Monday, March 12, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #182 (March 12th, 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.


Keep It Turned On





Okay, hitting "rewind" on Mike Kitchen's letter brings us right back to the beginning. And, now I'll just hit "play" and…

Dear Dave,

First off, let me say (3 years after the fact), congratulations on reaching 300. Month after month Cerebus had been the highlight of my comic-book buying experience. Many of the comics currently on the shelf, I quickly lose interest with, primarily because, though they may be a fun comic-book romp, rarely do they have anything of substance to say, or insight to offer. It's obvious they are designed as entertainment time wasters and ad filler, rather than as thought provoking art. Cerebus is everything that comics should be, and you and Gerhard have set the watermark for everything I creatively aspire to. Yes, Cerebus is a tough act to follow.

I am apologetic for not having gotten one of these fan letters out to you sooner. When writing one of these, the sheer amount of things to say spirals out of control to the point where wrapping words around it all becomes incomprehensible.

Yes, and it probably serves me right that I have to type all this. I could have just ignored the lack of reaction to Cerebus coming to an end, but nooo, I have to provoke you into spiralling out of control. Sorry, Mike, go ahead.

There are numerous pages of first draft letters that have been started, and then ultimately abandoned, due to my inability to get thoughts in proper order and put into words (a severe handicap for someone who wants to eventually turn creating comics into a full-time job). In fact this letter came dangerously close to suffering the same fate. There is too much to say, and anything written has seemed inadequate. I mean, seriously, what can I say to Dave Sim? THE Dave Sim, Creator of Cerebus, Godfather of Self-Publishing, the Evil Misogynist, the Pariah King of Comics!

Roughly…let me do a quick count here…eleven pages worth.

Sorry, Mike. Go ahead.

And is it worth wasting Dave Sim's time with this? Before answering that…

Never had I realized, before starting my own comic, how important it is to get feedback in the form of comments and letters. I understand now, when you talk about reading into the record for history, and like the Following Cerebus guys talking of their lacklustre response compared to Wrapped in Plastic:

As was the case with Cerebus and as is the case with the Blog & Mail, there's virtually no response to Following Cerebus so all content questions tend to be guesswork. I think it creeps Craig out a little bit since he got a lot more response to Wrapped in Plastic and Spectrum but I told him it's just like an old Western: "Maybe TOO quiet." But, what are you going to do? You keep moving forward and if a horde of Apaches suddenly descend on you, you deal with that when you get there.

Blogandmail #129 (January 18th, 2007)

As a reader and fan, I can say that for myself, I never felt (sic) a need to write in. Partially due to the fact that what interests me the most is the weighty subject matter that is over my head and/or that I haven't spent a sufficient amount of time pondering over to the point where I have a solid opinion, and can communicate on the matter (especially an opinion fit to see in print). Instead, I am content to simply absorb and digest the work as a whole.

That's a good point. As I said in my response to Robin Snyder a few days back, I've been privileged to be given a life where I have a lot of time to mull things over and put things together that fall well outside of the "basic survival" mode that most guys live in – and which tends to limit the time they have for speculating and assessing "weighty subject matter". And also I've been privileged to remain pretty isolated so I've never had to endure the peer pressure to keep my thinking limited to what was on television last night or who I think is going to win Best Actor on the Oscars.

It was also a conscious choice after I broke up with my last girlfriend. I stood out on the balcony of my old penthouse apartment and resolved that I was going to dedicate myself to thinking from then on and stop rationalizing away things that I knew to be false and to seriously examine the nature of reality with open eyes. And, of course, not having a girlfriend my thinking from that point on was uninterrupted. If it took me four or five days or a week of uninterrupted thinking to arrive at a conclusion to something I was uncertain about, I took the four or five days or the week, examined all of the angles on the problem and then weighed all of them in the balance and came to a conclusion, instead of chasing around the same problem halfway over and over and over again without ever coming to a conclusion which is what happens when your thinking is continually being interrupted.

My view was always that the creator of a given work does not require a fanboy response, (especially/specifically my fanboy response) and that the given work will generate a momentum of its own to continue.

Which is still, I think, true and accurate.

However, in creating my own comic, I now understand that without feedback, without that fanboy response, it feels (sic) as though your voice is being lost into the void.

"Hello? Is anyone out there? What am I doing here spending hours a day slaving over this if no one is listening anyway? Hell-oo? Someone has got to be out there…anyone? Even an echo would be nice…can I get an echo? No? I guess it's just myself here. Okay, then…here's one to read into the record of history…"

Yeah, I get that.

Yes, and particularly in your own situation where you have other claims on your time including a full-time day job, a lengthy commute and, therefore, limited time to spend with your wife and kids. One way or the other the cartooning time comes out of the latter category. The key is the "hours a day" which, you're right, is something you can't fully appreciate until you see exactly how much of your life drawing, say, a five page story is going to eat up. But, I think you're still a cartoonist at heart since most guys in that situation would say, "Okay, now that I understand the extent to which drawing comics is the Great White Shark of devouring time, that's enough of that. I've got a life to lead." No, instead you're trying to figure out how to amputate the lengthy daily commute.

And it's the reason that I feel (sic) obligated to respond to the comic books that get sent to me and to be as positive as I can be. It was no real big deal for Frank Thorne, I'm sure, to respond to the early issues of Cerebus that I sent him. He was a hot cartoonist on a hot book (Red Sonja) so my letters and issue of Cerebus would have just been in his stack of fan mail to deal with when he got an issue done. And that's what he would have done: dealt with it. I would have been far down the gratification list from, say, any photos of young girls in Red Sonja costumes he had gotten in that month. His praise was probably excessive and/or forensically accurate ("This is the best work of yours that I've seen" diplomatically didn't include what he thought of the sincerely amateurish stuff that I had been doing Comic Art News & Reviews and other fanzines which would…honestly?...have been "You used to really suck but this, this doesn't suck nearly as badly.") It gave me enough of a lift to think of myself as a peer of Frank Thorne rather than an aspiring fanzine guy and it might have made the critical difference at the critical time. Of course, if God's ultimate intention for me had been for me to settle down and get married and have kids, then Frank will probably have to account for that on Judgement Day.

Anyway, let me just rapid fire here, and say some of the things I've been meaning/wanting to say for years.


Starting with Cerebus.

My first issue of Cerebus was Mothers & Daughters #16, issue #166. The one with Cerebus sleeping with the chessboard on the cover. Add me to the legions of classic new Cerebus readers who opened the book saying "I had no idea what was going on, but I was hooked."

On my first back-issue buying binge, I picked up Cerebus #111 and #116 containing the beginnings of the Creator's Rights discussion, which reinforced a lot of hunches I already had, even at that young age. When I was in high school, I contacted United Features Syndicate to see what the process was for getting a newspaper strip, and after reading the legal forms, I knew "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."

Mothers & Daughters covered my college years. It was an eye-opening experience watching the guide to self-publishing unfold [much of what would turn out to be The Guide to Self-Publishing was serialized on the inside front cover of Cerebus through "Mothers & Daughters"]. As for issue 186, I never did understand the backlash. The only thing that disturbed me at the time was that it seemed as though Aardvark Comment was spilling over into Cerebus "The Comic". However I did observe it as being an interesting artistic experiment in the story, especially after reading Minds and seeing how Reads fit into the novel as a whole. The gender views confirmed a lot of my own hunches, and provided me with an endless amount of ammunition to defend my own stance on the subject.

Tomorrow: More positive feedback on 186 and "Tangent" so fair warning to all the feminists to get ready to get your fingers in your ears and to go "LALALALA I'm not Listening!"

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. 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