100 Hour Tour: The CBR Forums
What follows are the posts from Dave Sim made to Comic Book Resources message board as part of his "100 Hour Internet Tour".
Hi. I'm Dave Sim. I'm here to promote my new bi-monthly title, glamourpuss. Right now there are about 100 stores in Canada and 200 in the US that have an autographed copy of THE COMICS INDUSTRY PREVIEW EDITION of number one for you to take a look at. All other stores will be getting a copy as part of their Feb 13 Diamond Dateline package.
Before I check to see if anyone has any questions and/or what they want to talk about, I did want to repeat something I've been saying (in various ways) on the other message boards: late shipping of comic books is really dragging the comic-book field down.
I hate to harp on that, but with the unfortunate recent demise of COMICS & GAMES RETAILER magazine, we've really lost the only in-print environment that was keeping that issue on the "front burner" where, in my view and in the view of most retailers, it belongs. I'll try make a Reader's Digest case for that:
1) We aren't movies (most of which can be produced in a few months) and we aren't rock n roll (most albums of which can be produced in a few weeks). Comic book creation is one of the most time consuming entertainment fields there is (short of classic animation). The average page can be read in about 3 to 5 seconds and even our fastest creators are hard-pressed to produce a usable page a day. That's a significant ratio and it means that producing comics is really more than a full-time job. To get noticed in the field it has to be pretty much all that you do.
2) We are competing with television where people expect their next "fix" once a week. Monthly is about the fastest that a comic book can be done (take a bow, Darwyn Cooke!) and that's really pushing loyalty for most people. But readers do gravitate to books that are produced on time. James Turner has just solicited for issue 11 of REX LIBRIS through Slave Labor and is on a very short list of their on-going periodicals as a result.
3) retailers have been warning for some time that the "window" is closing. Customers used to buy a book and if they really liked it they would ask about it every couple of weeks for maybe six months. "Did issue two [or three or four or five] come in?" Now they'll ask for a few weeks and most of the time they'll just give up and move onto something else. "Getting over" comics is becoming a job skill among comic store customers because they now know that at least 50% of the books they pick up will only last a few issues and then disappear. Particularly for self-publishers and indy publishers, I really don't think this should be ignored to the extent that it is. And it's also taking hold in the mainstream.
This isn't a universal consensus in the field on this subject -- Rory Root of COMIC RELIEF in Oakland is a significant dissenting member, saying "A good comic book will sell whenever it comes in" -- but it's about as close to universal as I've seen in thirty years in the business.
It definitely got drummed into my head reading every issue of COMICS & GAMES RETAILER from cover to cover (well, the "comics" part, anyway) and given that the magazine is now history, I thought I should take advantage ofwhatever number of people might be reading this to try to keep that on the "front burner" as much as possible. I'd strongly recommend not shooting the messenger on this one (me or your local retailer): all they're doing is saying that a fundamental element of equation is changing rapidly and that the field in general (the creator/publisher end) ignores that at its peril.
I can certainly understand that thinking of a lot of creators, particularly when you find yourself working on a book that has some sudden buzz about it. You want to live up to the reaction, so you start slowing down to try to do better work. It's commendable -- and certainly Rory is right with you on that -- but the fact of the matter is that your orders are going to start dropping much more quickly in 2008 than they did even in 2003. That's the "closing window" that I was talking about.
It's also the reason that retailers are less inclined to hype a new book: the track record is so bad that they're being left with egg ontheir faces more often than not. Phil Boyle, who REALLY called my attention to this in CR, isn't some narrow-minded "Marvel and DC" only retailer. He has seven stores in the Orlando area and all of them have substantial areas set aside for indy titles. But, as he pointed out in our phone conversation, most of those are #1's, a handful that have made it to issue #3, one out of a hundred that's at issue #10. It's not hard to see why most stores have a "sink or swim" attitude towards their indy sections. If it's actually a WALKING DEAD or a MOUSE GUARD, six months or a year in, the retailer will notice little splashing sounds. Reordered and actually got the books (a miracle in itself), sold them. Reordered again, got some more. But that's definitely in the "one out of 500" category at that point.
Originally Posted by Excelsior: Your Art style for this series looks terrific? Can we expect a run on this title as long as your previous one on Cerebus??
Thank you...I really appreciate that. I really, really want to be Al Williamson when I grow up.
One of the retailers asked me that on the phone.
[Sorry: interruption: We're having a pool here as to when the new comics are coming in today. John picked 12:40 I picked 2:15 ("I don't wanna TALK to YOU," says John) and Duane picked 3:30. Loser buys the coffee. Stay tuned.]
One of the retailers asked me that on the phone: "Another 300 issues?" I did the mental math. On a bi-monthly schedule I'd be done at age 103.
No, it'll be about 20 to 25 issues -- whenever I've said everything I have to say about the Raymond School.
Thanks for your question.
Of course, one of the elements of working on a book with "buzz" to it I'm going through right now: lots of offers to do signings and conventions and tours. As Bob Burden famously remarked "I've been around the block so many times, I feel as if my turn blinker is stuck."
I know that the bigger the Con the longer the recovery time when you get back. If you're REALLY new to the gig, you'll agree to do sketches for ten people when you get home, or do fanzine covers, or ink a piece by someone else. Pretty soon there goes your drawing schedule out the window.
Everyone means well and it sure does make you feel a) famous b) popular and c) well on your way to becoming wealthy...
...but that window of "heat" between issue 1 and 2 is closing faster than ever. One good trip around the summer convention circuit and you not only FEEL like toast, a lot of times you ARE toast.
Originally Posted by talontm : Dave, good morning.
There was a discussion about what the chronological order was for getting your new comics...the best we figured was that glamourpuss #1 would be out in April, Secret Project #1 would be out in May, and then glamourpuss #2 would be out in July. Is this close to accurate?
Also, for those here, I believe that Rich Johnston will be putting up an interview with Dave in his Lying in the Gutters column sometime next week, so keep an eye out for that!
That's the batting order, all right.
Yes. The questions came in by fax and it was kind of funny because (I'm paraphrasing here) Rich already had an interview but he realized that I had not only covered that same territory but I was covering it repeatedly on this Internet campaign.
So, basically what he wants (given the nature of the column) is for me to dish the dirt on myself. Well, you know, there's before-reading-the-Bible Dave Sim (pre-1996) and after-reading-the-Bible Dave Sim (post-1996). So, hey why not? I was already wide awake after shoveling the driveway at 3:30 am.
DAVE SIM: MY LIFE AS AN ATHEIST WITH NO MORALS. Don't let this happen to you, kids. Read your Bible and/or Koran, pray to God, pay the zakat. You don't want to be like pre-1996 Dave Sim.
Hope it proves to be "big box office" for Rich next week.
Originally Posted by eatless2slim: Hi Dave. Haven't you yourself been mentioning recently the fact that as they're called "comics" this should mean that they contain comical or humourous stories, but that most comics now try to be on the serious to tragic end of storytelling? Why do you think that is? Could it be that many comics creators think that they need to be always telling serious stories so that the comics medium can be taken seriously as a form of literature? Billy
Hi, Billy. Yes, I have been saying that and thinking it. There are a number of things contributing to that, I think. Frank and Alan really thought they were stamping "Put Paid" to super-heroes with DARK KNIGHT and WATCHMEN. So far over the edge that there's nowhere else to go with "grim and gritty". Alan's ABC books were actually an attempt to start a contrary wave to combat the genie he'd let out of the bottle.
"Grim and Gritty ROKS, DUDE!" Ride that far enough downhill and then 9/11 happens. Even GRIMMER even GRITTIER reaction.
I've really got to read all the ASTERIX books someday. Best to Kevin and Francesca and Emily (yes, she's six now. Hard to believe).
Originally Posted by John Scroggins: Hi Dave, I'm looking forward to Glamourpuss! I was wondering if you were aware of John Kricfalusi, the creator of Ren and Stimpy. Thanks, John
Hi, John. Thanks for "tuning in". Because of the structure of these website visits -- veering back and forth between returning tennis volleys with five opponents and Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory -- I'm kind of loathe to "go" anywhere. Can you mail me a copy of one of the interviews and I'll jot some notes on it for you as I'm reading it?
The first I was aware of him was sixteen years ago now, almost exactly. Second stop on the US Tour in Boston. I'd gotten a very nice write-up in Boston's (then) relatively new indy paper THE PHOENIX. John got a much nicer write-up and (as I recall) Ren and Stimpy in colour on the front cover above the masthead.
GAH! ANOTHER CARTOONIST BEATING MY TIME IN BOSTON! (Impossible to pronounce last name: I'll beat him on that, maybe)
Jeff Smith was a huge REN AND STIMPY fan and actually dubbed off a tape for me back in the day. Talk about a great comedic voice, that completely over the top Peter Lorre (why didn't I think of that? Peter Lorre calling Sidney Greenstreet "YOU BLITHEREENG EEDIOT!" in the MALTESE FALCON and then dissolving into tears. That's a natural).
By the way, that "THE Dave Sim" designation isn't mine. For some reason that's the user name CBR gave me. I almost used up my "5 tries" getting in until I noticed. Oh: THE Dave Sim. Kind of funny if you know it's their idea.
Over the top egomaniacal if it's mine.
Yi! Just made myself a liar and went and looked at Jeff Tundis' flash animation for the Secret Project One website. My heart is pounding.
Good thing it's prayer time. Back around 12:40 EDST.
Quote: Originally Posted by DaveRothe: Hey Dave. Nice first name by the way think maybe I'll change mine to that. So do you think part of the solution for the small press indy guy/publisher is maybe get one or two issues in the can before they even solicit?
Well,it's PART of the solution but it does tend to be illusory depending on how long it takes to get the one or two issues done. If it takes you six months to do two issues and you solicit it as a bi-monthly, you're asking for trouble. A key thing to avoid is wishful thinking along the lines of "Well, x thing happened and then I had to do y and, oh right, z happened...and of course THOSE things will never happen again so I'll be COMPLETELY on schedule from now on."
No, the odds are if you go a month off schedule the first month, you aren't going to suddenly be on time the second month.
Late is as late does.
Originally Posted by eatless2slim: As you said Emily will turn six in around a month from now, she really likes dressing up so you never know she might one day be the glamourpuss type herself, I'm not looking forward to that, though it could be worse! Billy
I should explain my little joke from yesterday, calling her "Basta Emily". "Basta" is Italian for "Enough" or "That's Enough". Particularly at meal time. A shriek that could shatter cut crystal. She didn't want food she wanted "Babee" (Italian for "Babe" her favourite videotape).
I visited the Beaches in the summer of '04 at their home on the Adriatic Coast. Since I live in complete isolation, being around a young family for a week seemed like the ideal "getting away from it all" holiday.
And it sure was! Have to get back to Portorecanati sometime soon, Billy.
Rick: What is the question that you've been asked the most, whether in person, on these forums, or by mail or fax? There's kind of a running gag in the YAHOO group about whether or not to ask you for the hundredth time about what ever happened to Sir Gerrick.
Yeah. That's a real molar grinder of a question all right. Whenever I needed Ger to sign something in the office, I'd walk in there and hold it out with a pen and say, "So how did you and Dave meet?" That was one of his molar grinders.
This time around? So what's glamourpuss going to be, you know, about?
It's nothing that's really irritating. I mean, I do it too. Made up all of these insightful questions to ask David Pedersen about MOUSE GUARD and then ran across an interview with him in CBG and, yup, there they all were.
A big part of the job skill is making it sound as if you've never answered the question before.
And ask for it by name: Excuse me do you carry CRIC?
Originally Posted by Gothos: Hi Dave, Like you I grew up being exposed to a lot of photorealistic work, but of late I've begun to wonder if the tradition is dying out. Have you ever shared that presentiment? If so, to what causes might one ascribe the downturn of photorealism in comics?
Television. HEART OF JULIET JONES, BEN CASEY, RIP KIRBY could compete head-to-head with radio because they were beautiful visually. As soon as you could see actresses in your living room who looked like Honey Dorian, what did you need RIP KIRBY for? Same thing that happened to fashion illustration and magazine illustration. Too removed from reality. When you can come home from work and watch Annette Funicello literally grow up in front of you? Fageddaboudit.
Of course now television has played the same trick on itself. Why watch something made up when you can watch Reality Television?
In the comics field I'd maintain that it's the urge to do less difficult work. I have this argument with Chester Brown all the time. You tried to get in at DC fresh out of high school. I tried to get in at DC and Marvel. We didn't make it. Drawing realistically is TOUGH. But give realistic artists their due: ACKNOWLEDGE that they can do something you can't -- don't play sour grapes about it.
Joe Matt was enthusing about by Kirby piece for the Doug Wright Awards. "You should do more stuff like this, this is really GOOD." As opposed to my photorealism stuff. This? This is made up stuff. If the eye's a quarter inch away from where it should be, hey, so what? It's cartooning.
Thanks for checking in.
See my answer to Gothos.
Having put in 26 years on the magnum opus, I want to do something that's fun so that's all I'm really promising: whatever direction it takes it will take because it was where the needle on the Dave Sim Most Fun compass was pointing.
Thanks, Ben. Your "location" just says Canada. Whereabouts in Canada?
Doing very, very tight pencils and then HOPING to pull it together at the inking stage. Trevor Grace shot a video of me working on one of the drawings that isn't technically accurate (I did all of the different stages of the operation ahead of time -- five different tracing paper overlays in various stages of completion -- and then moved them "on camera" as dictated by my little sketchy storyboards) but should explain it better than I can in typed form. We'll just have to be patient, Trevor has a real job right now.
Actually that's a darned good suggestion. I am pretty hopeless in French but it is the language I'm the most familiar with. It would probably be the most painless way of performing French immersion on myself.
The folks at Lebonfon tend to apologize for their English. Believe me, we're going to have a lot more success in your English than in my Fench. Le maudit Anglais, n'est-ce pas?
Julie Martel signs her faxes "smiles" and I sign mine "les sourires".
It's meager progress but progress of a kind.
Originally Posted by scratchie: The Boston Phoenix has been around since the late 60s. Just FYI.
Wow. FIRST wave indy newspaper. I'm even more impressed that I made it in there.
Originally Posted by stanleylieber: I'll admit, it is easier to get away with typing on a web forum while at work than editing full-motion video.
Sorry, I forgot the end of the story: I had Trevor just turn the camera on for a few seconds at a time when I got to the inking stage. The picture didn't turn out very good. There's is really no way to do "loosy-goosey" inking with a video camera pushing you about 30 degrees out of your comfort zone.
I don't know if it'll show up on television, though since television fuzzes everything out anyway.
The question now is: Can I use this for the Motor City Con "glamourpuss events" screen or do I have to do, you know, a GOOD one?
I should mention that the new books came in. So if you've been waiting to come on down to Lookin For Heroes, 93 Ontario Street South (here in beautiful downtown Kitchener right across from the Grand River Transit Terminal and right behind the big pile of snow) and pick up what's in your subscription bin or ogle the new stuff, it's HERE it's HERE!
Came in at 1:30 so John won, I came second and Duane lost.
Duane: Oh you meant THIS time zone.
Turns out that he meant the Grand Banks off Newfoundland.
Truly amazing, non?
Originally Posted by Gothos: Dave, Personally I think there should be room enough for every conceivable style, but the attitude of Ware and Clowes made me wonder as to whether or not a majority of indie-artists reject representational drawing because it was just harder, or because it carried some symbolic baggage for them.
Well, for obvious reasons you'll never get THEM to admit that. One of the after-the-fact motivations behind glamourpuss ("Oh, THAT'S what I'm up to!") is to at least enter the debate. The problem with the Foster/Raymond/Caniff Schools is that they always took the "I'll let my work speak for itself," high road. Like Norman Rockwell. When you're Michael Jordan, why rub it in? That's what Dennis Rodman is for (nyuck nyuck nyuck).
Problem is you'll get murdered by the guys who have got your chops and who want to take your spot and who have sheer numbers on their side. Look at Scott McCloud's emphasis in the pyramid chart in UNDERSTANDING COMICS. Real over here. Big foot over there. Scott's definitely got Big Foot chops but nobody's going to ask him to pencil West Coast Avengers or a World War Hulk book. There's vested interest there, like Seth interviewing Chester on stage at the 2006 Doug Wright Awards. "Wouldn't you agree that GOOD comics HAVE to be cartoony?" "Oh, definitely."
Thank you, Tweedledum. Not at all, Tweedledee.
I'm exaggerating for effect.
Excuse me guys, can we roll the tape back to 1938, 1940? When comic books were becoming comic books? What were those guys looking at. Yes, Foster, Raymond and Caniff. So, let's get back to the ACTUAL discussion after sixty-some-odd years (and there have been some VERY odd years, as I'm sure you'll agree).
Originally Posted by Brandon Hanvey: Dave that is due to someone signing up for the Dave Sim name over a month ago. There are no posts to that account. If you want that account name, please contact the site Admins either Jonah Weiland or Matt. They may be able to help you change your account name to Dave Sim.
Oh, no. That's fine. I'm really just here for February so it's like rearranging the furniture in a departure lounge.
I just have to be careful because there are a certain number of people who are always looking for a reason to criticize me and THE Dave Sim was like a hanging fastball out over the plate. (Did you SEE what he called himself on CBR? THE Dave Sim. No wonder everyone hates his guts. What an egomaniac). No, I just wanted to mention it to head that off at the pass. I appreciate your jumping on it. Very hospitable of you.
I just noticed today that the Blog & Mail Archives header describes Ger as my partner. D'OH! No, we've officially turned "partner" into something else. Ger was my BUSINESS partner or my artistic collaborator. (Oh, his PARTNER. Wink wink) (not that there's anything wrong with that...I'm just saying)
Hi, Rick! How did I miss this one?
Very much appreciated. It's nice to BE back.
Thanks, brushwood. Neal Adams was the only one I absolutely couldn't just walk up and talk to. Like I grew roots just standing there.
In December 2005 I went to a little Stephen Harper rally out at RIM Park at the beginning of the campaign, got a spot next to the lectern, stuck out my hand when he came off the stage and said, "Great speech, Mr. Harper. You're going to be our next Prime Minister." He looked at me like I was crazy. The next rally at the end of the campaign (Bingeman's -- much bigger venue) I couldn't get within a country mile of him.
I have to admit that I "chickened" on the Quebec phonebooks at the Kitchener Library and went for the most anglicized "Bandes Dessines" stores. ("1,000,000 Comix"...yeah, I think that might be the kind of French I'm looking for. "Capitaine Quebec Les Livres Comiques" Word for word "Lonely Planet" translation. "'Allo, English! You wan' funnybooks? Les Marvels? Les DC? Alors! Ici! Ici!")
Postponed the Quebec City stores for last. DEEP in the heart of French Quebec.
Turned out to be the two biggest CEREBUS stores in La Belle Province! Or the Quebec Nation Within Canada (which we're all now trying on for size). LIBRAIRIE PREMIERE ISSUE ENR and L'IMAGINAIRE! Jointly invited me up for a signing during the big 400th Birthday Party, July 3.
Remember your schedule Dave, your schedule. Bi monthly. Bi-monthly schedule Dave. Every 60 days. Bi-monthly schedule.
Okay. Prayer time, again. Back around 3:30.
Ah, see, THIS I'm VERY interested in. It's really just a term of convenience that I appropriated from Armando Mendez's website on those guys -- Raymond, Drake, Williamson, Prentice, Adams, et al.
It would be more accurate to describe it as Most Faithful To Life Drawing Style Translating From Four Dimensions and Colour to Two Dimensions and Black and White Executed in Brush, Pen and Ink As Pioneered by Alex Raymond. Photorealism certainly isn't accurate, but it seems the closest shorthand term for the concept. And Mr. Mendez came up with it first, so it seems only polite to use his terminology when I'm discussing the same thing he is.
Well, at the same time, I think it's only polite, only basically human and decent, to understand that there are other viewpoints besides your own. I don't put Harold Gray in the Pantheon, but Chester Brown definitely does. I'll tease him about it, goodnaturedly (the "little tiny heads, great big hands" line in the Misunderstanding Comics jam strip), but -- as an example -- when I brought up Bill Sienkiewicz's STRAY TOASTERS at lunch the one time and you'd think I'd shot somebody's dog from the way Seth, Chester and Joe reacted.
I reread STRAY TOASTERS at least once a year. It's confusing as heck but, for me it has some amazing moments...but then I like the illustration schools represented in there and what Bill is trying to do (or what I think Bill is trying to do). The use of flat colour in the lettering and the caption boxes which puts everything on t\TOP of he actual art. That's pretty breathtaking for me as an artist who is known as an innovative letterer.
I take my hat off to anybody who can introduce a whole new way of doing work. Dave McKean came out of that. Thematically the Sandman covers are Sienkiewicz. Even if it's not your cup of tea, it's nothing to act as if liking it is the same as shooting someone's dog. GASOLINE ALLEY has very, very little to offer me, but I would never call it s--t.
Hi Paul. Thanks for dropping by. I don't really know. The Launch is made up of the three stages: the website, Fashion Preview Edition mailout and pitch to ComicsPRO was Stage One, the four weeks of the retailer phone campaign was Stage Two, 100 hours onthe Internet is Stage Three. When this is over at the end of February, I'll get a TRU Report from Diamond with my preliminary numbers which should be close to my final numbers. I add 50% for overprinting and (how can I put this?) see how high the orbit is and whether I've reached Escape Velocity. Depending on how high up I am and how fast I'm going, that will decide what I do next.
I'm hoping to get high up enough and going fast enough that I can actually put in two or three months just on the creative end.
It's wait and see, after I'm done here on the message boards.
Please go in to your local store and ask to see glamourpuss No.1 if you're undecided whether you want to subscribe to it or order issue 1. That's really all I can say for 100 hours and then leave it up to the customers to decide by the end of February.
Well, that brings up an interesting point. One of the areas where I do take issue with Armando Mendez and his theses -- I first read him in COMIC ART -- is that he links Raymond to the Cooper Studio, the so-called "Big Head" approach. Well, that's certainly true in the sense that there are lots of extreme close-ups of women's faces in RIP KIRBY and for a lot the same reason as the Cooper Studio approach to advertising and illustration made use of it. Aesthetically speaking you're going to have the greatest impact either with the full figure of a woman or an extreme close-up of her face. It calls attention to the ad in the magazine in the case of Cooper and your comic strip on the comics page for Raymond.
But, the point to me is the TRANSLATION from reality to the comics idiom: simple brush strokes and pen lines creating an illusion of reality and detail that isn't actually there: the specific transposition from A to B. This is what this model/photo/painting would look like in Raymond's style, Williamson's style, Adams style. As soon as it's in colour -- airbrush, watercolor, guache, oil -- it's off my radar screen. I want to see Adams in black and white. As soon as you put colour on Adams' work, it's as if you've put gauze over it and welder's goggles on me and you're asking, "So what do you think?"
I don't know. When can I take the gauze and the goggles off? I'll tell you then.
Arguably, I think, the two are interchangeable on that side of the fence. That's where the "you shot my dog" reaction comes in. It's not a matter of just comparing aesthetic preferences and "Hm. That's interesting. I don't see it that way at all." If you express an enthusiasm for Bill Sienkiewicz it's as if you're walked into the Charles Schulz Holy of Holies and intentionally smashed this huge crack in the Charlie Brown idol.
Charlie Brown's fine. Still a billionaire (t'ank youse for askeen'). He was fine and a billionaire before I mentioned Bill and he will be fine and a billionaire when I'm done talking about Bill.
Well, yes and there are extreme forms of it. Barry Windsor-Smith in OPUS 1 discusses the Top Money Illustrator whose studio he was working in during the production of "Red Nails". The guy was just dazzled by Barry's ability to just make things up off the top of his head. Anything this TMI drew he had to take photographs and had to project it, outline everything and then go inch by inch with an airbrush or whatever.
I don't think ANYONE in comics is in that category. You have to have the ability to make stuff up when it comes time or you have to rule out putting anything into the story that you don't have a photograph of. There's the Burberry Prorsum "booties" page in gp No.1. The big image is traced from a photo layout. The little image is a cartoon. You can see the same thing in the Diamond catalogue with the "Thus Is Born..." page. The top image and bottom image are from photos, the inset image of her throwing off her shades and raincoat is a cartoon.
I don't know what balance I'm going to strike. Evidently Al Williamson stopped using photos when he could no longer get black and white film for his polaroid camera (we're going back to the 70s). "Oh, well -- back to making everything up".
I've been celibate for ten years, Rev. Believe me, being overtly vulgar at me is like trying to pick up lint with a magnet. No offence.
See you back at Sequential Tart.
Not only distributed but VOLUNTEER! Believe me: I'd be lost without the Yahoos at this point. I'm a very, very lucky self-publisher.
Sorry, scratchie -- I forgot to mention that the Lookin For Heroes computer is pretty slow. Trying to view the Land images was going to put me into Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory category.
I think my answer would have been the same, though.
That's why I say that it's just a term of convenience that the first guy into the pool decided to use. Comic books aren't very comic and they aren't books, but we know what they are when we use the term.
You do and you'll clean it up.
Well, THAT'S an interesting point, because I see the Raymond to Drake to Prentice to Williams to Adams progression/evolution -- see language already breaks down because it makes Raymond sound primitive like his knuckles are scraping the sidewalk and then the School Evolves into Neal Adams. Well, not necessarily so if you look at the boundaries that Raymond put on what he would let himself do and what he wouldn't let himself do. But as soon as I say that it makes it sound as if I'm accusing Adams of cheating "cheating" or Cheating. Relative to Raymond, sure. He's Cheating. But his non-verbal argument is "Yeah, who says?"
He got onto the full-sized comic page after several ball-busting years on BEN CASEY and WHOOSH. Okay, we'll do a little Kiiirrrbyy...yeah that's good...and a little Joe Kuuubbeeeeerrt (Joe's always good)...a little Tottthhh.
Cue group photo of everyone in comics with their jaws on the carpet.
Except Dick Giordano. Giordano's inking the pencils going: I get this. I really.. GET... this...this is AMAZING.
ALL of it COMPLETELY non-verbal. ALL on paper. Now, how do I translate that into words without insulting any of them but still describing the Discussion as I see it took place.
I was always interested in it, I think. Different watershed moments. A good one was working on GOING HOME. I'm going to be doing Jaka for two years...the "clothing huts" are a big story point, so, what's she going to wear? I need, a dozen outfits. So anytime a store circular came in at the house, I'd go through it going, "Anything in here Jaka would wear?" Nope, nope, nope. It was a definite look: what a princess would wear if she was pretending she was just a regular person. Something that would put other women at ease. I'd tear out any page when I thought I had found one. Finally I had about the dozen I needed. Only then did I notice that they were all "Jessica" -- a brand that Sears, I think, was flogging. Upscale Sears and a specific designer. The People's Princess Hath Spoken!
Well, yes, definitely. I mean, I'm also editing real people. "Looks great, but she needs a little less chin." There's an Al Williamson girl or a Stan Drake girl in there and I have to take away everything that doesn't look like her. There's also decades of designer expertise involved -- why that pattern crosses the lapel at exactly that angle. Little nuances to enhance the female form. Yeah, we're all in that racket. When you're actually copying it, there's a whole new level of appreciation. Jimmy Stewart time: "Well...well...whaddaya know about THAT?"
Prayer time. Actually prayer time ten minutes ago. Back soon
Originally Posted by RantzH: Does that make people like Chester Brown, or Jeffery Brown or Kolchaka invalid as comic artists/creators? Not at all. I think in their case they make it more about the art, which in Chester's case I think works very well. But slamming an entire movement based on the level of skill/craft/sraftsmanship? that boggles my mind.
Well, and to be fair, Chester and I have been having this discussion for a good six years now and I can understand his point of view -- and he's certainly less likely to act as if I shot his dog, than say Seth is. He sees both elements together, story and art, and that's what interests him. I can separate the two and take them individually on their own merits. For sheer illustrative virtuosity, there is nothing higher for me than RIP KIRBY. But the stories, to me, are -- well, they're about what you would expect for a family newspaper feature. Doestoevsky it ain't. That's okay, that's what I have a copy of THE IDIOT for.
In that sense it's way, way out in a very rarefied visual end of comics.
I was on record as saying back in my fan commenting/essay days that the comic-book field would never attract a writer with the same calibre that Neal Adams had as an artist. I didn't know WHY, but it seemed a hard and fast rule. Even Dashiell Hammett wrote DOWN in comics. He was just mailing SECRET AGENT X-9 in for the money. I'd be surprised if there's a Hammett biography that devotes more than a page to it. With good reason.
And then Alan Moore appeared. But up until then it seemed like comics were always going to be heavily weighted towards the art end.
I take that as a given. 99.9% of the time the best drawn stuff is going to be very basic as far as writing goes. Chester, and I suspect that whole side of comics, sees that as the inherent problem. If it isn't BOTH really well drawn and really well written within its own frames of reference, it's lopsided, structurally unsound. Bad comics.
I can follow the argument all the way up to the point where it requires me to pour over Frank King and ignore Al Williamson. I'd rather give myself a bladder operation with a grapefruit spoon.
Yes. There's that, too. A lot of times I'm labouring to get the facial expression exactly the way it is in the photograph which is really a tough job because a fashion model's face is a fashion model's face BECAUSE it's structurally immaculate. You can see -- or I think I can see -- the ones who are going to be able to make the jump to actress. I can't get the expression right and the expression is definitely a specific expression. Bemused disdain, let say. I pencil it and erase it and pencil it again and erase it and it's "remote disinterest".
"Dave. NO one is going to see the photo. The magazine is five months old. In the fashion industry it couldn't be more dead or more forgotten. Even the editor is probably not going to recognize. The odds that someone at Tim's Cards & Comics is going to look at it and go, "It LOOKS like it should be bemused disdain. Jeez, Dave really dropped the ball on this one."
But that's the personal challenge, the personal level of interest: *translation* from photo to comics illustration without losing what attracted me to the picture in the first place and, hopefully, bringing something to it.
It's the toughest thing I've tried to do and very gratifying when I can say, Yeah I think I only lost about 20% that time.
The cheque is in the mail, stanleyleiber. Worth every penny, too.
Okay, John's locking up...Ersatz New Comic Day is done.
Sold three CEREBUS trades...that makes eleven so far. I thought 25 was a five-year supply.
Night all. Seee you tomorrow on Bendis' site...maybe a little late. I really need a haircut,