Saturday, September 08, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #362 (September 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.







Independence Day, and I'm writing in to say that I might be climbing back on board the self-publishing bandwagon. Amidst all of the vacillations I've been going through over the course of the past eight months or so, I'm starting to feel a little like Hamlet. "To paint or not to paint. That is the question." And what with the apprehensions I've had over self-publishing and all, I realize it's been quite enough…I still like that approach. I've just been trying on a different model for size (the boxed sets) and it's taken me a while to identify its various flaws.

I just look at all those perfect-bound books on my private library shelf and think to myself, "Anubis deserves to be among them. It deserves a dignified presentation." One of the biggest apprehensions I had while shying away from self-publishing in favor of being a mini-comics kid was the notion that I didn't want to chase down fame. And I am still of that temperament. But I am also realizing that, not only is fame relative, there is a big difference between being a movie star or a politician and being a self-publisher. Self-publishing ANUBIS will not likely elicit a "famous" outcome in the conventional sense. I'd like for ANUBIS to possibly belong to a certain kind of comics scholarship. For it to be an obscure masterpiece, for it to have a better chance of being preserved. Not that I want to be immortalized so much as I want for it to have a healthy life span of its own. As a mini-comic, its life will have expired the day that I staple up the last issue, or at least soon thereafter.

As far as digital pre-press is concerned, I think what I need to do is bite the bullet and grow up. Be more accountable for my affairs. Maybe my best strategy would be to decide for ANUBIS to be my only foray into comics, that I can be contented that a 3,200 page story constitutes a sufficient career span, that I can retire from comics after that, and paint in oils well into my autumn years. To be an artist unto my dying day, that is my dream, my American Dream. I think my fantasies about doing another graphic novel after ANUBIS is done have been coloring my approach to the book itself, are a trace of immaturity, and that they need to be eradicated. I'm not living in the moment as I should be, I'm trying to think past the horizon and that's not necessarily the best tack. I need to concentrate more on the task at hand.

It's Independence Day today. A good day to resume the self-publishing track. A good day to say that I am proud to be an American, proud to be a self-publisher, proud to uphold the American Dream.

I like what you have to say here about needing to "bite the bullet and grow up" when it comes to pre-press. I wondered about that when you talked about buying a photocopier to produce the digest sized comics and then make boxed sets out of them. Is that REALLY what you think best serves the book? Or are you letting ignorance of the printing process convince you that you don't want to "go there"? This is one of those things that you always have to be aware of when you are a one-man operation. There can be many parts to the job that you don't like and you'd rather not do, but there should never be any part that you're afraid to do. And if there is, your best bet is to tackle whatever it is that you're afraid of head-on and show yourself that there's nothing to be afraid of.

One of the tough ones there is not being afraid, but having an aversion to something. I certainly had an aversion to the idea of doing the bank reconciliation every month when Gerhard quit. Basically, a bank reconciliation is the same as balancing your chequebook, only doing it for a company instead. I basically decided to get a bookkeeping service. Now, on the one hand, there is a good argument to be made for learning how to do a bank rec and doing it as a form of self-discipline. At the same time, in a one-man operation there are better uses for my time. You always have to remind yourself that you make your money from writing and drawing things that only you can write and draw. The Yellow Pages are full of people who can do a bank reconciliation for a fee.

I open all the bills and I write all the cheques and I closely monitor the bank balance on the company savings account and chequing account and I have a pretty good idea when a cheque is due from Diamond Comics and how much it's going to be for. But, there's always going to be a balancing act between hands-on control of all the business aspects and deciding which business aspects can be "farmed out" so that I have time to do the Blog & Mail which promotes the trade paperbacks and to write and draw new material for possible future publication and commissions for immediate cash to help the ol' cash flow.

And there are degrees of fame. In self-publishing, Image Comics, Richard & Wendy Pini and Jeff Smith and Vijaya Ayer have come the closest to actual Fame but you really need a Mega-Hit movie like Kevin and Peter had to break through to the next level. And even then it tends to be a temporary spike that you have to accommodate rather than a new way of living you have to get used to. But even the limited level of comic-book fame of myself or Terry Moore or folks like that is something that you arguably should be wary of. There you are as famous as each individual reader considers you to be so everything you do and say is magnified. When you publish ANUBIS, you may have only a few thousand readers but there are problem children in any group of a few thousand people and they are your problem in a real sense because YOU are the element THEY have in common. When you are pretty much non-existent in your actual real-world life, having that kind of `public figure' responsibility (and it is a responsibility) strikes a surreal note that never actually goes away. It is always there. You're a complete non-entity but you still have to learn how to be a good famous person for the people for whom you are famous. I can certainly understand wanting to avoid that and postpone it as long as possible. It sounds like about as much fun as it is.

Coming Monday: Scott's July 6 letter

Tomorrow: Christopher Hitchens, Agent of God!


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.