Friday, August 10, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #331 (August 8th, 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.


"In the Kingdom of the Blind the One-Eyed Man is King". I keep forgetting that the Elephantmen is supposed to have a Summer Blockbuster Movie motif and then an issue like #008 comes along and reminds me. I would suspect Moritat (yes, back again) has been watching his DIE HARD DVD's on stop motion (they do have stop motion don't they? I've never had the occasion to watch a DVD except at John and Siu's place). He's got that fake muzzle flash thing nailed (it always amuses me that Hollywood has to come up with newer and better variations on what gunfire SHOULD look like and SHOULD sound like – real gunfire just not having quite the Hollywood "chops" in either the sight or sound department) as well as the splintering-wood-boxes-in the-warehouse thing. The present-day BRAKATAKAKAKA (er…semi-automatic fire)

Gerhard just called to let me know that he has Matthew E.'s commission done and will be heading over to Sandeep's place to see how the scans of the covers of 153, 166 and 189 came out and then possibly doing some work on them himself. Then we autograph all of them and send them out to Matthew next week when he gets back from the San Diego Con. Then Dave Fisher called to see if it was okay to come over and see the layout for the cover of PRETTY GIRLS & OTHER SUBJECTS which I'll be soliciting in the September catalogue (God willing) for a November release. I wanted a downtown Kitchener night scene for an establishing shot – I don't know WHY I actually try to promote the city when they ignore my existence completely: same reason I address myself to feminists, I guess: "In the Land of the Deaf, You Might As Well Say Things Out Loud" -- so, I went to "Your Kitchener Store" and they were no help at all. Can you picture any city with postcards of itself NOT having a night shot of the downtown? I was even ready to just use a wide night shot of City Hall blown up from postcard size. Throw me a bone, here, folks. Nada. So, fallback position, I asked Dave to shoot some pictures. He told me Kodak's out of the photographic paper business which means photographic paper has nearly doubled in price in the last six months. Yi. So he plans to shoot some pictures tomorrow night and get me a contact sheet.

Where was I?

Oh, right…BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM (er….45 automatic single rounds) shoot-em-up in the warehouse gets interrupted by a BRAKATAKAKA (stationary machine gun doing…um…an impression of a semi-automatic rifle?) PTAM PTAM PTAM (just- missed-me dirt clods being kicked up by a) BRAKATAKAKA (stationary machine gun or semi-automatic? Your call) and

Rob Walton just called. Just checking in. Hadn't talked to him since Torontocon where he had lost two Shuster award nominations one of which was for Best Company (Planet Lucy Press). Chester accepted the award for Drawn & Quarterly and said he agreed with the verdict: Drawn & Quarterly is the best Canadian publisher. Rob said he wanted to call out, "Hey, Chester! I'm sitting right HERE!" I know what he means. Aardvark-Vanaheim didn't even get nominated. Anyway we talked for a while about a secret animation project of mine that he sent me some notes on that I haven't gotten back to him about and he told me about another secret project he's working on for a full-blown television series that he didn't want me to talk about yet. ("The same guys who are doing Louis Riel?" "No, these people have money"). So I told him I'd plug RAGMOP again – Canada's Second Largest Graphic Novel. Diamond Order Code AUG063113. Accept no substitutes. Unless they're Cerebus trade paperbacks. Then skip the RAGMOP. He also did an interview with indiespinnerrack so those of you podcast inclined can check it out. Says it generated a bunch of RAGMOP orders when it was posted about two weeks ago.

Where was I?

Oh right…WHUPPAWHUPPAWHUPPAWHUPPA (helicopter going down in flames) WHUP FRA KOOOM (artillery round? IED? Your call again) wartime flashback. And then a few more BLAM BLAM and BLAM BLAM BLAM back at the warehouse, intercut with some Dirty Harry dialogue ("Chew on my ass, munt." "No…I don't think so…I don't eat DEAD MEAT.") (er – and then the aforementioned BLAM BLAM BLAM at point-blank range).

That's one badass Mutated Zebra, I'll tell the world.

Flip story is a Wagner the iFrog (Hip Flask's personal assistant: "phone/wireless/ViTo/coffeemaker/juicer" "The iFrog will even make your bed and give you a foot massage"). If you liked Neil's "cute" stories with the Pumpkinheaded guy, well, here's Jill Freshney and Rob Steen (with Richard Starkings) to do their best try at an ELEPHANTMEN variation on it. Jill uses actual French for one of the characters which has got to be a first in an Image comic.

#009 - Moritat's back again and he's got a couple of great intricate Geoff Darrow-style backgrounds this time out, so it looks as if the schedule is back under control. "Kaba" is quick little anecdote with two new Moritat sweet-looking cuties: Tammy and Kathy. Neither is a patch on Miki, but they are new Moritat cuties. Looks like he's been studying his Miller/Varley DARK KNIGHTS for some of the pages and inventing his own way of painting computer foliage on the way. The flip story this time (very nice David Lloyd cover) is "Silent Running" and is worth the price of admission. You remember when I mentioned that it wasn't the happiest day of my life when I found out that SANDMAN wasn't going to be drawn exclusively by Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III? Well, this story is sort of the "consolation prize" reverse of that. A guy I've never heard of – Chris Burnham – turns in a job which is definitely from the Dringenberg/Jones (or maybe Dave Gibbons) end of the scale. Completely silent 9-pager with colours by Gregory Wright. Dark colours but not so dark that you can't see what the drawing is made up of. Barely. And, I mean, JUST barely. There has to be a real skill to that. A fraction darker and poof all of the clean line-work and solid blacks just collapse and disappear under the chocolate brown, but not here, boy. Great layout, design, composition, inking (including an invisibility computer effect that actually works – light enough so the figure looks invisible but bright enough so you can see the drawing details). I'm sure this is going to happen relatively often if Richard & Friends can keep up the quality on the book – the hot new kid on the block won't consider himself to have made it until he's been asked to do an ELEPHANTMEN story.

#00P – I asked for it by name at the Beguiling. Would the Fantagraphics/Drawn & Quarterly World Headquarters have ELEPHANTMEN in stock? Would they have the latest issue? Would Chris Butcher even know what I was talking about? Yes, on all three counts and he had #009 and #00P right there on the shelf and knew exactly where to find them. "They re-did issue one," he said. They WHAT? "At least I think that's what they did and put in a new framing sequence." He didn't read the book himself was the impression I got and only knew what he had heard about it. Even flipping through it in the store I couldn't make head nor tail of it. It looked as if it was all pin-ups. No, there was a strip in there too – two strips. Two strips and a framing sequence. I'm still not sure I've got it all straight, but BASICALLY

What Richard has done is to take all or virtually all of the Hip Flask material that he got in trade from artists for computer lettering fonts and to put them all in one side of the book. Which is really, really weird especially if – as I had -- you've just been reading the whole thing through from UNNATURAL SELECTION to issue #009. What…IS…all this stuff? I mean, it's a who's who: Todd McFarlane, Jae Lee, Jim Lee, Joe Madureira, Greg Capullo, J. Scott Campbell, Tim Sale, Chris Bachalo. But it's a who's who with other finishes. All of these guys have studios now with inkers or collaborators and computer colour finish guys. And most have them have so little to do with HIP FLASK that you really have to wonder if they even read the reference material (or if there WAS reference material). It's like it was drawn for a fanzine or something. Private Detective Hippo? Check. Number five Private Detective Hippo coming up. Same thing with the stories. Turns out Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen did the seven-page SPIRIT parody in exchange for Richard developing the Gorilla Comics website. Private Detective Hippo? Check. Number five Private Detective Hippo coming up. Joe Kelly, Ryan Kelly and Peter Gross supply "Planet of the Longulates". Private Detective Hippo? Negative. We'd rather do Space Opera Hippo. Then Loeb/Churchill/Liquid supply a story that really looks as if Richard went back in time and signed up with one of the Image studios in 1993 and they knocked this one out over a weekend (glued on soccer-ball breasts and all!) with their unfolded FedEx boxes on their laps when they were supposed to be working on the 1963 Annual (or the Valiant cross-over or whatever else) because everybody agreed that Hip Flask is the KEWLEST, DUDE!

Very funny if your sense of humour runs to Image Studios stuff from the 90s. Mine does.

Do I consider myself ripped off for my $3.50 Canadian? Are you kidding? It sports a Ladronn cover with Vanity Case, full figure and a framing sequence with (count `em, boys) THIRTEEN shots of Miki including an extreme close-up of her face that is absolutely "to die for" as Tiny shows her the early stories on his computer screen ("People still DRAW this stuff? Isn't it all done by robots?"). That works out to less than 30 cents per Miki shot. The other stuff? Ah, I can just flip past it looking for Miki. And it'll probably help them to get a little ahead of schedule. Richard? Anytime you think you're falling off the pace, just get Moritat to draw five or six pictures of Miki and run each of them three or four times and we're even as far as I'm concerned.


Tomorrow: NOT the Elephantmen


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