Monday, October 22, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #406 (October 22nd, 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.


Meanwhile, back at TCAF, I got drawn over to Bryan Lee O'Malley's table and the next table over, I see a book and it has the name Hope Larson on it. And next to it are copies of Rebecca Kraatz's book I had already bought. So, I thought, Oh, okay, let's see what one of the other Best Emerging Talent nominees' work looks like. So I picked up one of the books and started thumbing through it and Hope comes back from wherever she had been and sits down and I asked her about losing to Rebecca and I forget what she said, but she was pretty philosophical about it. Then I asked her about the French in the book since her About the Author page in the back of the book said she had grown up in Asheville, N.C. (which is not exactly a French capital of the world). I think she said her family had lived in France for a period of time when she was very young so she used to be almost completely French and then, as tends to happen in those situations, she lost virtually all of her French in short order when her family moved back to the States. A friend (actually two friends: Rodolphe Guenoden and Laurent Orseau) had done most of the French for her in the book I was looking at. Now Oni Press was licensing a French translation. "I don't really know how that's going to work," she said. Mm. yeah. What do you do, translate all the French into English? Is there some Parisian equivalent of the El in Chicago? And could you slip it by the French without them noticing?

At that point, Bryan Lee O'Malley – in the midst of selling some copies of SCOTT PILGRIM -- leans over and says to her, really flat and toneless-like, "Can I have the change container?" And she sort of half threw it and half dropped it on the table in front of him instead of handing it to him.

Say, I didn't know that Bryan Lee O'Malley and Hope Larson were married!

I flipped back to her bio. Yep. "She and her husband, cartoonist Bryan Lee O'Malley, now live with three cats in a little blue farmhouse near Halifax, Nova Scotia."

So, anyway she told me I could have the copy of GRAY HORSES. Hey, you don't have to tell me twice. It retails for $14.95 and I already had my hand on the 20 in my pocket. She even autographed it. It's definitely from the Drawn & Quarterly (Seth's end of Drawn & Quarterly: black and white and one colour) school. A little bit like Craig Thompson's stuff. She does some interesting things with the tails on her word balloons, using them as a kind of punctuation/ambience/nuance. It's a very subtle effect in keeping with the "slight anecdote" approach, reflecting variously the emotional state of the speaker, the intricacy of the thought being expressed, the emotional impact on the listener. In one wind-swept night-time beach scene the tails actually swirl and billow in the air around the two characters as they gaze out on Lake Michigan ("it's like there's nothing out there. It's like outer space") which really gets the idea across.

At one point the narrator and her friend are discussing a guy who has been showing up out of nowhere, taking her picture and then disappearing. "Is he like, a creepy stalker, or is he cute?" The narrator blushes and smiles. "Ohhh." The friend says, the tail of her word balloon (now black with white lettering) looping sinuously. "I see!"

I could write a few hundred words on the implications for feminism of "creepy stalker" and "cute" being used as a dichotomy, but I won't. Isn't that nice of me? or It's officially a graphic novel so it officially enters the Cerebus Archive right in between David Lapham's STRAY BULLETS and Jason Lutes' JAR OF FOOLS.

So then I moved over to Bryan's table and asked him how long he projected the SCOTT PILGRIM storyline was going to be. He figured six books. The fourth one had just come out. I've wimped out and decided to wait until the story is complete before buying what I hope is the all-in-one trade. Bad Dave! He also had a publication sitting on the table that was a kind of guide to the Toronto and area backdrops that he's used in the SCOTT PILGRIM storyline so I picked that up and started flipping through it. Then he had a run of paying customers, so I pretty much read the whole thing standing there and he didn't once say, "This ain't a library, kid." It was really good. I'll definitely have to get a copy when issue six or the all-in-one trade comes out.

How did I miss Michael Cho all of these years? Well, it would be hard to miss him at TCAF, he filled up the better part of a room with his illustrations and pages. Maybe he hasn't been around that long and is just really, really productive. I was looking at some great duo-shade drawings he had done of back alleys in Toronto and suddenly I hear, "Oh, Wow! DAVE SIM!" You know. Right out loud like that, so that people in the vicinity could hear. At an avant garde comics event. In Toronto. How un-cool is that? And he really didn't care. Told me he was a huge fan, again right out loud.

That was what made me suspect that he hadn't been around for very long. He let me have issue 5 of PAPERCUT with selected drawings and doodles, 2006-2007.

He's a major Iron Man fan even to the extent of having an entire blog devoted to drawings of "Shell-head" ( He's definitely from the Ty Templeton/Darwyn Cooke (they're tied in the hair loss department but Ty has seniority) school which is hit-and-miss territory to be in, career-wise, which I hadn't realized until I read Darwyn's interview in the latest COMICS JOURNAL. There was NO market for it when he started pitching the companies on it and now there's SOME market for it with a handful of names holding down most of the spots. Yeah, I know: Who listens to me? but I really think Michael Cho has the chops for it and I haven't seen productivity like that since Gene Day. Maybe they'll give him a chance and he'll become the next Darwyn. Then I can hold his "OMG! It's Dave Sim!" sketch he did in PAPERCUT over his head, like the handful of letters in the Cerebus Archive from guys shamelessly sucking up to me while vying for "Single Page" spots (and the guaranteed $150) back in the BI-WEEKLY days (no, no names. Eddie Campell has gotten enough grief from me over the years as it is).

Oh, and I bought SPIRIT #8 at The Beguiling. You might remember that I thought – back when I bought issue 1 -- that everyone agreed with me that an updated SPIRIT was a bad idea. Well three Eisner Awards and at least two Shusters later, I'm eating crow. I made a point of butting in at the head of Darwyn's autograph line to congratulate him on the three Eisners and he said something like "How sad a commentary is that? If BATMAN VS. THE SPIRIT is considered the best comic of the year?" He's Canadian all right. So then I had to mime beating him around the head and shoulders, stuck out my hand and repeated, "CONGRATULATIONS ON THE THREE EISNER AWARDS!" a little more emphatically. And this time he just shook my hand and said "Thanks."

Canadians. You just have to know how to treat them.

Seriously, Darwyn, as far as I'm concerned MADE TCAF this year just by making it clear that he was just as comfortable there as he was in San Diego. Huge line-up. I also butted in at the head of Paul Pope's line to ask him how it felt to have his face staring out of every EYE WEEKLY newspaper box in the city. "You tell me," he says. Paul, I was impressed that they listed my birthday this year next to the horoscope in 8 pt. type. That's why I was asking what it felt like to be on the cover.


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:

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Or, you can check out Mars Import:

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Or ask your local retailer to order them for you through Diamond Comics distributors.