Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #388 (October 4th, 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.


One of those sobering moments in my life when I read the front of the latest issue of Robin Snyder's THE COMICS. "I'd Rather Be Me" by Joe Gill.

First, a definite sense of relief. I'll always associate Steve Ditko and Joe Gill's work on their various mystery short stories and on KONGA with my illness last January. ["I loved that ugly monster and tried to get across the bewilderment and loneliness the formerly friendly little lab animal must have felt. Steve (Ditko) interpreted my hurried scripts with a brilliance, producing a menacing creature who wanted to be loved."] I'm still hypnotized by his ability to get so much into each comic-book page, a narrative skill that I'm afraid is sincerely doomed as I wrote in my observations to Joe Field last month. As happens when you're just becoming (as familiar as you SHOULD have been) with the work of a legendary talent, there is always the question lurking in the background.

"Joe Gill IS still alive, isn't he?" I'm pretty sure he is."

So, like I say, relief coupled with anticipation. This should be good. And then the line "originally appeared in our April, 1993 number" below the byline. Robin has no shortage of material on hand, so that only pointed in one direction. Obituary. Sure enough at the bottom of page 2 "Joe Gill, 13 July 1919 – 17 December 2006". He had passed on just a couple of weeks before I had fallen ill. Hard to believe that the whole Best and the Brightest JFK (1917-1963) generation is now in the departure lounge category. JFK, cut down in his prime, would have turned ninety this year.

Something I had missed in my earlier readings of Mr. Gill's biographies, he was carrying on SECRET AGENT CORRIGAN for King Features, Alex Raymond's feature, originally called Secret Agent X-9, originally written by Dashiell Hammett (King Features wanted to compete with DICK TRACY and went all-out in the talent department: the feature never came close to matching TRACY's popularity, which must've tickled Chester Gould no end).

Imagine writing a newspaper feature that Dashiell Hammett started!

As he wrote to Robin back in 1993:

"Oh, yeah. The economics. The Swedes were reprinting the strip for years before King decided to buy new material at a penny or two below top rates and continue the arrangement. Needless to say, I'm not getting rich but it's an enjoyable assignment."

"Steve Ditko and I have enjoyed a special sort of friendship and it's great to see him playing such a major role in the history of the comics. My thanks to you and him for the unexpected tribute in your pages. Though we've always been friends, I didn't think our friend gave praise so generously. Upon receiving Steve's gift of the original art for that issue, I spoke to him to the tune of $5.26, every penny's expenditure of which I enjoyed. I was, and am, touched and grateful."

"These days I'm directing my talents toward being a fantastic security guard (night watchman), armed with no more than a stick to fend off belligerent raccoons."

"I've got a half-finished CORRIGAN in the typewriter and no idea when I'll finish it. I treasure these assignments, my last connection with the world of the living. Or daylight creatures. Besides yourself, old friend."

Most unfortunate that while top retailers like Joe Field are wondering how to get Marvel to get their top writers to put more entertainment in their stories – more story density – one of the last great practitioners of the art was working as a night watchman, but still treasuring the occasional assignment as his "last connection with the world of the living."

There are still some of these guys out there, but pretty soon it's going to be too late. I certainly don't know how to do it, but I keep resolving to give it a try. That's very different from someone who knows instinctively how to do it and who could teach it to others. Dick Giordano, for instance, edited a lot of the Charlton short story work.

Anyway, Joe Gill was one of the best at it, as far as I'm concerned.

Rest in peace: Joe Gill (1919 to 2006).

THE COMICS is available from Robin Snyder, 3745 Canterbury Lane, #81, Bellingham, WA, 98225-1186 USA $28 US $35 foreign for 12 issues.

The co-publishing team of Robin Snyder and Steve Ditko also have a good selection of Joe Gill & Steve Ditko's Charlton mystery title collaborations available in STEVE DITKO'S 160-PAGE PACKAGE ($13 + $2 postage) and (possibly) a few copies left of a selection of KONGA stories published under the title THE LONELY ONE in 1989 ($11 plus $2 postage). Robin doesn't have it listed anymore but he sent me one last year as part of my massive Ditko order so maybe he's got a few he's willing to part with.

Check `em out if you can spare the cash. They're a lot of fun. They don't take any longer to read than today's comic books do, but it SEEMS like they entertain you for hours on end instead of fifteen minutes at a time.

Tomorrow: Toc Fetch Returns!


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.