Saturday, July 21, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #311 (July 19th, 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.


Wrapping up the "frank exchange of viewpoints" (at least until Brian responds – he'll be out of the country for another week or so):

The problem with your "What I wrote was what I would say to you over lunch" is that it presupposes that I would ask you "So, what do you think about my new colour pieces?" if we were having lunch somewhere. Believe me, I wouldn't. I take it as a given after long experience that asking anyone's opinion of anything that I've done is just going to elicit an entirely negative response and I get enough of that without going looking for it. To give you an idea of how universal a policy that is with me now, I asked Chester Brown if I could use his art to illustrate my COMMENTARIES ON MARK'S GOSPEL but I didn't ask him what he thought of the Commentaries themselves. I assume his response would be completely negative. If he offers his opinion somewhere up ahead and it is, indeed, completely negative then I'm no further ahead or behind. If it's anything besides completely negative then that will be a very unexpected and happy bonus.

I think I ultimately made the right choice in just putting your fax in with the pile of mail and leaving my response to when it actually surfaced here three months later. Whatever I might have said about you possibly or possibly not drying up my commission work back in the third week in April pretty much sorted itself out – basically in the form of Matthew E. arriving out of a clear blue sky and single-handedly kicking the Cerebus art market up to a new level -- practically synchronous with the time arriving to address the situation here and that has seemed to be the case with all manner of glitches and bumps in the road since I started doing the Blog & Mail last September.

Obviously, all I can do is state my case as best I can, which I have done here. I would ask you to keep in mind that the "Alan Greenspan of Cerebus original artwork" is, I think, a valid model for what your situation has evolved into (whatever your intentions might have been) and that you take that into consideration when you decide whether to comment or not comment on the private commission pieces that I'm doing and have done. Of course, that still leaves it entirely up to you to take it into consideration and dismiss it out of hand if that seems reasonable to you.

UPDATE 27 JUNE 0834 HOURS EST – Time to hit the showers and when I get back It's Rafer Johnson PLASTIC FARM time here on the Blog & Mail.

UPDATE 27 JUNE 0909 HOURS EST – Okay, it's 9 am on a Wednesday and I'm now about to read a comic book as part of my job. This is the coolest, folks. Rafe writes:

"I just wanted to drop you a line to say a quick thank you for the very kind words you said about PLASTIC FARM on the Blog and Mail. That you liked the comic enough to say nice things about it in public means a great deal to me. It is one thing when a random reviewer likes the comic, or mentions it in their column. It jumps to a whole different level when someone whose comics you grew up reading (and idolizing and studying and re-reading over and over) says such positive things in a public forum).

"You should know right now that at no point will I ever accept money from you for my comics, so be aware that your plans to buy something at SPACE this year are going to fail. I figure the monthly education I received from reading CEREBUS is more than I'll ever be able to repay, so you get the book for free."

Well, aren't you nice.

It's one of the funny things about SPACE that there's a pretty good mix of people who a) grew up on CEREBUS, b) people who only know me from the descriptions of me on the COMICS JOURNAL message boards and c) "first timers" who have no idea who anyone is. (someone suggested that they try doing their own comics and here they are. It's a little weird but not unpleasantly so – at least not yet and, uh, here they are).

The thing is: the surface reaction to me that I get to see is pretty much the same in all cases. The first group are striving mightily not to and are terrified that they're going to (as one Cerebus reader's girlfriend put it – explaining why she was getting the autograph FOR him and he wasn't getting it for himself) "geek out" around me, the second group is making sure there's an exit nearby in case I suddenly start frothing at the mouth or mutilating their table display and screaming misogynistic obscenities at them and for the third group I'm just Some Old Guy who has wandered in for some reason (optimistically? somebody's Dad. Pessimistically? Judging by the haircut probably a cop or a narc) and they're just hoping I don't see the panel with the nudity or the defecation and whip out my badge.

You were pretty cool, Rafe. When I stopped to look at your display and chat, I never would have guessed that you had read the book or had a clue who I was.

"Enclosed please find a "dummy copy" of the upcoming PLASTIC FARM INTERLUDE GRAPHIC NOVEL. Since my section of this book is complete, I printed up five of these as go-bys for the other two artists working on the book (hence the truncated versions of the script in the middle). I figure since this book owes its pacing to JAKA'S STORY as much as anything else, I should at the very least send you an early look.

"Thank you again, and I look forward to being able to thank you in person at SPACE."

Which he did. The show started a little slow and he was one of the first to come by and chat.

So: PLASTIC FARM FERTILIZER/an interlude in three aprils

Well, that was really good. He sure knows his way around a comic-book page and he manages to convey that in his own drawings and to the artists (in this case Wendi Strang-Frost and Jake Warrenfeltz) he works with. It is seriously weird stuff but this particular chunk of story – which is definitely JAKA'S STORY-paced – helps to clarify the nature of the weirdness through indirect implication and to really address the adversarial relationship between the Brethren and the Farmland.

I think one of the really interesting things is the way so many guys are starting to clue in to the extent to which you can juxtapose words and pictures in the comics medium. We're all raised on television and movies where the two are kept pretty close together but in comics you can "say" one thing while "showing" something completely different because the eye can double back for clarification a lot more easily. There's no "rewind" button in a movie theatre. We're just starting to explore the boundaries of that. Rafe has picked up on the fact that the sky is, pretty much, the limit.

I think the website is and if it isn't it should be. If he's got an "everything so far" button and you've got the bucks to spare, I really think it's worth checking out.

UPDATE 27 JUNE 1147 HOURS EST – Must be US Military Week here at the Off-White House and no one told me. Yesterday or this morning I talked with Claude Flowers who is just back from Reserve training Somewhere in Northern California that Looks a Lot Like Iraq (you didn't hear it from me). He's going to send a rough cut of COLLECTED LETTERS 3 so there's a not-half-bad chance that I can get it solicited for a September release depending on how long it takes me to finish up my secret project. Just got off the phone with Shaun O'Hern – my US Navy buddy/reader -- who used to be stationed in Iceland until the navy decommissioned their base up there and who is now stationed in South Carolina? (Georgia? I'm old, the memory is going fast) and who is about to go "on watch" and couldn't tell me what it was that he was "watching" but he did let it slip that whatever he is watching will be leaving soon. If I remembered what American state or base he's in, I wouldn't have mentioned that last part. Anyway, he wanted to know what I knew about Philip K. Dick and I told him pretty much whatever stuck from the package of Dick's papers that Ken Viola sent me a while back. He's reading VALLIS (sp?) and was wondering how much of it was fiction and how much Dick actually experienced. I'd forgotten the part where time had stopped with the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD and then started again when Nixon resigned. Turns out Shaun was born the day after Nixon resigned – which makes him, what? Twelve? Surprise fellow Baby Boomers – THAT MAKES HIM THIRTY-HONKING-TWO! God, I am old.

UPDATE 27 JUNE 1200 HOURS EST – Prayer time and then I have to get a package ready for Mr. Tundis, Sir.

Tomorrow: Dear Mr. Tundis, Sir:


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.