Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #428 (November 13th, 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. I'm almost through the mail now. Here's a short letter and clipping from Jeff Lageson.

"Dear Dave –

"Saw this and thought of Going Home…Hoped to see it, won't be happening…bummer that."

The clipping is from THE STRANGER (Seattle's premiere alternative paper) and it's called "Enduring Gatsby: The Whole Thing, Cover to Cover, in One Night". It's a play where one of the characters runs across a ragged old copy of THE GREAT GATSBY in the clutter on his desk and starts reading it aloud. "And doesn't stop". It runs about six hours. As Christopher Frizzelle writes:

"You become convinced that, what with all the things [the actors] are f--king up, they're going to f—k up the end, but then the end comes and the writing is more brilliant than you remember and they don't f—k it up one bit…[Scott] Shepherd, with half a dozen pages to go, stops reading. He just talks—the "five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor," the Dutch sailors looking at the "fresh, green breast of the new world," the smashing up of creatures, the capacity for wonder, the blue lawn, the rolling republic."

That would certainly have been an amazing experience. Coincidentally, the clipping came in the same day as my three signed books from Matthew Bruccoli, so I mentioned it in my thank you fax and offered to send him a photocopy. No word back yet.

Bob Corby sent me a copy of the PANEL book which was supposed to be in with the SPACE Day Prize entries, hoping that it got to me on time, which it did. I'm about halfway through the Day Prize entries at this point and just about ready to do capsule reviews of all of them in the next batch of Blog & Mails.

Seems like a good excuse to plug SPACE, the Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo held annually in Columbus Ohio at the Shriner's Auditorium. In 2008 it will be held on March 1 and 2 and (God willing) I'll be there to hand out the Day Prize short list plaques and the plaque for the Day Prize recipient as usual. Interested Yahoos are welcome to come in the day before (Friday 29 February) for our Mass Tour of the James Thurber House where I plan to read aloud "The Night the Ghost Got In" on the second floor (unless security throws us out first). Contact Bob Corby at Bpc13@earthlink.net or www.backporchcomics.com. There's a discount for paying for your table ahead of time and the last three years all the tables have been gone long before the event, so "word to the wise."

Secret Project #2 Update

Okay, trying to stay as optimistic as possible about the possibility of Secret Project #2 actually coming out, I had come up…well, not quite empty: there's always the possibility that the ComicsPRO retailers are going to get behind it, but that's a tough read at this point. I have the "pitch" to them done, which runs about 13 pages. Now I'm just waiting until Jeff Tundis has the website up and running so they can read the pitch and then see the website. The earliest it looks as if that's going to happen is December. As I said earlier in this Blog & Mail session, I had pretty much arrived at a "Scrub Launch" decision based on the fact that I only heard from two retailers (and thanks again, Jeremy and Matt!) as well as Brian Hibbs at Comix Experience and they were all talking about orders of 25 to 50 on the first issue, depending on what it was. Divide that in half for the second issue orders and in half again for the third issue orders and it's pretty much a lock that I would be losing a lot of money. When the top Indy Friendly stores are ordering 6 copies of your book, your book just isn't viable.

But, as I say, trying to stay optimistic about this, I then got a fax in from Ralph DiBernardo, the owner of JETPACK COMICS at 112 Portland Street in Rochester, NH, 03867.

"Hello Mr. Sim,

"My name is Ralph DiBernardo and I am the owner of Jetpack Comics, LLC. We've corresponded in the past, on my small publishing projects (JOHNNY RAYGUN, SQUARECAT COMICS). You've sent me comics to give away at my conventions (PBBZ Small Press Fest) and I am now contacting you about your offer via ComicsPRO.

"I just joined ComicsPRO, as full-on member (yep – I can vote and everything) and I would support your project with a minimum order of 100 copies at a $2.95 cover price (with a minimum 45% discount) and a maximum of 250 copies. Once I knew what the project was and the plans for it, I might increase my order but I would absolutely purchase 100 sight unseen. This might not seem like much, given your success, but for me that is a very healthy order. Just as a point of reference my best-selling monthly comic is about 75 copies (currently WORLD WAR HULK/INCREDIBLE HULK) Stephen King's DARK TOWER sold approximately 175 copies an issue for me and ANITA BLAKE hits about the 100 mark, when it comes out. My best selling indy title does not hit 25 copies (sorry).

"I appreciate what you're offering to do for us (comics retailers in general) and I am more than happy to support that in a qty that far exceeds my average sales numbers. I only hope that my small order is a part of a much larger recognition of what you are trying to do. No matter what, please count me in. I would prefer it was a ComicsPRO endeavour but would see it through no matter what. I would join another organization to be a part or would support it just as an individual comic retailer buying direct.

"For the record, I have been retailing for about 25 years and NONE of the `scams' (as I like to call them) put any more money in my retailing pocket, nor do they sell more copies of the book for me. Every one of them puts extra inventory in my store – devalued inventory as I end up selling it at or below cost to move it.

"Thanks again for thinking of us and please feel free to use this in any way you see fit."

So, there you go. Secret Project #2 is DOA and one fax from Ralph DiBernardo and it's (at least tentatively) come back to life. With his commitment to order 100 copies, I can cut that in half on #2 (50 copies) and in half again on #3 (25 copies) and still have viable numbers to work with. I find it particularly encouraging because Ralph DiBernardo has the same relationship to the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES that Harry Kremer did to CEREBUS. That is, he bought literally hundreds of copies of the first issue from Kevin and Peter when they were still living up in New Hampshire and pushed the book heavily, cutting up copies to make ads (of course he cringes at the thought now). Pete Laird has stayed very loyal to him and printed up a special commemorative edition of Turtles No.1 for one of Ralph's comic shows a year or so ago. IF Secret Project #2 is a go, I'm definitely going to ask Ralph how many copies of TMNT #1 he bought and if it's okay to do a PREVIEWS ad that says, "I bought ___ copies of TURTLES #1 back in 1984 when it first came out. THIS year I'm buying 250 copies of [Secret Project] #1."

And then to be fair I'll print another add with Matt and Jeremy and Brian all saying "We're buying six copies each of [Secret Project] #3!"

Just kidding.

The question becomes: how many Ralph DiBernardo's are there in the ComicsPRO ranks and how many Matt Lehmans, Jeremy Shorrs and Brian Hibbs are there? I assume that the consensus is going to run in the latter's 25-50 range which means orders of 6 copies on issue #3 (not viable). Is my pitch to ComicsPRO and the website and the promotion program going to drive those numbers up, or are the quantities locked in?

Well, one way or the other it has definitely made the Real World Environment promotion at least SEEM more viable, so the pitch to ComicsPRO will get downloaded onto disk when Sandeep comes in to download this batch of Blog & Mails – that part is a definite "Go" thanks to Ralph DiBernardo -- and the website and the REAL WORLD PREVIEW EDITION are both a tentative "Go" at this point. I'll be writing the next batch of Blog & Mails roughly three weeks from now, at which time I hope to be able to make all three of those into definite "Go"s, leaving only the actual comic book as a tentative "Go" for the time being.

I'm bearing the Roy and Dann Thomas/Matthew Bruccoli situation very much in mind. Miracles DO happen in the real world. Now I just have to find out if they can happen in the comic-book field.


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.