Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #239 (May 8th, 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.





One of the reasons that I'm enjoying doing this is that I finally got caught up on the Cerebus Archive. I had two years worth of files sitting on top of the filing cabinets and just decided one day to plunge in and finish it. Took me about three hours, but now I can just stuff documents into magazine-sized bags, throw in a backing board, drop them in the back of File Drawer #6 and Bob's Your Uncle.

MINI-PRINTS FROM WM. FRANCIS MESSNER-LOEBS – Bill actually made it down to the show and was set up next to me so I was pleased to return to him a little over twenty years later his original plot outline for Journey as well as thumbnail layout for the cover of #1 and thumbnails of the story itself which had been filed in the Cerebus Archive under "Other People's Art". There's more Bill Loebs stuff than that including a whack of Journey promo posters, but I don't know where. All I know is that the file says on it "see also: `Other People's Art'" which, obviously, I did. But now I can't remember where the original file is. Someday in the hopefully not too distant future the entirety of the Archive will be scanned and searchable and the computer will tell me everywhere I can find anything that applies to Bill Loebs but, alas, that day is not yet. I usually find things when I'm looking for other things. As I told Bill, he got lucky in a way because he had already left for Fantagraphics when Deni and I split the company so Deni took all of the Valentino, Bob Burden, Max Collins/Terry Beatty and Arn Saba files with her but left the Bill Loebs files behind.

Anyway, I have a couple of nice prints here that Bill gave me in appreciation [one dedicated "To Dave – Who gave me my career! (for good or ill)"—as I tell people, hey, don't blame me. You had free will the same as I did] which are, fortunately, 8.5 by 11 and therefore perfectly suited to the Archive. Thanks, Bill!

Thanks to HERO, Bill's gotten a lot of regular work for a change and is gradually getting everything written and drawn that he's been asked to do. As we all know in this business, you can be busy one week and starved for work the next so he made a point of asking me to let him know if I hear of any place looking for a writer or an artist. Which I'm glad to help out with right here and now. Wherever the other file is in the Cerebus Archive, it has the original plot outline for "Welcome to Heaven, Dr. Franklin" and two or three others that I don't know if Bill ever got around to doing. But I can say for a fact that Bill and Bob Burden were both in the category of guys that I firmly intended to give work to if I was ever in the situation of doing so and in both cases, I just told them to go ahead and do whatever they thought would be interesting. In Bill's case it was because of the story "Abortion" that appeared in Nucleus #1 written, drawn and lettered by him that just blew my Cerebus "Demonhorn" story in the same issue right out of the water. That was something that I was always willing to acknowledge when it happened as much of a young hot-shot as I was. If you blew me out of the water, you blew me out of the water and it made no difference to me if I had never heard of you (which I hadn't with Bill to that point), from then on, yours was a name I'd be watching closely for. For me, Bill has always been in that category. If that's not enough of a recommendation, Will Eisner always thought Bill's work was the closest to his own in terms of illustration—which it is. Bill told me that he always called Will on Jewish holidays. I wish I would have thought to do that.

Anyway, if you have paying work that you can throw Bill's way, I can guarantee that you will never be disappointed with the results. DC's giving him paying work again right now but you never know how long that's going to last and we should always be making room for Bill here in the Indy end of things or we'll end up losing him again. You can contact Bill c/o his wife, Nadine, at nadine@com-publishing.com. Copy that out right now or cut and paste it or whatever you do in computerland. Otherwise a couple of days from now you're going to be going "WHERE was that e-mail address for Bill Loebs again?"

This would be a good spot for the photo that Margaret took of Bill and me together at his table.

What else have we got here?

The two DVD disk set of SPACE 2006 from Fan Attic Press including the Day Prize Award ceremony on disk 2. I don't know what they're charging for this, but you can check it out at www.fanaticpressfilms.com. This goes into the audio visual section of the Cerebus Archive. Ah, yes. A place for everything and everything in its place. What a relief that I'm finally getting to that point.

The first person to come up to the table was Brian Kane—the author of the biography of Hal Foster that came out a few years back—and, as I said, I thought SPACE was going to be sincerely dead this year so it was a great relief to think that I could kill the first forty minutes or so getting caught up with Brian. I actually had been meaning to get in touch with him for a while about the likelihood of doing a project that I was pretty sure King Features Syndicate would hold the rights to (as it turns out they do—but Brian didn't think they would be a problem) (YAY! Hope he's right). Then we got onto the problems that I've been having with scanning my photorealism art for the secret project that as far as I know Sandeep finally solved just before I left for SPACE. Scan the artwork as greyscale but print it as line art. It's an interesting circumstance that there is so little line art being done these days that magazines and printers really have no frame of reference for it. They tend to treat it as a photograph--their frame of reference being that if you just shoot a photograph the way you would a block of text you'll lose detail and dark gray areas will fill in as solid black therefore, if you shoot a piece of line art as if it's a photograph you can capture all the detail that way. Which is true, but it means that everything gets washed out to grey, including the solid blacks and the white areas and that means the whole piece goes soft and fuzzy instead of staying sharp. I had picked up Joe Sacco's 21-page strip in Harper's magazine and thought that he had lost a level of drawing ability because his work had gone fuzzy. It was only in the midst of trying to figure out how to fix the way my own stuff is being scanned that I looked at his story through a jewellers loop and saw that they had colour-separated the black and white art, so every line, every dot had a ghost image in cyan and yellow and magenta hovering around it. And this was Harper's magazine for crying out loud! They just don't see enough line art these days to know what to do with it.

That was when Brian started telling me about his own work, restoring print illustrations from the nineteenth century where he intentionally scans line art as colour and then, one step at a time, pulls the yellow and cyan and magenta out so that the original line-work is closer to its original form. It's quite a process and damned clever.

Then he started telling me about Leo Cheney, whom I had never heard of, whose work he was reasonably certain had been a major influence on Hal Foster, particularly a series of cartoons he had done advertising Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky, making use of the Johnnie Walker icon. Brian dropped back later on with a couple of print-outs on glossy stock. Having looked at a lot of Hal Foster over the years, he makes a good case. Even Cheney's signature has a distinct Hal Foster quality to it (later borrowed by Frank Frazetta). He also printed out a bunch of other illustrations by Daniel Vierge which also have a distinctly Foster quality (particularly on the backgrounds) and an oversized engraving called Madrid—Celebration of the Royal Marriage depicting a bullfight that makes Bernie Wrightson's Frankenstein look haphazard by contrast. WOW! The level of detail and interplay of light and shadow all done with line-work and a very limited use of solid blacks. Back in the day when line art had the same validity as—if not greater validity—than photographs and you could actually make a good living drawing this stuff for the popular press.

And then Brian included a couple of his own pieces. Brian Kane draws. Who knew? Very accomplished work: if only there was a larger market for it in this day and age. The oversized pieces go in an "Other People's Art" folder and the smaller ones into the 8.5 x 11 and Smaller Archive (and quite a pile it's turning out to be, too!)

Did some pretty good business in the leftover "Frost Giant's Wedgie" signed and numbered print from last year and this year's "Vark Wars" signed and numbered print. Bob just stores them with the other SPACE stuff so next year I'm getting a separate table just for the 2006, 2007 and (God willing) 2008 prints.

I also displayed the original cover to Collected Letters volume 2 and Adam Stovall asked me if there were prints available of it (even though there isn't a single picture of Cerebus or Jaka anywhere on it—just me and Chester Brown). Didn't know what to say (although I was tempted to ask, "You DO know that Cerebus and Jaka aren't on this one, don't you?"). I got him to write down his name and address and I think I'll get Sherwood to run off an 11 by 17 copy and send it to him and just ask him to send back whatever he thinks its worth.

That's what I ended up doing with a ball-point pen sketch for Michele and ended up getting roughly twice what I would have asked for it.

Tomorrow: Goodbye, Columbus! (HA! I've been waiting six years to use that!)

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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
Station C
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 4R2

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Or, you can check out Mars Import:

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Or ask your local retailer to order them for you through Diamond Comics distributors.