Friday, March 02, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #172 (March 2nd, 2007)


Fourteen Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast That Make You a Good Feminist

1. A mother who works a full-time job and delegates to strangers the raising of her children eight hours a day, five days a week does just as good a job as a mother who hand-rears her children full time.

2. It makes great sense for the government to pay 10 to 15,000 dollars a year to fund a daycare space for a child so its mother - who pays perhaps 2,000 dollars in taxes - can be a contributing member of society.

3. A woman's doctor has more of a valid claim to participate in the decision to abort a fetus than does the father of that fetus.

4. So long as a woman makes a decision after consulting with her doctor, she is incapable of making an unethical choice.

5. A car with two steering wheels, two gas pedals and two brakes drives more efficiently than a car with one steering wheel, one gas pedal and one brake which is why marriage should always be an equal partnership.

6. It is absolutely necessary for women to be allowed to join or participate fully in any gathering place for men, just as it is absolutely necessary that there be women only environments from which men are excluded.

7. Because it involves taking jobs away from men and giving them to women, affirmative action makes for a fairer and more just society.

8. It is important to have lower physical standards for women firepersons and women policepersons so that, one day, half of all firepersons and policepersons will be women, thus more effectively protecting the safety of the public.

9. Affirmative action at colleges and universities needs to be maintained now that more women than men are being enrolled, in order to keep from giving men an unfair advantage academically.

10. Having ensured that there is no environment for men where women don't belong (see no.6) it is important to have zero tolerance of any expression or action which any woman might regard as sexist to ensure greater freedom for everyone.

11. Only in a society which maintains a level of 95% of alimony and child support being paid by men to women can men and women be considered as equals.

12. An airline stewardess who earned $20,000 a year at the time that she married a baseball player earning $6 million a year is entitled, in the event of a divorce, to $3 million for each year of the marriage and probably more.

13. A man's opinions on how to rear and/or raise a child are invalid because he is not the child's mother. However, his financial obligation is greater because no woman gets pregnant by herself.

14. Disagreeing with any of these statements makes you anti-woman and/or a misogynist.


Static, The Lonely One ($10.95 US) and

Ditko Package 3 ($13.00 US) are all available from

Robin Snyder, 3745 Canterbury Ln. #81

Bellingham, WA, 98225-1186

Ditko Package 3 clocks in at 160 pages and reprints 20 different short stories from the old Charlton Horror line, most of the stories written by Joe Gill. I think it's worth quoting his and Steve Ditko's reciprocal introductions to the book (even though, not having asked permission to do so, I know is WRONG and I expect a visit from Mr. A in my dreams tonight):

I'm delighted to introduce a collection of Steve Ditko's wonderful stories. While Steve's art is always up to the Ditko standard of excellence, my scripts are not prize-winning material.

Steve and I and all the other great guys at Charlton during the years of glory (?), worked for extremely low rates. A few of us accommodated ourselves by working fast in order to make as much moolah as possible. This accounts for my enormous volume of pages. When I worked for other NY publishers I was paid much more; Steve, too, worked for more generous publishers.

But Steve's work was the same, no matter for whom he worked or how much he was paid. Steve denied he was driven to always do his best. He swore he was only in it for the money. I told him if he had no market, no pen or pencil or paper, he'd be creating masterpieces in bare dirt. I never knew my friend to deliberately do less than his best in order to grind out pages.

Many of us worked as fast as we could move. There was little criticism and that suited us just fine. Steve moved at his own pace, doing his brilliant best, and he made my work shine.

Steve's got a quiet sense of humor and he's more well-mannered than I but we got along very well and imbibed a few martinis together from time to time. After a day in `the shoe factory' we explored the delights of night life in Derby, CT.

Steve was always the best and he stayed that way come Hell of high water. I have fond memories of those Charlton years and now you will, too.

It's very true. One of the things Joe Gill doesn't mention is how atrocious the Charlton printing was. Anyone who goes back to those distant times knows what I'm talking about. If you bought your Marvel and DC comics and picked up a couple of Charlton's, back in the 60s and 70s there was no question that the printing standards dropped off precipitously. Which is very funny since, as Neal Adams pointed out, Marvel and DC were basically printing their books on toilet paper and had no production standards whatsoever. Still, their comic books looked like world class magazine slicks when placed alongside Charlton's books. And yet, flipping through this volume, you see absolutely no sign of Steve Ditko letting that affect his work even though he obviously knew what it was going to print like. That's an amazing level of integrity to exhibit over the course of 160 pages. None of it looks "hacked out".

And then it's Steve Ditko's turn to introduce Joe Gill:

Joe Gill is one comic book story/script writer who understands a comic panel. Most other writers believe a single panel is a long, continuing strip of a movie film containing numerous, changing, point-of-view frames.

I read the screenplay of Gorgo. From the first reading to this day, I marvel at how well Joe adapted the character to comic books. I didn't read the Konga screenplay but that comic script was a treat.

As for Captain Atom, Charlton (like many companies) gave up too soon on the new feature.

Joe may have been partly responsible for my long stay at Charlton. (Actually Charlton left us and the comic field.) I know Joe's scripts made my stay and the work enjoyable and worthwhile. Our efforts are worth saving and still enjoyable in reviewing with a long list of favourites.

The comic book story/script writer? It doesn't matter who follows the first. That first choice is Joe Gill.

Speaking from the experience of having broken into the comic-book field on the short horror story end of things, I'd have to say that Joe Gill is a little hard on himself. These eight-pagers are not the easiest things in the world to write basically because it's so hard to hide the twist ending when you have so few pages to work with. The veteran horror reader is finely attuned to any plot development or line of dialogue that just reeks of twist ending and if they've guessed what your twist ending is before they get there then you've basically failed as a horror writer. I must have several dozen plots for short horror stories in the Cerebus Archive that I submitted to Skywald and Warren, all of them rejected. I sold two: "Cry of the White Wolf" to Skywald and "Shadow of the Axe" to Warren. Some of the stories are pretty lame, but then the batting average in the Warren magazines wasn't anywhere close to 1.000, either. As I say, these things are tough to write and very easy to pick apart. One of the Gill stories is credited to Jack Daniels and another to Johnny Walker. They're still readable and, as Ditko says, he knows exactly how much you can get into one panel and how you move the reader through the story and exactly the right pace for an eight-pager so it doesn't feel rushed or padded.

Gene Day and I submitted a story to Charlton back in 1974, maybe '75, "The Gravedigger's Banquet" which I pencilled and wrote and Gene inked. You know, the most basic advice for the freelancer is to learn about the publications you're submitting to. "Gravedigger's" had been intended for some other venue and I basically just redrew it incorporating Baron Weirwulf, one of the Charlton horror hosts at the top of the first page. Never actually read a Charlton horror comic. Reading these, I noticed that they incorporated the horror hosts into the stories. They play bit roles and comment on the action as its unfolding. Which is actually pretty clever and sets Charlton apart from all the other horror titles with narrators that only appear in the first and last panel. I might have had a better shot at selling a story if I had known that. Stupid, arrogant, know-it-all eighteen-year-old.

Anyway, I was sorry when I came to the end of this volume. It's a steal at $13 US.

All of this stuff is in no particular order, to say the least, so please bear with me. I'm hoping to get organized now that I've realized that I've got this empty file drawer next to me (that I think I cleaned out sometime last summer) and that that would be a good spot to put the mail as it comes in.

Okay, this is theoretically March which means we should be getting close enough to the release of James Turner's Rex Libris trade reprinting the first five issues of The Librarian Without Fear (for which I've written the introduction), so here's his letter from a while back:

Hi Dave

Sorry for being so tardy with writing back. It was good to see you at the Wright Awards. They certainly made it into an occasion. It was worth it to see Chester in a suit alone. There was some stuff up on the net about it afterward which linked it to your weblog. I think you're probably the only person who has a weblog but no email or internet. I also saw your on-line photo-realism comic about the actress which, of course, looks awesome. I look forward to seeing your other, secret projects when they come out.

It's true and a very strange experience to have an internet presence while still not having access to the internet. With email, well, it's all I can do to keep up – or, rather, keep from falling too much further behind – with my escargot mail without adding another level of access. With the six-month trial period for the Blog & Mail coming to an end in a couple of weeks, at this point I'm leaning in the direction of continuing with it. I'm not sure that I'm really saying much that's of interest or worth the three or four days every two or three weeks I put into it in a conventional sense. But I do think it has helped to undermine the perception of Dave Sim as this raving lunatic which has been kept alive by the Comics Journal and the feminists for the last decade or so. That seems kind of wrong to me – that you have to have an internet presence just to keep character assassination from "sticking" if you're going to hold strong viewpoints outside of the mainstream – but, at the same time, there's no point in arguing with reality. As long as they don't pass a law forcing me to have email or forcing me to get internet access, I think me and cyberspace can probably get along (however uneasily) at least for the next while.

Tomorrow: More From James "Rex Libris" Turner

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.