Dave Sim's blogandmail #220 (April 19th, 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.
As You May Remember from
Yesterday's Thrill-Packed Episode,
Dave has been playing telephone tag with
his contact at Marvel…
Evidently he does have a rate offer that he's gotten approval on from "upstairs" so I just have to wait and see what the number actually is. Haven't heard back all week and again I'm in the situation of having to decide whether to give him the benefit of the doubt or if this is the mainstream comics pressure tactic again of trying to figure out how desperate you are by how long they can keep you hanging. Hm. How desperate am I? I got in absolutely no money in the entire month of February so I was in a different frame of mind back in March when we first started talking and now I've just had two very big weeks of trade paperback orders, last week in March, first week in April (THANK YOU, RETAILERS!) and Monday I got in the first two big cheques from Diamond of the Dave Sim Solo Administration (THANK YOU, DIAMOND!). It's a very awkward way to make a living. Revenue dries up, so I start thinking about ways to make money and sending out metaphorical messages in a bottle and just as those reach their intended recipients, I get a nice big dump of money and orders and I think, "I don't want to do any commissions or any outside work. Sales are fine. Revenues are fine. Let's stop doing the Blog & Mail or any outside work and just work on the secret project. The books sell themselves." Of course then revenues dry up again. And there's no discernible pattern. Ger would print out all the crunched numbers for each of the trades, month-by-month. How many sold and what month they sold in. Bar graphs showing overall sales month-to-month. If you set the computer on "random play" I don't think you could get a less predictable sales profile.
The problem with the Marvel situation…well, there are a couple of problems already. First of all, I said, I think what went wrong at DC was I treated their work-made-for-hire contract as an initial overture. When Shelly Bond's assistant told me I could direct any questions to so-and-so in the Legal Department, I figured, okay, this is the guy I talk to about what I have problems with: here's what I'd like changed. Nothing was "do-able". End of negotiation. Bye-bye, DC. So I suggest to him, Why don't you fax through the Marvel contract and put a check-mark next to any non-negotiable point. I'll read what you have checked off and if I can't live with them, we'll call it a day. So he faxes through the Marvel contract. Nineteen, count `em, nineteen honking pages. Nothing checked off. So the next time I talk to him he says that he didn't know which clauses would apply in my case and which wouldn't so he decided to just fax everything over from their boilerplate work-made-for-hire contract on up. "Oh, well," I said. "Whatever else happens I'll have a lot of material to talk about on the Blog & Mail." I would describe the ensuing silence on the other end of the line as "pointed".
One of the problems is that what I pictured doing was Spider-Ham. I have a definite approach in mind but Marvel has a Submissions Waiver form (supplemental to the 19 pages, it came in the next day masquerading as an afterthought) which you have to sign which says that this indemnifies them if you pitch them an idea that they're already working on. There's a lot of trust involved in signing something like that. I mean, what's to keep them from CLAIMING that they were working on that idea already after they read the proposal? BWS pitched them on his Hulk graphic novel about Bruce Banner having been molested as a child. They rejected it, but a year or two later it turns up as a Jim Shooter script. Yes, that was a long time ago and, yes, that was a different Marvel administration. It's certainly possible that Jim had already been working on that but, even if you allow for that possibility, obviously the BWS story is going to be that much better just because it's BWS. And BWS gets bupkis.
So, I faxed my contact "I really can't sign this, so how about instead I'll tell you half of my idea, the half where there's no jurisdictional risk to Marvel at stake. What I want to do is Spider-Ham but it's a completely different approach to what Marvel has done with the character. So what I'm proposing is that Marvel gives me a stake—nothing huge—but a stake in my version of Spider-Ham and if it turns into a series or Hollywood wants to make a movie out of it, I make a small percentage. If you do YOUR version of Spider-Ham I don't get anything." Given that it's going to cut into my own writing and drawing time and I'll probably be making substantially less money, I have to come up with a scenario, however remote, that would potentially make this a cagey move. Even the outside chance of getting 1% of a 75-million or 200-million dollar movie would justify a certain encroachment on how I do things (is the uneasy underpinning of my rationalization).
Well, he went and ran that past whoever he had to run that past and phoned back a couple of days later and said, "No, Joe Straczyinski just did Spider-Ham in Civil War, so Spider-Ham is out." This is one of the things I have trouble understanding about mainstream comics. I'm not talking about Joe's Spider-Ham, I'm talking about Dave's Spider-Ham. It has something to do, I would guess, with creating the illusion that they're actually documenting real-life characters and if Dave's Spider-Ham shows up too soon after Joe's Spider-Ham that will make Spider-Ham less believable in an overall Marvel continuity sense.
The real world part of me thinks "We're discussing a cartoon pig in a Spider-man costume. `Believable' is a relative concept with very, very big quotation marks around it." You know. "Let's get a grip, here." But Dave Sim, fanboy, understands perfectly. Mark "Marvel Universe" Gruenwald (God rest his soul) has been dead and gone for some years, but the urge to make everything conform to One Giant Marvel Comics Flow Chart of Internally Consistent Reality has survived him in spirit if not in fact (a die-hard Marvel fan would know better than I would). Dave Sim, comic-book writer, who has a foot in both the real world and the fanboy world thinks, "I made twenty-six years of a cartoon aardvark plausible to an audience made up largely of grown-ups. Send me what Joe did and I'll figure a way to turn his Spider-Ham into my Spider-Ham in two panels that will have Mark Gruenwald weeping in the great by-and-by at the sheer symmetrical and internally consistent inventiveness of it all." But "real world" Dave understands that that's VERY unlikely to happen. "Real world" Dave is "new around here". When in Rome do as the Romans tell you to do.
"What other Marvel character would you want to do?"
Tomorrow: Well, what other Marvel character WOULD I want to do?
There's MORE for you
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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
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