Friday, September 28, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #382 (September 28th, 2007) - "Gary Groth (Part 1)"


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.






23 August 07


Hi. Jeff Smith has been shooting his mouth off again. I'll be answering his latest batch of delusions as recounted in Bryan Talbot's new book on the Blog & Mail September 13 and I figured I might as well go back to the beginning and demonstrate that the man is incapable of telling the truth.

I can't find my copy of the Trilogy Tour issue (#218) anywhere. I tried calling your 800 number but it can't be accessed from Canada. Can you fax me Jeff's version of this section in READS as recounted in his interview? It's right near the end where he says that I had depicted him in issue 186 as being down on his knees, begging me not to give away Vijaya's secret. As you can see from the attached, I never wrote anything remotely like that.

I really thought I had put an end to this crap in Columbus five years ago when he came up to the table and asked, "So where are the gloves?" and I told him, "Back at the hotel" and that's all he had to say on the subject.

Hopefully this will finally put an end to it.



PS. Thanks as well for not cutting Langridge's favourable remarks about me in the latest issue. That's a first.


August 24, 2007

Dear Dave--

Here you go, I assume this I what you're looking for.

I have not read Talbot's book yet, so I have no idea how he's incorporated Jeff or what Jeff said into the book, but I'm sorry this nonsense continues. I'm happy to help you (or Jeff) in terms of providing factual information for your use. Personally, I think you guys should settle it in the ring, but wait about 10 years to do it. Then, you'll be about Rocky's age, which would make it all that much more fun. lf you don't mind, I'm not going to scrutinize the issues carefully enough to take sides unless one of you sues the other.

Re not cutting Langridge's favorable comments about you in Journal interview: You're welcome. It's not that I didn't want to, mind you, but after spending so many years deleting favorable opinions about you, my conscience finally got the better of me. And it wasn't that I only wanted to do my part in limiting favorable comments about you in the public sphere (although admittedly that played a large part in it), but there were space considerations to think of -- those damned creators would fall into a rapture whenever your name came up and would prattle on about your genius. it was embarrassing. I had to spend 20 minutes wrestling them back to another subject. Really.

I will look forward to your rejoinder. If I can be of any further assistance, let me know.



[Excerpt of attached text:

SMITH: There's not much to tell. A lot of it was based on Dave's infamous CEREBUS #186 where he published his little "tract" about women sucking the life blood out of men, and how they can't "think", they can only "feel". He put Vijaya and I [sic] into that issue. That was unacceptable to me. He was crossing a line that he had been warned not to cross.

SPURGEON: He talked to you about it beforehand?

SMITH: He was writing [it] about the time he came out to California to stay with us during the first APE show. The night he arrived, Dave sat down on the couch opposite us and said, "Let me tell you what color the sky is in my world." Then he proceeded to lay out this horrible, upside-down, conspiracy-theory view of the world. Vijaya and I sat there, and at first we talked with him about it. We were like, "Wow. You almost have a point, sort of, but it's upside down there at the end." And he goes on for hours! Droning on and on…

SPURGEON: Dave can talk.

SMITH: Now I knew what it must've been like to be trapped in Waco listening to David Koresh! Vijaya and I were rocking back and forth, going, "Can we please go to the bathroom now?" I'm making light of it but it was really offensive stuff, and there was no arguing with him. Finally I said, "Dave, if you don't shut up right now, I'm going to take you outside and deck you."

SPURGEON: Really? Wow!

SMITH: It was that serious. Well, he shut up. There was dead silence, and he squinted his eyes. He took a drag off his cigarette, and that was it. We went on with our weekend and forgot about it. At least I did.

To read Dave Sim's version of events, go to: ]


24 August 07

Dear Gary

Acerbic as always.

No, everyone doing a COMICS JOURNAL interview knows the unwritten rule, you are better off not mentioning Dave Sim, but if you do mention Dave Sim, you can say something nice about his work but it has to be accompanied by a veiled reference to his running a Nazi concentration camp for women and/or being clinically insane. In spite of his status as a completely worthless and abhorrent example of a human being, he did do some good comics. That was the "first" I was talking about – no mention of my being a Nazi or clinically insane, just something that Andrew had learned from studying my work.

Naturally enough, you cut it off pretty quickly with "Right, he was quite masterful at that, yes". You weren't going to go out on a limb and ask, "Well, how was the way Dave Sim set up a gag different from the way gags had been set up in comic books to that point?" The past tense and "at that, yes" communicate quite effectively that the storytelling skill being discussed was a) long ago and b) the exception to Dave Sim's mediocrity in all other areas (although the use of the term "masterful" is going to give all TCJ apparatchiks whiplash: absolutely no precedent for Dave Sim being "masterful" at anything except lettering). Reading between the lines, Andrew's read enough COMICS JOURNAL to know that you always need to switch to Gilbert Hernandez if you want Gary to take your point and once you get to Gilbert (or Jaime or Dan Clowes or Chris Ware) there's no going back to any previous reference.

Still, it wouldn't have taken much to just edit it down to the Gilbert reference or to change "masterful" to "sort of good at". After fourteen years in exile from the ranks of decent human beings and "only good at lettering" it was nice to have a glint in the darkness, however transitory and however illusory (and I assume that it will prove to be both).

Likewise, I assume that everyone is going to continue to be on Jeff Smith's side. I want to illustrate that the facts don't support that position, in the same way that I have Jeff Tundis run the [Fifteen] Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast at the front of each Blog & Mail entry to illustrate that our society needs to be set up in such a way to disproportionately favour women over men in order to create the illusion of equality and that the illusion of equality is not the same thing as equality. Six years after first compiling them in "Tangent" no one has been able to refute either their impossibility or the fact that they are diametrically opposed to equal treatment of the two genders and they are still known as "Dave Sim's abhorrent views on women". But, I always think that adhering to reality rather than fantasy is important, particularly if – as in these two cases – I'm the only one willing to do so.

I appreciate you getting back to me so quickly. I would've bet dollars to donuts that in your new stature (and congratulations, by the way) as the Publishing Lion of the Emergent Graphic Novel in Mainstream Bookstores, fabled in story, song and newspaper article (the NATIONAL POST, anyway) that you would delegate the task of dealing with a fanzine publisher like myself to an underling.

No, this is all I needed. Just the facts, ma'am. I wouldn't expect you to be hearing from Jeff Smith. The last thing he was ever interested in, in my experience, was the facts.

Yrs. Aussi



August 24, 2007

Dear Dave --

I think you're letting your paranoia get the better of you. Let me, first, for the record, say that I have never once edited out any favorable reference to you in a Journal interview -- or anywhere else in the Journal -- for that reason. And the only reason I add that qualifier is that there may have been an instance somewhere in those 250 some-odd issues where a reference to you was cut, but certainly not because it was favorable. Never.

(The paragraph in my last fax was, as you undoubtedly gleaned, a less than masterful use of sarcasm.)

Your implication that the Journal's (or my) bias is echoed by oo acquiesced to by creators we interview is fallacious in so many ways I don't know where to start. But, let me start anyway.

a) Creators we interview for the Journal do not follow any rules, certainly not ones we set down, unwritten or otherwise.

b) This is belied by the fact that we've run any number of positive reviews of your work, many in your post-Nazi phase;

c) It is also belied by our eagerness to run the occasional text piece by you in the magazine -- and the open invitation still stands, which wouldn't be the case if there was a blanket editorial policy to expurgate favorable comments about you from and present you in the worst possible light in our pages:

d) It's also belied by my request to interview you, post Cerebus 300 (which you politely turned down), not to mention the fact that you may be the most interviewed creator in the magazine's history (a dubious distinction, I know).

I don't believe that the word that was italicized or emphasized in the printed version of my line "Right, he was quite masterful at that, yes," so your own choice to emphasize it puts a coloration on my one sentence reply to Roger that was never intended or, indeed, conveyed — to anyone but you, which reflects more your bias, than mine.

A more generous, not to mention more accurate, interpretation, would be that the interviewer was merely concurring with the interview subject that yes, Sim's comic timing in Cerebus was masterful. Was being further proof of conspiracy, but accurate in the event since to the best of my knowledge, you have since stopped drawing Cerebus, for which the past tense is required, as in, "Fellini's use of dream imagery was masterful" -- was, because he did it in the past and is no longer doing it.

As to the unwritten Journal law that the interview subject must quickly switch from Sim to a Hernandez or some other politically approved cartoonist, I can put this to Andrew who, I hope, is courageous enough to give us an honest answer.

Although I'm still capable of being a bit acerbic now and again, and may even have given in to the temptation here, I want you to know I'm quite serious about not slyly slanting anything in the magazine to your detriment. I would consider engaging in the kind editorial sleight of hand that you suggest has been a longstanding pattern to be underhanded. If I want to give somebody a poke in the ribs, I won't hide it under a veil; unfortunately, I'm not that subtle. You should know me well enough that if I want to criticize someone, I'll come out and do so straightforwardly. Unless I have signed a legal document prohibiting me from doing so.

And I'd hope you know me well enough to know that.

I understand that you feel embattled. I often feel the same way, but I try not to let it poison my perceptions more generally, to wit: I don't necessarily think everyone will be on Jeff's side, and if it happens to fall that way -- assuming you could measure it -- it wouldn't necessarily be for the intellectually illegitimate reasons you think. Personally, I suspect most fans of your respective work won't take the trouble to take sides because neither the issue by itself nor its ramifications is that important. For what it's worth, I understand your need to set the record straight.

Also, for what it's worth, when I told Jeff that you'd be responding to whatever he was quoted as saying in Talbot's book (I still haven't seen it) -- I'm in touch with Jeff because he's drawing covers to Walt Kelly's Our-Gang book and designing Pogo -- he asked me to pass this onto you:

"Well, next time you talk to Sim, tell him to calm down. don't have any bad feelings about him anymore. He can write whatever he wants."

I wish I could revel in my status as Publishing Lion of the Emergent Graphic Novel, but that might imply that it's not a struggle every fucking day -- which it is.

Truth to tell, I delegated finding and Xeroxing the relevant pages of Jeffs interview, but there are some tasks too important to pass to an underling, such as writing to my old sparing partner.






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.