Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #413 (October 29th, 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.


Three weeks later, I'm making a concerted effort to actually make it to the bottom of the pile of mail, I'm going to lead off with that this time and then move on to updates on my (non) progress on the Secret Projects.

This is mail only in the most technical sense: two sample issues of THE 99 NINETY-NINE that came in with Diamond Dateline from Teshkeel Media Group. This is the Muslim super-hero comic book that I had read about a while ago. Part of me thinks that I should at least do a pin-up of one of the characters or volunteer to do a cover but, frankly, I find the whole thing kind of suspect since the "99" is a reference to the 99 attributes of God, an area of Islamic belief that, to me, swerves dangerously in the direction of blasphemy. I can certainly get behind the idea of God being The Knowing, as an example. But if you start treating The Knowing as a thing separate from God, one of God's "emanations" then, to me, you are "joining gods with God" albeit from the other side of the equation. And then to take those emanations and have them incarnate in "gems of power" which give their owners super-powers which duplicate the attributes of God…well, at that point I think you're a long way from Islamic "home".

Still I thought it was worth mentioning.

A couple of letters from Scott Berwanger, one dated August 18 and the other September 27.

"But as I recall, one day not long after that misplaced childish glow had abated, finding myself on the cusp of becoming a master myself, I realized that the Print On Demand model was for the cliques, not the masters. Had I had a revelation? Or was I putting the child to bed?

"It isn't an arrogant sort of thing at all. All it means is that I have matured, or perhaps cracked the master code, and that, although I am really still in the domain of the gates of my life (herein lies a hope for longevity), it's been made immaterial, this thing about the public perception. We have all been made small by the mercilessness of technology, and there is nothing any of us can do to change that. There are no more big hits."

I'm afraid I would disagree with that. Dave Petersen's MOUSE GUARD started as a Print On Demand book and is now a certifiable big hit in the comic-book field. I got Andy at Carry-On Books to pull out $50 worth of comic books that he considered to be the best things coming out right now and/or his best-selling titles (just to see what environment I was jumping into) and MOUSE GUARD was in there. That has to tell you something.

"My only hope for genuine expression now comes from boxed-up batches of mini-comics; that would be the only possible true record of Anubis developed in real-time, as a solo flight. The printed pages of the digital version would turn yellow as I charged into the night with the rest of the story, and it would all be an incongruous tangle dispersed unevenly in bombardments every so often. I'd be struggling to remind them that I lived.

"So I've resolved to redesign the box, making it more like a shoebox than a slipcover, and hoping for the best. If I take my time, it should be feasible. And so it will be done in SIX volumes, and not ten, or sixteen. That's the original vision without any compromises. And perhaps one day when my breath has become soft yet deeper, ANUBIS will appear as a set of six bound tomes. A more refined, but less manageable design, something that would serve more as a summing up, not so much a record of time. But it would come to me as no surprise if, in the end, I chose not to bother with that conventional version, and let things be – taking the opportunity to move further into unexplored territory, rather than getting ANUBIS digitally adapted. I'll probably still be able to make comics by then. That's not something easily taken away from someone like you or me."

No, the ability to make comics doesn't get taken away, but the ability to produce them quickly – which is really the core element of successful comic books: not only being able to produce them but being able to produce pages in sufficient volume to hold an audience between issues -- does erode as you move from your thirties into your forties. The idea that you will always be able to produce comics at the same pace originates in the sense of immortality that everyone in their twenties and thirties possesses. "I will always be like this." Well, no you won't. The decision to do CEREBUS as a monthly until I was 46 was a decision only a twenty-three year old could make.

"For now I don't have time for digital justice. There is too much writing and drawing to do. It will likely have to be work farmed out to some wire-head by an old man such as myself, or not be done at all. And I don't think I will have anything to regret, not with a life as fully lived as my own. As a boy, happy wild-eyed and feral; as a young man, rebellious and lustful; as a grown man, fulfilled with his work, and still just as much the rebel as when he was young, if not a bit more subtle over the matter. It brings a smile to my face, this promise of privacy and shadow. That, and a mysterious dream. And all of this joy and love of what I do in my home, is the song of a craftsman.

"Or did I mistake that for the way to start stretching a canvas?"

A little too lyrical for my sensibilities, Scott. I can only reiterate that drawing comics in your forties is a very different deal from drawing them in your thirties and if you leave too much of ANUBIS to be completed in your forties, you're asking for trouble, speaking from experience. At the age of 51, I'm hoping that I have enough juice left to produce a bi-monthly title for an indefinite period of time but monthly is definitely beyond me at this point – and, really, was beyond me for at least the last two years of CEREBUS. I would hate to think that ANUBIS would never get done because you underestimated the facts in the matter, as I did.

Then the September 27 letter:

"Well it hasn't been long since I first logged on to your blog & mail site. And I must thank you for releasing me from the burden of knowing you as a `friend'. Being the silly, kind-hearted soul that I am, it has been all too often that I stumble into someone's life only to find that I have unwarily complicated my own beyond the point of comfort. Something to keep in mind for the future, I guess. So, it's two points for a renewed sense of caution. I seem to recall you being of the opinion that one should never fully trust another. And given your political loyalties, well…I think I need not say more. "

Well, yes, that's the problem I've always found with your team. "Friend" is always in quotation marks, pending absolute capitulation to Marxist-feminism as the quid pro quo for becoming a friend. No thanks. To reiterate: you didn't stumble into my life. You know nothing about my life and I know nothing about yours. We both have a shared respect and interest in the success of the comic book medium and (to one degree or another) the industry and that's all that we have in common. Unfortunately, your team always wants to get this all wound up in emotional constructs like friendship, still labouring under the delusion that everyone is, at heart, a Marxist-feminist like yourself. The ANUBIS experiment is, to me, valuable because it potentially serves as an option for wannabe's as to how to bring their work to market. That's the extent of my interest in you, Scott. I've learned through hard experience not to trust emotion-based people any further than I can throw them.

"Wanted to drop you a line, though, and give you the update on ANUBIS."

Tomorrow: Scott's update on ANUBIS


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.