Saturday, March 24, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #194 (March 24th, 2007)


Fifteen 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.

NEW! 15. Legislature Seats must be allocated to women and women must be allowed to bypass the democratic winnowing process in order to guarantee female representation and, thereby, make democracy fairer.


It's Blog & MAAILL time!

It's Blog & MAAILL time!

It's Blog & MAAILL time!

It's Blog & MAAILL time!

So what do you think of our new Intro Music for actually answering the letters that have come in? Notice the subtle emphasis on the word "mail"? And the tune is (spoiler warning for those who don't want to be haunted by it for the next two or three days) (last chance – just scroll through) (I'm about to tell you, seriously) (don't say I didn't warn you) it's Ta RA RA boom de yay!. It's WHAT? Just read the words out loud and you'll get it right away. Annoying as hell isn't it? Don't say I didn't warn you.

Okay, first up I've got four letters that went missing. Remember when I finally found the Robin Snyder letter and I said that worried me because when I find a missing letter I remembered there are probably four that I didn't remember? Well, that's what happened all right. Turned over the last letter last time and these four were right there facing the other way.

Michael J. Wood

Michael is the author and artist of Love in a Time of Super-Villains (Not Wonder Woman gets drunk and marries Not Superman in Las Vegas). I plugged the book already but the letter was nowhere to be found. And here it is (part of it anyway):

This lack of response is at times both discouraging and a bit of a relief. I suppose it could be worse. I could have been bombarded with negativities and insults to my character but, luckily, there have been none of those (save for the random e-mail from my ex-girlfriend, but that's ANOTHER story altogether). I began wondering if it was worth it to even continue with the book, which is depressing, as Love is something I'm very proud of.

But then my wife handed me that envelope emblazoned with the stoic and, dare I say, dead sexy (as aardvarks go) image of your creation that contained a piece of paper that, at this point, is tacked up in front of me serving as a reminder to get moving. Let's face it, man. You are the (for lack of a better word) granddaddy of `indie' comics. You successfully published your own title consecutively for 300 issues and never bowed to the industry, the critics or even to your own fans and if YOU liked it, well, hell…I get to tell people Dave Sim is a fan (which, of course, brings to mind the inevitable question: Can I reprint your comments for the purposes of shameless huckstering?).

Mm. More like "for the purposes of shameless career suicide" – especially if it's a case where the only favourable comment was from The Pariah King of Comics. This is getting really funny at this point. I wish I could keep a straight face or communicate a straight face: YOU DON'T WANT ANYONE TO ASSOCIATE YOU WITH THE PARIAH KING OF COMICS! [Look, man – he's laughing, he's not serious]. Well, I am serious. But, I am laughing as well. Troy Little phoned to see if he could change my mind about writing an introduction for his Chiaroscuro collection that IDW plans to publish and I had to tell him the same thing: wait until your second printing when you're established in your own right (or in your case until you have a finished story published and out there). These people do not mess around and taking out their fury and frustration with the Evil Misogynist (especially since I'm sure word has leaked out by now even to the vast majority of the field for whom I have officially ceased to exist that I'm running the Fourteen Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast with every column) on someone's work that the Evil Misogynist likes is definitely not beyond them. And Troy is laughing at me over the phone. So, I said to him, why don't YOU write the introduction explaining why Dave Sim ISN'T writing the introduction and, you know, stand up and declare that it's wrong to label an anti-feminist as a misogynist. Well, he stopped laughing then. Sorry, but I really think you guys need to know what's at stake here. Even though I can't stop laughing because it really amounts to "how scared of women are you?" The answer is, universally in the comic book field, "pretty damned scared". Well, yeah, and with good reason. I reiterate: these people do not mess around. I talk about a lot of books here but this is, like, Siberia as far as the comic-book field is concerned. A handful of open-minded retailers and the Yahoos and for everyone else I've ceased to exist except as their caricature of me. If I can plant a seed with some of the retailers and Yahoos to keep an eye out for your book, I'm more than glad to do it from my appointed place here in the Comic-Book Gulag – hiding in plain sight as I've always done – but…


But, if you REALLY want to use my comments to promote your book out there in the overall market, be my guest. Grab that red scarf and wave it in front of the she-bull. Just don't blame me when you get the reaction I'm pretty sure you're going to get.

And here's a letter from our old friend,

Scott Berwanger

(writer, artist, publisher of Anubis, his magnum opus) from the beginning of February.

The battle of comics vs. painting still rages on in my head. But the sound of a woodpecker making notches in a tree this afternoon, outside my studio, led me to believe that I should just follow the rhythms of my intrinsic nature, not question my motivation, and let whatever come out come out. The woodpecker doesn't question why it is making a hole for a nest in a tree, so why should I question my motivation to paint? Woodpeckers wood-peck. Painters paint. Comic-book artists write and draw comic books. I just happen to be two of the three. An unlikely scenario, but like I said, why question it?

Well, because the woodpecker is programmed by God to perform a very limited number of functions. The woodpecker can't and doesn't think to itself "Maybe I should try gathering nuts and storing them for the winter, instead." You're programmed by God to program yourself particularly when it comes to the work that you choose to do and where you're putting in your time.

Spoiler Warning: I got another letter from Scott shortly after where he had decided to abandon the painting because it was cutting into his comic-book writing and drawing time. So, let me just say that I can understand the rationale of writing and drawing a comic book and doing gallery-style paintings that are derived or thematically linked to that comic book with the idea of trying to make gallery art and comic books, as John Lennon put it, Come Together Right Now Over Me. I think the problem that Scott is facing is that there would have to be a balance struck where both aspects were taking up a comparable amount of time and delivering comparable results in terms of the satisfaction of one's innermost creative sensibility. And I think that balance would be almost impossible to strike – inevitably one aspect would tend to succeed at the expense of the other or devour time better spent on the other. And I mean "succeed" in the sense of that really finely-calibrated inner sense of satisfaction: "This Is What I Was Meant To Do". Contrariwise, I think it would be hard not to lapse into a sense of retreating from one to the other whenever a roadblock presented itself which would tend to compound that sense of defeatism that is never very far from any of us on any given day. Now I can't do EITHER of them. But, hypothetically, I think it's something that someone was bound to try someday and I hope Scott is, at least, preserving the paintings that he has done so there is at least a possibility that he could do it on a limited scale when Anubis is done.

Steve Peters

Written January 26 and revised (you guessed it) early in February. That's why all these little lambs went astray to the same place I guess. He writes:

Thanks so much for the "Steve Peters Week" on the blogandmail and all the kind words; that was a pleasant shock. I noticed a surge in hits to my site; normally I get a little over 100 hits a month, but that week alone I got 73. Haven't received any orders, but hey, at least we got the name into some people's heads. God willing, that'll help somewhat with the orders on Sparky in Love, which I plan to solicit in the April Previews (so I can promote it at SPACE).

See? Steve Peters, the recipient of the 2006 Howard E. Day Memorial Prize is going to be there, too. If you live in Columbus, Ohio or if you live near Columbus, Ohio (or you're just flat out crazy like Matt and Paula Dow and Jeff Seiler and you're willing to – ROAD TRIP! – drive in from Wisconsin and Texas respectively) why not check out the Friendliest Little Small Press Show in the Continental U.S. of A.? How friendly? APE is the same weekend and Bob and Kathy Corby just aren't paying that one bit of no never-mind and Wishing Everyone All the Indy Best. THAT'S how friendly. For details check out Back Porch Comics. See? You can't get much down-home friendlier than that! Steve continues:

Very much looking forward to seeing a copy of your 60's-style Marvel parody. You can't possibly not send it now after getting me and Margaret all excited about it like that. Naturally, I'll keep it strictly to myself if that's your wish.

Um, no-can-do, Steve. Having works-in-progress-and-possibly-aborted-works is obviously a new thing for me and I have no idea if I'll pick it up again or if it's genuinely DOA – but, I do have a gut instinct that showing it to someone else would, for good or ill, lock it into its present form which would more or less guarantee that it would be DOA if there was some other direction I could have taken it in. I used to think that Chester Brown was crazy with things like actually considering re-writing and re-drawing Ed the Happy Clown in its entirety, but I realize now that it's something of a built-in quality of having a number of works that are complete and a number of works that might be complete or might be completely misapprehended. The main element, as far as I can see, is the TIME involved if you have a 200-page graphic novel or the seed of a 200-page graphic novel and you can only produce 6 pages in two weeks or 6 pages in four weeks or whatever. You have to be sure (or reasonably sure) of what you're working on. You're the one who's going to be sitting in a little room by yourself doing this story for months and even years and – particularly here in my early fifties – there's only likely to be a few more of them in the hopper. I think I know what I'm doing next after my secret project but both of them were a long time in the gestation period.

And congratulations on being the recipient of the 2006 Day Prize!

Tomorrow, Monday and possibly Tuesday: Jack Baney gets a whole three days practically to himself! Is it a dirty trick or a legitimate request? YOU decide!

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