Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #246 (May 15th, 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 Fourth

Drumming up Business

The Aardvark-Vanaheim Way

Then I had an animation project that I had actually started after the Cartoon Network expressed interest (they originally wanted the rights to Cerebus but when I said those weren't available they asked if I had anything else they could take a look at) with the idea of giving Gerhard something to work on and had just been waiting for him to come in on a Tuesday when his vibe was something other than mid-range funereal to discuss it. His vibe never got anywhere above mid-range funereal before he left for good, so I decided to send what little I had to Rob "Ragmop" Walton who has had decades of experience in animation to see what he had to say. He sent me back a multi-page critique that I want to go through a little more carefully before we start batting any actual ideas around.

He sure doesn't pull any punches and tells me right off the top that trying to sell an animation project is pretty much hopeless and that I've already broken just about every rule there is in getting a project a fair hearing. Well, at least I now know that, so I have something to go on my next time through.

So this is pretty much the spot that I got to last time I was wrapping up my latest session here on the Blog & Mail: what can I do to try and make some real money that won't interfere with my secret project too badly in case that ends up tanking in the direct market and costing me a lot of money. Here's one that I couldn't miss in The Comics & Games Retailer Industry Directory:

PEZ! Seriously. It's right here with a contact name and fax number. What could be cooler than a Cerebus PEZ dispenser? I have no idea why PEZ is cool, but it certainly is. Would anyone accuse a cartoonist of selling out if he licensed his character as a PEZ dispenser? Forsooth! I trow not.

Let's see. How would I put this?

26 April 07

Bill Walsh VP Sales,



Dear Mr. Walsh:

I saw your name listed in Comics & Games Retailer's Industry Directory as a contact at PEZ CANDY.

As you can see from the letterhead, this year marks the 30th anniversary of continuous publication of my independent comic-book character, CEREBUS THE AARDVARK, in direct market comic-book stores. The first issue of the comic book came out in December, 1977 and the series concluded at issue 300 in March, 2004. The story is kept in print in 16 volumes consisting of 6,000 pages in total. If you do a Google search of the name, you'll find that the property is still pretty prominent on the Internet and elsewhere.

I realize your company has never done a PEZ Candy dispenser exclusively for purchase in comic book stores but if you have ever considered doing so I'd like to offer you the chance to use Cerebus as your guinea pig. I'd be happy to plug the item in my daily blog, The Blog & Mail and in the quarterly publication, Following Cerebus, published by Win-Mill Productions in Texas.

I'm attaching a couple of quick sketches of a Cerebus PEZ dispenser that I did.

If you are interested, feel free to contact me at your convenience at the address or phone number below. Or you can fax me at 519.576.0955.

Thank you for your time and attention.



Now it's time to put the Industry Directory away for another couple of weeks and answer some of this here mail that's piling up in the filing cabinet. I'll let you know if there's a Cerebus PEZ dispenser in your future. What do you suppose they pay to license a cartoon character for a PEZ dispenser? Quarter of a million, easy, right?


Hamilton's Holy Terror, Darrell Epp is first up:

Hi Dave:

Enclosed, essays by Victor Davis Hanson, grape grower/history professor. I'm sure your local library contains books by him and I STRONGLY recommend you check them out, pronto. He has a book called Carnage and Culture which is a fascinating collection of analyses of world-changing battles. The book also serves as a much-needed rejoinder to Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, a book as commercially and critically successful as it is dangerously WRONG. The question is, why are some cultures more successful than others? As a good liberal, bleeding heart multi-cultist, Diamond finds the idea that some cultures are "superior" to others repellent, so he stretches some interesting data to make a bogus conclusion: we're all one big happy family, it's just some cultures got luckier in terms of the environmental advantages of the geography they were born into blah blah. And Hanson is, like, "No, ideas trump geography." In a similar vein, check out Empire by Niall Ferguson, his history of the British Empire and one of the most enthralling books I've come across in a long time. I mean, what a `hook': a country that represented around three percent of the world's area and population controlled three quarters of the planet: how? What a page turner! I remember being particularly impressed with the parts on India, and wacky Cecil Rhodes. The topic really deserved to be rehabilitated – people find it so easy to criticize the whole concept. But first off, Ferguson says, look at the cool things this Empire gave the world: parliamentary democracy, Scottish land tenure, team sport, etc. And, hey, maybe Lord Kitchener got a little carried away in the Sudan, but once you compare the British Empire to any other, they come off looking pretty good. See, for example, King Leopold's Ghost, a book that recounts the nasty business Belgium inflicted on the Congo.

Hanson also has a great book called The Soul of Battle, which contains three bios of Hanson's military heroes, the Theban General Epaminondas, Sherman and Patton. The part about Sherman's March to the Sea really blew me away. His most recent book is A War Like No Other, a masterful retelling of the Peloponessian War. All great, great stuff.



PS. Happy 60th birthday Steve Canyon, 1947-2007

I printed excerpts from the Hanson columns a few weeks back but the cover letter got misplaced. Sorry about that, Darrell. And (just the way these things seem to work) his essay is printed in the latest issue of Imprimis volume 36 number 4 April 2007, adapted from a speech he delivered 13 Feb 07 in Fort Myers, Florida at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar on the topic "National Security: Short- and Long-Term Assessments" and here headlined "Nuclear Iran?" Imprimis, with 1,250,000 readers monthly is free for the asking. Just write to Imprimis, Hillsdale College, 33 East College Street, Hillsdale, Michigan, 49242. Tell `em #J70897# sent you.

Being in the midst—actually close to the end—of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, I really notice that very weird 180 degree turn that the world experienced in the 1960s. He's so sure that white people are the problem in Africa and that all that is needed is for black people to have autonomy and Africa will become paradise on earth. As we have seen in Zimbabwe (ne Rhodesia) and as seems to be about to happen in South Africa, you can drive all the white people away but without the sort of dedication to tried and true farming techniques characteristic of the British Empire at its height, you soon turn a continent's breadbasket country into a Marxist basket case. What's really interesting is the extent to which no one is able to discuss this. Mugabe just keeps cursing Tony Blair and his "Colonial Aspirations" and never has to account for the fact that most of his population is starving to death on his watch. And because we're all so indoctrinated that everything wrong with the world can be blamed on white men, there's not a trace of a solution in sight because it's pretty obvious that the only solution to Zimbabwe's problems is…white men. White farmers, specifically. I really have to marvel at the fact that it's considered preferable by blacks, Marxists, feminists and, well, basically everyone besides white men that an entire country starve to death rather than change their opinion of white men. Just can't bring themselves to say, "Okay, we got a little too full of our own self-importance there and we demonized you but now we can see that without the help of white farmers, this whole country is going to turn into desert inside of a generation or two. Will you please help us?" And white farmers, being decent chaps as most Brits are, I would imagine would say, "That's quite all right. It was wrong of me to hold onto all of the best of the land in your country. Tell you what: you give me back some of the land I previously held and I'll show you how to farm the rest of it." Eminently sensible? You bet. Ever likely to happen? Never in a million years.

Take a look at all of the countries that were colonised by the British and every one of them is flourishing. Look at all the countries colonised by anyone else and most of them are basket cases. Hong Kong is still the very best the Chinese have got and that's only because they haven't had a chance to run it into the ground since getting it back from the British. But they are working on it.

Speaking of Steve Canyon's sixtieth birthday celebrations—and Happy Birthday, Steve!—one of the candidates for the 2005 Day Prize was Steve Canyon 1948 which really threw me for a loop when it came in with the box full o' books. Volume 2 from Checker Book Publishing Group out of Miamisburg, Ohio (www.checkerbpg.com). It was certainly tempting to think of posthumously awarding Milt Caniff the Day Prize for the second year's worth of Steve Canyon seventeen years after his death but that seemed a little contrary to the spirit of SPACE and the Day Prize itself. Still, I was very pleased to have such a high quality reprint collection of Steve Canyon dailies and Sundays. I assume that the publishers had access to all of the originals and syndicate proofs which Caniff donated to OSU's Cartoon Research Library because the reproduction in here is remarkable. And on high gloss white paper, too. I particularly like the way that Caniff would pencil and ink outside of the panel borders on his Sunday pages. I have no idea why he did that—I suspect in order to get the backgrounds more accurate and to create a "wide-screen" effect for himself while he was drawing them—but virtually every panel of the Sundays continues into the surrounding margins.

I have no idea if they're still in business, but it might be worth clicking on www.checkerbpg.com . If they're still at it, they're probably up to 1950 or so by now.

Tomorrow: Adam Beechen Not Quite Live from Los Angeles

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.