Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #325 (August 2nd, 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.


So what have I been up to since I officially scrubbed the launch of the secret project?

Sleeping, basically. I found out that I had really missed sleeping through all those weeks of fourteen-hour days. As soon as it became obvious that the secret project was on permanent hold that was the first thing that I did was fall over and go to sleep. And that's still what I'm doing now (I'm writing this July 23). Sometimes I sleep for an hour and sometimes I sleep for three hours and I haven't really missed any prayer times: my body is pretty much completely attuned to the rhythm of the prayer times and gets itself up in time for them. Then I'll either do a little work on something or just go back to sleep.

What else? Oh, Neil Gaiman revived the plug for the free Sandman parody issue of CEREBUS on his blog a couple of weeks back. I got six responses the first week (I only pick up the mail Monday these days) and I was a little worried about what I'd find this week. The last time he ran the plug (three years ago) by the third or fourth day I was getting literally hundreds of responses, so I took a plastic shopping bag with me just to be on the safe side. But it was okay.

So, the first week I heard from Rachel D. of Saline, Michigan (a fond distant relative of Death and Dream, she says), Heidi P. of Turtle Creek, PA, Ilana B. of Arlington, MA ("I look forward to opening the mail someday in the future & suddenly having a much happier day than expected – a break from the quotidian with little piece of art. Hope you summer is a good one" – she even taped a fortune cookie fortune into her card: "You are one of the people who `goes places in life'"). It's funny how they all sound just a little bit like Neil. And then there was Lexie Briggs of Chicago Illinois who enthuses about snail mail ("It is something real, something tangible in a world that is more and more becoming defined by flashing bits of light and ideas on wires…P.S. I made this postcard myself. I hope it gets to you intact.") And she did. And it did. A magazine photograph of a wheat field with distant rocky outcroppings and an added "Anything's Possible" at the top. Michael J. F. (who promises to "greatly value and never sell" a comic with my signature) Gabrielle R. of Fair Lawn, NJ and Laura F. of Toronto, Ontario tie for "best inadvertent laughs", though:

Dear Dave McKean

I am an avid fan of your work and anything else in the realm of comics and graphic art that makes me think. It is thanks to your intriguing cover art that I first picked up a comic book and thanks to the excellent output of your colleagues that I have never stopped. I am writing to you in response to a challenge on Neil Gaiman's blog. I must confess that it has been quite a while since I put pen to paper to write a letter like this, but this occasion more than merits a bit of effort. I would LOVE a copy of an issue of Cerebus. That would make my day – especially one that parodies my favourite of all graphic novels – SANDMAN. One signed by you? Well, that is beyond my wildest imaginings. So, I would like you to send me one because this is a brilliant idea and because I would treasure it forever. And because it would make everyone jealous (At least everyone else who shares my obsession with all things graphic novel). On a side note, come to New York, Dave! I can't tell you how many times I have read mention of one of your art shows only to discover it's in some impossibly far-off place. I thank you for reading this, for your stunning artwork, and in advance for that issue of Cerebus. J


Gabrielle R

I was going to sign that one "Not Dave McKean". No, that would just be cruel.

Dear Mr. Sim:

I am writing to you because I read that you were giving out free copies of the SANDMAN parody in CERBERUS. Though I'm not familiar with CERBERUS, I'm a big fan of SANDMAN and have also read/heard good things about CERBERUS.

Oh my goodness, I've been instinctively writing CERBERUS, haven't I? Shoot. But I've gone too far and wouldn't want to discard a perfectly good piece of paper. So, ok…CEREBUS, CEREBUS, CEREBUS.

And Week Two, I got 12 responses. Elise B. of Yorba Linda, CA ("I vaguely remember reading about your offer when it was first posted, but since at that point I had not read any of the SANDMAN series, I did not do anything. Now however, I have read SANDMAN and the description of the parody seemed very funny, so I decided I would ask for a copy. I think your idea to discover how many people would actually bother to send a real letter was a good one. Have you kept track of how many did?") The first batch eventually tapered off after we hit the 1900 mark as I recall. Then there was an eerie looking transparent envelope from Karen P. of St. Paul, MN that she picked up at the Science Museum of Minnesota…

[Just took the HUGE pile of research materials for the secret project and filed them away next to the Hemingway research materials for FORM & VOID. Satisfying? You have no idea. Back to autographing copies of CEREBUS 164 second printings and addressing envelopes:]

…oh, hey and Howard O of Milan Illinois who has actually heard of me and CEREBUS! He hopes the offer is true "because I always thought CEREBUS was one of the most intelligent comics published, and when you tackled another smart comic like SANDMAN, it resulted in a plethora of quality not often seen in the medium." Well nice of you to say so, Howard!

Sharis I. of Da Bronx, NY writes "…my daughter is starting to show some interest in comics. As a fangirl myself I'd like to encourage this as much as possible by having her initial exposures to comics be as positive as possible without having to wade through piles of dreck to get to the good stuff (as I did)." Hey, what do you want to bet neither of them end up liking "Mothers & Daughters"?

Fave letter this time out, Eleanor W. of Madison, WI. Three huge sheets of construction paper (yellow, mauve and orange – I wonder if the colour coordination was intentional or accidental?) with great sprawling lines written on in brown, purple and black magic marker. "Dave, I recently found out about your comic from Neil Gaiman's blog. And so, I am writing about the offer of free Sandman parody comics, because I am a fan of Sandman. But also I have been reading "Free Cerebus" (sounds like a cause) online and am getting the impression (pg.2) that I am missing a lot by only reading the story & not the comic, & am possibly getting spoiled for the beginning (you know, as in spoilers…That's the problem with writing in ink, if you say something & it comes out wrong you can never take it back.) So anyways, I'm intrigued by your comic – the premise as well as the fiddly bits (pg.3) (you know, the writing and how it interacts with the art and all the other things that make the whole of a comic more than the sum of the summary) and as it appears that you do not have graphic novel compilations available from my local public library, this appears to be the only way I can read entire issues free of charge. (You see, I am a penniless high school student, which is why I am writing in marker on construction (pg.4) paper, rather than in a more conventional medium.) I can't find any stamps, so I shall have to pilfer some from work. (did I say penniless? I meant, desperately trying to save up money for a package trip (a school one) to Italy and Sicily. With a night on a boat! I live in Wisconsin. I've never slept on a boat before…) So the point is, if you can read my handwriting that is, I would like to take advantage of your (pg.5) offer. And your wife. (Once I played someone in a play who got taken advantage of. You know, in a sexual manner.) But hey, Neil Gaiman loves you, and I love Neil, so maybe, me and your comic? Eleanor W. P.S. The real reason I'm writing in marker on construction paper (pg. 6) isn't budgetary. It's more a combination of my being too lazy to look for nice paper and my wanting to give off a "cool", "arty" impression. Lame, I know…Eleanor (again)"

That's why Hollywood screen writers always fall flat on their faces when they try to write high school girls. You really couldn't make ANY of that up unless you were an actual high school girl. So penniless Eleanor (who has never slept on a boat) wins the WOMEN trade paperback with the complete SANDMAN parody but only IF SHE PROMISES TO PAY THEM BACK AT WORK FOR THE STAMPS SHE PILFERED.

Tomorrow: Wrapping up the second batch of letters from Neil's fans


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.