Saturday, February 17, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #159 (February 17th, 2007)

See? And then like yesterday: perfect example.

He runs the closing Blog & Mail theme only he

Leaves off the "MAAAIIILLL"

So all day I'm humming the theme in my head

But stopping after "Blog &". Are you telling me he

Doesn't do that irritating $%#@ on purpose?

Very nice card from Gian Carlo Guarda. He contacted me a couple of years ago with an adaptation of Jack London's White Fang that he began (get this) back in the 1940s and only picked up again after he had retired from his full-time consulting business in Washington. He asked my advice and I recommended that he try self-publishing it as a trade paperback, use a computerized lettering font, reduce the size of the lettering and directing him to Big Planet Comics in the D.C. area to get an idea of what's going on in the comic-book field these days and what formats were available to him. Hadn't heard from him since he sent me a comp copy of the completed White Fang.

How are you? Still active with cartoons?

As I completed my White Fang, my vision collapsed rapidly and I can do nothing without a magnifier now. I just came back from Portland, Oregon (a beautiful city) where the famous Dr. Tory has inserted a new cornea in my left eye. It's a great joy to see fairly well again. I think I will go back next spring for the other eye. The drawing on the card is not by me but by a friend in California who has raised a true wolf as a household pet (a rare achievement!). Happy holidays and all the best to you in the New Year.

Gian Carlo was heavily influenced by Hal Foster and Alex Raymond so it was a pleasure to assist him to fulfill his dream that was a number of decades old. Interested retailers and fans can write to him at 5711 Potomac Ave. NW, Washington DC 20016. Whether you've never read any Jack London or White Fang or if you're a devoted fan of the material, I think you'll find Gian Carlo Guarda's version more than satisfying.

Nice letter from Michael Wood. Remember the guy who did Love in a Time of Super-Villains, the comic where Not Wonder Woman gets roaring drunk and ends up marrying Not Superman in a Las Vegas wedding chapel? Turns out I was just about the only person to comment favourably on the book which has been out for some time. The Curse of the Pariah King marches on. Anyway, he was happy to have the favourable feedback (although he didn't mention if there's going to be an issue two—which is understandable given the severely limited response he got) and sent along issues 1-5 of Hate Your Friends which he informs me is the work of his that's garnering the most attention. Written by Kristin Blank:

This may look like a comic book about a record store but it's not. It's actually about geeks. All my life I've been a geek. High school was super-painful (I played Dungeons and Dragons and had asthma) but once I got to college, it dawned on me that being a geek had suddenly become trendy. I looked around me and every indie f**k was wearing my black glasses.

I've always wanted to write a comic. Hate Your Friends began as a one shot thing but the artist I was blessed with blew it all out of proportion. Once we started talking about these characters, they swelled out of control. I get to do the easy part and watch my ideas materialize every day when I serve Michael coffee.

Five photocopied digest-sized issues out so far, starting in March, 2003. Not being an indie record store kind of person, I'm more interested in how the Not Wonder Woman/Not Superman thing works out by I suspect that you music-loving Yahoos might tilt in the other direction. Check out ("Mission Control for All Things Monkey") and see what you think.

Nice letter from Darrell Epp, our "Only Poetry Dave Sim Likes" in residence along with a batch of new poems. I was just going to run them all but I've got a lot of mail to catch up on, so here's my favourite that made me laugh out loud.

Christmas Help

i shop here all the time

but i've never seen this cashier before.

she's cute, chatty.

she starts asking me what i'm doing for

new year's, what I do for fun and maybe

i'm reading too much into it but I almost

think i might have a chance, if i cared, if

i had the energy.

maybe it's just small talk, part of the job

(we have to wait because there's a problem

with the credit card machine), but i don't

think so.

i'm grateful to her for providing the

Surprising Moment Of The Day, one a

day is my minimum.

she doesn't remind me of a girl i used to

know, i'm happy to say.

i don't know anything about her. what

she's doing right now, there's a million


for all i know, in a past life, we could

have colonized mars together.

I just love the ending on that one.

I suspect that this next comic book might've gone astray from the Day Prize nomination pile at some point or (more likely) the tangentially related "For Yahoo Eyes Only: Hey, Check Out What Was in the Day Prize Nomination Pile That You Guys (and Margaret) Might Be Interested In" (which pile when I get around to it, hopefully, should be good for a couple of Blog & Mail postings in and of itself). Anyway, this one is called The Adventures of Dexter Breakfast #1 and it's the creation of Vernon Smith (online gallery Now, the reason that I singled it out is that he lists me as one of the influences on his work and (not to put too fine a point on it) Dexter Breakfast shows a certain number of physical traits of a certain three-foot tall aardvark I could name. Same haircut. Ears the same (though set lower). Thirty percent tone. Of course he's had a snout-ectomy and has just one mouth (right in the middle where it belongs). I just found it impossible to judge because it read like something I might have done in a parallel universe (Cerebus What If #1: "What if Dave Sim had done Cerebus as a Western Wombat instead of a Sword-and-Sorcery Aardvark?"). Viewed objectively, the book is at least as good as the first issue of Cerebus was (viewed as entirely dispassionately as I hope to be here, it's probably a good deal better than the first issue of Cerebus was). But I still found it an insoluble problem. How do you honestly assess something that you might have done thirty years ago in a parallel universe? How do you answer the question: Could this be the next Cerebus? Answer: You don't. As with everything else you just pass the buck to the Yahoos and let them figure it out to their own satisfaction.

It's a catchy name, anyway: Dexter Breakfast, don't you think? Issue 2 is in the January Previews catalogue. Diamond order code JAN073611. How long ago did #1 come out? Say, maybe it really IS the Next Cerebus: Dexter Breakfast the Western Wombat! In your face and (hopefully) on time!

Hey! A new instalment of There's No Time Like the Present by the multi-talented Paul B. Rainey. Paul is definitely in that category of doing a book that's so distinctive, no matter how long the wait is between issues (this is issue #6), I know exactly where he left me off, who all the characters are, etc. That's always a big litmus test for me. The book has a great premise that at some point in the not-too-distant future the Ultranet gets invented, a TV environment which basically broadcasts the future so that, for example, you could download the next fifty years of Spider-man comics. The implications of this for the human psyche are pretty interesting with the time before the Ultranet assuming mythic proportions and a fundamental longing to know about and to get back to sequential living such as we experience without all futures being documented. Much of the action documents a group of four decrepit old seniors who have formed a Classic TV Club and basically watch ancient pre-Ultranet TV programming (like Babylon 5 and Ang Lee's Hulk movie in this latest instalment). The best news from Paul is in the back of the issue:

From the start of 2007, I will be serialising There's No Time Like the Present online at If you're unfamiliar with my website, this is where, for the last few years, I have been posting my diary comics. Because I want to concentrate on TNTLTP but continue to have a web presence, I have decided to put new Book of Lists comics on hiatus, for the time being at least. Half a page from TNTLTP will be posted online every week day starting Tuesday January 1st, 2007.

Paul also offers four-issue subscriptions for 10 quid each. International orders add 1 quid per item (that should guarantee the all of you Yahoos choose to follow the story on the Internet, eh?—"quid" is the English term for pounds sterling. I use both here because the symbol for pounds sterling wouldn't translate from one computer to the other and I figure using "quid" or "pounds sterling" is preferable to having Jeff's computer translate it as *percent sign* or *ampersand*.

Paul writes to me:

Hi Dave

Well, it's been a long time coming, but at last, here's Part 6. I'm too embarrassed to explain fully why it took so long except to say that there was a woman involved and stupid, adolescent pinings from a man old enough to know better. Hopefully, Part 7 won't be quite so far away. Many thanks for all of your support and all the best per 2007.

Yeah, we've all been there, Paul. In a past life you and she might have colonized Mars together, eh?

Tomorrow: Running Dave's Prayer again? That's a great idea, Jeff. Yeah, let's do that.

Monday: Right. That's enough with the "colonizing Mars in a past life" line or ALL you Yahoos are going to start thinking that way. I do think Darrell wins the "quotable line" award for this month walking away, though.

There's MORE for you

In Today's Blog &…



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.