On the subject of rape as universal plot device in Harlequin Romances, "This is women writing ABOUT women FOR women," sums it up nicely. The evasions you're getting from guys when you try to discuss it with them gives me the creeps and tells me that part has to be nailed down tight. Just reading the evasions I can see that they're universal. Pavlov was right. Addressing it directly is apt to just deal you out of the ballgame. A hideous/hilarious notion occurs to me: The only way you can get people to face it is to have a female narrator for that part. And then at the end have her say, "And do you realize that the only reason you're still paying attention is because I'm a female narrator? If I was a man you would have stopped listening after two sentences." What do you think?


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.