Friday, October 26, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #410 (October 26th, 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.


I really should mention (and hopefully Jeff Tundis can do some scans of these) the "Giants of the North Hall of Fame" inductees besides Rand Holmes.

George Feyer (1921-1967). He was a television cartoon sketch artist. The only one I was aware of. Back in the 50s and early 60s before the structure of television was better understood, it was considered entertaining to have a cartoonist who could sketch as fast as Sergio Aragones do cartoons on camera in response to an interview question or to illustrate a children's story narrative. Hard to believe when you see old kinescopes of it. It's the living incarnation of Dead Air. I wonder how many cartoonists got the bug from watching guys like Feyer "doing their thing"? I wonder if I did?

Doug Wright (1917-1983) still a phenomenon and a total original. I interviewed him for the first issue of the NOW & THEN TIMES back in '72. I had a chance to talk to his widow, Phyllis, at the ceremony. We used to have family friends in Burlington, the town where he lived and worked and he must've lived nearby because I sure recognized a lot of the backgrounds he did from the Guelph Line area. I think Seth and Brad have a bunch of his strips on the website. Check them out. An amazing ink line and an amazing sense of humour.

Albéric Bourgeois (1876-1962) created one of the first comic strips in Canada – evidently, the first Canadian strip to use word balloons regularly Les Adventures de Timothée in 1904. He retired in 1954 which would have made him 78 at the time. Sort of puts me and Gerhard to shame, doesn't it?

Peter Whalley (1921- ) was a favourite of mine in high school, mostly because he illustrated a number of books written by Eric Nicol who used to do parodies that mimicked the flat linear tone of high school text books (which is probably why he was a favourite of mine in high school) and had a very edgy sort of sense of humour for the time (edgy for a Canadian, anyway). "They left in a huff, a favourite means of transportation" is an Eric Nicol line I use to this day. I had no idea Peter Whalley was a self-publisher (or, as the boys would have it, "self-publisher" – you know like a "chapel"). They've got a list of at least four books here. I'm getting to that age where I find it gratifying just to see that there's no year after the hyphen. Congratulations, Peter Whalley, wherever you are!

J.W. Bengough (1851-1923) rose to prominence through the publication of Grip, a humorous weekly magazine he published in Toronto (which would make him a… "self-publisher"… too, wouldn't it?) where he served as editor and cartoonist for 21 years and gave us "a lively visual record of the era of John A. MacDonald and Louis Riel". That might make a nice companion booklet to Chet's Louis Riel, the Riel Cartoons of JW Bengough. I had no idea I only beat my nearest…"self-publishing"…competitor by five years!

I actually went to the party Saturday night at Bar Mercurio which was quiet enough so that even I could hear the conversation. Glommed onto James Waley and Kevin Boyd at the bar, so we ended up forming our own little Torontocon/Shuster Awards clique. Turns out Kevin has gone over to The Dark Side – The Other Bigger Toronto Convention Which Must Not Be Named (ahem Hobbystar). I'm kind of hoping that this brings about a rapprochement between the two sides. "A.G." didn't try to kill Torontocon this year by scheduling a one-day free show the week before and, so far, that's the closest either side has come to "making nice" as long as I've been aware of the situation. It's one of those weird things where it's a natural fit. "A.G." is good at the pop culture, multi-discipline thing and brings people in in their thousands but completely falls down when it comes to the treatment of the comic book guests (I can name two very big names who will never come back to Toronto because of the way they were treated), Canadian comics, comics in general and the dealer's room and Paradise has trouble bringing enough people through the door, but they treat their guests like royalty, they have a solid Canadian comics representation, they're focused on comics in general and all of their dealers tend to go home happy. I don't know all the details and nuances but when you get right down to it, I think there's a very big DUH! in there somewhere.

Mark Askwith came over and joined us which meant we were now the SPACE TV/Torontocon/Shuster Awards clique. We passed an interesting half hour or so going over all of the scandals attached to my name (and Deni's) in Canadian Comics. Mandy Slater. Good heavens. I had completely forgotten Mandy Slater. Chris Claremont and I should BOTH be ashamed of ourselves. Mark came to comics by way of politics where there's an unspoken agreement that access=discretion. No discretion? No access. So, you'll never get the stories out of him and on the record, but boy does he have some good ones to tell. That was when we got into "I can top THAT!" And that's when I figured it was getting to be time to leave.

T.J. Behe who had had a few by that point came up and struck up a conversation and gave me his business card. He's doing a title with Phil Elliott (there's a blast from the U.K. past) called Contraband which will be coming out from Slave Labor "in early `08".

Turned out he used to drive a cab here in town and we started reminiscing about Lulu's. Used to be a K Mart and they gutted the place and turned it into a bar. That's right, a K Mart-sized bar so you know it was the 80s. It was in the Guiness Book of World Records for The World's Longest Bar. I saw Jerry Lee Lewis there, James Brown…a very unhappy Bay City Rollers revival (missed that one did you?), Elvis, Elvis, Elvis (three impersonators). It was absolute heaven for cab drivers since it was way out on the highway so, as he said, wherever the customer was going it was going to cost at least $20 to get there. It wasn't unusual to have 50 cabs lined up at closing time.

The thing that really bothered me was that the place was so huge (how huge was it, Dave?) it was SO huge that if you downed a drink and just walked from one side to the other, you had sobered up by the time you got there. The thing I liked about it was it was mostly civilians who didn't get out much so you could usually get pretty close to the stage without having to step on anyone. I was about ten feet away for Jerry Lee Lewis and James Brown. Anyway, T.J. is probably hoping that I've completely forgotten him (as you always do when you meet someone when you've had a few) and lost his business card, but no such luck, mate. Check out the work in progress at

I came by the Doug Wright Awards table and Jillian Tamaki had just sat down to do her signing (they had all of the nominees do an hour at the table), so I bought a copy of GILDED LILIES a collection of comics and drawings. A few too many of the latter and not enough of the former for my personal preferences and some where it's hard to tell. If you put a bunch of drawings on a page inside of panel boxes, but the drawings don't really seem to form a distinct narrative, is it still comics? Or are they just drawings? Interesting question.

There's a two-pager of seemingly unrelated faces and figures, but when you turn the page, there's a silhouette of all of them with a number attached to each and then over the next two pages, there are typeset descriptions of each of them. Some of my favourites:

4. Gretchen had excessively curly blond hair, a comically high voice, a lock on First Chair trombone. All of which doesn't usually suggest someone who had successfully navigated her way to that Tween-age social apex: The Back (and naturallyBest) Seat on the Bus. She was a firm but benevolent alpha female who kept her small kingdom in check with judgmentally squinty eyes, rarely having to resort to more extreme (or humiliating) tactics. I think we got along because I made her laugh, which, I have to say, felt f--ing fantastic.

18. Stephanie was from Montreal and exuded sex in a way only Montreal girls can.

21. Owen Hargreaves (his real name) is now a very famous soccer player living in Europe. He probably makes millions of dollars and lives a fabulously glamorous lifestyle. I think the girls in elementary could sense his potential because he was generally deemed very crush-worthy. He used to make fun of my name; my mother rather unhelpfully suggested "Owen the Farmer" as a rebuttal.

There are 23 more that are definitely worth the price of admission ($17 US). I even got a nice drawing of a fish in mine. or She's got a book called SKIM coming out that she's working on that he cousin, Mariko Tamaki, is writing which is supposed to be out in March.

TCAF came to an end for me when Suley Fattah came to get me when Julie arrived and they gave me a lift downtown to the bus station. September 5 he faxed me

Call it serendipity, irony or co-incidence, but as of the 28th of August I'm working with the Ministry of the Attorney General [province of Ontario] which is in the SAME building where the pub is that Julie, you and I had drinks after TCAF!!! What a small world, heh?

If you were wondering, my drinks were ginger ale, by the way.

Congratulations, Suley!


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.