100 Hour Tour: The Brian Bendis Forum Pt 2

What follows are the posts from Dave Sim made to The Brian Bendis Forum Pt 2 as part of his "100 Hour Internet Tour".

10:43 AM

Okay. Here I am as promised, only 45 minutes late instead of three hours yesterday. More snow, so this will probably be a short session depending on how long it takes me to clear out the driveway after the noon prayer.

Anyway, let me reiterate that there are 100 stores in Canada and 200 in the US that presently have autographed copies of glamourpuss No.1 that they will be more than happy to let you take a look at if you ask nicely (many of them even if you DON'T ask nicely). Decide for yourself if it's a book you want to add to your subscription list and many thanks (in advance) if you make the effort...

10:54 AM

John's telling me that Bin #10 has been officially retired here at Lookin For Heroes. Turns out that something terrible would happen to anyone who had their subscription copies in #10...or they'd default or never come back in. So now on the checklist there's just a skull and crossbones in the #10 spot and the bin itself is occupied by what appears to be a mummified crocodile.

John says it's because Duane's superstitious and suspects this might be attributable to Duane being a baseball fan. There's a case to be made for it as anyone who has watched his team with the third batter facing a full count in the bottom of the ninth with two men on and two out.

Again, I'm here courtesy of the Lookin For Heroes, 93 Ontario St. S. in downtown Kitchener, right across from the Grand River Transit Terminal at their computer in the back room right next to the subscription bins. All month we're offering $5 off on the first CEREBUS trade, $25 instead of $30, autographed and everything.

Alex, your LATTER DAYS and LAST DAY are in your bin #2. Thanks for picking them up (which reminds me I need to bring in restock copies from the house).

11:01 AM

Actually that worked out as a very interesting but entirely accidental internal resonance with the ending on 289/290...with the "two that escape for every 98 that don't". 2-98 Entirely accidental on my part. I'm pretty sure God knew I was going to do that that before I was born.

Tell you what: as soon as anyone starts to creep up on doing 300 issues (say when they get to 250) you tell me and I'll rush 113.5 and 290.5 into print.

11:18 AM

Hi Adrian! Thanks for coming back today! I'm really cursed with this thing of coming up with comic books that really defy easy description. Years into it, you could say "Cerebus is Conan crossed with Howard the Duck" but just about the time that you could use that I did HIGH SOCIETY for two years.

I really can't guarantee anything. The book will be satirical but it will also be a serious examination of the Raymond School. That's why I've sent out 100 autographed copies to stores in Canada, 200 in the States and 4500 through Diamond Dateline for Feb 13 (I swear, folks, Adrian isn't a "shill" but thanks Adrian for giving me such an easy segue into the one message I'm here to impart for 100 hours in February).

If you look at the www.glamourpusscomic.com website, the natural reaction is going to be "I can't picture this. How would you do this? How entertaining could this be?"

The fact that no one who has read the book in its entirety (presumably at least 300 retailers and x number of their customers) is crying foul would suggest to me that I did what I set out to do. People aren't shy on the Internet: if I was perpetrating a fraud with glamourpuss No.1, if the book wasn't interesting or entertaining or both, I'm pretty sure you'd have heard by now. Most of the 300 stores have had the book for at least three weeks now. That's a lifetime in the comics field. Also, I don't know if this is STILL true, but I asked Jeff Tundis to check eBay a while back to find out how many COMICS INDUSTRY PREVIEW EDITIONS, autographed (the 100 that were sent to Canadian stores) and Platinum VIP Access (the 970 that were sent to everyone on the mastheads at the major fashion magazines -- from Oprah Winfrey to Anna Wintour and all execs, editors, directors in between) and Gold VIP Access autographed (the 200 that were sent to US stores) of the FASHION INDUSTRY PREVIEW EDITIONS are being offered for sale.

At that point, anyway, the answer was 0, zip, nada. Which I found EXTREMELY unlikely but extremely gratifying. My guess is that not one of those stores said "Well, this stinks on ice, I better sell it on eBay before everyone finds out how worthless it is."

No, once again the retailers come through in spades. I was sent this to promote it, so that's what I'm going to do.

If anyone wants to check eBay and see if that's still the case, I'd be curious.

Thanks, Adrian!

11:29 AM

Hi Raphael. This is really starting to look as if I'm posting all these questions myself, but thanks for yet ANOTHER chance for me to stay "on message": I would say for those people who have only heard about my work and me (good, bad and terrible), I would strongly recommend going into your local store and asking to read their advance copy of glamourpuss No.1.

As with CEREBUS, glamourpuss is, I think, so completely different from virtually every other comic that's been done -- something a lot of advertising tends to claim but which, as with see with movies today, is usually largely if not completely untrue (it's usually a mix of four other movies being presented as "new") -- that the only way I'm comfortable "pushing" the book is to say, here, here's the whole issue No.1 two months ahead of time. If you've only read or primarily read mainstream comics, it's a legitimate concern. You're either going to read it and go, "Okay, I'm in. When's number two coming in?" (July, is the answer) or you're going to go "Man, I don't THINK so. Somebody throw me a Bendis book to get this taste out of my mouth."

I'm fine with either one. Many thanks to the first customer and No hard feelings to the second one. Thanks for honouring my work with the 20 minutes it will take you to read No.1.

I can't give you back your 20 minutes, but I'll have saved you three bucks.

11:39 AM

Originally Posted by Skrull Corpse: Is Gerhard working with you on Glamourpuss or anything else coming out in the future?

Hi, Skrull Corpse. You must be looking forward to the MARVEL ZOMBIES SECRET INVASION ONE-SHOT. "Finally, something for MY people, the Necro Friendly Space Alien subculture."

I've made the offer to Gerhard to do cars in the book if he's interested (he's far more of a car guy than I am and did a bang-up job on the sports car on pages 390-391 of LATTER DAYS).

"You mean, behind the models?"

"Uh, no I was thinking of in FRONT of the models." (Are you kidding me? A Gerhard sports car? glamourpuss, honey, you be in de BACK seat on dis here page.)

No word from him, but he did like the PREVIEW EDITION I sent him. At least for the moment, I think his personal preference is for his "World Without Cerebus" series of commissions for Brian Coppola [you can see them at both www.cerebusart.com and at Brian's cerebustheoriginalaartvark site where Brian keeps track of trends, sales and near-misses in the Cerebus Art Market which he pretty much dominates]

11:43 AM

Originally Posted by WillieLee: Dave, Are you still mailing out the Sandman parody issues?

Yes, but not in as timely a way as I was. It's in the "reader mail" category which has been put on hold since the "Go Launch" decision on glamourpuss December 1st. Everything besides promoting the book was put on hold through the solicitation period. My last posts on the Internet will be 27 Feb since I booked my flight to Columbus for S.P.A.C.E. this morning. I promise everything will get answered in the order that it came in once I'm back to just writing and drawing and running the business, March 3rd, but I'd guess that I have at least a four month backlog already and I also have a bi-monthly comic to write and draw.

thanks Willie

11:53 AM

I think that's a pretty safe assumption

All that exists of the Cerebus/X-men crossover is notes in one of my notebooks at the time. Chris Claremont and I both got invited to a store signing in Prince George, British Columbia so we decided we would plot the whole book on the way out on the plane. This really involved me taking dictation from Chris to make sure all of his stuff was covered -- I could figure out where the Cerebus stuff would fit in on my own and bounce it off him later. It's really in such shorthand note from that it's virtually incoherent.

It became obvious talking to Jim Shooter that this was a project Marvel was doing to keep Chris happy. Whatever Chris wants Chris gets, but they -- as a corporation -- really didn't think the book would sell worth s--t. I could see their corporate point, but it certainly deflated any real interest I had in doing the book. It had "file in a drawer marked 'H-freeze over'" written all over it.

I suggested it to Chris at Maplecon in Ottawa in front of a bunch of people. As anyone in the business can tell you, there are a lot of projects that sound really good over a few drinks after the Saturday of a Con that are in the "WHAT was I THINKING?" category when you get home and remember how much of your own work you have to do.

Okay, prayer and snow-shoveling time. I'll be back as soon as I can.

01:18 PM

That was Sandeep Atwal's doing, my Technical Director and sometime collaborator on glamourpuss. He had the text for "Ask Dr. Norm", a regular feature on the back page of each issue, and decided he needed a Dr. Norm photo to go with it. "That's great," I said, when I saw it. "Where did you find it?" He held up a copy of 1963. Well, that should take people about five seconds to figure out, I thought. Took a little longer than five seconds but here you are.

Speaking of 1963, Rick Veitch sent me his Christmas print from King Hell Press which was a photorealism treatment of a famous photo of President and Mrs. Kennedy arriving at Love Field in Dallas. So, I figured there has to be a reason he picked this as his Christmas print -- what has the JFK assassination got to do with Xmas (as he put it) 2007? and I thought about it and came up with the answer.

He hit me with a follow-up riddle: Veitch and Bissette collaborated on 1941 (the adaptation of the Spielberg comedy) in 1979 and on 1963 in 1993. What will the name of their next collaboration be and what year will it come out? Bonus marks if you can figure out what that has to do with the original riddle.

My answer will be on Comicon when I get back there next week.

01:20 PM

Originally Posted by GlamourCorpse: I checked e-bay and this is all I found under Glamourpuss was a novel about a gay soap opera star.

Adapting which is my fallback position if the Fashion Industry Parody/photorealist homage/weird superheroine comic thing doesn't work out. Beats having to register a new logo.

01:36 PM

It's going to be a limited series that I'm guessing will run 20 or 25 issues. Glamourpuss having promised in DIAMOND PREVIEWS this month (see pg.FS-2 "glamourpuss: Her Top Five Promises To You") that the collected volume will be under one cover, that means that 500 pages is probably the maximum. The paper stock is a lot heavier so, although it's only HIGH SOCIETY length it'll probably look a lot closer to the World's Only Pretty Much Cube Shaped Graphic Novel, the All-In-One BONE collection.

Glad you're enjoying FOLLOWING CEREBUS. Right now Craig and I are working on a full-length interview with MOUSE GUARD's David Pedersen. I did my half of a jam cover with Cerebus in my best Barry Windsor-Smith style and David did the mice. Then he did his Ultimate Computer Colour that is a big reason MOUSE GUARD is the monster indy (and mainstream!) hit that it is. I haven't seen the finished cover yet, but Craig Miller describes it as "jaw-dropping". Issue 12, should be out...well, we don't solicit for it untl it's DONE these days, so keep your eyes open. Thanks for checking in!

01:39 PM

Aren't they though? I'll tell the world. That was pretty much Gerhard's complaint all along. He would have enjoyed to work more if a) he could take as long as he needed to do it right and b) he only had to work on it when he felt like it.

The results speak for themselves, eh?

01:40 PM

What's the bidding at?

01:42 PM

Very much appreciated. Sincerely. It's not as if there's a shortage of other things out there to buy, eh?

02:25 PM

I hadn't noticed that he's got my initials in there: DVS. Except I can't see them in the CEREBUS No.5 "The Idol" one. I know that was the first one. He probably decided I needed to be credited in SOME way, which is nice.

Anyway, yeah -- your favourite. There's a lot of thinking in there which is really what a good layered picture like this is all about. Starting with the light source. You can tell just by the way the shadow is hitting the road in front of the buildings -- by the colour of the shadow and by the fact that the street is dead white in front of the shadow what time of day it is, what the weather is like, what temperature it is. But to get that you have to do a lot of sitting and staring at it right from the layout stage. If you commit with ink or colour before you've made your problem-solving decisions, you can't go back. The white on the road has to be white right from the beginning. You can paint white on there but it's never going to be the same effect.

Being able to walk away from a piece that's going good BEFORE you screw it up is a luxury Ger and I never had on the book because you you're committed to doing a page a day on a monthly schedule. "Oh man, if only I hadn't put that big area of solid black in there -- it would look a million times better if it continued the cross-hatching pattern from the right". You can't turn solid black into cross-hatching.

Of course Ger always tops himself when he has enough time, so look for these to get better and better as he goes along.

02:34 PM

Originally Posted by Jonny Z: and i will eventually get to cerebus, it's just taking me a long time. i did buy the first trade so i guess i really have no excuse.

I don't think you're alone in that. The first trade...

Sorry interruption. Shawn was just in who used to work at Now & Then Books -- the Kurt Cobain of the Kitchener comics scene...is officially Lookin' For Heroes' first glamourpuss subscriber. I had to cut the cake and dole out the punch...

Er...seriously: The sixteen volume CEREBUS is a commitment, no doubt about it. I had one guy tell me that CEREBUS is the longest relationship he's had in his life. Considering how abusive Cerebus is, there should maybe be metaphorical shelters where therapists can, you know, talk to you about it. Can't you see what you're doing to yourself?

Thanks for picking up the first one. Thirty bucks buys as many excuses as you want in my book.

02:51 PM

Well, apart from reading as many fashion magazines as I could in as short a time as possible, I also went to Fashion Week in Toronto for a day back in the Fall. $53 for a day.

I thought it would be like a comic-book convention only fashion booths instead of comic-book booths. There were very, very few booths, mostly make-up demonstration places where you could sit in the chair and get your make-up done and other women could watch what was being done and corporate sponsors like Ford. Mannequins with outfits by exhibiting designers that were inspired by the Ford Edge. Which is kind of inherently funny. As if designers actually look at a car and go "That gives me a great idea for a fabulous outfit" instead of it just being a way to tie Ford to the fashion industry in exchange for big corporate bucks. I wonder if that would work in comics. Covers inspired by the Ford Edge.

FT Fashion Television was set up in one corner so that was really the locus of the whole thing. Television dominates wherever it goes. Jeanne Beker is the senior TV personality at FT and has been for years (going back to when it was just a show on CityTV). But she really is just a TV host. But since there really wasn't much you got for your $53 --

[basically you just stand around in this big circus tent with a concession stand full of over-priced food and drink waiting for the next runway show to be announced. Then you all migrate as one herd into the tent where the runway and bleachers are. The show runs about eight to twelve minutes and then it's back out to the concession area for forty minutes while you wait for the next runway show]

...there was a whole crowd of women (well, be honest, Dave: girls) getting her autograph on their programs and t-shirts and stuff. The program you had to buy, by the way. It wasn't included in the $53 a day. I wanted to say "Can I flip through one of them, first?" but I thought that was probably not legit. If the program isn't included in the admission price the odds are it's just an ancillary scam has been my experience.

Okay, prayer time again. Maybe shoveling time, too. It's amazing the difference between four inches of powder and four inches of wet snow. I had to change my sweater before I headed back. The other one was soaked.

I'll finish up my Fashion Week comments then.

03:55 PM

Okay, no snow shovelling needed but, man, are we up to our eyeballs in slush up here. Everywhere you step on any street corner you get (as Bob and Doug Mackenzie put it) "a soaker (Oh, jeez, eh?)"

Anyway, seems like a good time to get a little organized about this Internet Tour (ten days in). Could someone check Margaret's cerebusfangirl site and

a) tell me where I'm theoretically supposed to be on Monday and

b) start a "glamourpuss Dave Sim" thread there with "Dave Sim will be here to discuss his new title glamourpuss and comics in general all day Monday starting at 10 am and going to 6:30 pm"?

I'd really appreciate it. Okay. Meanwhile back at Toronto Fashion Week, things are heating up.

04:00 PM

Do I have a keen eye for graphic novel source material or do I have a keen eye for graphic novel source material?

Alan? Dave? Your WATCHMEN sales records are toast, boys. Who's your daddy?

04:21 PM

So, getting to your actual question about what I'm going to be doing about the actual fashion industry, I realized from the Fashion Week experience that I'm not really *doing* the fashion industry, per se. I'm *doing* fashion magazines which are really a different thing with a different voice (the fashion industry doesn't really have a voice).

To be honest what I got from the L'Oreal Fashion Week experience -- given that there was really no "interface" with fashion people -- was about five solid ideas for GLAMOURPUSS THE MOVIE. The fashion magazines are the source of the comic book, Fashion Week is the source for the movie. Go figure.

Anorexia is obviously going to be a recurring motif. I got some insight into it at the Fashion Week event (I think) but I can't think of any way that I could do it effectively in comics form. Back in the day, I used to definitely stop on FT when I was channel surfing if there was a fashion show on. I mean, it's interesting softcore porn (I was going to say "borderline" but when you can see the model's boobs bobbling through her transparent top, I don't think there's anything "borderline" about it) in and of itself with a kind of immunity attached because it's obviously driven by women. Women are the consumers so women are the reason for the content. If they objected to bobbling boobs, bobbling boobs would be gone in a heartbeat.

So, my first runway show I'm interested. I'm doing research. Legit. If I happen to see an incredibly beautiful woman with her boobs bobbling, even if I close my eyes, I'm going to have to see it before I can close my eyes to it. So, win-win in a way.

What was interesting was how bad the models looked. I'm expecting perfect 10's and what I was seeing was severely emaciated young women with prematurely aged skin, tendons in their necks showing prominently. What's the deal? That was when I started looking at them on the television monitors and then back at them then at the monitors. On the televisions they looked great. Perfect 10, perfect 10. In person, emaciated, unhealthy.

Television adds ten pounds. Hard and fast rule. So, what you have is this thing feeding on itself. Start with size five models and they look size seven. Okay, get me a size three and she'll look size five. But then size three becomes the ideal. Everyone sees models in person, sees what size they are. That's the size you have to be to be a model. It's no coincidence that Twiggy came along early in the history of television moving into fashion areas. Next step down is size two, then size one and now we have literal size zeros.

Deni was a size three, Karen McKiel was a size three. If you've had intimate relations with a size three, you know size three, mentally. It's borderline unhealthy, but it does great things for clothes. And women know that.

Okay, I better check and see if I'm overlooking any questions. We're down to the last hour here.

04:24 PM

Originally Posted by Greg Shantz: According to Margaret's site, you are supposed to be here Monday, Dave.

[Can someone put in a Groucho or Lord Julius face instead of my picture for this section?]

You know I had an awful premonition about that. Where was I supposed to be today?

04:28 PM

Originally Posted by Meowwcat: At one point in some thread Dave was listed as being here on Friday & Monday, I figured he was giving himself a much needed rest on the weekend. I've corrected the page to remove Monday from this forum's listing, and it is now open. Though, Dave just let me know where you want to go, and I'll update the page.

A much-needed rest. That sounds like a swell idea. So somewhere in an alternative universe I'm lounging around in my track pants and t-shirt and reading funny books and eating bonbons with little globs of whipped cream on them. Is that about the size of it?

04:31 PM

Yes, I'll be at the Paradise Torontocon (see www.paradisecomics.com) the weekend of mumble mumble. I'm having a nice sofa flown in so I can lounge around behind the table reading funnybooks and eating bonbons with little blobs of whipped cream on them.

04:37 PM

Actually the spicy coleslaw has gone the way of all flesh until the way over to Sobey's through Victoria Park becomes the Slush Free Zone mandated under 1971 UN Order 1577-8. Now we're just mad for tunafish on weight-watchers whole wheat hamburger buns with a little blob of Hi Fat Ranch Dressing. And lettuce to alleviate guilt. I've been living on it through this whole Internet campaign so I'm actually starting to lose weight. I'm meeting Sandeep at Matter of Taste after my last prayer for a ingestion of no-holds barred FAT: some permutation of cream cheese, fat, butter and sugar. I'm not particular.

Oh you're welcome. I thought it matched the drapes in Massachusetts better than it does the ones here.

Say, do you think we should spoil Rantz and head over there on Monday?

4:50 PM

So, anyway, what was interesting was that there were a lot of women (again, girls mostly -- I'm 51: their ALL girls at this point) at the Fashion Week gig and you could see by looking at them that they are a) serious size threes and b) drop-dead gorgeous but CIVILIANS. There was a walled off L'Oreal VIP area and a separate entrance for the models, so you knew these weren't models. But, obviously, part of them is thinking, "If I get dressed up really nice, maybe someone from one of the modeling agencies will see me and offer me work. Maybe I'll be discovered."

I might be reading too much into it, but it was a room full of flat out 9s and 10s. The low average was a 7. But, looking at the audience during the runway shows, a lot of them look stricken and for what is, to me, a very good reason. They look great, they keep themselves in shape and yet they're looking at these models who make THEM look fat and ungainly. They could tell. If this is what a model looks like, NO one is going to offer me a job.

The thing is a NATURAL size zero is a pretty unique thing. I don't see a lot of size threes walking around anywhere these days and I had never seen a size zero in person before. They're like the classic idea of the elf -- tall, willowy and impossibly thin. And what was obvious is that that condition is so rare that a lot of them had attained to it only through starvation (not dieting, starvation). Thus, the unhealthy look to their flesh, pulled too tight around the mouth with lunar looking pits on either side of the nose.

There were one or two who came by it naturally, natural size zeros -- their flesh didn't look unhealthy, it had a natural contour around the mouth and there wee no pits on either side of the nose -- and they looked good. Bizarre, alien -- if I saw them on the street the alienness would be more apparent than the attractiveness -- but good.

I don't know how I would incorporate that into glamourpuss. I think the short answer is I can't. It's depressing and this is supposed to be a fun book. But it was a very intense education.

04:59 PM

Originally Posted by Meowwcat: Sure, if he wants to cover for me at work. Just let me know, and I'll update the page.

How about this: You shoot some footage of yourself coughing and sneezing. Then you upload it onto your laptop, put it on PLAY LOOP, drape a blanket over it and put a dummy under the blanket, put the whole rig in your cubicle

...and everyone stays away all day so they don't catch anything.

Okay, I'll go over there first at 10 am. You come over when you're done work at 5 pm or so. I'll be the one with the red carnation between my teeth.

Gosh, I sure envy me over there in that alternative universe, all those bonbons and the annotated copy of Sienkiewicz's STRAY BULLETS OMNIBUS. I know it doesn't exist, but as long as I'm not over there, I might as well be reading something magnificently hypothetical.

05:08 PM

There was a funny moment at the Fashion Week thing. One of the designers had a "curtain raiser" show before the actual outfits that consisted of two young guys wearing nothing but gold lame short shorts and performing this gyrating suggestive rap performance.

I'd always wondered what women feel like when they come face to face with the scantily clad bimbos at the big comic conventions flogging their Playboy Trading Cards or posters or things. I basically just reviewed my notes for about five minutes while listening to a roomful of women (well, girls) all whooping and hollering and whistling.

Nathalie Atkinson, Peter Birkemoe's Significant Other, wrote about it in the NATIONAL POST "Now THAT'S entertainment."

Sigh. No, I don't think so, Nathalie. It was an excuse to ogle gyrating half-naked young men -- same as the strip clubs. The strippers don't have any actual talent, what they have is physical attributes and a willingness to let everyone see everything they have while doing their best imitation of what they think talent is.

I assume most of the guys who were there were gay, but oddly enough they didn't look particularly interested.

05:12 PM

You want to sob like a little baby? Back in 1988 Alan gave me a photocopy of his complete outline for the BIG NUMBERS series. I've got it in a cabinet in the Off-White House Library.

"Cry, baby, cry -- make your mother sad. She's old enough to know better, so cry baby cry..."

"Can you take me back where I came from, can you take me back?"

"Number Nine. Number Nine."

All right that's enough and no more bon-bons.

05:13 PM

Yes, 7 am on the Left Coast.

05:25 PM

Okay, John's closing in five minutes, the Leafs just tied Detroit with 6 minutes to go (ah TEEVEE!) and we're all tired.

Okay, Rantz is making waffles for everybody at his place 7 am on Monday. Those of you with cars, give those without cars a lift and we'll get the biggest dang convoy to take his kids to school.

See you then!