Monday, October 01, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #385 (October 1st, 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.


Letter from Steve Jackson of Steve Jackson Games. Remember? I wanted to see about a CEREBUS role-playing game? When I was talking to John Kovalik and he was suggesting that I could do a supplementary game to his MUNCHKIN game – which he later sent to me and thanks, John! -- he mentioned Diamondback cards. Sure I could send him some Diamondback cards. I forget how mythical they are to guys who arrived late. When I sent the letter to Steve telling him I was hoping we could work something out, I thought what the heck and threw a couple of decks in for him as well. Yeah. You guessed it. He thought I was pitching him Diamondback. I wouldn't pitch Diamondback to my worst enemy. So, it's a good thing I'm not exactly banking on getting rich off of a role-playing game.

And then a letter from another Steve, Steve LeBlanc:

Dear Mr. Sim,

Re: Dear James/Jim

I'll try to keep this brief. A friend of mine passed along the link to your blog after listening to my experience working on this year's Paradise Con and Joe Shuster Award posters. You had me in stitches. I've collaborated with Jim off and on for a little over 20 years and long enough to still call him Jim, so I should know better but I've grown a few extra veins in my head these past few weeks. After assembling the Con poster, I thought I was done but he must have pissed someone off and asked me to assemble the Awards poster as well. I said no but he came back a week later to ask again. Luckily I was sick at the time and wasn't answering my phone. He then went to Paul McCusker who was going to colour the poster to do the job. I don't know if you know Paul all that well from your ORB days, but he's one of the nicest, most mild-mannered guys around but after a week of "tweaking" he'd had enough and gave up.

No, I don't remember Paul much from the ORB days, but he did the computer colour on the Sum Burger logo I did for Brian Moore's movie, DEMON JOE and, yes, he is a very sweet, even-tempered guy. I got the Sum Burger hat and t-shirt in the mail a couple of weeks ago, already in a sealed plastic container for the Archive. So, that means the movie's done. I'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, I had recovered from my cold and Jim got a hold of me to do the final "tweaks" and take over the colouring. Despite the fact that I had absolutely no time and no patience for the task, I decided to take one for the team and do it. A few days later, hoping it was too close to the deadline…

Hahaha. Too close to the deadline? With Jim/James? Okay, now we're even. You made me laugh, too.

…I sent the coloured version and received a three-page reply with changes. I wish I had saved the evidence for that early history of the Shuster Awards story you joked about but I was so incensed and insulted I've long since deleted it.

Oh, you should never do that. I can tell you from long experience that the things that piss you off the most at the time are the things that make you laugh the hardest years later. I've got a letter here that Jim sent 29 January 1976 c/o Gene Day (I was staying at Gene's place) re: my "I'm God" script that says:

Do me a favour…reduce this script to eight pages immediately as I'd like to assign it this Sunday February 1st for ORB #7 (Sci-Fi issue). A last minute cancellation by Don Marshall (due to other commitments) has left an eight-page opening in #7. I know it's a hassle to rework a script a third time [emphasis mine] but I'd really like to use this in the issue. The nine-page rewrite was a knockout and I especially liked the 2,000-year-old comment about nectarines (a point Mel-taken)! BPX the eight page back to me on Saturday, reverse the charges if necessary.

Can you imagine? I had already taken a five-pager and turned it into a nine-pager and now he wanted it cut back to eight pages. He would have BPXed (Bus Parcel Express – this was way before FedEx) it to Gananoque on the 29th which left me all day on the 30th to rework the entire script. Of course issue 7 never came out and the story later appeared in STAR*REACH, STAR*REACH'S GREATEST HITS and STAR*REACH CLASSICS. I had this aptitude for pleasing editors. Once. They always liked one thing I wrote and after that nothing measured up. "Reverse the charges if necessary". I have yet to get paid a nickel and he wants me to pay to have the script BPXd back to him. What a funny, funny editor. Sure I can laugh now.

I told him I'd do some of the changes but not all and also to stop doing these stupid jam posters or learn to use photoshop yourself. As Gabriel Morrissette said, "I don't want to be his pencil".

Good line. That's Gabriel. Wasn't that a great moment at the Joe Shuster Awards this year when he chivalrously bounded up on stage to assist Nicola Scott and Gail Simone to pronounce the nominees for the best French language comic book? Speaking of which: if you're going to get an Aussie and a Yank to do the French language awards, spell the names of the nominees phonetically for them, people. Except for the handful of French language countries and former French colonies it's pretty much a dead language. These folks didn't grow up with French all over their cereal boxes like we did. They did the same thing to poor Jill Thompson last year. Just sadistic.

The changes were sent, only to have some further "tweakings" asked for. I'm done. I'm finishing up a story for COMIC EYE (Great cover by the way, though I think Bernie went a bit overboard on the red) that Jim wrote and that's it. Personally, I like the guy and wish him no ill will but professionally, I have to learn to just say "no" and mean it. I don't know what compelled me to write you and I hope I didn't take up too much time with my tale, but I just had to say thanks for making me laugh. Have a good day.


Steve LeBlanc

PS. I'm the same Steve who had the enviable task of working on your ALI BABA layouts. If I ruined them, I apologize.

Ruining anything of mine from 1975 would be quite a task. No, you did the best you could with what you were given. Better you than me.

Now to be fair to Jim/James, he gave me my copy of the Shuster Awards Limited Edition Print at TCAF, signed by me, Paul McCusker, Darwyn Cooke you and Ruth Tait and it came out pretty darned good. EXCELLENT in fact. You'll have to pry my copy out of my cold, dead fingers, let's put it that way.

As I've said to a few of the other guys, I think we just have to run Jim/James relays. Jim's got his list of people and you work with him until you've had enough and then he has to move on to the next guy. Just tell him that right from the git-go. And make sure that he knows that he can't come back once he's crossed the line. If he thinks he can keep coming back, he will keep coming back. As I told him with the Shuster poster the first year, this is what you're getting, it's this or nothing. I told Todd that with the SPAWN 10 script. If I can tell Todd, I can tell anybody.

Don't cut him TOO MUCH slack but cut him SOME slack. Who knows if there would even be a Canadian comic book community without ORB? And in my case, I learned what not to do from ORB – without those lessons, CEREBUS might not have made it past issue 3. So I try to just get as much perverse satisfaction out of trying to give him EXACTLY what he wants as I can.

PPS: I'm sending along a copy of my latest work TURISTA MENU in case you're interested. I hope you enjoy it.

The wraparound cover's a knockout, although a little out of focus. Of the four stories ("Code Name Pearl: A `Riva' Derci" "Giacomo" "Dante e Beatrice" and "Whispered Thoughts on a Spring Day") I'd have to say that I liked "Dante e Beatrice" the best.

It's a very interesting idea to do a comic book in the form of a menu (Antipasto, Primo, Secondo e Dolce) and to do a comic book in the form of a tribute to a favourite country – in your case, Italy. The first one's more of an anecdote, an appetizer, so that's appropriate. If you're going to do a cute girl strip, though, she has to be cute. Your line is still a little unfinished for that. Your use of the photos in "Giacomo" and "Whispered Thoughts…": why doesn't that work? It was probably one of the earliest comic-book structural problems that I was aware of when Kirby first tried doing photo collage and then Neal Adams tried the same thing. Drawings and photos combined just don't work. It makes the drawing look completely artificial. You can trace the photo (as you evidently did with various panels in "Dante e Beatrice") and that completely changes the balance. The drawings aren't fighting with the backgrounds anymore. But, for the life of me, I can't figure out why that is.

Some good lines in here too:

Fr. Bruno: No, no, Dante. It's mi piace, not mi amore. You can like a Lambourgini but you can't love a Lambourgini.

Dante: Why not? Don't you love this duomo?

Fr. Bruno: No, I like the duomo very much. Molto buono. But you Canadians, you spend so much time loving inanimate objects. It's no wonder you have trouble with your relationships.

It's funny and informative at the same time. That's a very good combination in a comic-book story. I liked this exhange, too:

Beatrice: Ah, Raphael. Now there was a man.

Dante: Yes. A great artist.

Beatrice: That's not what I meant.

Thanks for the copy! People interested in taking a look can check out


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.