Dave Sim's blogandmail #217 (April 16th, 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.
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.
BRINGING THE HALF-DOZEN OR SO ROOKIES READING THIS UP TO SPEED:
FIVE QUESTIONS I AGREED TO GIVE
THEM…FIVE QUESTIONS A MONTH
AND, AS I SAY, SUDDENLY THEY'RE ASKING THREE QUESTIONS INSIDE EACH QUESTION AND THEN (EQUALLY SUDDENLY) A BATCH SHOWS UP A WHILE
AGO WITH A "WILDCARD" QUESTION
ATTACHED. "WILDCARD" QUESTION?
WHO SIGNED THE AUTHORIZATION FOR A
"WILDCARD" QUESTION? I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE WHAT
THEY CALL THE SEVENTH ONE WHEN THEY
DECIDE TO TACK THAT ONE ON.
MORAL: THERE ARE NO RULES AMONG YAHOOS
I'm teasing. But I am serving notice that the Five Questions are a part of the Blog & Mail, not in addition to the Blog & Mail. I have to draw the line somewhere.
WILDCARD: You mentioned in the Swords introductions, that you viewed yourself as a writer who draws rather than an artist who writes. Who were some of your influences? We know that you were influenced by Barry Smith, Neal Adams, your friend Gene Day, etc., but which writers may have shaped your writing at its early stages?
That would be way too long a list. At the earliest stages, there was no sense of my writing being shaped because I never thought of myself as writing, so it's hard to attribute specifically.
There were good Superman stories and there were REALLY GOOD Superman stories. "Superman's Return to Krypton" (Superman No.141) "The Death of Superman" (Superman No.149) the "King Superman" two-parter in Action Comics and various others. They never had credits on them, but years later, reading the reprints I would notice that most of the REALLY GOOD ones were by Jerry Seigel although the occasional REALLY GOOD one would be by Edmond Hamilton. Page turners.
I do remember being impressed with Jim Shooter's writing when he was still just a teenager and writing the Legion of Super-Heroes for Mort Weisinger, things like "The Super Stalag of Outer Space" (I think that's what it was called) where he did what was basically "The Great Escape" as a Legion of Super-Heroes story, "The Moby Dick of Outer Space" which is basically just what it sounds like. He was bringing things into comics from outside of comics and playing it straight and he had obviously studied Weisinger's books so he could "do" Weisinger from the cover on in just on plain sheets of typewriter paper which Weisinger could then just send to Curt Swan as blueprint/script since Shooter had obviously studied Curt Swan as well, so he knew exactly what the panels should look like even if he didn't have the drawing "chops" to actually draw the pages. And I think Shooter was also influenced by those later Jerry Seigel stories and sat down to write stories with that same higher and more literary tone to them. It would have been interesting to hear what Weisinger and Swan's first reaction was to seeing themselves "done" by a thirteen-year-old. It must've been quite a trip in those pre-fanzine, pre-convention days. And you have to give Mort Weisinger major brownie points for reading these stories instead of just balling them up and throwing them in the trash. When I talked to Jim about it he said that he thought Mort was surprised at HOW young he was when he finally met him—Jim's mother brought him to New York from Pittsburgh and Mort took them both to see Superman The Musical on Broadway—but I'm not so sure about that. How old could you have been in 1966 to be sending story ideas to Superman Comics? Apart from the high schoolers that Julie Schwartz was connecting with on the letters pages—Roy Thomas, the late Jerry Bails, Guy H. Lillian, Mike Friedrich and others—it was pretty much a given that comic-book readers were little kids. Anyway, I was reading them at the age of nine or ten and for me they were definitely a trip. And it was a big reason that I didn't think it odd when, at the age of fifteen, I sent Julie Schwartz a Justice League script on spec. The way I looked at it I was two years behind the curve measured against Jim Shooter.
There was a full-length (apart from a very creepy back-up story) issue of Brain Boy from Gold Key which impressed me, about a vacation resort where the people were being hypnotized by alien organisms in the water. I don't know which issue it was but according to Overstreet there were only six of them (1962-63) and the first issue had Gil Kane art. This one definitely didn't have Gil Kane art. I think it was drawn by Lee Elias.
Anyway, it was probably the first full-length narrative I read that wasn't broken up into eight-page chapters each with its own splash page like the Superman Family "Full Length Novels". Whoever the writer was, he was very adept at transitions and the length of individual sequences and keeping the resolution secret to the very end, so it felt more like reading a book than a comic book.
Reg Smythe's writing on Andy Capp was very good and very influential—I've been re-reading them the last couple of weeks—and Cerebus the self-absorbed drunken layabout ("God knows I don't ask for much…just my own way!") owes a great debt to him. Microscopically small cast and simple, simple premise that flourished for decades. By way of illustration, Charles Schulz's writing was very good and very influential on Peanuts, but I still have all of my Andy Capp collections and I got rid of my Peanuts collections decades ago. I would assume that Smythe was a pariah in England by the time of his death like Benny Hill and Dave Allen and like so many other English comedians (and like Dean Martin over here) who dared to make a living being politically incorrect before we even had a term for it. As I've said before on other occasions, I feel for those guys more than I feel for myself because I was never any big deal—just this marginal guy barely above the fanzine level but pretty solidly above the fanzine level so there was only so far that the feminists could demote me. For a Reg Smythe or a Benny Hill or a Dave Allen, though, it meant going from being a Top Name and Beloved English Icon to living out the rest of your life in the gutter because your society just made a 180-degree turn and you didn't. That's a long way to drop without a net. And, as I keep saying, when these people decide you need to be destroyed, they don't mess around (or "muck about" as Smythe and Hill and Allen would have put it).
Those would be the absolute earliest writing influences.
Tomorrow: I'm not sure, yet. I'm tired and I'm going to bed now.
REPLIES POSTED ON THE CEREBUS YAHOO! GROUP
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
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:
Or, you can check out Mars Import:
Or ask your local retailer to order them for you through Diamond Comics distributors.
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