Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #218 (April 17th, 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.


Okay! I'm Wide Awake Again

And Heavily Caffeinated*






Actually, it's hard to remember back that far since I did four weeks' worth of Blog & Mails last time. Let me see.

I guess the first thing was the commission for James S. in New Jersey. He wanted a $900 Bonfire of the Super-Heroes having seen the ENORMOUS Bonfire of the Super-Heroes I did for Yoram posted at www.cerebusart.com. It wasn't a bad idea. Any artist will tell you that he learns so much about a piece while working on it that he can always do a better job as soon as he's done. And this was really my third kick at the cat; the first time was Cerebus on the pile of dead Smurfs that Ger and I did for Tony B. (who used to work for Jim Henson back in the Sesame Street days) in exchange for a life-sized Cerebus Muppet. I started with the Frank Frazetta figure but decided to modify it to a Bernie Wrightson `side lit' figure which I had considered doing on Yoram's and then decided that I needed to stick close to pure Frazetta—which proved to be a bit of a mistake because the proportions are wrong: Cerebus just isn't a Frazetta body type. Also this time I didn't have to worry about incorporating Red Sophia and Jaka who really emphasized just how small Cerebus is, whereas the whole point of Frazetta's Conan the Adventurer picture is that Conan dominates the whole scene. I could also use a more monochromatic colour scheme, the warm yellowish orange that I pictured in my head but which would have made Jaka and Red Sophia look as if they had jaundice. As I said to James on the phone I wonder if Frazetta ever finished the painting. If you've ever seen his books that he sells at his gallery (I have Legacy: Selected Paintings & Drawings by the Grand Master of Fantastic Art published by Underwood Books www.underwoodbooks.com which I think is a "front" for Bud Plant) you can see how he's gone back in on paintings that were published decades ago and put in all the time-consuming details there just isn't time for when someone wants a paperback or magazine cover by a week from Thursday. It would be nice to know how he had intended to finish the archetypal girl wrapped around Conan's leg without violating his own colour scheme. In the published version there's just enough diluted paint there to know, yes, that is a girl and she blends in beautifully with the pile of corpses and skeletons and things. If he did finish the painting at some point, I'm sure I'd take one look at it and go "Oh, of course, that's how you finish the girl without violating the colour scheme." But, I ain't Frazetta and the answer escaped and escapes me. And Yoram wouldn't have been a very happy camper if I had presented him with a finished picture where Jaka was an indistinct blob with blonde hair and Red Sophia was an indistinct blob with red hair. I also realized that there are problems with trying to imitate the fuzziness of the original oils when what you are doing is a coloured pen-and-ink drawing. That was when I came up with the "bonfire" approach: that the pile of dead super-heroes is smouldering. I thought it would be fun—and it was for a while—but ultimately on Yoram's version it ended up taking the lion's share of the drawing and colouring time. My artistic gut instinct told me to do the super-heroes in monochrome but my fanboy gut instinct told me that unless you do the colours of the costumes, super-heroes aren't super-heroes and I ended up with an uneasy balance of monochrome and colour. So doing James' I had a much clearer idea of what the picture needed that I didn't need to negotiate with myself while I was working on it. These are the "givens" and as long as I didn't violate the "givens" I could do whatever I wanted.

In a perfect world, James should probably cut Yoram a nice cheque to pay for all the learning I did on Yoram's piece so I didn't have to learn on James' piece. Last year Yoram said that he wanted to commission three pieces, one a year for the next three years (that is, this year and next year: his birthday presents from his wife), which I'm still game for. I think I would have to see where he has the picture hanging and what amount of space there is on either side of it. I gave him a rough sketch last year of how all three would fit together, but I've had a year to think about it and I think I could come up with something more interesting.

Anyway, James phoned and absolutely raved on the answering machine about the picture and the tracing paper sketches (which I threw in for free, having forgotten to put the thought balloon in that he had wanted: "That was easier than Cerebus thought it would be") saying that I had made his framer very happy since he was getting the whole works framed and that I'm pretty much going to have a room to myself. So that helped offset Brian C. dumping all over my solo commissions on his website. I don't know if it's just my bad luck but on the rare occasions when I do check the Yahoo discussion group or Brian's website…

[as usual because I'm checking www.cerebusart.com to see what Jeff Tundis and I can do to fix it—right now we're going to try working on the preliminary art/tracing paper drawings category: I just shipped him a hundred of them and he and Margaret are going to sort them and identify them by trade paperback page number so the discerning Cerebus art connoisseur can know what it is that they're buying and so there's an assortment to choose from]

I always tell myself "Don't do this. Don't check to see what's going on. All it's going to do is make you go `What's the use?'" but I figure, hey, it's only once every three months or so and sure enough everyone's talking about something completely unrelated to Cerebus or me or to anything I've written on the Blog & Mail (Bruce Springsteen? I wrote something about Bruce Springsteen? I don't remember writing anything about Bruce Springsteen and if I did it certainly wasn't the core point of whatever I had to say) OT, OT, OT.

I really shouldn't complain though: it's a very active environment. I've never checked it where the lead post was more than four or five hours old which is pretty impressive considering that I'm doing a totally random spot check once every three months or so. I have checked other sites devoted to other books and creators and found a lot where the latest post is from early 2003 and that's complaining that there's no discussion going on, just people trying to sell him real estate or concert tickets or something. It just seems bizarre to me. What must a new Cerebus reader think when he clicks on to find out what they're talking about at The Premiere Cerebus Discussion Group and it's Watchmen or Bruce Springsteen or Law & Order or 24 and how badly they suck vs. how they used to suck but now they suck less vs. how they used to really not suck but not they suck really, really badly and why. But, maybe I just find that bizarre because I'm not on the Internet and the new Cerebus reader wouldn't think anything of it. Or they would think it was really cool. Hey Cerebus readers talking about Bruce Springsteen! COOL!

Anyway, James' full-bore enthusiasm on the answering machine got me off to a flying start for a change. I could look up at my full-sized colour photocopy and go "Yeah, it DID come out pretty good."

Tomorrow: What Else I've Been Up To

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