Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #191 (March 21st, 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.


So facing a logjam of impediments on

My secret project, my next commission

And my possibly-for-Marvel work…

…I basically decided to read a book (a largely if not completely unheard of occurrence in my newly complicated life). Just in case you were getting the impression that I was panicking, well, no, not really. I'm just not the panicking type. And the book I decided to read was Robert (The White Goddess) Graves' King Jesus, as it turns out which I had treated as something of a joke when it came in (D.B. Little sent it to me, as I recall) in the same vein as Jesus in India. I think I might discuss it in one of the upcoming Sunday Editions. But, anyway, it made a nice break from work and I ploughed through it on the same 12-hour day basis that I do everything and was through it and done by the end of the second day at which time the logjam still hadn't broken so I started in on the Collected Letters back cover which really didn't need to be done until the end of March (giving the new Aardvark-Vanaheim printer Lebonfon all of April to print the book for shipping, God willing, in May). And then I started cleaning out Gerhard's closet in what used to be his office and which is now my office. It turned out to contain a metric tonne of empty file folders and very little else. There's probably a message in that, I thought, but what message could there be in a metric tonne of empty file folders? Patience, Dave, patience. Anyway, at that point, I started transferring some of the outside artwork envelopes (Cerebus 1-300 "non-story artwork", pre-Cerebus artwork, other people's Cerebuses, other people's artwork, the Chester Brown jam strip, Cerebus lettering, etc.) from the hall closet to the newly emptied Gerhard closet which led me to do a serious run at the enormous pile of negatives that were sulking in a sloppy pile in front of and blocking access to the over-sized artwork cabinet in the library…

(which, in themselves, had been winnowed from the ten drawers of filed negatives which had taken over the library since last August – I didn't tell you when I had done that part. They're all in the form of "flats", 8 negatives to a "flat" constituting 8 pages of a given comic book or trade paperback. The drawers are from the flame-retardant cabinet that Preney had bought to house the trade paperback negatives and which I've now inherited. Kind of back-breaking work, lugging around the contents of those drawers and the thirty odd three-feet by four-feet cardboard folders also full of negatives and at the same time trying to treat them carefully)

…to which I devoted pretty much all my time and attention for several days after Chester Brown and John Tranh came for a visit (March 5) and helped me unload and store all of the trade paperback negatives in the cabinet (a two-man, if not three-man job). This past Saturday (March 10) I worked pretty much from 7 am to 11:30 pm to further winnow the pile and put them in order. The ten drawers' worth of negatives had been largely made up of Bi-weekly issues which mostly involved rolling them up and throwing them away since I had all the story pages in the trade paperbacks and the only "new" material was the Single Pages which I didn't have the right to reprint, anyway. The winnowed pile consisted of Cerebus Jam pages where I thought most of them had been lost (only THREE flats!) And it wasn't until I got down to that part of the pile again that I realized they were all there (it was a 24-page comic, Dave, 3 times 8 is…? Duh.). And the rest of the negatives are cover negatives, some with logos and type and some without logos and type. Every once in a while someone mentions how great it would be to have a book of the covers (someone at Fantagraphics started it as I recall and since they are not exactly huge Cerebus fans it was worth making note of) so I was face-to-face with, "Well, if I'm ever going to make a start on it, this would be the place." So there I am with these huge flats (Preney would print two covers per flat for a while since it would cut in half the press time and then they would go back to printing a single cover for a while) trying to discern which is Cyan and which is Magenta and which is Yellow and which is Black and trimming or unsticking them from the flats and putting post-it notes on them with the colour they are. And I'm thinking: okay, there are different problems with different sets of negatives so I can't just put them all in one big folder. What can I put them in? Say, WHAT ABOUT THE METRIC TONNE OF FILE FOLDERS FROM GERHARD'S CLOSET?! Patience is its own reward.

The basic problem right now is that I don't know how damaged some of the negatives are. There is extensive yellowing on some and there are signs of moisture damage and dust on some of them. Being a publisher and not a printer I don't know the extent to which the damage is repairable or the extent to which it isn't…or if it even NEEDS to be repaired. Negatives are funny things that way. There can be layer of dust on there that looks like hell but can just be "tuned out" when you make the printing plate and there can be an almost invisible scratch that can look like someone ran a blue pen over the artwork that can't be eliminated no matter what you do – although computers are becoming very advanced in that area. Lebonfon did the new printing of From Hell and their computer guy did an amazing job restoring a lot of Eddie's linework that had been lost in previous printings. There are also cover negatives that didn't have colours assigned to them which is going to be a headache for a printer and might require a Cerebus Archivist with a computer to figure out what the right combination is. Although it would be very Andy Warhol to just randomly pick which is Magenta and which is Cyan and which is Yellow and which is Black and just live with what comes out ("Oh, that's FAAABulous") I think people paying good money for an artbook on slick paper might take a rather dim view of such an innovation. Early on – down around the issue numbers in the 30s and 40s – the colour overlays are actually cut from Rublilith (let's have a show of hands from all the dinosaurs in the crowd who even know what Rubilith is – Chester the Dinosaur knew!) by hand with the colour percentages marked on them. The Palaeolithic Era of Colour Separation. I also found all the negatives for Free Cerebus and then hit a strata that had pretty much all the negatives for the covers of Jaka's Story and Melmoth, all with type on them and I know we have a batch of negatives from that run which don't have type on them in the Archive upstairs. So all of that is now in a nice, neat pile in what used to be Gerhard's studio instead of sulking in a big pile in the library. But there's also another ten or twelve folders of cover negatives to go through before I even start looking into places to send them to do either an autopsy or a resuscitation.

So the upshot of all of this is that it is looking as if a covers volume IS possible although probably not a high priority since I'm getting dangerously low on Reads and Guys and both will probably have to be reprinted by the end of the year or early next year. Also, much of it is Gerhard's work and until I'm done paying him his asking price for his 40% of the company, I don't think it's quite kosher to use his own work to pay him. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Tomorrow: Getting back behind myself where I belong.


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.