Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #404 (October 20th, 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.


Okay, here we are at the TCAF (Toronto Comic Art Festival) substrata, so I'm closing in on my two-month gap between events and when I get to write about them. Talk about weird coincidences. I picked up ELEPHANTMEN #10 at the Beguiling. Still a great comic. Ask for it by name. The last line of which was "…and some end in tears."

Well, it turns out that the winner of the Doug Wright Award for Best Book this year was Joe Ollman ("an artist who lives and speaks French poorly in Montreal, Quebec") with This Will All End in Tears. It's a great book which he was nice enough to autograph to me when I bought a copy after the ceremony "To Mr. Dave Sim Thanks so much for all of your work over the years. You have been a great influence on me." It's a 164-page squarebound trade paperback. What was particularly interesting was that I decided to read some of it Saturday morning since there was a good three hours between my pre-dawn prayer and when TCAF would re-open and ended up reading the whole thing right through. Five stories. Each one more depressing than the last. I mean, seriously depressing in the way that only Real Life can be this depressing on an anecdotal basis. So with each story, I'm thinking I really have to ask him about this when I see him at the show today. Is this exactly how the episode happened? Is this a relative? A friend? Are they okay now? Have you seen them since this happened?

Well, it wasn't until I got to the back page that I found out, all of them are just stories that he made up. I literally couldn't believe it. I mean he has the avant garde autobio riffs down to a science, the pacing, the intonation, the narrative voice. Nope. Just stories where he saw something and extrapolated it into a complete work of fiction. I really can't recommend it highly enough, especially "Oh Deer" and "Hanging Over". Check it out at You'll be so relieved when you find out that none of it actually happened. And hello to Elizabeth, his breathtakingly beautiful daughter who was at the ceremony with him (I've been celibate for ten years, folks. Believe me, I know from "breathtakingly beautiful")

I've already mentioned how Bryan Talbot's book got the weekend off to a bad start for me. Oddly enough about a half hour later, a guy named Aaron showed up and reminded me about one of the three signings that Jeff Smith and I did together. We had done a jam print of Cerebus and Phoney Bone that we would do sketches on and autograph. Aaron was at the first signing at the Silver Snail on Queen St. (where it is to this day) and then ended up leaving his bag full of autographed Bones and Cerebuses and the jam print in a cab. So he phoned his friend, Mike Manuel, who was working at the short-lived Silver Snail on Yonge North where the next signing was held to find out if he could get a replacement prints and comic books.

"And did we do a replacement print for you?"

"Oh, yeah, and new sketches and everything. I've still got it."

Well, that was nice of us, I thought. I jotted down the details on an envelope someone had given me with two articles on Harry and Now & Then Books. I brought Jeff back to Kitchener after those signings. It had been in the late fall or early spring and, having already tipped Jeff to the idea of shaking hands with everyone when they come up to the table (the trick I got from former Prime Minister, then Liberal leader Jean Chrétien at one of his Straight from the Heart signings) I then warned him that it was a good idea to wash your hands after shaking hands with that many people, especially during flu season. I don't know if it was the power of suggestion but by the time we got back to Kitchener he was sick as a dog.

The only other joint signing we ever did was in Puerto Rico (of all places).

The other Doug Wright Award is for Best Emerging Talent and this year all of the nominees were female. Well, that's not true. Where's my COMICS JOURNAL? Who was the token guy? Keith Jones, right. I had a sneaking hunch that Keith wasn't going to win and guess what? I was right. Coincidentally, there was only one female nominee for Best Book (Jillian Tamaki for her work on Gilded Lilies and Nog a Dod with Marc Bell).

The winner for Best Emerging Talent was Rebecca Kraatz with her book "House of Sugar" a collection of strips that had appeared (most of them) in The Coast, a Halifax, N.S. newspaper. They ran some slides of her work while they were introducing it and she got compared to Lynda Barry which was either auspicious or ominous in my case since I was a fan of Lynda Barry back in the old (whatever the name of that magazine was that reprinted all of the political cartoons and a few underground newspaper strips and which is now long gone) and then I gradually found her unreadable. I'd have to say that Rebecca is from the "early, funnier ones" Lynda Barry tradition (and, to be honest, my own experiences with Barry's work go back to the mid-90s: it might be completely different now). She's very hard on religion and has the usual assortment of "fill ins" where belief in God would ordinarily go. Very female, which is refreshing. None of that "I'm a badass truck driver" stuff which is most of what you get from women these days. When I bought her book and had her autograph it for me, she reminded me of Marilyn Monroe a bit. How female? She describes the musical group The Fleetwoods in one of her strips as "Two girls and a boy who fell from Paradise to sing through card radio speakers. They sing about true things like two figurines on a mantel coming to life or a white cloud that cries." You can't get much more female than that. Even Neil Gaiman at his most androgynous couldn't write a line like that. The back cover strip is great "I cry at the end of all 1940s movies, even if the story was uplifting. I ask myself, `Why?' but the answer does not come." My guess would be because she knows that that's all gone now and being from the extreme female end of the spectrum she realizes that it's the female equivalent of trading your birthright for a mess of feminist pottage. She'll never have what women had in the 1940s, all she'll have is Rosie the Riveter leftovers and she never even got to vote for it. None of them did. She got some help with the book design from Hope Larson who was another nominee in the Best Emerging Talent category. You can order it either at or

So obviously Rebecca and Hope are friends, so I was wondering what that's like when you're both nominated and the other one wins. The next day I was drawn to Bryan Lee O'Malley's table where he was selling copies of his Scott Pilgrim books. The first I heard about these was from Chester and the first he heard about them was when Scott McCloud was in town and made a point of having to go and see Honest Ed's (which is right next to the Beguiling at Markham and Bloor) because he had to see some of the Discount Emporium Kitsch that Bryan had used in a couple of scenes in his book.

As I've mentioned previously (at least I think I've mentioned it previously), I hadn't been in Honest Ed's in, literally, decades until I dragged Chester to the Eaton Center one time (which is right around the corner from the bus station) because I needed new running shoes. And we went to Foot Locker, I think it was, and I wasn't getting waited on and Chet just says at one point, "These shoes are like, $100. Why don't you just buy a pair at Honest Ed's?" And I really didn't have a good answer – or for that matter a bad answer – for that one. So, seeing as how I wasn't getting waited on, I said, Well, yeah, let's go to Honest Ed's. And I got a pair of running shoes for, like, $19. I had to go rooting through a big pile of running shoes looking for my size, there was only one style to pick from and I had to try them on myself but, badda bing badda boom, Dave saves $80 (which is a lot of cans of tuna fish in the straitened circumstances of the Pariah King of Comics). I was feeling so magnanimous I even offered to let Peter Birkemoe sell my old running shoes on his Art and Books website. And he magnanimously told me where there was a nearby trash receptacle (OUTSIDE the store).

Anyway, that was the funny part is that Chet buys virtually all of his material needs at Honest Ed's and he had no idea what Scott McCloud was talking about. Kitsch? What kitsch? Who looks at the décor when they go to Honest Ed's? At this point? Everyone who reads SCOTT PILGRIM, evidently.

Monday: Meanwhile, Back at Bryan Lee O'Malley's Table


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.