Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #339 (August 16th, 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.


Dale Thompson of Greeneville TN writes:

Hiya, Dave

I should introduce myself: Dale Thompson in Northeast Tennessee. I've not written you before, so a little background: male, 37, raised in small town Tennessee. I was a big comics reader (typical superhero stuff) up through high school. Towards the end of that run, I was branching out and exploring the fringes, and so I read CEREBUS sporadically during CHURCH & STATE, collected some back issues and such. By then you were printing the phone books and I already had it in mind to get the whole collection eventually – because, to me, CEREBUS had that "cream of the crop" singularity about it that was compelling to me. In ways, I've always been a completist at heart and the scope of what you were doing lent it a real mystique.

However, I reached the typical point of "Comics aren't cool anymore" (and I think there could be a formula for this, with factors such as age, confidence level, interaction w/ opposite sex, complexion, etc.) and I slowly weaned myself off them. The last ones I remember following were JOURNEY and STIG'S INFERNO (love that b/w!) along with MOONSHADOW and MAGE. And – sheesh! – STRAY TOASTERS. I think that one in itself hastened my departure. I liked MOONSHADOW a lot, but 12 issues? C'mon! That just doesn't compare with 300.

So you get the point. By age 20, I was out of comics and into music. And music's been an extraordinarily rich passion, regrets about that. For while I would occasionally pick up an issue or two, but after #200 I decided to wait for the collections. I had a rough mental timetable constructed for #300, but by the time it vaguely rolled around, I was married and we had a toddler. So I was way out of the loop. Our main news source was (and is) NPR ("All Things Considered", etc.) and I kept expecting to hear some fanfare piece about your hitting #300. Seemed like the type of oddball thing they like to include occasionally, but I didn't hear anything. So, eventually I searched the Internet a bit and found that the series was, in fact, completed which was all I really needed to know at that point. I felt a sense of relief, although I definitely picked up a "mixed reviews" vibe. But 300 issues is 300 issues, for crying out loud.

To fill out the picture a bit more (it is related), by the time you finished the series, we had taken on an aged relative: dear, old Great Aunt Cora, early 90s, Alzheimer's. She was stuck in the nursing home with no prospect of living on her own again. We moved her back into her house, lived with her, and nursed her ourselves until she passed on three and a half years later. I'll spare you the details of this experience, except to say this: it was like having another child, only with the cute and cuddly angle almost wholly removed.

So, the old lady managed to leave the world with a bit of a "nest egg" remaining, which has been in the divvying-up process for the last 1.5 years. It's not a huge amount, but enough that the idea of "luxury buys" deserved some consideration.

To be clear: we're quite happy and we live very well in our own modest ways. But, technically, we're so far below the poverty line that last week, I had to take out a loan to pay a consequence! So when I say "luxury buys", I'm talkin' pretty rocks and exotic percussion instruments – and big collections of books.

Which brings me back to CEREBUS.

With the possibility of acquiring the whole collection out on the horizon, I devoted a few hours to digging around online and finding out more about how the series had ended. I'll (again) spare you the usual list of reactions. The important thing is, my gut told me CEREBUS was still compelling, and it stayed on my mind.

The process of settling the old lady's estate dragged on and on. In the interim (2 months ago), tax refund time – aka "Throw the Working Poor a Bone" Day – came and I found myself with $150 to spend. I called around to some neighbouring towns (the only comicshop here gave me a blank look) and located a big chunk of the phone books: High Society, C&S I, Jaka's Story, Women, Reads, Minds, Guys, Rick's Story and Form & Void. And, if I left right then, I could get them that day!

Man, I'll tell ya – the sense of exhilaration, of elation, that I felt on the hour-long drive to get the CEREBUS books – it was like little else that I've experienced. I think it was the build-up and expectation that had been in the back of my mind for so long – I've been looking forward to reading these books for 20 years! That's a long time, Dave. It's not 27 years, but it's a long time.

To sum it up, I'd like to say that I'm totally in awe of your determination and perseverance in the pursuit of your goal. BIG UP for reaching 300! And for doing it on your own terms. Those two things put it over the top for me. It's really a stunning achievement, Dave, and I'm entirely serious when I say "awe-inspiring".

I'm not an habitual stroker of egos, so I'll not continue to lay it on so thick. But, I've been feeling drawn to write you and share my experience of your work, so there it is.

I was heartened to read in an interview that you read and (eventually) answer all your mail. I was disheartened to read recently that Gerhard and you had parted ways. I hope the split was amicable. I'm looking forward to reading FOLLOWING CEREBUS also, although it seems there's not been an issue in quite a few months (?).

But, today was the day my (small) ship sailed in, and I'm especially satisfied and excited to send you this letter along with my order for the following:






+ $25 shipping


I'm certainly looking forward to reading them. Any autographs and/or sketches would be appreciated, too. Maybe later on I can engage you in discussion of plot points and deep philosophy, if you're inclined. I'll pay respect where it's due, though, and read the books first.



Tomorrow: Dave Sim replies


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.