Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #344 (August 21st, 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.


Okay, back again after roughly three weeks, boxed in on all sides. I'm going to be uncharacteristically diplomatic and have deleted most of the August 21 posting. I just got back from the library August 16 and the latest posting is August 13. Trust me, I do one of these a day. If there isn't a new one up every day, it's not because I didn't write it.

Right now I have my half of the FOLLOWING CEREBUS jam cover with MOUSE GUARD's David Pedersen done which I would have been able to send to David on disk for him to do his part on, the cover for PRETTY GIRLS & OTHER SUBJECTS – which I would ordinarily have been able to send to Diamond for inclusion in their September catalogue for a November release and which I will now not be able to get into the catalogue any earlier than November for a January release. I also have my half of Malcolm B.'s new CEREBUS commission done which isn't going anywhere until I can get it scanned.

Deleted a lot of stuff from here. Like I say, boxed in on all sides by the opposition.

So, the SCRUB LAUNCH on the Secret Project is still in effect. I have now had everything completed on the book for three weeks and my Technical Director and Research Assistant is moving ahead with his side things – actually putting the book together on computer and then we move onto the stage of fully developing the website and from there a promotion program and from there the actual launch date (if I can figure out how to counter and neutralize the aforementioned artillery which, to be honest, I really don't know if I can do).

That brings us to Good News/Bad News territory. The Good News is that I have started work on Secret Project II (Secret Project III if you include the aborted super-hero parody) and after getting all the above work finished I had three days at the end of the last Actual Work session to work on it and I was able to get the first three pages done – back to roughly a page-a-day pace which I haven't been able to hit since the old CEREBUS days.

The Bad News is that I have really begun to question the wisdom of publication in any form with so many obvious examples of opposition cropping up all the time. Coming up on the end of Secret Project I, I was very keen to get it published but three weeks later, my interest is very much down around zero. What I realized was that I really, really like writing and drawing comic books not for the least reason that it makes my life go by a lot faster. If I'm writing and drawing a comic book it is literally as if I get up at 4 am and the next thing I know it's 10 pm and time to go to bed. Living in a Mathesonian I AM LEGEND world where everyone else is a vampire, that's very much not a bad way to have your life go by…

[It doesn't make my life go by faster than writing the Blog & Mail does – that was the other lesson I learned last time out: it was the first time I did the Blog & Mail during the Monday to Wednesday portion of my four-day once-every-three-weeks fast: I never had Blog & Mail production go by so quickly! – so my new policy is to do the Blog & Mail exclusively on fast days]

…and it also gave me an opportunity to really look at comic-book stores and to ask myself, Where, exactly, do you see Secret Project I fitting in here, Dave? This was further helped by getting in my complimentary copy of IMAGE COMICS: THE ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE from George Khoury and TwoMorrows publishing, for which I had written the introduction. "It's all like this," I realized. The comic-book field, I mean. That is, the Image experiment has pretty much hit the wall as the Image experiment per se, but the Image approach to comics (which is articulated in all its jaw-dropping detail in this truly amazing and sincerely entertaining volume – I think they're targeting the bookstore market with the superslick paper and I wish them every success. It's one long "don't let this happen to you" cautionary tale for would-be self-publishers) which really amounts to "drawing cool stuff" (George should have requested a bonus fee of fifty cents each time one of his subjects used the term "cool" in an interview – he'd be indescribably wealthy by now) has become the universal approach at Marvel and DC as has the "revamp" that the Image partners pioneered in those pre-Image days at Marvel. How long does this last and is there any chance that the comic-book marketplace will ever again find a place for works that are not Marvel and DC super-hero revamps? If there is a chance, as far as I can see it is way out over the horizon and in no way imminent. As I also wrote to my TD & RA:

< "I was joking with Sandeep on the phone tonight about the structural flaw in Birkemoe's challenge of doing a comic book for Real World People. Any Real World Person walking into a comic-book store by accident is going to react the same way as if they found out they had accidentally walked into a Scientology bookstore or a Christian Science Reading Room. Oops. Don't make eye contact, just look down and head straight for the door." >

So, it doesn't seem a particularly auspicious time period to be contemplating publishing anything that isn't a Marvel or DC super-hero revamp (which I have no intention of doing). PRETTY GIRLS & OTHER SUBJECTS is actually COLLECTED LETTERS 3 – my attempt to try and get around the structure of the comic-book marketplace where retailers cut their orders in half between issues 1 and 2 and then cut their orders in half again between issues 2 and 3. It's a hard and fast rule at this point, something I had forgotten until I had dinner with Suley Fatah and he talked about the precipitous drop in orders on his two DRAWING THE LINE benefit books. He sold x number of copies of the first volume and then got reorders for y number of copies. So, rationally, the orders for the second volume should be x+y, right? Not in the comic-book field. X divided by two. And I put a number on the cover. How could I have been so stupid?

That was the reason that I contacted Bill Schanes to find out if Diamond was willing to buy a long-term supply of COLLECTED LETTERS 2 since I wasn't going to have the resources to reprint the volume and he was kind enough to agree which is all that made COLLECTED LETTERS 2 possible since the retailers had cut their orders in half from what they ordered on volume one which would have made the book less than viable (it would have cost me roughly 85 cents in overhead to make 15 cents in profit). I'll have to do the same thing with volume 3 – basically present it to him and have him crunch the numbers of volumes 1 and 2 to see if Diamond can justify ordering the same amount. If there has been little or no reorder activity on volume 2 in the interim, that will be unlikely and we'll probably have to negotiate a bottom line number of copies of volume 3 that Diamond can justify ordering and see if that's within the range of even limited profitability for Aardvark-Vanaheim. If not, that's it for COLLECTED LETTERS as far as the comic store market goes.

Tomorrow: The advantage that COLLECTED LETTERS has over Secret Project I.


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.