Friday, May 04, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #235 (May 4th, 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.


Dear Jim Waley

Part the Second

As longtime readers are aware, Jim Waley has contacted me about contributing to the commemorative illustration for the 2007 Joe Shuster Hall of Fame Awards. He goes on to say:

`Darwyn Cooke has made his request for Hurtubise's character, Le Sombre Vilain, while Ian has chosen the Dreamer as the one he'll be portraying in the illo. As for Onesime, we're still settling on an artist for that particular character, as I've had a couple of people that I've approached decline the offer but I'm certain I'll have someone slated for that illo within the next few days."

Well, I mean, you take my point. Note, that although you describe it as an "offer" what it is (or should be viewed as) is a "request". It is the artists you are approaching who are doing you the favour, not you doing them the favour. No one is getting paid, Jim. If you're not paying people, you take what you get. Or you should, don't you think?

"As for Shang-Chi, I naturally assumed that you'd be the participant in this jam who would be the logical choice to render the signature character that Gene is most remembered for and I trust I wasn't mistaken in that assumption (I still remember your portrayal of the character back in Marvel Fanfare #25 when you did that "Original Sim" portfolio).

As you can see by the basic layout guide that Ian has provided for all of the participants, Shang is launching an airborne assault on Le Sombre Vilain and we leave it up to you to choose whether you want to go with the classic MOKF full costume look or the Bruce Lee, bare-chested portrayal that Gene often opted for."

I appreciate the compliment. I think I would have asked Dan Day if he was interested since he actually worked on Master of Kung Fu with Gene—quite extensively at the point where Gene switched from just inking to penciling and inking the book—but thinking of Danny's stoic Eastern Ontario resignation coupled with his Popeye-like short fuse when it comes to things like overly extensive and nit-picking art direction (that's all I can stands, I can't stands no more), I'll look on this as High Irony Dave "taking one for the team". As you can see from the enclosed, I opted to stick as close to Gene's style as I could—if nothing else just for the experience—and to go for the Kung Fu pyjama tops and bottoms look. I had to go rooting through the Cerebus Archive for reference and came up with the flyer that Gene and I did for a joint signing at the Silver Snail December 5, 1981.

It turned out that the magazine bag held a few copies, so I'm happy to say that you can keep the enclosed after (hopefully) including it among the images from Gene's work that you'll be projecting behind me while I'm doing the intro to his induction. I had penciled both the Shang Chi and Cerebus figures way late one night up in Gananoque and left them on Gene's battered, knocked-together-with-three-pieces-of-wood-and-the-only-thing he-could-ever-comfortably-draw-on drawing board. The next morning there was the inked picture and I snuck some of his 40% Letratone without asking for the Shang-Chi pyjamas, very, very, gently applying it and very-very gently trimming it since the adhesive grabbed onto the garden variety Bristol board (that Gene always favoured) in such a way that you were almost guaranteed to pull up some paper shreds along with the discarded tone (a complete disaster that Gene never seemed to experience). He complimented me on my Kung Fu high kick and I hope he'd be as pleased with the figure this time around.

If you get out your ruler (and I'm sure you will) you'll notice that I've strayed nearly a full seven-eighths of an inch from the 150% confines of the five-and-seven-eighths vertically and six-and-three-quarters inches horizontally you had allocated to me on your blow-up of Ian's layout. I managed to hit the horizontal boundary pretty much bang on, but it ended up being a hard choice between duplicating your vertical parameters exactly by leaving out all of Shang Chi's anatomy between the top of his rib cage and his waistline or making him look like a normal-sized adult Asian male (rather than an adult Asian male with a childhood spinal deformity) by incorporating said portions of his anatomy (see attached tracing paper rough #1). Having failed you abysmally in doing so (and I sincerely apologize), I like to think I have succeeded in however lesser an achievement a better picture might—in the long run—prove to be for those unaware of what the established boundaries were (everyone besides you unless I'm mistaken). At the risk of further thoughtlessly and needlessly rending asunder all of your hard work (which I'm sure you know I'm sincerely hesitant to do), if you take the figure that I've drawn and rotate it roughly twenty-two point nine degrees (or the full twenty-three if you're feeling particularly reckless that day) down and to the left and likewise rotate the right side of the figure twenty-two point nine degrees up and to the right (which should be easy since the right side of the drawing and the left side of the drawing are, you know, stuck together) from the position Ian has sketched and which I have slavishly and devotedly followed as I know I was expected to do, you'll find that the entire figure becomes that much more dynamic. And if you point Shang-Chi's right foot directly at le Sombre Vilain you will (I can practically assure you) find that that dynamism will be even further and (dare I say it?) miraculously enhanced.

There are two problems with this, of course: 1) I don't know which parts of the Montreal street behind Shang Chi need to be showing and which can be covered up as you conceive of the overall piece in toto. If a particularly pertinent doorway or ironic (French only?) sign will be needlessly covered up by my suggested improvisation well then by all means: re-tilt ol' Shang right back up where he belongs and let's have no more nonsense about arbitrarily extending the vertical axis of the image and (SIMULTANEOUSLY!) compressing the horizontal axis of the image and 2) as I've used a light source issuing from down and to the left of the viewer and as rotating the figure will only exacerbate this effect—pulling the light source lower still—can I prevail upon our friendship of (what is it now?) thirty years plus—and persuade you just this once to retroactively add to your directions? To add to the sentence which concludes "while Shang Chi leaps at him through the barrage of lead" the supplementary: "dramatically illuminated by the muzzle flash of the weapon spitting white-hot death in his direction"?

I promise it will be only this one time and much obliged.

I will, of course, be delighted to present the plaque to Danny and/or David at the ceremony. Like you "I am grateful that the Hall of Fame committee chose this time to induct our friend who left way before his time and who was a true giant in the proud tradition of Canadian comic-book talent."

In closing, yes, Lebonfon is doing a great job "following in the footsteps of Preney Print & Litho" and, yes, Patrick Jodoin is great to deal with. And I'm glad that you think it's "great" that I'm "on board" with Mark Innes' The Comic Eye anthology. Dave Fisher was over yesterday to take photos of me reeling back in horror from the table lamp in the library which (with any luck) can be replaced with a crystal ball in my EC splash page cover homage. I'm looking forward to seeing what Bernie Mireault can do with the colouring and logo. I know how busy you are or I would have asked you to serve as an intermediary, with me explaining what it is that I'm driving at to you and you relaying to Bernie how to accomplish all of my intended effects.

Enclosed please find the illustration—signed to you: I hope you find a nice spot for it on one of your walls (as small recompense for all of my unkind jocosity herein contained)—and the 1981 flyer mentioned above. I plan to drop it in the mail today which will put it a good eighteen days of your "at the latest" deadline (twelve or thirteen or possible fourteen days ahead once you factor in the length of time it will take Canada Post to get it to you).

Sincere regards,


PS: In answer to your PS, no I haven't really considered doing anything special this year to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Cerebus apart from announcing my run for President of the United States. Now that I consider it, if I can prevail upon you to send me even two or three more of these faxes, that would probably take care of most of June and part of July.

PS again: No, I would have to say that it never entered my mind that you and the other JSA folks had overlooked me or Darwyn in regards to getting involved with the publicity poster jam. As you say, I did the Year One poster and Darwyn did the Year Two poster. Of course I can't speak for Darwyn but I think I'm safe in saying that my reaction was more along the lines of what it would be like to be repeatedly striking yourself in the head with a peen-ball hammer and then to all of a sudden stop, which is to say a distinct pleasure and I fully understand and applaud your choice to "give a number of other Canadian talents a chance to get some exposure to the Canadian fans" (in fact I'm smiling just sitting here thinking about that). And as for your assertion that you "may be looking at doing another jam publicity illo" next year "featuring a couple dozen characters" and that you'd be "more than willing" to have me on board for that one. Well, I think I'm safe in saying without fear of contradiction that "my cup runneth over". And I think if you were to mention it to Darwyn, you would probably find that his response to that would be that his cup, as well, runneth over.

PS III: There's really no need to apologize for failing to get a scan of last years Hall of Fame illo which featured Gabriel Morrissette's version of Cerebus (and an excellent one it was!) to Craig Miller at Following Cerebus and I think your suggestion of sending a scan of last years illo AND this year's illo to him is a good one. Please be sure to add all appropriate credits and I'm sure Craig will be happy to do a news item in issue 10 or 11. I'd also be very interested in the two cassette tapes you have of the interview with Gene. Instead of getting Liana K and Steve's sound guy to see if he can improve the sound quality, maybe you could just send them to Jeff Tundis at the Yahoo News Group where the Blog & Mail appears. He's something of a sound wizard and I think with all of the volunteer stuff he's doing for Cerebus he has part of a weekend in September this year unaccounted for. Seriously, I think he could do a good job and could let me know if there's enough on there of current interest to run the interview in Following Cerebus, or we could definitely post it at the Yahoo newsgroup and/or Margaret's cerebusfangirl website as a sound file and as part of the Cerebus Archive with a link every time Gene gets mentioned here, as he often does. I'll talk to you about that at Torontocon.

Gosh. 10:15. Where does the time go? Gotta run, but thanks for writing, Jim.

Tomorrow: Arriving back from Columbus and the SPACE 2007 show


If you wish to contact Dave Sim, you can mail a letter (he does NOT receive emails) to:

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P.O. Box 1674
Station C
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 4R2

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