Monday, February 05, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #147 (February 5th, 2007)

**Regular blogandmail posts will return on Thursday**

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 167 & 168:

Dear Steve:

Thanks for the latest on our jam, plus enclosures {"The Musical Origin of Sparky" became my first post-Cerebus collaboration (with Steve Peters) when he sent me a blank strip of art board and asked me to kick it off}.

I've left you something of a ballbuster of a problem in panel four and some lesser nutcrackers elsewhere, one of the advantages of being the penciller/designer on these things. The first is the nature of the halo around Sparky in panel one which technically shouldn't be there because it's the stem of the "P" background motif. Likewise his literal halo which I have pushed up on edge but which could just as easily be spinning vertically or emitting a couple of sweat drops (the technical term, according to Mort Walker, is "dewflaps"). I envision covering for it with vertical intricacies (your gray and black layer which is sharp as all get out, by the way) with thin white vertical streaks through them, as if the angel in panel two is compressing everything in panel one. I ended up "lettering" the two Sparky panels because I figured it would be as easy to do as to describe what I was picturing. I'd also suggest sharpening the point of the heart on the previous tier.

The ballbuster of a problem, it seems to me, is the angel-sparkly transition through the black and gray territory. It needs to be sharply-enough defined to be an obvious extension of the angel glitter in the rest of the panel(s) but speckly enough to still be glittery without getting lost in the gray and black layer (which, as I already mentioned is as sharp as all get out). The spaces on the gray and black layer are just about the size of the dots in the angel glitter and, I assume, composed of some kind of mechanical tone. As the darker tones tend to "grab" the page a lot harder than lighter tones (Why, I don't know), you're going to have one chance to get the sparkle right and if you get it wrong and try to peel it up, a lot of the underdrawing is going to come up with it and if it takes you two or three tries to get it right, the artboard is going to look like shredded wheat by the time you get there.

My best advice would be to mark out the specific area you intend to "speckle" through and tone around it and then try to do the speckle on a separate piece of tone that will fit into place after the fact. That is, you precut the tone where the speckle is going to go, speckle the tone, let it dry a good long while so you're sure it's completely dry, then peel it off the backing and fit it into place.

One way or the other, Steve, it's a "better you than me" situation.

Thanks for sticking up for me in your correspondence with Jason Thompson. That doesn't happen a whole lot and I certainly appreciate it when it does.


PS: Your 24-hour comic was quite good. Very evocative of that state where self-doubt gnaws at you early in the life of prayer. For months when I was going through it, to avoid slipping into blasphemy, I had to keep reminding myself that I was sure of God, it was myself I had doubts about. Walking with one foot and dragging the other. It took me a long time to realize that it was wrong to doubt myself. Right to doubt my bad choices (going drinking every Friday night and ogling young girls as an example) and right to realize that I wasn't going to make any progress until I made better choices. But wrong to doubt the actual…mechanism?... that is me. Insulting God, in a very real way. As if I had been assembled incorrectly and I was missing some necessary parts.

"Uh, Dave? You're driving with the emergency brake on."


"Inadequacy? No, no. Didn't you hear what I said? You're driving with the emergency brake on. Take the emergency brake off and everything will be fine."


"Dave. Listen to me. If you take the emergency brake off, the squealing noise will stop and the burning smell will go away too. Dave? Dave?"

Kind of funny to remember now, but it sure wasn't funny at the time.

It helps to remember that there isn't anything you can go through that God hasn't heard word-for-word a quadrillion times in the last month. It also helps to remember how hard it is for Him to take someone seriously who lives in the suburbs and has three square meals a day, hot and cold running water, access to laundry facilities, time and space to exercise and pray. "Hold that thought, please, starving mother in Sudan praying to me to spare the life of her infant child who has just slipped into a coma brought on by malarial fever. Steve Peters is afraid of dying. Go ahead, Steve, I'm listening."

You know, I've really got to try that 24-hour comic thing again sometime. Let me know when the next 24-hour comic day is going to be. I'd like to try to get something together in town here.

Good luck with the ballbuster.



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. Here are the Diamond Star System codes:

Cerebus #1-25 $30.00 STAR00070
High Society #26-50 $30.00 STAR00071
Church and State I #52-80 $35.00 STAR00271
Church and State II #81-111 $35.00 STAR00321
Jaka's Story #114-136 $30.00 STAR00359
Melmoth #139-150 $20.00 STAR00431
Flight #151-162 $20.00 STAR00543
Women #163-174 $20.00 STAR00849
Reads #175-186 $20.00 STAR01063
Minds #187-200 $20.00 STAR01916
Guys #201-219 $25.00 STAR06972
Rick's Story #220-231 $20.00 STAR08468
Going Home I #232-250 $30.00 STAR10981
Form and Void #251-265 $30.00 STAR13500
Latter Days #266 - 288 $35.00 AUG031920
The Last Day #289 - 300 $25.00 APR042189
Collected Letters - $30 FEB052434