100 Hour Tour: The Comic Journal Pt 1

What follows are the posts from Dave Sim made to The Comic Journal's message board as part of his "100 Hour Internet Tour".

Posted on 2/5/2008 3:42:00 PM: Hi, well here I am. Dave Sim. Sorry I'm late but I couldn't find my way around. This really does take some getting used to.

Anyway, some delayed information that I'm starting to figure out I need to say at the outset because the tide tends to get decided by the questions that come up (which so far I've been able to keep up with). I spoke with Stephen Holland at PAGE 45 this morning -- afternoon his time -- and told him it doesn't look as if I'll be able to make it to the big UK Bristol show this year, but I am definitely up for it next year. He sent me a bunch of questions to answer for his column in COMICS INTERNATIONAL so that's what I'm doing right now. Scheduled for issue 207 but I'm wondering if we can't get into 205 or maybe 206 since they've been delayed. Told Stephen I would fax him the answers and he can input them and send them over to new editor Mike Conroy (along with answers to Mr. Conroy's own questions) ASAP and electronically. No idea if that will make a difference in the schedule but a prestige spot like CI is worth turning cartwheels and backflips for. Congratulations to Mike on his appointment. I hope a new broom doesn't sweep ENTIRELY clean since we all owe a great debt to UK Uber Fan Dez Skinn going back at least a generation. Big shoes to fill.

I have a major correction to make to the inside front cover of glamourpuss No.1 where I've credited King Features Syndicate as the sole owners and worldwide exclusive rights holders to RIP KIRBY (and suggesting that someone contact them and make the $100 million RIP KIRBY film -- Spielberg or Scorcese hopefully). This was partly a preemptive strike because I'm copying RIP KIRBY panels while discussing the history of photorealism that Raymond initiated with the strip. Nothing actionable I hope but I thought acknowledgement might smooth any ruffled feathers.

Well, according to Tom Robert's new book, ALEX RAYMOND HIS LIFE AND TIMES, Raymond owned the RIP KIRBY strip.

Knock ME over with a feather. It turns out that because Raymond volunteered for military duty instead of being drafted (he was a shoo-in for a deferment as a morale booster at home) King Features wasn't obligated to hold his "position" open when he returned from the war -- his "position" of course, being the artist/writer/creator of FLASH GORDON and JUNGLE JIM. Raymond offered to buy the strip back from King Features and was, of course, rebuffed (an ancillary aspect of my own dictum "No company will ever pay you enough to sue them successfully").

To make a long story only slightly shorter, the agreement they came to was that Raymond would agree to create a new strip as long as he owned it.

Significantly, almost all RIP KIRBY collections have been "off-shore". Even the PACIFIC COMICS CLUB EDITION is evidently registered in Tahiti and marked as copyright 1950 King Features and copyright 1986 Pacific Comics Club. My Spanish translations are registered as copyright King Features and TM Hearst Holdings. Even more significantly, the ALEX RAYMOND HIS LIFE AND TIMES book has no copyright for RIP KIRBY on the indicia page although FG, Jungle Jim, Juliet Jones and others are registered as copyright KingFeatures.

Curioser and curioser.

Posted on 2/5/2008 3:49:00 PM: Okay, everyone at work must actually be doing work right now (nyuck nyuck nyuck)so I wanted to say that I appreciated Jim Valentino sending me copies of his new autobio title, DRAWING FROM LIFE and his NORMALMAN phone book (yes, Jim has his own phone book now). Enjoyed his slice of life stories but boy he sure is a Californian!

Someone asked me yesterday what I was reading right now. Sandeep Atwal just loaned me THE CITIZEN KANE book which contained Pauline Kael's long RAISING KANE essay as well as the first version of the script (which is quite a bit longer). Apart from that I'm reading a self-published collection of lengthy fiction by J.B. Toner called THE BENT UNIVERSE. He had sent me the first chapters a couple of years ago so it was nice to find out how the story turned out (never a guarantee with unconventionally published authors).

Posted on 2/5/2008 3:59:00 PM: I should probably also do the Formal Promotion that I've been doing since last week at TCJ:

There are a number of stores, about 100 in Canada and 200 in the US and maybe half a dozen in the UK (Avalon comics, Page 45, Dead Head Comics, Forbidden Planet Belfast, Forbidden Planet Glasgow, Forbidden Planet London and Incognito Comic Shop)that should have autographed copies of the COMICS INDUSTRY PREVIEW EDITION of #1 (one each) that you can go in and take a look at before deciding if you want to order glamourpuss or not. I don't know how long it takes Diamond Dateline to get across the pond, but there will be a PREVIEW EDITION #1 included with the Feb 13 package. I just got the 30 January edition today, so that'll give you an idea of how long it takes to get to the publishers.

Even if it comes in at the end of February (technically the end of he solicitation period) I think you can still get your store to order one for you that they can put in as an advance reorder. Could be wrong about that, but your retailer should know for sure.

Posted on 2/5/2008 4:02:00 PM: Thanks, Glenn. I appreciate the welcome. Actually the delay is pretty convenient since I've been thinking every night when I went home "I really have to mention the thing about Raymond owning the strip -- those Inside Front Covers are already out there."

So what made you decide to start Comics Village?

Posted on 2/5/2008 4:09:00 PM: All right. I'll answer yours if you'll answer mine. Yes, mostly it came from the positive experience with doing literal photorealism -- the Woody Allen/Konigsberg material where I incorporated Woody Allen into famous scenes in Bergman and Fellini movies. Originally I planned to work from the films and bought copies of 8.5 (actually a half but I can't find how to do that), and a couple of Bergman films, La Dolce Vita -- I got that one, too. I found them...uh...pretty unfunny, pretty impossible to parody. And Gerhard got about two minutes into 8.5 and gave up so so much for "striking sparks" off the background guy. That was when I retreated to stills from the movies completely out of context, selected purely for the visual appeal. That was a lot of fun. Then the Girls of Fruitcake Park was even more fun. "How can I do the Girls of Fruitcake Park for a living?" That was always in the back of my head from then on.

Posted on 2/5/2008 4:14:00 PM: That's interesting. Are you personally disinterested in Marvel and DC? I don't buy a lot of Marvel and DC books but Kelly, one of the subscribers was in yesterday picking up a fair-sized pile of books. He said that he always saves what he considers the best comic for last and right now that's Bendis' AVENGERS. I've heard that before. Then he told me what was going on in SPIDER-MAN right now. One of the retailers I talked to said he had his orders on S-M drop from 60 to 26 in one month. I literally didn't think that was possible. I mean, everyone made it through the Clone Saga okay, right?

Posted on 2/5/2008 4:21:00 PM: Braided questions and answers. This is interesting (and hi to old friend Martin Shipp and Phil Hall). Doing CEREBUS at the end -- roughly the last year -- was a unique experience in that it had all been written for years so, as a writer I was "done" around 2002 in terms of coming up with things. It was more like taking dictation from all of my past selves from the last 26 years which is very different from writing. More like putting a last coat of polish on a wooden sculpture that's been done for years. Until someone else does a monthly book for 25 years with a definite end on it, I was the only one who would ever experience it so it's hard to relate it to terms like "fun".

Maybe the closest analogy is fitting the last couple of pieces into a jigsaw puzzle. Is that fun? It's more a culmination, a fulfillment, a conclusion. The whole time when you're working on it you're thinking "What will it be like when this is done?" Well, what is it like? That's as close to an answer as I can come.

Posted on 2/5/2008 4:31:00 PM: Hey, Rick. Yes, I always prefer that readers buy the CEREBUS trades in comic-book stores. The lowest point in my month-long retailer phone campaign was the Canadian retailer who told me that the CEREBUS trades suddenly stopped selling two years ago so he stopped carrying them. "you mean, PERMANENTLY?" Yeah, permanently. For as long as his store is open he'll never order another trade. There's no shortage of material out there to take your place if a retailer decides he needs stuff that actually sells.

One of the brightest stories I heard was the guy who went into Forbidden Planet (I forget which one) and they were blowing out the CEREBUS trades at like a quid each. Okay, maybe not that bad, but blowing them out. So he bought one and gave it back to the store to use as a reading copy. Now they have all the trades in stock pretty much permanently.

Cerebus readers. They're a breed apart.

Glenn, I do think it's necessary to acknowledge the "elephant in the room" though. We are all here riding the coattails of the SPIDER-MAN movies in a lot of ways. There's nothing more humourous than self-important pilot fish. "Well, you know, I'm not one to CRITICIZE the whale, but couldn't we be going a little faster and a little more smoothly?" I find flipping through the front of the PREVIEWS catalogue a good way to keep things in perspective.

Posted on 2/5/2008 4:40:00 PM: Hi, Billy ...forgot that one. The Avalon Comics contact was from the Fantagraphics catalogue Brick & Mortar stores list (lamentably now MIA in the latest catalogue). I had about two weeks to "do" the U.S. by phone with the Fashion mail-out running late and then the Canadian phone campaign running late. It seemed like a good choice since it was about 200 stores that were probably at least "indy friendly". I sent one to every UK store on the list.

No, I would never revisit CEREBUS except maybe in the way Will used to revisit the Spirit. Con program covers, that kind of thing. There are three CEREBUS JAM stories that never got finished that I will probably finish if I find the time (as bonus features for the CEREBUS MISCELLANY volume) but none of that is remotely close to the front burner. I have to see how much time a new bi-monthly title takes up and where I want to put any extra time there might be. Getting at least part of a life is always an option, but difficult to solicit through PREVIEWS.

That's also my answer to the Italy trip question, by the way. Although with the beach mere steps away, I am certainly tempted. Hi to Francesca and the kids.

Posted on 2/5/2008 4:46:00 PM: Hey, Craig. No, I never throw up my hands. If there was any apparently irretrievable write off in human history it was me. If I can"see the light" it would be hard to rule anyone "out of bounds". The ending stayed pretty much the same (speaking of "seeing the light"). This is an experience that, so far as we know, everyone is going to go through. Cerebus' was only one reaction to it. It's an open question, I think. If your consciousness on your own Last Day is what it is now, there's no reason to not be making a decision about what you intend to do right now. I mean, presumably it's a big decision. It's not a movie, it's are you going to get a job or go on to university but on a much much larger scale (again, presumably).

Posted on 2/5/2008 4:55:00 PM: Craig: Well, I'm pretty sure I could triple circulation if I used PLAYBOY instead of VOGUE for my photo reference. But, then maybe not -- the "charming scantily clad bon mot" got pretty thoroughly done by Alberto Vargas and others. There's a "man bites dog" quality to Dave Sim referencing fashion magazines.

Hey, Jason! Actually a lot of the material is "coming to me" as tends to happen in these situations. Yoram Matzkin who is a huge Cerebus art buyer was up checking on his commissioned piece ("Bonfire of the Super-Heroes I" at cerebusart.com under comissions)and I had the studio closed off because I had the first few pages of glamourpuss on the wall. So we went out to Williams Coffee Pub for coffee and started talking about Williamson and Raymond and he talked about trading two Raymond RIP KIRBY's for a Williamson, so we dicussed that. Turns out he was buying SECRET AGENT CORRIGAN strips from Cori and Al by mail and had about FORTY OF THEM.

Uh...let's go back to the studio, Yoram, I think there's something that YOU of all people should get to see first.

Prayer time. Gotta run. Back soon.

Posted on 2/5/2008 6:00:00 PM: Glenn: Actually this is the first time I've been on the Internet. I think it's probably one of those "good news bad news" things. It's hard to correctly visualize what it actually is. The computer person I talk tothe most is Sandeep Atwal and he's pretty up-front about the fact that he sits at his computer all day, that's where all of his work occurs from doing his own magazine to helping on my stuff to his Malcolm X DVDs that he sells to the projects he does for various companies. He doesn't have Internet access in his apartment so that becomes his "outing" for the day -- go to the library or the Huether Lounge and check his e-mail, check out any website. But he's pretty happy that it's outside the apartment. I mean, it's obviously very addictive. Most of the people reading this are theoretically at work which means the definition of work is getting fuzzy around the edges. I'm working but I'm also keeping track of what Dave is saying on Comics Village.

I have no Internet, no computer, no television, no electronic stuff at all and there aren't enough hours in the day. How did I manage to find a good three hours every night (at least!) to channel surf? How did I watch pretty much every damn Leaf or Blue Jays game?

And yet everyone seems to be okay for the most part. Bombarded with media from every direction but pretty ho-hum about it all.

You just missed a very interesting conversation with Steve Hayes...indirect connection between old family friends who is also a CEREBUS reader (has no.2 to 300) and used to go to school with Greg Hyland.

Craig: Oh, hey, I can just scroll up to your questions and then back down to my answers. I've been taking notes. DUH.

Nothing new I'm prepared to say about SP1, I'm afraid.

It was really the positive reaction on the part of the retailers to glamourpuss that made me think, well, okay maybe I do have some credibility left in the comic-book field. I was really prepared to go onto SP3 because I wasn't sure that glamourpuss was accessible enough. Yoram was very enthusiastic but that might just be because he's a Williamson fan. I didn't know theextent to which the field had divided like the Red Sea into Drawn & Quarterly/Fantagraphics on the one side and Spider-man and World War Hulk on the other side with my photorealism stuff flopping around like a stranded fish. That's the way the field is often portrayed but doesn't seem to be the way that it is. If they'll buy one photorealism project, maybe they'll buy the second one.

It still remains to be seen but there seems to be genuine buzz about it and some days there even seems to be genuine heat. We'll see.

Posted on 2/5/2008 6:22:00 PM: Craig: ...and then promptly forgot to scroll back up. D'OH!

SP3 doesn't actually exist in that case. Whatever I might have done we'll now have to wait until 2012 to find out what it might have been.

The first assessment of glamourpuss' viability will come in September when I have the final orders for issue 3. I know from experience that there's no point in trying to anticipate what the assessment will entail or even be directed towards. I have to live with the lady for a while tofigure out what her quirks are.

the CEREBUS MISCELLANY goes back and forth between being EVERYTHING NOT IN THE TRADES and ALL OTHER B & W or ALL OTHER COLOURCEREBUS STORIES. Erik Larsen cybernetically dropped by on the Comicon site and I told him that Jeff Tundis can probably send him everything there is in colour and see what Image wants to publish (if Image still wants to publish it). Slow track.

Sgt. Claude Flowers has my COMMENTARIES ON MARK'S GOSPEL on disc and isformatting it to comic-book size which I'm hoping to package with Chester Brown illustrations of the Synoptic Jesus and the lettering replaced with the original Koin Greek. This is probably what I'll work on if there is any spare time in and around glamourpuss (and it doesn't look as if I have to promote it constantly to keep the numbers up).

Apart from that I'd still like to do the complete THE BEAVERS -- all the weekly strips, QUACK stories, correspondence with Mike Friedrich. Right now that's just a notion trying hard to become an idea.

HIGH SOCIETY for guys and JAKA'S STORY for women, usually.

Posted on 2/5/2008 6:33:00 PM: oops. Now I just noticed I missed most of Jason's questions. Yes, Al Williamson theaward-winnng Marvel inker is the same Al Williamson. I have my own theories about Alex Raymond and his style but I'm definitely getting more information now, especially with Tom Roberts' book.

The glamourpuss pages and the Raymond pieces are selected based on their eye-pleasing quality. "ooo -- I really wantto do that one." It takes so long to do them, I have more than enough time to figure out how much text I want, where I want it to go and how to, hopefully, make it funny. So far, it's a fun process. Just when I'm getting tired of doing one part of it I'm on to the next part. There's a natural integration, I think, when I'm working on a fashion shot and going "What could she be saying here?" It was the way most of the comedy was done in Cerebus. As Charles Schulz famously remarked, comics are really just funny pictures. Draw funny pictures and then write funny words. Brain surgery it isn't.

Uh...I hadn't thought of that that more people would turn up if it was announced ahead of time. Let's test that out and say that I'll be at Comics Bulletin a week from today. Feb 12, 3 pm GMT.

I just thought I was one of those people who attracts a few people who want to talk and a bunch of people who just want to lurk.

Posted on 2/5/2008 6:44:00 PM: Jeff Seiler: Yeah, I would definitely consider a letters page. In fact, I was thinking the other day that that was one of my cardinal rules when I was planning CEREBUS -- you HAVE to have a letters page: that's one of the things these guys (Mike Friedrich, James Waley, etc.) are missing. You need a direct connection with the readers. As I consider it, it should probably run IFC IBC and BC.

I was wondering if I could get a volunteer to see if he could contact people about using their posts at TCJ, Comicon and Sequential Tart as letters along with my answers (edited down in most cases). And I could add in glamourpuss' answers. Hmm. I wonder if there are any volunteers in, say, Oklahoma?

Re: SuperTuesday. I'm always hoping for brokered conventions, backroom deals, demonstrations on the floor, kingmakers, shifting momentum. How that happens isn't nearly as important to me. I think Hillary's been looking pretty good, actually. She's 60 years old, for heaven's sake! Let's wait and see what Obama looks like at 60 before making comparisons.

Posted on 2/5/2008 6:54:00 PM: Steve Bolhafner: Yes, I know what you mean. Whenever Recker or Diamond trips over CEREBUS VOLUME 4 is CHURCH & STATE volume 2 I really have to wonder what it is that I was thinking. Why don't we just change the name of the Promotion Department to the Go Away It's Too Complicated Department.

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line: C&S has to be roughly twice the size of HS to get everything in there that I want in there. Too big to bind. Okay, we'll make it two volumes. GOING HOME is a good name for a book featuring Scott Fitzgerald but STILL GOING HOME isn't a good name for a book featuring Ernest Hemingway. FORM & VOID. There's a Hemingway title. But...but...

One of the reasons to talk about glamourpuss for three months two months before it comes out: let's seen if there's any easily avoided intrinsic stupidity...like forgetting how important a letters column is...that we can easily avoid by finding out what suggestions people might have. Call it market research.

Market research instead of pure artistic impulse? Hmmm. Let me think about that.

Posted on 2/5/2008 7:12:00 PM: I guess I was also under the impression that the instantaneous communication of the Internet is just that. You show up somewhere and everyone e-mails everyone else who might be interested and ten seconds later, poof, everyone is there. The second working model was that everyone has their favourite "station" so you have to go to them. Most of the retailers heard about glamourpuss either on ICV2 or Newsarama but a lot of them hadn't heard anything a good three weeks after the announcement. The impression that I got was that it's all they can do to make it through PREVIEWS every month and they do very little checking of comics stuff on the web.

John just came in and said there's a lot to that. They're inundated with product as it is without going looking for what someone is talking about doing in Spider-man in December.

But there also seems to be an advanced insularization going on where everyone is turning into their own escape pod. It's a full time job keeping up with their own escape pod without communicating with someone else's.

Which is why I'm spending a full month just telling people over and over again: the stores will have glamourpuss No.1 for you to look at around Valentine's Day. 300 or so have them right now. Go in to the store and ask politely. When Steve Hayes introduced himself I told him and said, "You probably don't want to spoil it for yourself". Nah, he went right up to the front and spoiled it for himself. New Dave Sim. It's been awhile for those who like that sort of thing.

Posted on 2/5/2008 7:25:00 PM: Um, yeah. It would be nice if we could have some Tundis' ...Elves?... volunteer to help with stuff like this. If you want to make up a schedule of the websites I'm already registered at and do nine different countdown clocks, that's fine with me. The countdown clock was my idea but I usually figure Jeff's humouring me. "Countdown clock. GREAT idea, DVS. The Internet absolutely lights up with clocks. The slacker generation LOVES clocks."

Whatever you think will get more people, that's more than fine by me. I didn't have the impression of people lined up at TCJ. I was reminded of the time The Beatles met Elvis in Los Angeles. They were all ushered into the room and just sat there looking at him. Finally he says, "If somebody doesn't say something soon, I'm going to bed."

Posted on 2/5/2008 7:38:00 PM: Okay. Prayer time. I should be back a little before 4pm...or 9pm if you actually live IN the UK Village

Oh, sorry Dan didn't see you there. I'm still not used to this. The MISCELLANY volume is more "on the table" with Image than scheduled. I always hate to "pull" a project and it's not as if I haven't got enough other things to do...and I'm sure Erik Larsen is in the same boat.

Thanks for the kind words on gp. Can I use those in an ad?

Actually glamour is one of the few (only?) words that Americans also spell with a "u". At least according to the logo of GLAMOUR magazine.

Coincidence? Er...uh...yes, actually. Pure coincidence

Posted on 2/5/2008 8:40:00 PM: Dan Pawley: Well, it's really just an off-hand comment right now. I think if I was going to look into it seriously, I would start by asking Terry and Robin what the thinking is behind just doing them Once. I suspect that the idea is that it's a bit of a headache that gets worse if you start trying to keep all of them in print at the same time. So, you minimize the logistics by doing them Once and it becomes a pure exercise in profit and loss. Of course one of the variables is that the STRANGERS IN PARADISE books outsell the CEREBUS trades by a wide margin. What could make sense for Terry and Robin...Once...might, in Dave Sim's case, mean that I would have to invest a lot of money on the front end, break even after 30 days and then have the money trickle back in over the course of a year or two. All the while with people saying "I didn't know you did hardcovers. HIGH SOCIETY? Where's the CEREBUS hardcover?"

"Uh...the CEREBUS hardcover has been sold out for about a year."

"Oh, well, I don't want hardcovers unless I can get them from the beginning. Let me know when you bring the CEREBUS hardcover back into print."

One of the biggest lessons I've learned over the years is that you have to keep everything as simple as you can or you're asking for trouble. Like investing 100 hours on the Internet over February trying to get people to go into their local store and ask to see the Preview Edition of glamourpuss No.1. 100 hours on one simple message. First guy in line at the NYCC is going to go, "Wow. You should have advertised this. This is great."

Posted on 2/5/2008 8:52:00 PM: Marcus Lusk: Oh, you're quite welcome. If television is the glass teat, what is the Internet? That's a good one. The glass umbilical cord?

Dan Pawley: I don't know, I've read his name five times in the last half hour. He must be somebody pretty important. Dan Pawley. See there he is again.

I tend to spell it gp but GP is fine as well. It's hard to describe the structure of gp apart from the Three Publications in One (see flash intro at www.glamourpusscomic.com). It's one of those things where I thought "Well, it can't just be drawings done from fashion magazine photos." So I decided to incorporate the reasons why I like that which led to Alex Raymond, so I started doing Alex Raymond panels to explain "Why Alex Raymond"...and then I thought, okay now this is getting too "lecture-y" so I'd do another fashion magazine drawing and some jokes. Back and forth. So far as I know that's the structure for the time being.

Posted on 2/5/2008 9:07:00 PM: Jeff Seiler: glamour shots it is. Part of the idea behind the dialogue is trying to sort out the gravitational pull between Raymond, Williamson, Drake and Adams in my own take on the Raymond School. It's a very complicated discussion in an area of the field that has been pretty much abandoned. I'm hoping I can entertain people and reawaken interest in the Raymond School. It's a non-verbal discussion. Raymond does Raymond and then along comes Drake and does Drake which is like a question mark to Raymond. Trying to frame the question takes a lot of pictures and lot of explaining. Then Adams comes along and does Adams and that poses a question to Drake. If that...then why not this?

Could all be in my imagination, but it's the absolute toppermost of the poppermost in comic book illustration so my guess is that it's inherently interesting. I would love to read, say, Frank Cho's take on it. But I suspect his would be "Williamson? Frazetta!" To me Frazetta is beside the point.

I liked the anecdote about the girls. There's a good novel in there.

I don't know. I thought yesterday went okay. It at least showed what happens when gender enters the discussion which I think is valuable. I'm looking forward to going back on the "second round". A lot of it caught me flat-footed because it was the other context. "Dave does his own cooking and laundry" Uh, Dave doesn't have anything to cook WITH. Same reason he's fasting today. Minimal materialism. When I buy spinach pie at the Acropolis Bakery (on the othr side of King from Lookin' For Heroes on Ontario St.)it's an amazing experience. Wow. COOKED food. It's actually warm inside your mouth. Same as the salad I'll be eating after twelve hours of fasting tonight (this salad is AMAZING!).

Dave sends his laundry out to be done. Isn't that the politically correct thing to do? Washing our clothes communally instead of using up all that water and electricity on your own Terribly Important Laundry?

Yep. I'm looking forward to Sequential Tart, Season Two.

Posted on 2/5/2008 9:18:00 PM: Alex Robinson: Hey Alex -- you and Kristin still going to buy me dinner in NYC? I'm coming into town for NYCC. I hope so.

Actually, glamourpuss was something I was doing to keep my hands busy and have fun while I was waiting for my Technical Director to finish all the scanning on Secret Project One. Then I read PhilBoyle and Joe Field's comments on comics publishing from a retail perspective. HOW to publish a comic book and it became an intellectual exercise. I really believe we need periodical comic books to bring people into the stores on a regular basis. I can understand Chester doing his newest book all at once, but I'd really rather have it in installments and then buy the collected version.

On the other hand I would never have serialized Secret Project One. It was built to be a self-contained one-shot. It depends on the project, I guess.

No ashcan from you and Tony lately. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

COLLECTED LETTERS will continue...of course I completely forgot to mention volume 3 when I outlined my publishing plans earlier. That's probably a bad sign. No, that's definitely a bad sign.

Posted on 2/5/2008 9:53:00 PM: Glenn: I'm always surprised at the amount of controversy my words generate, years after. Of course I'm also surprised that no one else ever seems to be surprised...or seems to react at all. Can you think of anything else from fourteen years ago that people haven't completely gotten over thirteen and a half years ago? Mind you it's not something I spend a lot of time thinking about. The fact that you ask the question would seem to suggest that I'm not paranoid and yet that's one of the impressions that people seem determined to create. Dave Sim is paranoid.

I respect and admire anyone working in the comic book field. I respect and admire hard, time-consuming work for, relatively speaking, little reward. That's one of the reasons the retailers and I tend to get along like a house on fire. Good work ethic, come what may.

Posted on 2/5/2008 10:04:00 PM: Where angels fear to tread: I think if the creators in the field had the same work ethic as the retailers we'd have a much healthier field. Ger and I always treated doing CEREBUS as a job. You show up in the morning and you work all day until you've gotten done what you needed to get done. It took me five weeks to do glamourpuss No.1 so I announced it as a bi-monthly although in today's market I could have announced it as a monthly and just been late regularly and no would have noticed.

Printing COLLECTED LETTERS 2 at Lebonfon I got antsy because I was going to miss the target ship date by a week -- which became two weeks. At one point they asked, "When does your purchase order get voided?" The 30-day window that Diamond allows. If it isn't 30 days late, you're fine. The heck I'm fine. If I tell people it will be out June 12 it better be out June 12.

It's happening with FOLLOWING CEREBUS and Craig Miller and John Thorne got WRAPPED IN PLASTIC out on time for 70 issues. We have no idea why that's happening. I'm determined it isn't going to happen with glamourpuss.

Posted on 2/5/2008 10:13:00 PM: I think I made a mistake in the shift between the '92 TOUR (store signings and the Great Eastern One Day shows) and the Spirits stops (one retailer, all small press/self-publishers)for what now seems an obvious reason: I went from doing shows with reliable people, retailers, to doing shows with unreliable people, self-publishers and small pressers. You could make a persuasive argument that higher page rates, royalties, better working conditions, return of original artwork and an art market to sell it in have undermined the field. Murphy Anderson worked constantly and at a very high level because the mortgage needed to be paid, the kids needed shoes, braces etc. $35 a page. x number of pages. Do the math. There were guys lined up around the block waiting to take his place if he didn't deliver on time.

Horrible working conditions=reliable creators

Wonderful working conditions=unreliable creators

I probably have a fair share of the blame for that even though I've always tried to behave responsibly myself.

Posted on 2/5/2008 10:19:00 PM: Thanks, Rick. Things seem to be going okay but I'm certainly not taking anything for granted. I said to myself December 1st: Okay. Here we go. Flat out for three months. Running the marathon like it's a hundred yard dash.

Then it's all up to the retailers and I'm off to S.P.A.C.E. It's going to be very weird walking back into the house on Monday the third of March, win, lose or draw.

Speaking of which I still have to book my plane tickets.

And it's prayer time.

Posted on 2/5/2008 10:21:00 PM: Glenn: Well, I'm on the side of the retailers, let's put it that way. I haven't seen anything much in the small press that I would give the benefit of the doubt if I was a retailer. Come back when you grow up, kid.

Posted on 2/5/2008 10:25:00 PM: It's Tuesday. John closes at 6 today. Yikes. Sorry to end on such a downer today. Let's try Newsarama tomorrow.