Monday, June 25, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #287 (June 25th, 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.


A.P. Fuchs and his wife are pregnant with their second child (no, I already did that joke on Saturday):

"We'll find out within the next couple of weeks the actual due date but we're estimating it to be somewhere between late October to early November. This also means that we'll begin house-hunting sometime in May to allow room for the newest addition to the family."

Again, sincere congratulations.

"On the self-publishing front, I crossed a milestone in my career on September 29, 2006, when I released my independent superhero novel entitled AXIOM-MAN who was a character I created back in my high school drawing days and finally, after all these years, decided to actually do something with him other than fantasize heroic tales about him in my head. The reason the release was a milestone was because of the wonderful media attention – not to mention sales – that resulted due to the character being Winnipeg's own superhero. TV, Radio, Newspaper – very exciting as most self-published authors are usually swept under the rug because they're not "real" publishers. What I always found interesting about that argument was that, in the end, the reader doesn't care if you've been published by a "real" publisher or not. They just care about getting a good story.

"At the beginning of March, the first draft of the sequel was completed, coming in at about 119,000 words, which is nearly double the length of its predecessor. It's called AXIOM-MAN: DOORWAY OF DARKNESS and takes place right where the first one left off. This second book is planned to be released at the end of July along with a short novella called AXIOM MAN EPISODE #0: FIRST NIGHT OUT which chronicles, you guessed it, his first night out. The Axiom Man "episode" series is there for those stories I wish to tell that aren't large enough scale-wise to warrant a full 80,000 plus words to make it a "feature". I'm viewing them more like half-hour cartoon episodes a la BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES where, though there's a couple of plotlines going on, it's more light-hearted and simple compared to the depths of character and story I can get into with a full-length novel (for example, Book Two carries five plotlines).

"Which brings me to stating what an honour it will be for our two characters to stand side by side in 2008's WAR OF THE INDEPENDENTS, which I understand Cerebus will be participating in. I think the project will do well and the premise of the mini-series sounds interesting. We'll see. I trust Scott Lobdell, who is writing the project."

Well, this is the first I've heard of it. Now that Cerebus is dead he never tells me WHAT he's been up to lately. I'm kidding again. Yeah, I hope the project does well. I don't expect it to outsell CIVIL WAR or THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN AMERICA but it would be nice if we could post some respectable numbers and I'm sure Scott Lobdell will be doing his level best to make it happen. I just hope it doesn't involve anyone's gorgeous wife or gay sidekick getting tortured and mutilated and then having their body parts grafted onto the police commissioner who then gets gang-raped. I mean, ho-hum, you know?

"I wanted to ask you about how you went about writing and drawing the CEREBUS storyline? That is, how you planned out the 25-or-so issues for a particular arc and what a day in the life of Dave Sim was like? It's one thing if a person was only the artist or writer on a series. Pretty straightforward in regards to their day-to-day tasks. But when you link a few creative tasks together, time management is critical. I love hearing about how other artists approach their craft – habits, routines, etc. – regardless of medium so, please, spill your guts as I'm all ears."

To badly mix a metaphor. That's a good way to get your ears full of guts. Oh, and speaking of ears, I think my left one is finally making incremental progress. I heard the fax machine "ping" -- all the way from downstairs -- for the first time since last December. We'll see if that keeps up or if I go back to "No One Expects…A FAX!" on every third or fourth trip up to the office. For now, it's back to the good old days:


Dave (automatic thought): I'll bet THAT's bad news.

I think it will be easier to see how I approached creating the Cerebus storylines when the CD Rom of the notebooks becomes available. In a nutshell, I'd just start out jotting down ideas either in the form of short phrases or little iconic drawings to figure out how much space I need for things, shorthand facial expressions, the general sense of what an individual page needed to convey the idea behind it, getting from point A to point B. Sometimes I'd do a more detailed version of the page in question but not very often. Whether it was true or not, I would usually feel that I was losing a lot of the creative "juice" in the sketch, a dynamism or spontaneity that I couldn't recapture on the finished page. But drawing is a pleasurable experience so if I didn't rein myself in I'd just start pouring the juice into the sketch, using different sized markers to ink it, pencilling it first. It was one of the reasons that I would try to write outside of the studio where all I had was the notebook and a ballpoint pen. It wasn't really dark enough to any real inking and it was too thin to fill in anything but the smallest solid blacks so I could only use it for iconic sketches – the IDEA of a face or figure, what order it comes in on the page, how big it is relative to the other faces and figures on the page, where the word balloons go, how many panels, what general shape. And I'd leave rough sketches half done and switch to pure writing if that's what was required. It was all in service to the rhythm of the dialogue and the layout and faces can come later. So I might only have two panels roughed in in a sketch and then suddenly I have blocks of dialogue with the panel numbers written overtop of them


You heard me.

That kind of thing. I was working with a "base 6" most of the time so if I wrote 30 lines of dialogue in conversational pace then I'd count them up and know I had roughly five pages "in vitro". If I had roughed in page 4 before I did that, I would now have pages 1 through 9. Not time yet to start worrying about wrapping things up (page 16, which I used to call "coming around the horn") or getting to a natural cliff-hanger so I'd try to figure out a good full pager or something more condensed than "base 6" so people would think they were getting their money's worth. Or an interesting camera angle or an interesting narrative device or a clever use of lettering or dialect.

Condense, condense, condense is the key to good comics. You use every technique at your disposal to make them forget how short – because of the inherent nature of the medium -- the reading experience is. The most obvious one is LOTS OF PAGES – as in 500 PAGES or 1200 PAGES. If you read 500 pages you will forget that it is the world's shortest reading time for 500 pages outside of art books, photography books and children's books. Wannabe's hate to hear that because they have usually just found out how bleeping long it takes to do 20 pages and the idea of doing 500 pages causes their innards to contract. Just considering how much time away from video games its going to represent is enough to give them palpitations.

In terms of an average day, I don't think I ever had too many of those. I certainly haven't had very many since. The most important thing with writing and drawing comics is to treat it as a job. With a job the idea is to get the job done. Don't lose track of time, make every minute count, stay focused, work hard. The average grown-up works at least eight hours a day at a job where their work habits are monitored and they are expected to perform so they either train themselves to be productive or they train themselves to be alternately employed and unemployed and how to get by with little or no work. All you have to do is "import" the former work model into the comic-book world and resist falling into the latter work model and monitor yourself and take your job seriously and that's going to put you ten steps up on just about everyone else who is trying to figure out how little work they can get away with and still keep a roof over their head and food on the table.

Tomorrow: Darrell Epp Gets Laid Off!



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. Here are the Diamond Star System codes:

Cerebus #1-25 $30.00 STAR00070

High Society #26-50 $30.00 STAR00071

Church and State I #52-80 $35.00 STAR00271

Church and State II #81-111 $35.00 STAR00321

Jaka's Story #114-136 $30.00 STAR00359

Melmoth #139-150 $20.00 STAR00431

Flight #151-162 $20.00 STAR00543

Women #163-174 $20.00 STAR00849

Reads #175-186 $20.00 STAR01063

Minds #187-200 $20.00 STAR01916

Guys #201-219 $25.00 STAR06972

Rick's Story #220-231 $20.00 STAR08468

Going Home I #232-250 $30.00 STAR10981

Form and Void #251-265 $30.00 STAR13500

Latter Days #266 - 288 $35.00 AUG031920

The Last Day #289 - 300 $25.00 APR042189

Collected Letters - $30 FEB052434

Collected Letters 2 - $22 MAR073054