100 Hour Tour: The Comicbook Resources Forum Pt 2

What follows are the posts from Dave Sim made to The Comicbook Resources Forum as part of his "100 Hour Internet Tour".

10:32 AM: Hi Paul. I don't share your assumptions -- I'm not even sure I understand them so...uh...maybe I do share your assumptions after all! The job for me is to get the illustrations as close to a) real and b) Raymond School as I can. To me it's the best comic book School of art.

Just differences in people, I guess.

Thanks for posting and sorry I'm so long getting back to you.

10:35 AM: You know, rev, I allow myself a chocolate bar so seldom these days that it feels as self-destructive as smoking used to. The caffeine gets the heart pounding and the cocoa burns on the way down.

10:40 AM: Okay, sorry. I'm having a lot of trouble here again. The computer won't let me advance to the next pages. I'm trying to find my way back to where I left off a couple of weeks ago. Please bear with me.

10:51 AM: Well, yes, but in my own defence what I'm attempting to do is to LEARN the Raymond school methods. The last thing I would try to suggest is that I HAVE LEARNED them. I hope to get better as I go along and I think I've done a not-half-bad job for someone 34 pages into a projected 400 or 500 page project. I think I'm further along in the Raymond school right now, as an example, than I was in "doing" Barry Windsor-Smith halfway through issue 2 of CEREBUS.

And I'm pretty much taking it as a given that there are limits to what I'm going to be able to achieve. A lot of what gives Raymond and Williamson and Drake and Prentice's work its fluidity is the relentless pressure of the six daily strips a week schedule. It's a lot like the Beatles in Hamburg in 1962. They were untutored musicians but they were playing something like five shows a day seven days a week -- "Mak Show, BEATLES!" -- for weeks on end. George Harrison was very up front that they were never as good again playing live. I said the same thing to Gerhard the last year working on CEREBUS: we'll never be able to draw at this level again. There's a quality that you get producing twenty pages a month twelve months a year that you're never going to recapture.

That's one of the big reasons I'm looking forward to the later volumes of MARY PERKINS ON STAGE and why I tend to look at volume one of my RIP KIRBY Spanish reprints the least. You have to get rocking and rolling.

And with the three month "time out" for this big promotional push, I'll be starting over again at square one March 4.

11:01 AM: Changing expressions in a drawing, to me, is much further along in the learning process. It seems to me the danger there is in saying "I don't like this expression so I'm going to change it" instead of the more accurate "I can't capture this expression so I'm going to change it". I think you have to work on the ability to translate a photo image into a Raymond school comics image as accurately as possible and get as close as you can to that. Once your success rate at capturing an expression is much higher, then you can start using the accumulated knowledge to say, "Okay let's not make exact likeness such a fetish -- let's see how much we know about the photorealism face to 'play' with the underlying elements a bit."

I was discussing the face I used in the Victory Cafe ad on the website (www.glamourpusscomic.com/glamourpuss EVENTS) yesterday. It was such a sweet photo...

(and for a variety of reasons: not the least being that it was part of a photo-feature on girls going "short short" with their hair. The model had hair just off her shoulders before that. So what you're getting is a photo of someone putting on her best "drop dead" model look while obviously thinking inside "Oh, God PLEASE tell me it doesn't look horrible" -- which I think is going to be present anytime a girl or woman does that extreme a cut. "It'll grow out" has been said by many a female through a long night of wretched, pitiful tears.)

...that I said: if I can even get 60% of this it should be a knockout. I ended up getting about 75 to 80% but the 20% I was missing was that "Oh God PLEASE tell me it doesn't look horrible" vulnerability. She looks cute and she looks hot, but she doesn't look vulnerable.

Live and learn.

11:07 AM: I'd certainly agree that it is food for thought. I think there's a big difference, though, in rolling the "uncanny valley" around in your mind as an intellectual exercise and attempting to do some "uncanny valley" strip-mining in public as I'm doing with glamourpuss. The last few posts could be said to be another way of saying, "You're digging in the wrong spot!"

Can't deny the possibility but it's my pick-axe, my shovel, my sweat and my elbow-grease. I think dis here is de spot. We'll see if I'm right.

11:34 AM: Thanks for posting, MLCM!

I certainly HOPE that Canada can DEVELOP the drive and the skill to make its own comics industry. I think the closest we came to that in recent years was Pat Lee's Dreamwave Productions when they had THE TRANSFORMERS -- and then the G.I. JOE -- license. It didn't last very long -- a year or two? It's a real balancing act and I think Pat succumbed to the temptation to expand too quickly, a temptation that's always going to be there. The problem there is that if people are going crazy for Pat Lee art and that's what's driving the success, you're taking an awful chance by bringing in guys who (obviously) aren't Pat Lee in order to get the number of titles up and ride the gravy train, make hay while the sun shines.

We're all fanboys at heart and in the mainstream, the urge is always going to be to recreate Marvel in the early 1960s. That tends to fall down because there's only been one Jack Kirby in comics history with a completely unique "skill set".

Unless you have a top flight guy that different people can ink without diluting the basic "look" that the fans are buying and who can pencil or lay out five books a month, you don't want to be putting out five books a month. But, if Marvel in the early 60s is your Publishing Ideal (and it is for most mainstream guys) you're going to put five books out a month.

Same thing happened with Image in a lot of ways. You have a hit book you want to turn it into a franchise. What gets missed is that turning books into franchises is something you need really deep pockets for. DC and Marvel do it for the same reason Crest makes twelve different flavours of toothpaste. You occupy most of the display space, there's no room for competition. But each new "toothpaste" cannibalizes the sales on the other flavours. Total sales go up, but so do the costs per unit and individual flavour sales take a hit. Sales will be down on each individual SPIDEY title now that it's a weekly, but total sales are up. If you can sell someone four SPIDER-MAN titles a month instead of one a month, that's three comic books he isn't buying from someone else.

And you get in and you get out. DC and Marvel expand their franchises in gravy times and watch for the "point of diminishing returns" where it costs more to produce five Spider-man and Batman titles than you're actually taking in. Sales numbers dictate when you do what. For Image, since they were actually concerned about their franchises as creative properties, they were still looking for good writers and good artists to fill out the franchise and ignoring the fact that the "point of diminishing returns" had been passed months ago.

Okay, let me post this part and then I'll explain where I see this applying to Canada, specifically.

11:44 AM: So, the short answer to how all this applies to Canada is that anyone who has a hit book with wide mainstream appeal (like TRANSFORMERS or GI JOE) is going to be coming from the Marvel and DC tradition and is likely to believe that expansion of each franchise is what you have to do. That takes a lot of cash. Even if each of your books is a hit or semi-successful, you get into having to keep monthly books coming out while also publishing "collected versions" and keeping those in stock permanently.

See, I don't come from that side of things: I come from the indie side of things so, even if glamourpuss becomes a monster hit on, say, the indie scale of MOUSE GUARD, the last thing I'm thinking of is putting out four glamourpuss titles. Why? Because the name of the game is quality and reliability. I can't draw four glamourpuss titles and even supervising three and drawing one, the quality of my work is going to go downhill. In the stores the response goes from "WOW! THE NEW GLAMOURPUSS! GIMME GIMME!" to "NEW GLAMOURPUSS! Oh wait a second. Is this the GOOD glamourpuss or is this the SUCKY glamourpuss?" Flip flip flip. "SUCKY glamourpuss".

It's far easier in a business sense to keep myself alive and pay myself a small salary than to have a payroll with twenty artists, ten inkers, five colorists, ten computer guys. Starting out, that's how you have to start out and you have to make sure you have the quality to deliver and that means keeping the same artist and writer. Theoretically Chris Oliveiros could hire a Legion of Substitute Seths to draw PALOOKAVILLE. But people buy PALOOKAVILLE for Seth. It would be like having a fill-in artist on PEANUTS.

But it means you start small and tend to stay small. Chris is still in business because there's him and a couple of full-time employees and that's it. He -- and his artists -- also get Canada Council grants.

I've got a prayer time now, but when I get back, I'll talk about that a little bit.

12:50 PM : Mlcm: I guess my jumbled question is asking simply, does Canada have the drive or the skill to make its own comics industry like we have with film?

I think the problem with grants - ANY kind of grant -- is that it tends to conceal the viable vs. non-viable core question. "The government gave me $15K so I paid my pencillers and inkers and my printer and myself." Well, now the money is gone and if your overhead exceeds your income, all you've done is postpone your problem.

The KEY point in the comic-book field -- and the retailers have been telling the creators and publishers this for years and creators and publishers have mostly been ignoring it for years -- is getting your work out on time and as frequently as possible while maintaining the quality. That really has to come before everything else.

If you have $15K given to you, the tendency will be to make it last as long as possible and not produce anything until the last minute. If it's YOUR $15K or your maxed out credit cards or your parents' line of credit or a mortgage on your house, you're going to treat it with a lot more respect and care than you will from a bushel basket you got from the Magic Government Money Tree.

Umpty-ump thousand dollars for a booth in San Diego, a grand for hotel, flight and meals. Someone wants to hand that to me, wow, sure, let's go. If it's coming out of my pocket? Uhhh. Howzabout I put in 100 hours in the back room at LOOKIN FOR HEROES? I think I've got money in the budget for that.

I would maintain that if the Image guys had just each put out one book and kept the quality up and came out on time -- forget the toys, forgets the animated cartoon, forget the movies, forget the franchise expansion, forget taking on new books -- then I think the whole thing would have sustained itself a lot longer. Now that comic books are sold almost exclusively in comic-book stores, I think that's even more of a hard and fast rule than it's ever been before. People want a good comics title and the creator or creative team that attracted them to it in the first place.

Anything that doesn't have that as its central guiding principle is just asking to get marginalized and forgotten.

That's true whether you're in Canada, the UK, the US, or Bosnia. Do a good book, keep the same team on it, put it out as often as you can and on time and always work to improve the work and the fans will stick with you.

One of my better decisions was to get Gerhard pencilling and inking the backgrounds on the book. It meant increased overhead but it improved the quality on the book exponentially so it was a good choice. If I had just hired an inker to save me time and it didn't look as good as my own inks I would have taken a hit in sales and I would have deserved to.

You have to play straight with the marketplace. If you try to get cute to reduce your workload, everyone is going to know that's what you're doing and they'll stay away in droves.

12:57 PM: Yes, definitely -- at least for the forseeable future Diamond Comic Distributors is the only game in town. I've seen way too many completely unexpected changes in the field over the last 30 years to say that that's carved in stone which is why I would never sign an exclusive deal with Diamond. Just because no one viable has shown up doesn't mean that no one ever will.

And, having seen a lot of the stuff that Diamond gets in and actually gives serious consideration to through their in-house selection process, I'd have to say that they are still erring on the side of generosity rather than demanding strict professional standards. Which is very nice of them, but doesn't tend to earn them any brownie points in the indy ranks. "You carry c--p like THIS and you won't carry MY book?"

Word to the wise: never measure yourself against the skinniest puppy in the litter. It's a dog-eat-dog world. In the comic book field it's a good news bad news thing. The good news?: only in comics can you compete head-to-head with the best in the same catalogue. The bad news? You have to compete head-to-head with the best in the same catalogue.

01:29 PM: You know, Greg, that may be either true, "true" or True but it's certainly something that is guaranteed to elicit a negative reaction from women, particularly in this case where you're attempting to take Weininger's intellectual argument -- "this is Largely or Mostly True when discussing women" -- and apply to Rev Smooth who pretty obviously sees herself as being in a completely separate category.

What Rev Smooth was doing, as far as I can see, was attempting to jam me into her own construct: the genders are interchangeable, some people are smarter than others but it has nothing to do with gender, hey, Dave Sim you seem pretty smart let's see if you can metaphorically "tear me a new one" in intellectual debate. Convince me of your point of view.

I think it's pretty common (to the point of being virtually universal) on the leftist feminist side of things. I don't see things that way. I don't see intellectual debate as a contact sport particularly and particularly not in this condensed an environment. As I told Gail Simone, I think all we can really do is just define the differences between us. You could make the debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama into a contact sport -- put them on the Internet with a laptop each and tell them they can't leave the room until they come to an absolute conclusion about WHO IS RIGHT and WHO IS WRONG. Somebody has to beat somebody else so we can at last say that Hillary OR Obama is right.

That just seems extremely unlikely to the extent of complete impossibility, to me.

I'm happy to tell you what I think and I'm happy to tell you where my thinking varies from yours.

But I am here to promote glamourpuss -- not to try to convince anyone to think like me about anything. Even in promoting glamourpuss, all I'm asking is that people go into the stores and look at it and/or read it. I'm not telling them what to think of it even when they ask me directly "How can you sell me on this book?"

I just don't think that way. I would never intrude on anyone's space like that. You take a look and make up your own mind.

01:39 PM: See, I tend to think that this proves my point. Rev Smooth thinks that the genders are interchangeable so that is the basis that she starts from and that's what she's just going to keep repeating until she gets me to say "The genders are interchangeable." Which I'm not going to do, because it's not what I believe.

Since the issue is feminism -- which is, by definition, women choosing to work outside the home instead of being homemakers -- then I think you are talking about percentages and you are talking about spectrums of thinking.

I think Ann Eisner is great. She's a great homemaker and that was what she chose to do for Will. Personally, I think that's great and that's something we need more of in our society. I think it's better for her son that Gail Simone is working at home instead of working in the beauty salon. It doesn't matter what Gail Simone says or what Rev Smooth says, I'm still going to think that.

I'm not here to convince Gail Simone that her being a homemaker/at home writer instead of a beauty salon worker is a better idea. Gail Simone has free will. She can decide tomorrow to leave her home behind and work full time downtown in an office she rents for the purposes of doing her writing. I don't think that would be as good an idea.

On a spectrum between Ann Eisner's choices and the choice of feminist who puts her child into daycare and commutes two hours each day, I think Gail falls far closer to Ann Eisner and I think that's a good thing.

I don't know what else I can add to that discussion.

01:49 PM: As a society we've been listening to this for a while now, but I tend to think it's feminist hype. If there was a time when boys got more attention than girls academically, I think they have long gone by the board. I think we have the exact opposite of misogyny in our society, I think we have a society that always leaps to "How does this benefit women?" as its first question in any circumstance.

I think the -- taking Gail's figures instead of my own -- 60% of women who are now out in the workforce and the 60% of university admissions that are women -- a 20% lead over men -- indicates pretty clearly that misogyny isn't the problem. I don't think a society or academic environment that institutionally "hates women" would give them a 20% edge without a word of dissent. I mean, not even a peep (except for me).

On the contrary, I think it's "Hillary crying in New Hampshire" writ large. When your back's against the wall, you get all choked up and basically overturn the imminent result literally overnight. And then indulge in misdirection and say that everyone rallied to your side because they saw Edwards and Obama beating up on you a week before in the debates.

We are -- none of us -- that easily fooled.

I think, as with Hillary, it has a "crying wolf" quality to it and that the "poor feminists victimized by a misogynistic world they never made" is wearing a little thin -- which is really what "crying wolf" is all about, right? You can't keep pushing that "please rush to our defence/please concede to our viewpoint" hot button every time you want another easy New Hampshire pass or another increased disadvantage in your favour.

01:58 PM: Well, I don't want to go too deeply into this, having defined the differences between myself and cartoonists and publishers who go for a government grant.

But I will say that the selection process is kind of skewed. People who get grants are then inducted into the selection committe to pick the next batch of people who get a grant. Chet did it. You just sort of pick who you think should get a grant and you have x amount of money to give away and you look at what they're asking for and you give it to them. It's not your money, what do you care?

Any time Chester gets a grant I always say, "You're welcome" because it's usually for an amount roughly equivalent to what Aardvark-Vanaheim paid in federal taxes the year before. I bust my hump to figure out how to keep the company profitable and viable and then hand all of my taxes to Chester.

I mean -- telling tales of school, here -- one of the requirements the Canada Council had for publishers getting a grant is that they have to be current in their payments to all of their creative people which Chris wasn't at the time. So, apprised of this, he applied for another grant to pay the creators, got it, and, once he was caught up with them, applied for another grant for Drawn & Quarterly. And got it.

You couldn't make that up, I don't think.

It's jus (CFG notes: yes, it just cuts off like that in the original post also)

02:11 PM: I remember when the late Marshall Rogers did a story where he had the different characters drawn by different people up at Continuity and he ended up asking Neal Adams to do a shot of (Batman I think) with "a piercing gaze".

"Give the man is due," he said with his characteristic Joker smile, "That was one HECK of a piercing gaze."


Seriously: I don't think name-calling is going to get either side anywhere. We have a basic contention in our society between those who think that the genders are interchangeable and those who think that they aren't, people who think women who hire people to rear their kids eight hours a day and those who rear their kids personally 24/7 are doing just as good a job and those who think that isn't the case.

The one thing that's certain is that all of the perspectives that issue from those dichotomies are pretty strongly held and are the result of very strong feelings, very deep thought or combinations of the two.

Name-calling in any situation like that is, I think I'm safe in saying, counter-productive.

02:32 PM: Well, you know, Rev, with all due respect, I think I've been pretty up front about the boundaries represented by my 100 Hour glamourpuss Internet promotion campaign: I'm doing it here in the back room of LOOKIN FOR HEROES (photos by Vicki coming soon to the LFH website! She was just in) on one of their two laptops and I'm doing it during business hours -- today starting at 10:00 am and finishing at 5:30 pm.

As I said on the Journal message boards the first day, I decided to give Brian Hibbs of San Francisco's COMIX EXPERIENCE the benefit of the doubt when he was advising me on my (then) imminent Internet campaign: "I think you've made your point." And I think overall he's turned out to be right. The bloodbath that everyone predicted was going to take place on the Journal message boards and SEQUENTIAL TART didn't take place. There was a frank exchange of viewpoints ("franker" I would say on your team's side in that you are the ones who have indulged in name-calling: I certainly haven't) and I think that satisfied the requirements. I'm here to promote glamourpuss, others are here to challenge my opinions on issues unrelated to comics. I spent two days on SEQUENTIAL TART and another full day on Comicon discussing gender politics. I spent a couple of hours giving a very full answer to the manager of a comic book store who is gay yesterday on NEWSARAMA. For which he expressed his appreciation when I was done. I think that's all to the good.

I don't think that my disagreeing with you and establishing where and how I see our opinions as diverging justifies calling me "pathetically weak" or accusing me of having "issues " with women.

But, no harm, no foul, eh?

Thanks for posting so extensively.

02:40 PM: Originally Posted by Greg Shantz: Maybe as intellectual, but women have no soul.

Science can not prove anything, ultimately. Everything we know from science could be proven wrong tomorrow. Old knowledge is constantly being overturned by new discoveries.

Genius is not bound by time.

On the first quote, I don't think this is particularly helpful, either given that we have absolutely no knowledge of what "a soul" or "soul" is, let alone who has one, who hasn't one, what its characteristics and/or properties are. Women could have completely different souls or identical souls, we have no idea. Telling them they don't have soul isn't likely to advance any discussion an inch, though.

I'd tend to agree with the comments on science, but I'd maybe skew a different way: let's put everything we know absolutely for a fact over inthis category and call them "science" and let's put everything else over here and call them "beliefs". I think it would be a useful exercise to see articles of faith move from one category to the other. There seems to be an emerging scientific consensus that DNA doesn't appear to have any evolutionary quality to it. As the various genomes are getting mapped, there doesn't seem to be any "grow into something else" places on those maps. Which would seem to move evolution from the "science" box into the "beliefs" box...

...or at least out of the "science" box into the "please stand by" box.

02:44 PM: Oh, well -- thank YOU for your heartening vote of confidence. That was a really good small press show in Montreal. Good energy!

Three more full days of promotion and then it's all up to the retailers. Thanks for wishing me success. We'll see how it goes.

Okay prayer time. Back in forty minutes or so.

03:40 PM: Thanks -- I'm just glad I don't have to do it again!

COLLECTED LETTERS 3 is stalled for what is a really silly reason: I have all the contents ready to go, I have the front cover pencilled and inked, all I have to do is get Dave Fisher to come in and take a photo for the back cover so I can finish that. Part of the gag hinges on me wearing a smoking jacket for the back cover shot. Part of me is saying "Dave, just FAKE the smoking jacket. Get the picture taken with you wearing a heavy sweater and just turn it into a smoking jacket." But part of me is saying "I want to be like Al Williamson taking pictures of himself with different props and costumes." Another part of me is saying, "I don't really have any room in my personal budget for a smoking jacket." Another part of me is saying, "Charge it to the company -- it's for an A-V publication: I'll never actually WEAR a smoking jacket." Another part of me is saying, "Oh, fine: ding the Canadian taxpayer for a smoking jacket when you know you can fake it, no problem. How did you wanting to be like Al Williamson end up as a federal responsibility."

So far all the different parts of me are still hashing it over. It's been going on a good six months now.

I told you it was a silly reason and I have every confidence you and everyone else reading this is now in complete agreement.

My world and welcome to it.

03:44 PM: Moved onto other message boards? And he's not going to be back here to answer our questions? WHAT A WORLD-CLASS JERK! No wonder no one can stand the guy.

I vote that we boycott his new book and anything else he tries to publish EVER!!

Brought to you by The CFIFOCPLICWC in YOUR neighbourhood

[Comic Fans In Favour of Crushing People Like Insects Cause We Can]

03:48 PM: Well, it just so happens I can't BE here February 23. I have something else that I HAVE to do. I repeat: only a world-class jerk would treat his fans this way.

I suggest a boycott. All in favour say, "Aye!"

03:50 PM: Thanks for the info? That's it? You're just going to "roll over and play dead" just like that?

Well not me.

I suggest a complete boycott of everything Dave Sim has ever done.

04:07 PM: Hi, Sadyv: thanks for posting here.

I'm afraid all I can do is keep repeating what I've already said. There are differences of opinion in our society and certainly the feminist opinion is prevailing (witness the 60% of women who are working outside the home and the 60:40 ratio of women to men in university admissions).

I think both of those statistics tend to undermine any assertion that we live in a misogynistic society. I don't think a society that "hates women" would stand by and let women dominate university admissions by a twenty percent margin -- without so much as pointing out that the 60:40 ratio also undermines the thesis that what feminists were interested in was numerical parity everywhere in society. Numerical parity is 50-50 and that was 10% down for men and 10% up for women ago.

As I said to Gail, I think the actual evidence in society is that we are moving further in the direction of universal feminism. She asserted that there was someone who had established that women working outside the home has leveled off to 1996 levels and will be subsiding from here on. Personally, I'll believe that when I see it.

And I also pointed out that I don't know how she and Rev Smooth rationalize that with their own assertions that women HAVE to work outside the home because life is so expensive these days. That's what I tend to see as being the prevailing viewpoint in our society and that seems to be the direction we're going in. Not only do I not see us levelling off or backing off, I see us accelerating in that direction.

If we can't come to an agreement that that's what's going on, then there's really not much left to say but "Let's wait and see." I say the next we hear it will be 70-30 admissions to university and 70% women in the workforce.

If it turns out to be -- in a year or two or four or five -- that the ratio is 55-45 and 55% of women working outside the home, I'll be delighted -- more than delighted -- to admit that I was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. And sincerely apologize for being wrong.

And then we'll wait to see and if we see -- in ten years, fifteen years -- that university admissions are back to numerical parity: 50-50 and 50% women working outside the home, then I'll be happy to apologize for being EVEN WRONGER or EXTREMELY WRONGER or whatever you want to call it.

04:18 PM: Oh, I think it's unavoidable. Developing the glamourpuss character/persona I thought that someone who drank and took anti-depressants (from my reading on the effects) would be pretty funny. Nothing overt, just "here's what she's like" versus "here's what she THINKS she's like" because she's in denial about being a substance abuser.

Well the very next issue of GLAMOUR magazine they ran a really long piece on anti-depressants so I took that as a sign: I'm supposed to go intothis in a little more depth, so there's about six pages spoofing the whole thing in issue two, glamourpuss writing a really, really long "Dear Dr. Norm".

To me, it's a spoof same as I did with CEREBUS: here's the subject treated seriously, here's the same subject with a National Lampoon treatment, here's the blurring between the two.

Now, I don't know whether that constitutes "philosophical musings" but I do think it's a relevant subject. And I've got the "cover" that whenever I do something like that I've got the fashion magazine article it came from.

Which is kind of a double bind: "Oh, you got it from an article in a WOMAN'S magazine -- what kind of proof is that?"

Well, isn't that a little misogynistic? Ruling it out of order because I read it in a WOMAN'S magazine?

As Charlie Brown used to say: I get my laughs.

04:21 PM: No, it has a different name entirely -- although by now I think I could get copyright and trademark on the 'SECRET PROJECT ONE' "brand".

If I had a lick of common sense I would!

04:27 PM: I'd LIKE glamourpuss to reach a much higher level of admiration than CEREBUS. Dream big, eh? I think those books that actually break out of the indie "ghetto" -- books like BONE -- are the ones that will take us where we want to go and where we hope to go as an environment. My hope with each CEREBUS trade was that "this would be the one" and that turned out not to be the case. Now I have my hopes staked on glamourpuss and SECRET PROJECT ONE.

04:31 PM: The biggest difficulty was -- and continues to be -- inking spontaneously with a brush because that's such a core element of the Raymond school look. It's all slipped away in the three months that I've been doing the promotion on the book so I'm going to have to work -- or, rather, NOT work -- to get it back.

"This DOES work. All it takes is self-confidence, relaxing into, zen state stuff."

Try telling that to the umpty-ump million golfers trying to eliminate a wicked slice or hook out of their golf swing.

04:34 PM: Uh, yeah it is. LEBONFON said that it's their standard comic book size. I checked to make sure they fit modern comic bags with backing boards.

Jeez, you've got me nervous now, Silent Phantom: is there something wrong with the paper dimensions on the PREVIEW EDITION?

04:39 PM: No. The round number was it. Same reason SECRET PROJECT ONE is $4.00, the CEREBUS trade is $30 and so on. Whatever sales I lose on the CEREBUS trade by pricing it at $30 instead of $29.95, I'll live with in exchange for the ease of doing the math on the invoice and checking to make sure that the amount on the Diamond cheque is right.

Chalk it up to a sever shortage of mid-level bureaucrats at Aardvark-Vanaheim who really believe that things like a $29.95 price point is better than a $30 price point.

Who would WANT readers who were that easily fooled by a nickel's difference in cover price?

04:44 PM: Oh, no -- that's not REALLY the COMICS INDUSTRY PREVIEW EDITION. That's the "plant" that Tundis and I posted (along with the eight others) just waiting to see which one stanleylieber bid on.

No, the real one's on its way, stanley.

Sorry, usually practical jokes are beneath me. They're never as funny in practice as they are in the planning. You'd think I'd know that by now.

04:52 PM: Well thank you, cheesehead! (er -- are you actually FROM Wisconsin? From what I understand they've got a real heavy trademark and copyright thing happening on "cheesehead" if you aren't, you know, FROM there) At the same time I think zealots are always interesting, too. The "lack of patience with other beliefs" is when interesting turns into really uninteresting.

And yes there seems to be a consensus that the "arts and comics" -- and particularly working methods and tools discussions -- were the most popular part of the 100 Hours (I think I might technically be up over 100 at this point if you include the three gender politics days). I'M certainly interested in those so it probably shows.

I think I might do something on a smaller scale for the week leading up to the book shipping in April -- 20 hours, maybe?

Thanks for posting!

05:07 PM: Well yes (and thanks for dropping by). It's one of the big elements of Neal's work that puts him at odds with the Raymond School is a number of significant ways. He CONCEIVES of a page or a cover and then breaks it down into a series of problems and solves each of those as he goes along which is the complete opposite of the Raymond approach which is meticulous hard work to get things as accurate as possible and then spontaneity to finish it off.

It was sort of implied from the time that Neal moved from the daily and Sunday page to the comic page. There's so much more "carpet" to cover that the Raymond solutions and the Drake solutions only go so far. Particularly when Neal started thumb-nailing at a smaller size and blowing the pages up. A relatively thick brush line on the thumbnail becomes a HUGE brush line when it's enlarged. If you put in a huge brush line, you need to finesse it so it doesn't look "out of place" with the smaller ink lines so there's this ongoing movement back and forth between brush and pen to make all the elements dovetail and work naturally together.

I think it just about drove Stan Drake over the edge. Basically Neal did to Stan Drake what Drake had done to Raymond: "Yeah? Why not?"

Where it breaks down (if you call it breaking down) is that the Adams School gets used to finessing EVERYTHING and pretty soon the school is using pen lines to cover up bad drawing, shift balance and so on. Which Adams didn't do. But that's where "Yeah? Why not?" breaks down and would have been Stan Drake's answer, I think, if he actually looked anywhere onthe comic-book field and its practitioners but down: "Because when your School follows you, they're going to adopt the cosmetics and miss what you're actually doing." To a degree Raymond could have said that to Drake as well.

It's an interesting debate.

Someone mailed me a printout from Jeff's Boneville site where he's printing essays about the Self-Publishing Movement [?] of the mid-90s. I guess Colleen did one. Have you done one yet? Inquiring minds want to know.

You were the one who came up with The Fatal Five -- which everyone else hated I think.

Weren't they LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES super-villains back in Shooter's first round of scripting the book?

Anyway, thanks again for posting.

05:10 PM: Bah! The fan/reader/CUSTOMER is the end-user which means they/we RULE!


05:11 PM : Originally Posted by stanleylieber: Dave, What do you call the process of discovering those things we can prove?


05:13 PM: In less than ten characters unfortunately: No.





05:28 PM: Well, I think you're taking the right "slow and steady wins the race" approach. The advantage of self-contained works (like my own SECRET PROJECT ONE) is that you can test the market a lot more easily and just live with what the market does with it: fast slow up down. You've already got three works done so you can really just "pick your spot" depending on which ones in the future get the best overall reaction and pitch those to Diamond and keep the others for "onesy" "twosy" orders on your website.

Who knows? Maybe someday there'll be enough religious based comics that sell well that we can pitch religious bookstores with a separate dump or something.

05:54 PM: But as Steve Wright said, "I wouldn't want to paint it."

"Success Story" is one of my favourites. I sent glamourpuss to Al and Cori Williamson in photocopy form through Yoram and he relayed an e-mail from Cori saying "Al and I looked at them and what we liked best ws the fact that you can see the influences of Raymond and Al's work yet Dave has put his own touch and made it distinctly his." Very good day when Yoram sent me that.

I did tell Mark Wheatley at the Norman Rockwell Museum that I was thinking of sending Al Williamson a glamourpuss shot on tracing paper where all he'd have to do is transfer it and tighten it up and ink it. Mark said I might have to do some touch-up as he did on the cover of the ADVENTURES collection (which is absolutely amazing!) but -- as far as we know Al is still at the "he has his good days and his bad days" stage and that can last for a long, long time. As with most of these cases, I don't want to intrude. I've been the same way with Jean Shuster Peavy, Joe Shuster's younger sister and last night we talked for two hours until her son Warren absolutely needed to get onto the Internet. I had the same "block" with Jerry Siegel: had his phone number for ten years after Dan Day and I did "Ricky Robot" in the back of CEREBUS.

What do I say? "Hi, Mr. Siegel, it's Dave Sim." Should I or shouldn't I? The odds are pretty good that Joanne Siegel is still at the same number. Should I or shouldn't I. Jean says she talks to Joanne about once a month.

Tough call.

One of the funniest stories Jean told me was about a gag Jerry Siegel used to pull way back when he was first hanging around with Joe and Jean and their brother Frank. He'd get them all to look straight up into the sky and go "Look! What's that up there?" And see how many people he could fish in to looking up. "It looks like it might be a plane...or maybe a bird" She's pretty sure that's where the famous SUPERMAN intro later came from. Although this was years before SUPERMAN, evidently.

I asked her for any memories she had of times when it was just her and Joe, thinking there'd be like one anecdote and instead she goes, "Oh, we were PALS!" Particularly when they moved from Cleveland to New York City. Jean was married to her high-school sweetheart and he had gone off to war in Europe so she and Joe used to pal around and go to the nightclubs together. That's where she met Milton Berle (the Latin Quarter), Lucille Ball and Danny Thomas (The Riviera -- Desi Arnaz's band was playing there). Joe would get introduced as a celebrity. You know, we forget that. SUPERMAN was like the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES of 1942. You draw SUPERMAN?

Joe put Jean through acting school and she got a number of parts -- never ON Broadway, always OFF Broadway -- but definite parts. Later she had her own nightclub act and Joe designed her outfits for her. They met Frank Sinatra, knew Morey Amsterdam very well...

...okay sunset prayer time. That's gonna be a wrap for today.

Anyone I didn't get to, please post your questions or comments to Brian Bendis' JINXWORLD thread (er..."glamourpuss Dave Sim", not "Gail Simone vs. Dave Sim") and we'll see you over there Monday, 10:30 am EDST.

Thanks CBR -- we might see you again in April!

06:02 PM: Cinderella Liberty -- John's playing online poker and he's still in the tournament with only 300 guys left out of 52,000 so he's not going anywhere.

And you're welcome. That's a big part of the Raymond School is making noses and everything else look good while still going for a good likeness. I thought you might like it.

And on the smoking jacket? Leave a phone message the next time you're headed up to T.O. and we'll see if it works out.

John's out he had Big Slick -- Ace King -- other guy "rivered" him with Ace Jack. "What a way to go," he says.

So the store's definitely closing now.

BUT out of 5,257 who started he finished 337 and picked up sixty bucks.

More money for copies of glamourpuss maybe.

See you Monday.