Monday, May 14, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #245 (May 14th, 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.


Dave Sim Selleth Out: Part the Third

"Yeah, there's a LOT of

Gaming Companies in this here

Comics & Games Retailer

Industry Directory. Hmmmmmm."

It poses kind of an interesting question: is authorizing a Cerebus role-playing game "selling out"? I certainly thought so for years. Maybe not "selling out" but (let's say) "over-commercializing" Cerebus which I always wanted to keep as just a comic book. But with the five-year reacquisition of Ger's 40% of the company hanging over my head I thought that maybe I should be re-examining some of my presuppositions. On the one hand everything could be fine, God's got me covered, nothing to worry about. On the other hand almost any kind of a business deal that I could enter into is going to take a period of time to nail down and another period of time to bring to market before there's even the possibility of any kind of revenue coming in. If I'm destined to run out of money in, let's say, three years' time—not another penny comes in on the trade paperbacks and I have no choice but to walk through my Doomsday scenario—three years from now isn't the time to start doing something about it.

Of course, I also wonder to what extent that evinces a lack of faith in God. If I really had faith in God, wouldn't I just forge ahead with my secret project secure in the knowledge that this is what I'm supposed to be doing? I don't know. For all I know God wants me out of the comic-book field and this is the most painless way he can find to make that happen. It might just be the latest in a relentless series of tests. Let's see what Dave Sim does with his back against the wall. Maybe even more nuanced than that. Let's find out at what point Dave Sim perceives of himself as having his back against the wall and how long it takes him to start doing something about it. And THEN let's see WHAT he does about it. I try not to feel like a small rodent with little kids jabbing him with sharp sticks through the bars of his cage, but sometimes that's a lot what my life feels like.

So, I've been spending some time with the Comics & Games Retailer Industry Directory and since at least half of the listings are for Games Manufacturers, I thought "I wonder if that's what I'm supposed to be doing." Of course I have absolutely no knowledge about the subject so all I could do was read the listings and check to see what year the company was established and try to make some educated guesses. That was when I ran across the listing for Dork Storm Press. "Hey! John Kovalic!" I had done a jam cover with him for Dork Tower a few years back. He actually has the original artwork up on his wall next to the letter he got from Charles Schulz. Someone who would put my artwork next to a letter from Charles Schulz, you are definitely talking the other end of the spectrum from Pariah King of Comics from his point of view. Dork Storm is pretty much the industry standard for comic-book gaming parodies (although I'm also a huge fan of Scott Kurtz's PVP—which I figure is about as good a credential as John and Scott could hope for: a guy who knows absolutely nothing about gaming really enjoys their gaming parodies).

"John's in that environment up to his eyeballs. I bet he could tell me what's going on in the gaming business."

So I sent him off a letter basically explaining that I was looking for additional revenue streams to try to help pay off Gerhard over the next five years and that I had thought of gaming and wanted to know if there was any money in it. I said something like "If you are now laughing uproariously at the prospect of someone actually thinking they can make money from gaming please disregard this letter."

Well, he didn't disregard the letter, instead he actually called me and left a message right before the Easter weekend. So I left it until Tuesday because a) he's a very busy guy—the publisher and sole creator of Dork Tower, co-creator (with Liz Rathke) of the comic strip SnapDragons, co-creator (with Christopher Jones and Melissa Kaercher) and publisher of Dr. Blink: Super-hero Shrink (the first collection, Id. Ego. Superego! came out in January of this year), publisher of Nodwik and PS 238. He's the co-owner and co-founder of Out of the Box Games whose Apples to Apples has sold two million copies as well as being a freelance game illustrator (Munchkin, Chez Geek, Mag*Blast) b) he's also a devoted family man so I assumed he would be spending Easter with his wife, Judith (and Louisa Marie if the adoption finally went through) and her family enjoying a nice coma with his eyelids propped open by cleverly disguised toothpicks and c) it already sounded better than the possibilities at ComiCraft so I could at least spend a few days deluding myself that a) quarter-of-a-million-dollar advances from gaming outfits were not unusual and that b) John had earned enough from his Munchkin royalties to buy half of downtown Madison, Wisconsin and c) Cerebus was a shoo-in to become the next red-hot role-playing game.

I got a-hold of him on Tuesday and he was very generous with his time giving me the complete lowdown on the gaming industry. I had asked him, "If you had Cerebus as an intellectual property and you wanted to do the most lucrative role-playing game imaginable, who would you go with?" What was interesting was that he said it isn't really that specific in the gaming field. Unlike other environments, you can sign with different gaming companies with your same character. This I had not known. That added a new level of complexity: how many games could you sign to do before people realized that you were just "cashing in"? And was that important if the person/people doing the game/games knew what they were doing and I made the packaging artwork as nice as I could make it?

What about my credibility in independent comics? That wasn't a question that occurred to me, but Bob Corby brought that up in the car on the way up to Oberlin when I was telling him about my chat with John. Frankly, this late in the day with everyone in the comic-book field having successfully ignored Cerebus coming to an end three years ago and since then as well, I'm not sure if my credibility isn't something largely hypothetical or purely mythological at this point. "Credibility" in quotation marks. When your stature on the Comics Journal message boards is pretty much universally perceived to be that of a metaphorical used wad of chewing gum stuck on the bottom of someone's shoe and you are the indisputable Pariah King of Comic Books, frankly, I'm not sure how much lower you can go or what credibility or "credibility" might have to do with it when you get ground down that far. Can you be an Evil Misogynist and still have credibility? If so, with everyone already shunning you, how could you tell?

Anyway, John had a couple of good suggestions which I am now in the process of pursuing. As with everything else these things take time and it will probably take a year or two before anything actually comes to market IF anything comes to market. There was a prominent games manufacturer at the top of his list who (I used to know this stuff) is a major Cerebus fan and John was nice enough to fire off an e-mail to him letting him know that there might be a chink in my long-time "No Games License" policy. I certainly consider John's efforts to be above and beyond the call of duty and I wanted to thank him publicly for them. I think I would definitely prefer to deal with a Cerebus fan than someone who had never heard of the book or me. John told me that he was in Germany last year at a gaming convention in support of one of his games (Munchkin?) and he was signing autographs for something like ten hours straight.

Wouldn't it be a great O. Henry twist ending if the Cerebus—into which I poured twenty-six years worth of blood, sweat and… more blood and sweat…only to have it universally ignored in the comic-book field—turned out to be a runaway success as a role-playing game that I had nothing to do with apart from the art on the packaging? ("Hey, look! Now they've made a comic book out of it!") I wonder how many feminists there are in the role-playing game field and whether or not they've heard about this on the grapevine and are already preparing to crush me like the misogynistic insect that I am.

I'll keep you posted.

Tomorrow: More ways to make money or at least try to

There's MORE for you




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

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:

Win-Mill Productions

Or, you can check out Mars Import:

Mars Import

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