Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #353 (August 30th, 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.


14 August 07 -

Dear Kit Pasold:

Thanks for your fax yesterday. As you can see from the attached, a) I at least got some mileage for an upcoming Blog & Mail posting – which I happen to be writing at the moment -- out of it (and hopefully helped you to establish some early "buzz" as well) and b) I'm afraid I'm still more than a bit wary. If it's basically a video version of WIZARD magazine, I'm definitely not interested. I think I would actually have to see what you mean by a "stylized documentary" – that is, I would have to actually see an episode or at least see and hear what the non-interview parts are going to be like before I could agree to participate.

If you have any footage that you could show me at TCAF, I'll be glad to have a look at it and if it's definitely good (in my opinion) I'll be happy to give you some interview time at the show. If it isn't definitely good (again, in my opinion), I'll have to think about it… or if it is borderline bad or it's absolutely terrible (again, in my opinion) then you'll just have to do without me.

I come down to Toronto reasonably often and I could meet you at The Beguiling or maybe at your studios to look at footage if and when you have something to show me if nothing is going to be ready at TCAF.

So, it's not a definite no and it's not a definite yes and it's not even a definite maybe. But, I'm afraid that's the best I can do with what I have to go on.


So, I get that all typed out and print out the Blog & Mail references to INK, throw them in the fax machine. And the line's busy. Yep, this is television all right.

Okay, onward and upward.

Hey! Remember Mike Kitchen of SPUD & HARRY? Did you know he has a brother who is also a self-publishing cartoonist? It's true! Blair Kitchen. I had a nice chat with both of them at the Paradise Toronto Comicon and Blair was nice enough to give me the first two issues of his comic book THE POSSUM. As he writes on the inside front cover of issue 1:

I was in grade ten and a friend and I were killing time in English class, inventing the lamest super-hero ever. He had no super-strength, he couldn't fly, he didn't have super speed or heat vision…His special power was that he had no vital signs. Bad guys could beat the heck out of him, until they were positive he was dead. They would check his pulse to make sure, and then when their backs were turned, he'd attack them from behind, and the beatings would begin all over again.

After working for other people and drawing the way other people tell you to draw, doing something your way, and for yourself feels so good. No one can tell me to redo a hand, or say that Stuart [Spankly, the Possum's alter-ego]'s eyes are off-model. I am the one who calls revisions, and I am the one who gives the final approval. I'll take all the credit, as well as all the blame.

He's got a great cartooning style that reminds me a lot of Sergio Aragones – and you really can't get much better than that as far as easy-reading cartoon styles go -- and considering that, as he says, this is really the lamest super-hero ever (playing possum, get it?) he's really got that Chester Gould forward momentum thing nailed. And what's more the first issue is 72 pages long. You read that right, fanboy: 72 honking pages for five bucks U.S. Lots of good physical comedy and something I don't think anyone else has come up with before – the Possum's alter-ego, Stuart Spankly, is an aspiring comics artist, so in addition to all the regulation super-hero parody stuff, you've got lots of great parodies of the life of the aspiring cartoonist at comic conventions and in comic book stores. And there's a t-shirt available! Be the first kid on your block. The second issue's story is only 24 pages but it has an even more hectic pace than the first one as the Possum takes on a marauding gang of midget Mexican wrestlers in their souped-up Volkswagon bug. EL OPOSUM Y LOS 7 DEADLY DWARFS! as it says on the cover. Depraved, politically incorrect, action-filled humour the way you like it. Click on and check it out.

This title is a good example, to me, of something that should have nice, long shelf life in the comic-book stores, in the same way that ZAP Comics was a perennial seller in the head shops. Issue 2 is continued, but issue 1 is self-contained. Is there any sensible way to make that a separate category in the stores? I think there has to be a lot of Wednesdays when nothing comes in that's to a particular customer's taste or that he has checked off for his pull file when it might be worth having a rack of self-contained comics to browse through. Like, he's not looking for a graphic novel and he's not looking for another regular title to add to the regular titles he's already got, but he's come all this way and he doesn't really want to leave empty-handed. For the sake of $5 US or $5.50 Canadian he gets a good funny 72-page comic to read when he gets home. Likewise the customer who isn't really a comics fan per se.

Of course that's a problem that would have to be tackled at both ends of the equation. On the self-publisher side, one of the problems with shelf life that they usually aren't aware of is that the average traditional comic book doesn't "wear" well. That was one of the reasons that I asked Peter and Chris at the Beguiling about that with my secret project. Pick out a few formats that "wear" well in the long term (because the Beguiling is a Fantagraphics/Drawn & Quarterly store a lot of their stock that is still sitting out at cover price can be there for literally years at a time – which is, ideally, what Blair Kitchen is looking for: someone who will display THE POSSUM for years on end). The formats they picked sure didn't include a CEREBUS back issue, let's put it that way. Individual CEREBUS comics are about the worst in terms of shelf life. If your comic book looks like it can still be in mint after it's been picked up and thumbed through by a few dozen people over the course of a year or two, your more apt to find a retailer willing to keep your book in stock at all times. And it really is a buyer's market. The wannabe self-publishers need the retailers a lot more than the retailers need self-publishers.

There's another aspect to that that I'll address when I get to the Steve Peters letter and SPARKY IN LOVE comp somewhere up ahead, but for the time being, it is definitely worth thinking about as a starting self-publisher if you're hand-selling your title to specific stores.

Tomorrow and Saturday: Whence Commeth the Veitchmonster?


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.