100 Hour Tour: The IMWAN Message Board

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

Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:28 am

Holy Smokes! I thought I'd just drop over here and post a message that I'll be in the Drawing Board section instead of the Playroom. I didn't expect there to be this many posts this early in the game. Okay, this is going to tax my two-week old Internet skills to the breaking point and possibly beyond, but maybe I can go back there and change my mind, publicly. "Dave Sim Caught in Official Flip-Flop: Playroom/Drawing Board Debacle Devastates glamourpuss Promotion Campaign on IMWAN: Film at 11"

11:32 am

Okay, Jeff the Mod has evidently locked the other thread, so my Playroom/Drawing Board spanning heroics were for naught. Thank you, Jeff and thank you Linda for your cordial welcome. I'm going to backtrack and get right to the questions. Please Stand By. Luddite On The Loose.

11:34 am

Hello JurisFlash! Say is that the Jay Garrick of Earth Supreme Court? (nyuck nyuck nyuck)

11:35 am

Dave IS in the chatroom, y'all. Let's all GIVE IT UP for Dave! Oh, wait a minute. I'M Dave. Never mind.

11:38 am


11:50 am

Hi, Hank. I don't know why, but any time I come up with a comic book (and this is twice now) it ends up being something that just doesn't lend itself to Hollywood-style "elevator pitch" descriptions. The closest I could get to that was the flash animation Jeff Tundis did at http://www.glamourpusscomic.com, so I'd definitely suggest that you check that out. What I didn't anticipate was the pretty much universal response: "I can't picture how Dave would do these three publications in one." It's as if I said I was going to do a high dive into a small swimming pool and then roller skate out of it and do a triple barrel roll in mid-air.

The question isn't so much HOW at that point as WHY (would you do that?).

Anyway, the short answer to your narrative structure/something different question is "yes" on both counts.

That's one of the reasons that I've sent out 4500 copies of glamourpuss No.1 with DIAMOND DATELINE cover-dated today, February 13. If your store buys from Diamond Comics, either today or tomorrow, Friday or Monday they should have their free copy of THE COMICS INDUSTRY PREVIEW EDITION of glamourpuss No.1. If you're a mainstream Marvel and DC fan particularly, I'd strongly urge you to ask your local store if you can take a look. If you read all or most of the first issue -- should take about 20 minutes -- you'll know pretty quickly if it's something you're going to want to add to your subscription list or not.

As I've been saying, I can't give you the twenty minutes back, but I can maybe save you the three bucks if glamourpuss isn't your cup of tea.

The only other thing I can maybe say to persuade you to give the book a try is that I sent out 300 autographed copies -- 100 in Canada and 200 in the US about a month ago and so far, not one of them is on eBay. Retailers are a notoriously tough audience since they've "read it all" by now: so I think there is at least anecdotal evidence that glamourpuss is actually something new and different and GOOD.

Ask to see No.1 the next time you're in picking up your books and see if you don't agree.

Thanks for your question!

11:55 am

Thanks, Ross! Say, did DC revive that strange Batman-style Robin that debuted in JLA No.55? I think it was 55. Murphy Anderson inked the cover over Mike Sekowsky's pencils thus creating one of the great Untold Alternative Earth concepts: Sekowsky Justice League inked by Murphy Anderson. Excuse me, I'm drooling.

11:58 am

I don't know, but judging by his photo, he looks like that weird Batman/Robin combo that debuted in JLA No.55. If you want to keep that "heterosexual" appellation out of quotation marks, you might want to avoid being seen going into Starbucks with him.

Not that there's anything wrong with that -- I'm just saying.

12:06 pm

Sorry, I'm a little late answering this one, stanleylieber, I ended up staring too long at the background on your picture and when I "came to" my pockets were stuffed with rare slabbed sports cards, many of which John had priced at $100 or more (rookie cards).

You arch fiend! Trying to make me into your hypnotized henchman, eh? Fortunately my basic all-round Canadian niceness came through and I put everything back where I found it (except the Joe Sakic -- it's wicked cool).

I'll be hopping around quite a bit but also trying to stay sort of linear. On issue two, I get into the cause-and-effect relationship between RIP KIRBY and Milt Caniff's work: the Beyond Noir style, as I call it. That leads forward to Stan Drake but also back to the relationship between Raymond's FLASH GORDON and Foster's PRINCE VALIANT (Oh, DO grow up: I mean in terms of composition and ink line and density). It'll be my "addled middle-aged man voice": "Oh, and I forgot to tell you earlier..." and "I told you THAT story so I could tell you THIS one...". Feel free to bring along your whittlin'

12:09 pm

"Joy" -- in quotation marks? Where would we be today if Beethoven had written an "Ode to 'Joy'"? Face down in a big, stinky pile of irony is my guess.

Thanks for dropping by.

12:40 pm

Hi, Trevor! Because most of the photorealist stuff that's out there is pretty expensive -- when it's even available -- I'd suggest checking out Prof. Armando Mendez's website where he has devoted a section to each of them. The site isn't specifically CALLED that (I believe it's something about Good Girl Art) but if you want a "crash course" you can't do better than that.

If you're already in the Advanced Class, Checker Book has a good series of FLASH GORDON collections shot from the printed strips and with the colour tweaked on computer. Uneven results. Starland Strips in California sells the actual strips for a (relatively) reasonable price particularly if it's just a half dozen or so from say 1934 or 1936. Fulls -- full pages -- are best, followed by halves -- half pages -- tabs -- tabloids. You can actually see the linework and the photo-engraving is the best that can be done with William Randolph Hearst's pocket change (i.e. tens of thousands of dollars). You want to see The Top of the Comics Mountain, FLASH GORDON/JUNGLE JIM Fulls from 1934 to 1944 (when Raymond went in the service) PRINCE VALIANT Fulls from 1937 through to (literally) the late 60s.

I'm skewing this towards the artwork, and you're asking about stuff to READ, which is really another thing. Neither strip is exactly Pulitzer Prize material so you're going to be getting more for your visual than reading dollar.

The best WRITTEN photorealist strip, in my opinion, is Leonard Starr's MARY PERKINS ON STAGE which is being reprinted right now and is up to volume three. It isn't exactly Death of a Salesman, either, but it is definitely surprising in terms of the plot twists, internal resonances and so on. Starr actually wrote the strip himself, which was VERY unusual. In the latest volume he describes trying to work with a writer early on and the guy basically just sat there taking dictation and feeding back to Starr exactly what he said -- who needs to share the profits with someone like that? -- so he started writing the strip himself and did a heck of a job. And it's a beautiful piece of work. Leonard Starr is still alive and doing covers for the books -- I even got a signed and numbered print by him with the first volume by paying a premium price of an extra 10 or 15 bucks. I don't know if they have any of those left, but you definitely can't have mine. The latest volume also offers a gorgeous signed and numbered print of an illustration by him from the 50s which I will be ordering.

Diamond has them on the Star System I'm pretty sure. MARY PERKINS ON STAGE. Mary comes on stage in the photorealism history in 1957, so Leonard Starr will be after Stan Drake -- issue 8 or 9 of glamourpuss?

I appreciate the compliment.

Several things: I'm uni-lingual so I can't translate them myself or check someone else's translation. CEREBUS constituted a Search for Truth (or at least Reality) and that's going to get modified by a translator in a way I'm not comfortable with. Most translations are actually new stories transmogrified into the second language. The story is so long that it would involve hiring someone to work on it probably for a decade or so to keep the translation consistent -- I think anyone good enough to do that would be better served spending a decade on his or her own work. Most foreign publishers want you to sign a contract with them -- I don't want to do that for the same reason I don't want to sign a contract with Marvel or DC: loss of control.

The only thing I'm "on board" with right now is translations on the Internet on the Wiki model. Start your own CEREBUS volume translation in Spanish or French or German and leave it open for other people to modify.debate choices of phraseology, dialect, etc. Arguably if you had two dozen people over the course of a decade "hashing it out" at the end of that decade you might have the most accurate translation possible -- or, more likely, a dozen contesting translations and a lot of people no longer speaking to each other.

I'm considering translations of glamourpuss because I'm not as personally invested in it: the point of it is the drawings of the pretty girls with the Raymond School "scholarship" to give it a little more "heft".

Hope that answers your question.

12:52 pm

I think that will probably be left for future generations to do...you know: when I'm not getting a cut and the editors at Mid 21st Century Easton Press who will be able to definitively explain all my motivations without any dissenting viewpoint from me, the dearly departed. I have high hopes for Cerebus Yahoos The Next Generation ("My great-great grandfather was Larry Hart and his last words were that Easton Press is full of s--t")

You might want to try a FEW stores in T.O. The Beguiling doesn't exactly make its rent from premium back issues. There's Paradise Comics way up North just off Yonge near Downsview. Ask for Pete Dixon or Doug Simpson. Play them off against each other. It won't work, but it'll make you feel like a cagey Big Time Comics Investor.

Okay, prayer time -- back as soon as I can -- probably around one pm EDST!

2:14 pm

Sorry you can't be here, Jay. I don't know where you would find more information about Bill Payne. He was a US draft dodger who did virtually all of his professional work in Canada. He did a newspaper strip in Toronto but I can't remember which paper it was for or what it was about -- definitely photorealism -- Toronto Star, Toronto Globe & Mail, Toronto Telegram, take your pick. He had a story in HOUSE OF MYSTERY No.206 which I am looking forward to in the DC Phone Books series (if they do HOM volume two). Reportedly Carmine Infantino kept the artwork in his office to show people when the story came in as "the kind of stuff I wish we were publishing more of".

He did some work on James Waley's ORB magazine, including a story he pencilled inked and lettered in ORB 6. That's where you would see his work to the best advantage if you can find a copy. He also inked a Vince Marchesano story in issue... 5?...I think and inked Jim Craig's cover on issue 6. I don't know if James has copies -- he used to have cartons and cartons of each issue for years.

He had a wonderfully loose inking style and a LOT of drawing knowledge and he was definitely a premier letterer on everything he worked on. He certainly showed me the difference that great lettering makes on a comic story. If you've seen any of the science fiction stories I lettered for Gene Day, you can see a lot of the Bill Payne influence that I was taking in by osmosis at the time.

His rationale for dodging the US draft was that he always tried to do whatever he thought "If everyone in my situation did the same thing, it would improve the situation". He figured if everyone in the draft moved to Canada it would bring the War in Viet Nam to a swift conclusion. I don't know that I would agree with that, but I admired the thinking behind it.

Along the same lines, he went to university and got top grades in his major and then quit a couple of weeks before graduation to establish that what he had been interested in was the education and not the degree. Again, I have to admire the thinking behind it. His work is definitely worth tracking down. If I was on the Internet, I'd be looking for his work regularly.

Which reminds me of the earlier question about photorealism and how to acquaint yourself with it. If I was on the Internet I'd spend a lot of time on eBay looking for good scans of original Raymond/Prentice/Williamson RIP KIRBY, Williamson SECRET AGENT CORRIGAN, Drake HEART OF JULIET JONES, Starr MARY PERKINS ON STAGE, Adams BEN CASEY...the original artwork is to the printed versions what the printed versions are to the rest of the comics field (in my opinion): the Toppermost of the Poppermost. Just compare the scanned artwork strips and the shot from tearsheets strips on Prof. Mendez's website. Likewise the "actual size" panels reproduced in Tom Roberts' ALEX RAYMOND HIS LIFE AND ART book. So THAT'S what FLASH GORDON panels actually look like! Jaw dropping!

2:25 pm

It actually orginates in the 8th RIP KIRBY strip from 1946 where Rip persuades his gorgeous blonde college girl friend (as opposed to girlfriend) Honey Dorian to go undercover as a photographer's model. She resists like crazy but finally gets talked into it and says "Gee. Imagine -- me, a glamourpuss". Rip says, "I can't" and then goes on to discuss the case. They had an interesting relationship. Raymond spent a certain amount of time on campus drawing glamourpusses and regularly used models in his studio. Honey's actual name -- which I forget -- was based on Raymond's daughters' names.

It's the "people who live in glass houses" theory. Having made free use of various Marvel characters, Groucho Marx, Woody Allen and others, I'm hardly in any position to warn people off using my characters. The guideline is that it has to be in another creative work: that is not just a straight "lift" -- I wrote my own Groucho dialogue: I didn't steal anything out of his books or the Marx Brothers movies. But, I think it's only sensible. If someone thinks that they NEED to use Cerebus in their graphic novel, they'd know better than I would. But it is a high wire act: you have to measure up to what you're doing. That's why I never did a character that I wasn't already pretty familiar with. I wouldn't have done W. C. Fields because all I would have known is "My Little Chickadee" and all the other cliché things.

the bonus round...

No, CEREBUS ended in March 2004. There are two or three CEREBUS JAM stories that never got finished that I will be finishing myself at some point but, no, no "after the fact" Cerebus stories. Beginning., middle and end...just like a novel. I certainly wouldn't buy or be interested in MORE CRIME AND PUNISHMENT. At the same time, you'll tear my ENDLESS hardcover with the solo stories -- particularly the Bill Sienkiewicz piece -- out of my cold dead fingers. Different strokes for different writers.

2:28 pm

Welcome yer own self, Blackjack. Pleased to make your acquaintance. Hope y'all can stick around for a chat 'n' a chaw!

2:30 pm

Well, you silver-tongued devil. I appreciate the offer, ma'am, but I must tell you my thread hasn't been stickied in the last ten years.

Sorry, sorry. Formula joke. Thank you for the hospitality, Linda.

(again, Sorry)

2:35 pm

Well, it ain't summer, yet, that's for sure. Another eight inches of snow last night so I got a good workout walking back from the Aud (powered by the Rangers' 4-1 win over London Knights -- amazing how much faster I walk after a win) through a variety of different ideas of what constitutes a "cleared sidewalk" and then another workout shoveling my own snow when I got back downtown. I'm running out of places to put it.

We're all, I hope, going to be appropriately grateful for Spring when it gets here.

2:37 pm

Mr. Taft, sir. A pleasure, a great pleasure to see you, Mr. President. You flatter us all with your august presence.

2:40 pm

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Mark. I think I'm safe in saying that it's a much better first issue... but then you'd kind of hope it would be with thirty more years experience behind it. Hope work went okay for you today.

2:57 pm

There's nothing definite at this point. If you want to be part of the debate as to what should be included you can join in with the Cerebus discussion group over on Yahoo (or over HERE on Yahoo -- pardon my Luddite ignorance) where the issues have really come down to whether we reprint EVERYTHING or get selective. If we print EVERYTHING -- well you just have to check out Jeff Tundis and cerebusfangirl's CEREBUS websites to see just how much material that includes. Certainly a lot more than a MELMOTH sized book.

Whatever we come up with, I want to avoid at all costs doing redundant volumes. If you buy a CEREBUS book you should be getting material that it is ONLY available in that book. That's one of the problems. I can do a Young Cerebus volume of the EPIC ILLUSTRATED stories but that means I can't -- in good conscience -- include them in a CEREBUS COLOUR MISCELLANY volume. So that decision has to be made before anything moves forward. It's going to take time, unfortunately.

No, not at all. It's pretty much built in to any creative field that people are always going to like your earliest stuff the best -- the things you did in your twenties. I'm sure The Beatles all liked the material on Let It Be and Abbey Road more than She Loves You, Twist and Shout and I Wanna Hold Your Hand, but if you took a poll of Beatles fans I'd guess the early stuff would chart a lot higher. It's a fact of life that you get used to and try to be appropriately grateful for.

Well, yes. It's very gratifying that people are discovering work today that I was pouring blood, sweat and tears into thirty years ago. I mean, especially in my case, I'm grateful that I was given the insight to keep ownership and control over my work. That's something Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards can't say. Michael Jackson owns The Beatles Northern Songs catalogue. Allen Klein or whoever bought it from him owns the Glimmer Twins primo Stones material.

Ale (ginger), V8 vegetable juice, decaf coffee.

Sorry, Mr. President. Your space was blank the last time I was there. Better late than never, wouldn't you say, sir?

3:03 pm

Hi, Uncle Twitchy and Trevor. Ger and I saw George Thorogood live at CNE Stadium in the front row. Kenny Viola, the legendary roadie, had gotten us tickets for Bruce Springsteen ten or fifteen rows back and we were able to trade up because of the relative levels of popularity. Good trade? Scott McCloud insists that I look like Kiefer Sutherland. I've just got one of those looks, I guess. I'll go through bouts of it with people insisting that they know me from somewhere (usually a booze can here in town). "No, I haven't had a drink in five years." It's a tough sell. Owing to my sordid twenties and thirties I don't LOOK like someone who hasn't had a drink in five years. I look like someone who had a drink for breakfast.

3:14 pm

I'd have to say that I think that both companies are very, very strong and it's impossible to picture the history of comic books being anything but the poorer if we didn't have the high water marks of both companies.

You know, John Lennon once said, "I'm in the wrong band!" That's arguably the case and certainly says a great deal about the relative merits of the respective groups. What the Beatles didn't have, the Stones had in spades...and vice versa.

Well, I think you might be comparing apples and oranges there. Ferocious loyalty and good-heartedness versus mystical sleekeness and intrinsic mystery...and class!

There is no one who has made a greater contribution in volume of pages alone than Kirby and no one who has so thoroughly developed a character as Ditko did with Spider-man. Speaking as someone who has tried to "do" both styles on different occasions, they both function on a very lofty plateau of style and ability.

Mickey Mouse is the foundation upon which modern animation is built and there is nothing flat-out funnier than a primo Bugs Bunny cartoon.

How could you pick between two franchises that have so ignited the imaginations and warmed the hearts of so many generations of science fiction fans?

Sorry about that. It's election year. I get swept up in the whole thing of not alienating any constituencies

3:33 pm

Hi Jason! thanks for dropping by: can you send me (if you haven't already) tearsheets or good photocopies of the article? I'm trying to keep the Cerebus Archive as complete as possible.

I'm really doing with glamourpuss what I did with CEREBUS: getting three bi-monthly issues out on schedule and in such a way that it represents my best work. The third issue, God willing, will be out in September (I'm skipping June so that the retailers have a couple of weeks selling No.1 before they have to havetheir orders in for No.2). At THAT point, I'll look at all the information to hand -- the scheduling, the orders, the inventory, how much time I need for doing the business side and so on -- and make a decision either to keep going on a bi-monthly schedule, switch to just producing pages and releasing them as an original graphic novel in 2011 or so, or what. I tend to be very, very cautious when it comes to my street cred with the retailers. If I tell them I'm doing a bi-monthly title, I'm going to make darned sure that I can do it bi-monthly. I didn't switch to monthly on CEREBUS until year three for that reason. I had to make sure I could do twenty pages a month, plus cover, plus letters page, plus promotion, plus business GUARANTEED before I would attempt that.

The same thing holds true with glamourpuss. I've done one and a half issues in roughly eight weeks so far and I haven't done anything on the writing and drawing since mid-November when the Go Launch decision was made: I have fifteen days left in my three month glamourpuss promotion campaign. March I start writing and drawing again. A lot depends on how long it takes me to finish issue two and all of issue three. I'll be making the decisions on the hard evidence of my productivity when I have thehard evidence to go on.

I'd LIKE to do a monthly book and it might be in my blood. But at age 51, what I want to do and what I CAN do may be two different things.

Mostly I just don't want to let down the retailers and readers who are going out of their way to support me this time out. I will never knowingly tell either group that I'm going to do something that I can't say...as close to 100% as possible...that I'm capable of doing. Shared Risk, Shared Responsibility and Shared Rewards. That's the promise I intend to fulfill to the best of my abilities. So help me God.

Okay, I have to drop off a FedEx package at the Four Points Hotel drop box and then I have a prayer time. I should back around 3:30 EDST or so

4:40 pm

That's good to know. It's always hard to tell if it's just a sentimental attachment to the stuff that blew your mind when you were 8-10 years old and there's no "there" there. I got the JUSTICE LEAGUE COMPANION as a comp from TwoMorrows and it's definitely one of those books that I would've been glad to buy. They've got access to so much original artwork because of their industry connections that I'm finally able to see what the actual artwork looks like without the muddy off-register colour on top of it. It's really a dream come true. Five good full page reproductions in black and white and I've gotten my money's worth.

The same thing is true with Brian Kane's book on Hal Foster and Tom Roberts new book on Alex Raymond. They run a LOT of colour material and a LOT of photos, but between both books there are about a dozen full-sized black and white pieces on slick paper that are more than worth the price of admission. There you go, Dave. That's the high water mark for what you're doing in glamourpuss.

Jump, boy. Jump!

4:44 pm

It's actually a lot of fun watching the professionals at it. Someone asked Hillary Clinton "Diamonds or pearls?" And she said, "Both." Sandeep thought it was an example of insatiable female materialism. I think it was not wanting to offend either diamond or pearl people. Like Obama's "change" riff. As long as he can stick with that -- and so far he's been able to -- he never has to explain changing FROM what TO what. It makes "It's the economy, stupid" look positively divisive by comparison.

4:50 pm

Hey, if you want to send a cover letter with it explaining the context, I'm not going to stop you. Just the opposite. It's really one of the obligations that I've always thought I owe to posterity. You never know what future generations are going to be interested in or where they're going to find a trend or a watershed moment which is why I try to be as complete as possible. Particularly reviews: here's what the book looked like at this point in its history. You can't beat that with a stick for an Archive.

And thanks in advance!

If Jeff Tundis or cerebusfangirl's collection gets rolled into the Cerebus Archive at some future date, that's going to make it as close to complete as you can hope to get.

5:11 pm

Yeah, I'll take my fair share of the credit and/or blame as the case may be. "The Complete..." whatever. I think that's the winning side if you take into account the preferences of the readers, collectors, historians and completists. You can argue that the writer of a given work is obligated to "cull" it for the best material -- basically edit it after the fact so what you're getting is a completely polished distillation for the ages...

...but you're going to run face first into the core devotees when you do so. I'd rather read the complete works of F. Scott Fitzgerald in sequence as he wrote them (or as Zelda wrote some of them with his final edit/polish) than in the short story packages like TAPS AT REVEILLE that he put together himself. Even to the extent of having them interposed chronologically in his novels. The more interested you get, the more you want to read it that way.

Of course, then, you get into the problem of tailoring everything to the core audience and becoming "inaccessible" to new readers. My solution? Make the core audience a big part of your operation and let them deal with the new readers. I could never do as good a job of chronicling Cerebus as cerebusfangirl does. If I said something about some aspect of CEREBUS, Margaret knows where to find it because she's got it all filed away mentally and in her computer. If you're doing a continuity-heavy work, NEVER undervalue that. That's really your only hope to get your work from here to posterity.

From Here to Posterity. Hmm. Sounds like a good movie title.

5:28 pm

Hi, Jeff. Sorry I missed this one. I should have this message board thing figured out just when glamourpuss Promotion Campaign comes to an end fifteen days from now.

The only other DEFINITE project I have right now is Secret Project One which will be announced February 29 on Glamourpuss Bulletins, the spot where the Blog & Mail used to be -- the website address will be announced there -- and all of the artwork will be on display at S.P.A.C.E. in Columbus Ohio March 1 and 2 [see http://www.backporchcomics.com]. The retailers will be getting an Advance Preview Copy in Diamond Dateline in mid-March. Diamond has picked it as a Featured Item in the March PREVIEWS so I'm "reet chuffed" as they say in England: FI projects back to back.

Yes glamourpuss is planned as an on-going bi-monthly -- my guess would be 500 pages in total -- at least until I figure out how tough it's going to be to hit that schedule. It took me five weeks to do issue one. HOPEFULLY I'll start going faster as I get back into the groove of full-time writing and drawing. I'm getting a lot of invitations to conventions and signings that I'm having to turn down until I actually have a nice long stretch of working time to assess my abilities here in my early fifties.

If I'm fortunate enough to get a good circulation out of the gate, I'm more inclined to use the "wiggle room" that gives me to put in more full time at the board rather than virtual and/or in person promotion. But, right now, with fifteen days to go in the gp Promotion Campaign I'm just working on going flat-out to the finish line on 27 Feb. In March I might decide that exclusively writing and drawing is a bad idea and I have to give a percentage of my time to hyping the book when it arrives in stores in April and/or trying to keep the issue one numbers up with issue two coming out or doing a secondary push between issues two and three.

Thanks to you and Linda and the other IMWAN Mods for having me. What does IMWAN stand for (by the way)?

But, I've seen too many hockey players psyche themselves out of scoring a goal because they're thinking four steps ahead to how it's going to look on the highlight reel. Execution of the basics is always Job One in the here and now. Bear down on what you have to do right now and you make your job easier next week, next month, next year and so on.

5:45 pm

Thanks Evan. Actually all of those offers on the Blog and Mail ended up being more trouble than they were worth as far as Gerhard was concerned (since he had to monitor the blog for them and follow through on them). I thought of it as his half of the experiment: I'll see what works onthe Internet and that's what we'll do a lot of. Unfortunately that meant Ger having to do a lot of keeping track of things and packaging things and mailing things for (relatively speaking) very small amounts of money. I saw that pretty quickly, I thought and stopped doing it but not before he was getting sincerely irritated I don't think.

It's really hard to tell if the Internet actually works as a promotion tool or how it works. I'm not sure if there's any way of determining that even theoretically without lots of labour going into the equation. Right now I get by with the volunteer help from the Yahoos -- most particuarly Jeff Tundis. 90% of the time I end up going, "Okay, now that I know THAT what do I know?" And not really getting an answer.

Phoning retailers directly and putting a preview copy in their hands seems to have the best promotional result so far with the 100 hours here onthe Internet as a good follow-up, the latter reinforcing the former. How I do that "going forward" is another question. i.e. If I decide this Works rather than "works" then doesn't it make sense to incorporate 20 hours (say) of Internet promotion and two weeks of retailer phone calls into each bi-monthly period (as opposed to, say, going monthly). Your guess is as good as mine right now.

I think you do need to look other people's work on an on-going basis. If you just look at your own stuff, there's a certain inbred sterility that can creep in and take over so that you become a caricature of yourself. "Here's my classic tropes and artistic ticks used everywhere so that instead of being how I do my art, they've become the sum of my art." Always look at what you consider the best and shoot for that. Even when you fall short (and you will fall short) you're going to get better results because of the aspiration.

5:58 pm

I didn't know that about Leonard Starr. I was WAY too old for THUNDERCATS when it came out, but now I'll have totake a look.

Yes, the really interesting thing about THE HEART OF JULIET JONES is, to me, the dialogue with Raymond that it represents about the Raymond School. WHY brush inking? WHY does it all have to be brush when you're already using pen for cross-hatching? Drake is like the rebellious son of Raymond, using Raymond's own choices against him. "Why the detective? The most interesting aspect of the strip is Honey Dorian so why not do a strip about Honey Dorian and "cut to the chase"? Eve Jones, Juliet's younger sister is Honey Dorian moved front and center.

Williamson is like Raymond's dutiful son. He sees what Drake is saying and all he can do is shrug and say "Because Dad says, Stan. You can use a pen for cross-hatching or for really light blonde hair (although even here if you're using your absolute finest brush and you have Dad's deft touch, the blonde hair you can do with a brush will BURY what you can do with a Gillott 290), but if you want to follow in Dad's footsteps you can only do it with a brush."

And Drake goes, "But WHY? Look. Look at the pen line I can get for the curve of Juliet's cheek. What's so magical about a brush for that."

Williamson shrugs. "Because Dad says." and so on.

Okay, now you don't have to buy glamourpuss until issue 7 at the earliest

6:12 pm

Yes, as far as I know Chris holds the record for same writer on a monthly comic -- 185 issues if I'm not mistaken which, considering the trouble I got into on issue 186 I should have quit while I was behind.

Yes, it was good-natured friendly name-dropping for its own sake. On my part it was having a bit of fun with Chris' "Is there any reason this character can't be a woman?" axiom which was one of his guiding principles through the 1970s and 80s. I remember John Byrne saying something like, "Well, no, Chris unless you want a little thing like the fact that the character has been a man for the last sixty years get in your way." So, in "The Beguiling" the old woman running the girl's school turns out to be Charles X. Claremont. "Is there any reason this female character couldn't turn out to be Chris Claremont?"

Neil Gaiman quoted Chris years later, "I'm not really bothered by parodies. I've been done by Dave Sim." The one that got Neil was Swoon (the Sandman Roach) turning Elrod into Snuff, his younger sister, I've always found the bigger the name, the more they have a sense of humour about themselves and their work. Chris was always -- and I'm sure still is -- one of the most cultured and erudite people in the field. When Deni was going to the New York Con in 1979 by herself, I gave her a list of people/cheat sheet so you wouldn't embarrass herself as a non-comics person. I described Chris as "the writerish looking chap in the tweed jacket". She spotted him right away.

When Deni left me in 1983, Chris was one of the people I phoned. Basically, "So what happens now?" As it turned out he was sharing his apartment with his ex-wife (ex-girlfriend?) and her new boyfriend.

It was the eighties. Job One was Being Adults About This no matter the psychic and spiritual toll. Count yourself lucky if you didn't have to go through it.

6:20 pm

I think I'm safe in saying you won't be disappointed. The strip starts at an amazingly high level and improves from there. You fall in love with Mary Perkins -- there's no helping it -- and I can't think of higher praise than that.

6:30 pm

Yes, well worth going in and taking a look at. The cross-hatching on these is the only penwork. Everything else is done with a brush. I quote Neal Adams inthe first issue, "The brush is a lazy instrument". What he means is that if you have a narrow brush that has a certain length of bristles and a certain heft, you can load it up with ink and go in and do the thickest brush lines first. Just as if you were a champion ice-skater or something. Okay, bottom side of the pants -- SWOOP. Now there's less ink on the brush so I need to find a line to ink that's thinner than that. Here's one -- SWOOP. Even less ink. Okay, time to put the folds in the clothing (swoop swoop swoop). Getting down to minimal ink so it's time to do some thick to thin curves (the half circular motion "twines" the bristles so that the brush basically "sharpens" itself. Now you can do some fine lines, swirling in the highlights on the hair, going thinner and thinner). Now the brush is as sharp as it's going to get so you can things like the eyelashes, the underside of the lip, tiny wisps of hair, the curve of the cheek.

Out of ink. Dip it again and "Okay, where's a nice long thick line that needs some ink?" Oh, here's one. SWWOOOP.

Neal Adams snickers: "Get a job, Alex."

6:34 pm

Oh, you're welcome. Actually I haven't had a drink since January of 2003 but I'll do a Cerebus sketch with Groucho eyebrows and mustache for spinach pie if you got some. Best spinach pie -- spanakopita -- here in town is at the Acropolis Bakery on Ontario St N (the other side of King from Lookin For Heroes -- where New Comics Day has once again been delayed til Thursday). Do yourself a favour and go in and get one -- or eight.

6:41 pm

You know I've been sitting here for five minutes trying to come up with a funnier rejoinder than "Iron Man With a Nose" and I'm big enough a man to admit that I'm flummoxed.

"Iron Man With a Nose." Accept no substitutes.

And I forgot to add to the last Dave Sim auditory delusion, when Neal Adams says, "Get a job, Alex."

Al Williamson says, "Neal. Show some respect for Dad."

You know? I think there might be a good comic book in there somewheres.

Okay, sunset prayer time and then I'll be back for the last hour or so. Lookin For Heroes closes at 7 tonight.

7:49 pm

It doesn't surprise me. One of my creative choices on CEREBUS was to treat it as a stage play with all of the restrictions and perspectives that implies. The stuff that couldn't be done as a stage play was done with a different perspective that was more cinematic but that was definitely external to my viewpoint. Leonard Starr makes the same creative choice but naturally it resonates a lot better with a strip about an actress trying to make it on Broadway. But he also has to make other creative choices when Mary ends up (of course!) going out to Hollywood and in all the situations where the mise en scene opens up.

But he's definitely bringing the values of an adult to the work, not 'writing down' because it's comics.

I haven't read his LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE but I'm looking forward to it. That was kind of sad at the end of the newspaper strip hey-day when you had Starr doing Annie and (REALLY sad) Stan Drake doing BLONDIE just because they were down to a handful of strips that had big subscribing lists of newspapers so it made more sense to grab one of those than to keep going with your own strip you'd done for decades because it just wasn't viable any more. There was nowhere for Al Williamson to go after the STAR WARS strip folded. Just inking for Marvel and things like that. And now the comic BOOK field, by default, has become the custodians of all that material. All those years of the NCS guys looking down on the comic-book field and if it wasn't for us, they'd have no representation in North America.

Chester Brown of course is a Harold Gray uber alles kind of guy. I remember the blank look on his face when I told him my primary association with LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE is "The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow" from the Broadway show, because it was a huge hit the first time I was in New York in '79. Phil Seuling used to belt it out in his Brooklyn accent: "The SUN'LL COME OUT Ta-MARROW!" I bought the sound track pretty must as soon as I got back.

"And that's what you think of when you think of Little Orphan Annie," Chet said. A statement not a question. Yup.

7:53 pm

Okay, thanks to everybody for showing up and participating (or lurking as the case may be). Tomorrow I'm at MillarWorld Forums. I might be back here on the last day, 27 Feb (two weeks from today) at least for a short visit.

Thanks again...and please go into your local store and ask to see glamourpuss No.1!