100 Hour Tour: The Newsarama Stop Pt 2

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

02-22-2008, 10:25 AM: Well, it's February 22 -- 2/22 -- and my thoughts naturally turn to Will Eisner every year on this date. He would have been 91 today. Hard to believe that eleven years have gone by since I was privileged to be a part of his 80th surprise birthday celebrations at the Cartoon Art Museum in Boca Raton and the intimate luncheon the next day at the immaculate and comfortable home Ann had made for them both. Neil Gaiman, Denis Kitchen, Batton Lash and Jackie Estrada, Scott and Ivy McCloud, myself and Susan Alston had represented the "comic book contingent" at the event.

I think it's worth remarking on this occasion that Will Eisner was one of the earliest and most devoted citizens of the worldwide Comic Book Nation. Practically from the minute that he laid eyes on one of Phil Seuling's July 4 New York Comic Cons -- getting a crash course from Denis in the new wave of creative freedom in the field in the process -- he literally couldn't divest himself of his other business interests fast enough.

As he said several times of his epiphany, "I could see it was TIME": that the comic-book field as he had always envisioned it, as he always tried to make it and as he never stopped believing it could be had now become a reality. He moved bag and baggage into the Direct Market and never once considered doing anything else in the remaining three decades of his life. As Denis said of the day that word came down that the SPIRIT TV pilot was going to get made, "I was more excited about it than he was."

Well, yes, because Will wasn't excited at all. Hollywood interested in him about as much as career in the NBA. It was a fine life for someone, but Will's heart and soul all along belonged to the comic-book field and that's where he put his time, his energy and attentions.

Thanks, as always, to Ann for taking such good care of him all those years so that all he really needed to think about was "What subject and I going to tackle next in comics and how am I going to tackle it?"

I like to think he would have been happy to find out that I was back working again. It seems a little pretentious to add a dedication to a project the length of Secret Project One (49 pages), but the only person I would have considered dedicating it to is Will.

I miss him a great deal as we all do. We must rededicate ourselves every day to "doing good" IN comics and FOR comics.

It's the only tribute that would have meant anything to him

02-22-2008, 10:37 AM: I'm going to try to skip "courtesy replies" as much as possible today since I really do need to get my hair cut. I'm turning into a sheep dog. But I do appreciate everyone posting about glamourpuss and everyone's best wishes.

I remember the first Huge Cerebus Fan -- Judy from Texas who used to come to the Bulldog Productions cons with her son -- sending me photos of her living room pretty much wall-to-wall CEREBUS artwork. I was aware -- and grateful -- that she bought as much original artwork as she did (at the then astronomical price of $100 a page), but I had no idea she was putting it up everywhere in their HOME.

It also explains Pat Tundis' look at the Norman Rockwell Museum when she came with Jeff and I had breakfast with the Yahoos. A look I'm pretty familiar with at this point: "So YOU'RE the guy."

I wish I could glow in the dark or levitate or something that would help explain to them (and ME for that matter) what this weird fascination is all about. I'm just this ordinary looking schlub of a guy in advanced middle age who somehow manages to dominate a good chunk of their husbands' thinking. Even though those husbands completely disagree with pretty much everything I say.

Sorry, Pat, I can't explain it either. But I sure wouldn't want to get by without Jeff's help.

02-22-2008, 10:43 AM: Originally Posted by adampasz

Hi Dave, thanks for doing this. Cerebus was a huge inspiration for me, and I look forward to your return to comics. A couple questions:

1. Does Glamourpuss have a clearly defined beginning, middle and end? Or is it a more open-ended ongoing sort of thing?

2. Now that Absolute Editions are in vogue, have you given thought to reprinting Cerebus in some nice hardcovers? I've always been disappointed by the paper quality of the phone books.

By the way, thanks for doing the Comic Geek Speak interviews. It's really interesting to hear your comments looking back. I hope you keep them up. -Adam

Hi, Adam. Oh, thank you for participating -- sorry it's taken me so long to make the "clubhouse turn" headed for home!

1. A little of both. The bottom line is it's done when I've said everything I have to say about the photorealism style that Alex Raymond innovated on RIP KIRBY -- where it came from and where it went from there. I think 400 or 500 pages but it's very hard to tell when you're on page 37 (as I am and have been since mid-November).

2. The closest I've come is when I had breakfast with Terry and Robin Moore of the self-publishing phenom STRANGERS IN PARADISE in Stockbridge MA and asked them about their hardcover experience: is it worth doing?

"Yeah. Once." quoth Terry.

I really have to ask him what he meant by that when I get the chance. It really stuck with me.

I'll be delighted to do CGS as long as Bryan, Peter and Jamie are willing to have me -- and the Yahoo du Jour -- back. They're very genial hosts and they ask very good questions.

02-22-2008, 10:49 AM: Originally Posted by Chip: Dave, Will you explain the art process for Glamourpuss? So far, my attraction to the series is the art I've seen. But the term "photo realism" makes me a little nervous. Does this mean that you take a photo and make a drawing exactly like the reference? Also, will the comic be panel to panel art? Or just one big glamour shot on each page?

Hi, Chip. Thanks for posting. The major reason that I sent out 4500 copies of the COMICS INDUSTRY PREVIEW EDITION of glamourpuss No.1 is because the book is really hard to describe. It seems to be the Dave Sim Curse. Richard Bruning, years ago, long before he became a top executive at DC Comics, used to do my advertising and came up with "Like No Other Comic".

Which I think is a fair description of glamourpuss as well. So my best advice would be: go into your local comic store and ask to see their PREVIEW EDITION. Flip through it. Read all of it or part of it...and I think you'll "get it" right away. After you "get it" I hope you'll...uh...get it: that is buy it and (hopefully) subscribe to it.

Win, lose or draw, I appreciate anyone making the effort to take a look at the book and making up their own minds, rather than relying on what they've "heard about it".

Thanks again for your post.

02-22-2008, 10:55 AM: Originally Posted by G Dog: Not to go all off-topic and extra blasphemous, but how can Jesus hate zombies? He created the first one (Lazarus) and He IS one himself! He can't hate zombies, because Jesus is King of the Zombies. Sorry, I just find the whole concept flawed. I mean, not only does that not make sense, but it also saddle him with the stereotype of being a self-hating Jew.

Hm. That's interesting. But isn't one of the (if you'll forgive the expression) cardinal rules of Zombiedom that a zombie can only be made into a zombie by another zombie? In the sequence of events in John's Gospel, when Jesus calls Lazarus forth from the grave, Jesus hasn't died yet.

And, of course, zombies eat brains from what I understand and there's no record of either Lazarus or Jesus eating anyone's brains. Even in the New Testament Apocrypha. Even in Foolbert Sturgeon's NEW ADVENTURES OF JESUS or JESUS MEETS THE ARMED SERVICES for that matter.

I'm not sure it's blasphemous, but it certainly seems like flawed theology.

02-22-2008, 10:59 AM: Hi creatorman -- check answer #2 to post #154.

Thanks for checking in.

02-22-2008, 11:10 AM: Oh, thank you for all the money. Them phone books ain't cheap no matter what kind of money you're pulling down.

I'm not sure if I can take credit for the trade paperback format. That takes in a lot of territory. You could probably make a persuasive argument that Joe Quesada and Paul Levitz, individually, at some point, looked at a CEREBUS trade and thought, "Okay, we can do much bigger volume than he can, so the cost per unit comes way down, presumably" and got Quebecor to price the "phone book" format. As far as I know Marvel was first into the pool with their "Essentials". Even taking into account that I had been doing it for ten years at that point, it still represents pretty innovative thinking (i.e. "We don't print in black and white: as far as we know our fans only buy colour...but is that, in fact, true?").

As these things tend to work, competition benefits everyone. You can say Marvel and DC "stole" my idea, but in doing so, they also broke down the barrier between colour and black-and-white and trade paperback vs. phone book. Their customers are, now, already familiar with what I'm doing whereas before they had no frame of reference for it.

If I had a lick of common sense I'd call HIGH SOCIETY THE ESSENTIAL CEREBUS Vol.2 instead. Oh well, I'm not really known for common sense a lot of times.

If I had to do it over, I would still do the 300 issues. That's the fanboy in me. "Wow. That means CEREBUS will be like ADVENTURE COMICS or ACTION COMICS or DETECTIVE COMICS." Those were the only ones in the "300 Club" back when comics were first getting in my blood. It impresses me just to be able to type that out here.

02-22-2008, 11:23 AM: Originally Posted by ChaosMcKenzie: As a gay male in charge of buying all of the paper product for a HUGE comic book store, and in charge of what comic books come into the store, plus working in a store that employs a number of forward thinking, politically active female employees - why should we carry your book?

Hi, C.M. Thanks for posting here

Well, I'd have to say the BIGGEST reason is that I think -- by accident and partly by intent -- I've created a good mainstream "bridge" book. And mainstream in two senses:

1) for non-comics people looking at the Fashion Edition, a connection of "Oh, a send-up of fashion magazines: that sounds pretty interesting" and

2) a comic that mainstream Marvel and DC fans can flip through and see right away, "Hmm -- this doesn't look like a typical indy comic -- this looks like the kind of stuff I read". I do think there's a natural VISCERAL attachment to the Raymond School look, a CORE awareness that "This is where we came from". And I think as they read about Raymond's invention of a whole new way of seeing comics in 1946 -- where it came from and where it went from there, I think they're going to see that it's a pretty good bet for $3 -- a price point they're already familiar with and accept (although not without a certain amount of understandable grumbling).

So, with only four full days left in the 100 Hour Glamourpuss Internet Campaign, if there's one thing I'd like to communicate to retailers everywhere it would be this: don't underestimate the potential for glamourpuss to appeal to your older, veteran (two years or more) Marvel and DC customers. Don't "lean on them" but I think, "You know you really should flip through this -- you like realistic art, right? Just flip through it and read a couple of pages. I'd hate for you to miss it when it comes in if you would have enjoyed it: which I think you would." isn't "over the edge" in a lot of cases. If they're absolutely resistant, back off, obviously. But, hey, you never know.

I'm going to post this and then continue the thought, C.M. Please stand by.

02-22-2008, 11:38 AM: Originally Posted by ChaosMcKenzie: As a gay male in charge of buying all of the paper product for a HUGE comic book store, and in charge of what comic books come into the store, plus working in a store that employs a number of forward thinking, politically active female employees - why should we carry your book?

I freely admit that it's just anecdotal evidence, but LOOKIN FOR HEROES where I'm typing this has never before carried the CEREBUS trade paperbacks. One of the big reasons for that is that NOW & THEN BOOKS was only two blocks away through this store's entire history -- 1989 to the present -- and NOW & THEN was so closely associated with CEREBUS that there didn't seem much point. Anything CEREBUS you go to NOW & THEN.

It's a 98% mainstream store: pretty much exclusively Marvel and DC with some Dark Horse, some Image and a small shelf for "other". 20% of the store's business is sports cards, so it really couldn't be further outside the "indy profile" if they tried. I'm here really because it seemed like the only option for computer access in downtown Kitchener where I could get back to the house for my prayer times conveniently.

I gave them a glamourpuss COMIC INDUSTRY PREVIEW EDITION before I gave one to anyone else -- early in January. "All I ask is that you show it to your customers through the solicitation period."

You'd have to backtrack but I marked the event on one of these message boards when Shaun came in and asked to have glamourpuss No.1 put on his sub list. I made a joke about breaking out the cake and punch -- it was a good five weeks and he was the first person to do so. No huge surprise. It's a Marvel/DC/sports card store. I counted myself lucky I got one subscriber and hoped for maybe three.

Well, we're up towards twenty now. A lot of folks were evidently thinking about it, are aware we're down to the last week to get their orders in and, evidently, made the decision somewhere in the last four weeks that they were going to give the book a try based on what they saw.

So, I think that points in an obvious direction: don't rule out the mainstream people. There's one more New Comics Day to go before you put your orders in; one more weekend, a few more days.

As with the conflict between colour and black and white; trade paperback versus phone book -- I think a lot of the old distinctions are getting so fuzzy as to be non-existent. Folks are just looking for good comics and they're looking to you and your staff to point them in new -- but not wholly unfamiliar -- directions. I think glamourpuss can be one of those links, I really do.

However, I also want to address what seems to be your Larger Point so I'll do that after posting this part. Stand by.

02-22-2008, 11:54 AM: Hi, C.M. I'm back.

You know, I phoned roughly 300 retailers in January -- about 100 in Canada and 200 in the United States. Statistically, depending on whose figures you're using, that means that I probably spoke with between 9 and 20 gay managers/clerks and/or owners. As I've said elsewhere -- and this surprised me -- no one hung up on me. Not only did no one hang up on me, no one had anything particularly negative to say.

In fact, the consensus which emerged quickly and sustained itself through the entire month of January was that what I was doing was a Very Good Thing. More often than not what I got was deep appreciation that someone was making an effort to treat the retailers as part of the publication process instead of merely as the members of the audience who happen to write the big cheques.

Over and over, I got chapter and verse recited to me of lost opportunities on the part of Marvel and DC with very big books that got a very high profile -- that magic moment when a slow news day means that a comic book has a shot of hitting the front page of the entertainment section or the front page of the paper itself -- opportunities lost because no one told the retailers ahead of time, no one supplied them with the materials to get their customers excited and to link to the local entertainment papers and daily papers. They found out about a book when their customers did and not much before that.

Now, I'm old enough to remember when it didn't used to be that way: when there was at least a certain amount of co-op advertising, in-store handouts. But even then, the crucial element that seemed to be missing all along -- and which I think I've identified and hopefully eliminated with the glamourpuss launch -- is LEAD TIME. If you don't tell the retailers what you intend to do until a week before PREVIEWS comes in with your solicitation, there's not much they can do. I had a website up in December for a book that was shipping in April. Until this program started to appear to work -- about 10 weeks into the 12 week program -- the concern I had expressed to me was that I was going to "peak too early". There are still people saying that. How do you keep the level of interest up from the end of February to April when the book comes in?

Well, a dozen or so threads on a dozen message boards that I've invested 100 Hours in, I hope will take care of that.

Okay, prayer time. And then I have to get my hair cut. But after that I will return specifically to your question posed AS a gay male and (at least partly) on behalf of politically active forward thinking female staff members at your store.

See you then.

02-22-2008, 01:30 PM: Okay, addressing your question directly, C.M.:

I always liked what Tony Randall said on the TONIGHT SHOW when Johnny Carson said something about him being an expert on opera. He corrected the host, saying, "I have a fan's knowledge" -- thus drawing a sharp distinction between the expert and the fan.

I have a "fan's knowledge" of comics retailer, having studied it when the opportunity has presented itself over the last 30 years, starting with the three months that I worked for Harry Kremer at NOW & THEN BOOKS back in 1976-77. I have a pretty good grasp of the basics: enough to know that I would probably never be more than a mid-level retailer.

From my observation, what separates the world-class retailer from the retailer who is mid-level is the ability to completely remove him or her self from the equation. Excellent comics retailing is never about the retailer, it's about the customer. As an example, a top retailer is never just "ringing in a sale". He's carrying on amiable chitchat, but he's also looking at the selections: particularly if the customer is new and particularly if the customer is just picking things off the shelf. Mentally, the retailer is "getting the range" of the customer: if he picked up A and B and C, there is usually an obvious D that they might be interested in.

The excellent retailer doesn't press the matter, though. The top priority for the retailer is maintaining the customer's comfort level as an absolute. You don't "sell" the customer on something, but you're available if he or she has a question or asks for suggestions. One of the best instances of that I know of is Brian Hibbs' COMIX EXPERIENCE being THE comic store of choice for Robin Williams when he's in San Francisco. If you can completely leave Robin Williams alone and your staff knows to leave Robin Williams alone so that he is in a 100% comfortable state while shopping for his comics then, to me, you have achieved excellence in comics retailing.

To put it simply: I don't see where "identity politics" has a place in that. Again, to me, it's not about you as a gay male OR your forward-thinking female co-workers, no offence intended against either Reality. It's about the customer and it's about the customer having a 100% comfort level. Ideally, the customer should only know you as an advisor even though retail can span a lot territory: therapist, sanctuary, ally, co-adherent. It's almost a political role. After nearly twenty years, John Brenner is very good at it and so is Duane: the soft answer. You don't disagree with the customer openly but you don't hypocritically agree with them. "It takes all kinds" or "that's what makes horse races" keeps the customer's comfort level intact and builds the business. Choosing what you recommend or carry or promote based on your own political identity inclinations seems to me like a recipe for disaster.

Comics retail is Big Tent Inclusive when it's done with excellence, in my opinion.

Some final thoughts, but I'll post this part first.

02-22-2008, 01:59 PM: Although I couldn't identify the 9 or 15 gay people I spoke to on the phone, I could identify the women that I spoke with. Retailers as close to home Amy Chop at THE DRAGON in Guelph Ontario, Doris Lee at THE COMIC EMPORIUM in Toronto and as far afield as Caren Kat of JOKER'S CHILD in Fair Lawn, NJ, Deb Tardy of TARDY'S COLLECTORS CORNER in Grand Rapids Michigan (celebrating 28 years in the biz)...

I'd particularly note Paula Pandolfo of DR. COMICS & MR. GAMES in Oakland, CA, who started to blow me off because she was incredibly busy that day...hey, that was part of the package: I'm phoning a business during business hours -- YOU tell ME if you have time...when she realized it was Dave Sim who was phoning, she put everything on hold and talked to me for a good thirty minutes, clicked on the glamourpuss website and we talked about each screen as she went through it. I got absolutely no sense that she was at all interested in what my identity politics were nor did she seem to feel obligated in the course of the 30 minutes to say, "Now I really have to ask you about..." whatever it is people have been trying to indict me for for the last fourteen years.

No, far from it. It was businesswoman to businessman. She doesn't get a whole lot of phone calls from publishers offering her lead time, an advance copy of the book and the freedom to download anything off the website and use it. That was her interest. Can I sell this book? Yes, definitely. Can I sell MORE of them because of what I'm being offered here? Yes, definitely. So, let's get all the t's crossed and the i's dotted and I'll put it on my schedule of things to do before April. I sure wasn't going to rush her off the phone. Yeah, let's talk turkey.

Nancy McCann at COMICS UNLIMITED I talked to for a long time. Turns out she's married to Jesse McCann who was the go-to guy at the LOS ANGELES DIAMOND warehouse when I was doing my '92 Tour that included Capital City and Diamond Warehouses.

And, of course, Mimi Cruz of NIGHT FLIGHT COMICS in Salt Lake City is one of the Queens of Outreach in this business, a devoted feminist and also a huge Dave Sim supporter. We can argue on the phone about feminism for hours and have done so, but I knew who I was thinking of when I suggested the "targetting fashion clerks" approach on glamourpuss. She knows pretty much everyone at the Cottonwood Mall and if anyone can break the barrier between fashion and comics, it's Mimi.

I mean I'm not going to belabour the point by going through each phone conversation I had with each female retailer -- and I'm not going to "out" the cutting edge retailer who has been one of my biggest champions over the years just to establish gay "street cred" -- but believe me, identity politics didn't enter in at any point that I was aware of. We all love comics and we all think differently. That's only common sense, I think.

Absolute last thoughts after I post this, C.M.

02-22-2008, 02:13 PM: At the risk of everyone rolling their eyes at the "hetero white guy" I empathize with your situation.

I'd be willing to bet that there are a lot fewer monotheists whose faith is pretty close to that of Orthodox Islam rattling around in the comic-book field. If you check earlier in this thread you'll see a post from the guy who is doing a book called JESUS HATES ZOMBIES. Well, I don't know how much you know about Orthodox Islam, but they're not real big on people treating God's prophets and messengers as joke fodder. Personally, the way I look at it: it isn't me.

Most of the time, someone who is attempting to be overtly blasphemous or heretical, most of the time they're just looking for a reaction. They're like a four-year-old who finds a new swear word and uses it in every second sentence for a week or so. I don't react. For one thing, I award the Day Prize every year at S.P.A.C.E. so I can't really justify not reading a comic book because it doesn't share my political philosphy. A couple of years back, A David Lewis LONE AND LEVEL SANDS won and that was the Moses Exodus story told from the side of the Egyptians.

Most people don't intend offence, I don't think. Most people are just doing what they want to do. I think it's worth working at Not Being Offended. So, I do. I work very hard at Not Being Offended when someone is making fun of Jesus or Muhammad or whoever. And, to me, I can't think of any more sensible "way forward" for our society. That, to me, is the bottom line on the Danish Cartoon "crisis". On the second anniversary, a lot more papers ran the cartoons. It took us two years to mull it over and come to the conclusion: No, the problem isn't the cartoons, the problem is you being too sensitive about them.

But, I would respectfully submit that the same thing can be said for those people who adhere too tightly and nurse grudges because of their personal identity politics.

The only way forward is to learn to Not Be Offended, as difficult as that is...for ALL of us...to do.

02-22-2008, 02:19 PM: Originally Posted by grendel824: Ditto. Well, I haven't read it yet so I don't know if it's good, but as someone who does ordering for a comic store, that's really my only criteria. Might this be good? (Not that good=sales, so I also consider "might this sell?"). If there's much else that comes into play for you there besides those questions, you should have somebody do orders for your store who will do a better job.

Well said. Thanks.

02-22-2008, 02:22 PM: Originally Posted by genetic freak: How'd I miss this thread for so long!?!

It was hanging from the BACK of your sweater. That would be my guess. Had it been hanging from the FRONT of your sweater you would have seen it right away, g.f.

02-22-2008, 02:34 PM: Hi, Lee! Thank you very, very sincerely for your excessively kind words about my work. I have my work cut out for me trying to live up to your expectations.

The only big difference between the COMIC INDUSTRY PREVIEW EDITION and the regular No.1 in April will be the back cover which is the amazing Honey Dorian shot from Raymond's presentation piece for RIP KIRBY (and a couple of Honey Dorian panels) and the original quote from Honey Dorian in the eighth RIP KIRBY strip:

Gee. Imagine. Me

a glamourpuss!

Actually anyone interested in merchandising glamourpuss can check out "Merchandising glamourpuss" on the website at www.glamourpusscomic.com. The basic theory is the same as in school when the teacher said you could chew gum if you brought enough for everyone (I always wondered why no one took her up on it -- it would easily be worth $3 to call her bluff and have her listen to CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP for a day until she had to indulge in legislative revisionism).

The ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN 100 benefit piece sold a while back. I forget what it went for, but I think I was number 10 on the list -- WELL behind Todd McFarlane, Art Suydam and others but ahead of roughly ninety other guys. Considering it was a totally mainstream event and I had been out of comics for several years, I was very pleased with my standing.

02-22-2008, 02:38 PM: Michael, I am both hypnotized by and made a little seasick by your graphic. Actually that's pretty impressive. If someone had asked me this morning, "Dave? Can you picture an animated graphic existing that would make you sea sick?" I would have said, no.

And that would make this answer a really inopportune flip-flop late in the campaign

That was a close one.

02-22-2008, 02:46 PM: Well, yes. And to me that's one of those "that's what makes horse races" things. Different people like different things. I think where I see the problem coming in is that the avant garde (linking to a previous theme) are always so OFFENDED by photorealism or by realistic art of any kind. I try to take everything on its own terms. Jules Feiffer is one of the roughest and most primitive cartoonists out there but I don't think the content of his cartoons would be well served by any other look. In fact -- pushed to the wall -- I would have to come down on the "static image" period in his work: very simple very rough figures with only minor variations in posture or gesture from panel to panel. When he started to use close ups and things in his FEIFFER strip, I thought he lost something out of his approach.

Or Alex Ross' CAPTAIN MARVEL doodles in MYTHOGRAPHY. The guy is scary good and I think can "do" just about any style he puts his mind to. If he ever wants to do a complete book in that style, I'm camping out to get my copy.

And yet he has to tip-toe around Chris Ware's possible sensitivities -- to me, like Norman Rockwell "doing" Jackson Pollock for the SATURDAY EVENING POST cover. It seemed like a nice open gesture from one side of the field to the other. But you just knew Pollock was going to ignore it. Why is that? Shouldn't it be the other way around? And yet it never seems to be.

Okay, prayer time. Back around 3:40 EDST.

02-22-2008, 03:37 PM: Sorry, Lee, missed this question the first time around. I had the same problem when I tried checking the website last night -- I could get into each category and see the first store but I couldn't go forward or back. I sent Jeff Tundis a fax about it this morning and I imagine he will have a look when he gets a chance.

However, PLEASE go easy on Jeff. This is all volunteer work that he's doing.


02-22-2008, 03:40 PM: Sure! The cover price is $3 (US and Canadian) and the order code for the Comics Edition of No.1 is FEB08 3391 and for the Fashion Edition of No.1 FEB08 3392.

Sorry I didn't get this to you earlier, g.f.

02-22-2008, 03:52 PM: Yes, I hope this isn't happening a whole LOT but it does seem to be the case that even with a three-month promotion campaign anything that isn't Marvel or DC is just off the radar screen and just something to give away. Can you possibly give it back to them and ask them to show it to their customers through until the end of the month and they can give it to you THEN?

I had the same thing happen with a Calgary store when I talked to him on the phone "Oh, George is my best CEREBUS customer I'll give it to him." So I sent two, one signed to George and one that I asked him to show to his customers. What do you want to bet he gave it to his second best CEREBUS customer?

I also haven't had the nerve to fax Paul Litch at CGC and ask him how many of the COMICS INDUSTRY PREVIEW EDITIONS they're encapsulating right now. I'm afraid he'll say "I lost track around 4,000".

No, best to remain positive and have confidence in the retailers.

I really don't have any plans for CEREBUS hardcovers or softcovers on better paper. I like the format, personally, and I like being able to offer them at the price I offer them at.

It's really logistically impossible as far as I can see. It's all I can do to keep 16 volumes in print. The last thing I need to do is to add 16 hardcovers into the mix. Maybe if I make a million dollars off of glamourpuss...but even then I'd really, really have to think about it.

02-22-2008, 03:55 PM: Well, heck, in that case, what's wrong with replacing your worn out CEREBUS trade paperbacks once every decade or so? (nyuck nyuck nyuck)

02-22-2008, 03:57 PM: Hi, Marc! Inshallah (God willing) I'll be there at the Jetpack Comics booth all day Friday and Saturday. You can get the exact book number on the website, www.glamourpusscomic.com under "glamourpuss EVENTS".

Hope to see you at the Javitts Center in April!

02-22-2008, 04:06 PM: Nothing comes to mind off the top of my head -- but then I've been pretty much immersed in the glamourpuss world of photorealistic comic strips since last fall. I've got a three-month backlog of mail and there are usually a fair number of indie comics that people want me to comment on or offer a blurb for.

I am looking forward to reading Jeff's RASL and Terry's ECHO: how soon I get to them will probably depend on the next time I'm in an indie friendly comic store. In the forseeable future either THE LAUGHING OGRE in Columbus when I'm there for S.P.A.C.E. or, failing that, when I'm in Toronto for the COMIC EYE launch at the Victory Cafe March 26 (The Beguiling is right down the street).

I liked your Thomas Paine quote. I quite agree with him and in fact that's the basis of my own theories of the difference between God and YHWH. Do you REALLY think God would want you to stone someone to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath?

No, that one's YHWH all the way as I see it.

02-22-2008, 04:08 PM: I'll take your word for it that the actual birthday is March 6. February 22 was the date of the surprise party for Will at the Cartoon Art Museum.

No wonder he was surprised! It wasn't his birthday!

02-22-2008, 04:14 PM: Wow. You're kidding. Is this a Brave New World or what?

Do you want to plug the Paris store? Or I could try guessing: is it ALBUM COMICS at 67 Blvd. Saint-Germain, Paris 75005 or is it THE TROC 52 Rue Jean Pierre Timbaud, Paris 75011? That way -- assuming they're both still in business -- I get a plug in for two stores instead of one.

C'est bon, n'est ce-pas?

02-22-2008, 04:18 PM: Did you notice that you get much more accurate information from Jeff Tundis than you do from me?

That's what makes him a CEREBUS Uber Fan.

I really hope he writes my autobiography some day. I've forgotten a lot of stuff.

Actually I just got a phone message from Jim McLauchlin at HERO ALLIANCE and it sounds like they're going to do a HULK one next. He was phoning to see if I was interested.

Hey. I'm in.

02-22-2008, 04:40 PM: Hey, Ralph. Well I appreciate your generosity there. I have to figure that three years after starting SECRET PROJECT ONE and with pretty much everyone at Diamond "in on it" at this point word has to be leaking out in one sense or another particularly for the "better connected" retailers. I still think, as with glamourpuss, that the announcement of the URL for the actual website is probably going to be a pretty big deal.

It was actually Joe Shuster's younger sister, Jean Shuster Peavy, that I was speaking with on the phone the other night. I had asked her for a blurb for SECRET PROJECT ONE which she sent under separate cover, but she also sent a simply wonderful two-page letter with it. My Technical Director (who I think is looking forward to FINALLY having his cover blown after three years) who I faxed it to said he was just reading it over and over and over. I decided Jean's letter should be a separate menu item on the website and that's what I was phoning to ask permission for. Which she gave. In fact she suggested in might make a good introduction to SP1. Which I'm definitely thinking about.

She and her daughter, Dawn, were just on the way to movies when I spoke with her, so we tried to cover way too much way too fast and the whole time I'm thinking "Dave, DON'T make Jean and Dawn miss their movie". I thought we were done and Jean says, "Actually that reminds me of a story about Jerry Siegel you might find interesting."

"Jean, I don't want you to miss your movie. I'll call you back tomorrow night at this same time and we'll pick right up with the Jerry Seigel story."

And then she started hemming and hawing a little bit and I finally asked, What's wrong? And she says,

SMALLVILLE is on tomorrow night.

Isn't that great? SMALLVILLE is on tomorrow night.

No problem, Jean. I'll call you Friday instead.

Oh, that would work much better, she says.

I'm trying to work up my courage to ask Jim Steranko for a glamourpuss cover. He was on the CEREBUS comp list practically from the beginning and actually phoned me once. I remember I said to him, I said "HAMMMANA HUMMANAA ST-ST-ST-STERANKO!!??" which I'm sure impressed him with its eloquence. And of course there's the link from Steranko to Gulacy.

Howard? I'm not sure Howard would want to be included with the photorealists. In fact I'd be willing to bet he'd have something incredibly pithy and eviscerating to say about people tracing photographs. If he does say something, I'm sure as usual I'll walk away grinning from ear to ear -- all the while trying to keep my intestines from spilling out of the gaping wound.

02-22-2008, 04:55 PM: Originally Posted by Jeremy Holstein: Hey, Dave.

The artwork on Glamourpuss looks phenomenal.

Two questions:

1) Was your choice of "Glamourpuss" for a Cerebus follow-up a purposeful attempt to surprise your audience? Given your famous opinions on gender, doing what looks from the outside to be something all about the feminine perspective was a surprise to me. Mind you I haven't read the book yet, so I'm judging strictly on the promotional material.

2) With Cerebus were there any tales you never got to in the 300 issue run? I seem to recall a sea-faring story you mentioned way back when.

Best of luck on the new book, -Jeremy

Hi, Jeremy.

1) No, not really. I mean I did tell everyone in the annotations for LATTER DAYS that doing "The Girls of Fruitcake Park" had given me a taste for doing a comic book of pretty teenaged girls in my best Al Williamson style. That never got too far from my thoughts even while I was putting 30 years worth of paperwork in chronological order in the CEREBUS ARCHIVE, answering a three year backlog of mail, doing the Blog & Mail for a year and working on Secret Project One. I just did everything on my list until I ran out of list and that very day I went down to the Kitchener Bookstore on King and bought a couple of fashion magazines and did what turned out to be page 2 of issue 1.

I think it came as a surprise because in my three-year absence from comics the Internet Dave Sim (or, perhaps more accurately, The Comics Journal Message Boards Dave Sim ) had become a real Picture of Dorian Gray. I mean, come on. NOBODY could be that bad.

2) I think you're thinking of the sailing ship splash page Gerhard did. That's all that ever happened there, the sailing ship splash page.

There are three CEREBUS JAM stories that my intended collaborators never got to (which were supposed to be in issue 2) that I plan on finishing solo somewhere up ahead in my ha-ha spare time. There's also a splash page for issue 301 of CEREBUS ZOMBIE coming back from the dead. It was originally supposed to be an Alan Moore, Steve Bissette John Totelben collaboration but with the schism between Alan and Steve that seemed pretty unlikely so I did my part and left the rough backgrounds for Gerhard to finish (which he never got around to).

Hey maybe I can get Art Suydam to PAINT it and get rich, RICH, RICH!

Or maybe I can finish it myself in my ha-ha spare time, looking forward to the day when Bissette looks at it and goes,

"Too pretty."

02-22-2008, 04:59 PM: The duck swims at midnight.

Actually that doesn't really mean anything but it sure sounds SECRET PROJECT-like, doesn't it? The duck swims at midnight.

02-22-2008, 05:11 PM: Jeez, Lee, don't be shy. On a Dave Sim thread we're very big on actually identifying stores BY NAME. In 72-point Baskerville if you can manage it. North Carolina? Are you one of the Legion of Former Heroes Stores...or maybe that's showing my age. Shelton's justifiably proud that all of his Former Stores are still viable even though he doesn't own them anymore.

Jeff Tundis was here just a minute ago. As I said earlier, I had the same problem and faxed him about it. I hope it's something minor -- if he has to re-enter as many stores as I think he'll have to re-enter the duck may not be swimming at midnight after all. Or the duck could be swimming the English Channel.

Seriously, I apologize for this but I (God willing) GUARANTEE you that any store that hits the thresholds and posts there will be on there either permanently or until we find the outside hemline of cyberspace.

Thanks for your support and understanding during our renovations period. Computers. YEESH (four more days for me).

02-22-2008, 05:21 PM: Originally Posted by scottmdavis: "Sheep Dog"... i hear ya on that man. I need my hair cut too. Since you said you don't watch TV, do you watch a lot of movies? Have you seen Across The Universe?

Hi, Scott. No, they closed the Last Picture Show in downtown Kitchener (the King's College Cineplex) last year sometime so now the closest theatre is at the Frederick Street Mall which is a pretty good walk -- and I never remember to check what's playing there in the Record. I also run into prayer time conflicts. By the time it's warm enough to actually walk up there, my sunset prayer is around 8 pm, last prayer around 9:15 pm which makes movies problematic.

To be honest, it's just not something that occurs to me. I've got piles of stuff to read and piles of work to do. I don't know where I used to find the time to do anything else.

I did read all of the ACROSS THE UNIVERSE reviews in the National Post (there were a few of them). It sounded like a Saturday Night Live skit to me.

No more sheep dog. By the way, I get my hair cut at La-Belle Beauty Salon at 29 King Street East. Either hairdresser does a great job for $15. If you go in, don't say Dave Sim sent me, they'll have no idea who you mean. I'm just another old guy.

02-22-2008, 05:24 PM: Well, I knew it was somebody's birthday today. Congratulations.

Oh and thanks for the comic about the Christian who had such an uphill struggle in India. It was a very nice piece of work. I particulalry liked the one shot of the classroom with the highlights on all the desks and the trees dropped out to colour through the windows.

Feel free to post a plug for it here with cover repro.

How's it selling?

02-22-2008, 05:34 PM: That was done for the Eisner Tribute program of the CHICAGO COMICON. Of course everyone else did The Spirit. Part of it was an experiment in lettering Yiddish dialect in anticipation of the Rabbi character in LATTER DAYS. I thought it worked well here, but it would be a little intrusive over more than the one page. Batton Lash was at the same table with Will and Harlan Ellison and said that Harlan actually acted out the dialect for Will. I'm sorry I missed that.

I was glad that at Will's 80th birthday party when things were winding down and we were all just wandering out of the Cartoon Art Museum and I was able to have a private word with him, that I did get the chance to tell him that I thought the "A Contract With God" story was the most significant piece of work in the medium and that this page was the most significant page. He gave me a very funny look like he was waiting for the "But my FAVOURITE thing is the Sand Saref SPIRIT story."

He brought it up himself at our last dinner, saying that there's a tradition in Judaism of talking back to God. Whoah. I don't think so, Will. That was YHWH Abraham bartered with in the lead-in to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

It makes for an interesting dichotomy among monotheists. It gives Muslims the willies to even TYPE something like "talking back to God."

02-22-2008, 05:39 PM: EVERYTHING Ditko does is great. The only QUESTION I read was the Millenium Edition of the first Charlton issue DC did (there's a good sentence in there somewhere). Matt Dow sent it to me. Someday I'll read all of it, but there's only so much Ditko material and I don't want to burn through it too fast.

I read a bunch last year when I was sick and had to keep reminding myself: x amount of Ditko. Don't use it all up. You've already read all of Ditko's Spider-man and Dr. Strange. Pace yourself.

Okay, prayer time again. Back for a quick 20 minutes. John's closing up early to go out to the Aud for the Rangers game tonight.

02-22-2008, 06:27 PM: Originally Posted by scottmdavis: Dave, you are a way better pimp then Millar is, you are at least talking to the fans, and answering questions. Even if you didn't answer my last, which had nothing to do with your comics.

Whoa. Talk about a back-handed compliment. Thank you, I think.

I just got my comp copy of WIZARD and at least for this issue, I think they should call it MILLARWORLD THE MAGAZINE. For all that he did for the comic-book field with CIVIL WAR, it's long overdue but it sure must be nice to see your photo in the #1 slot of the Top Ten Writers.

I think I finally got to your last question, but if I didn't I'm going back to COMIC BOOK RESOURCES tomorrow (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/) so you can always post it again there.

I keep forgetting to just note what post # I'm on and have to search up and down the page for anything I missed. Sincere apologies.

02-22-2008, 06:33 PM: Originally Posted by GLX: Dave, any plans to go to the Heroes Covention in Charlotte this year?

Actually, I talked to Shelton towards the end of my US phone campaign and told him how impressive it was when WIZARD attempted to schedule a show opposite the HEROES CON that there was this AMAZING show of support for Shelton's show. That's a lot of good faith built up over the years by Shelton and his folks and Cynthia.

He said, "Well, there's another one coming up this year." He said he'd see if he could find a flight at a good price but it was a little late for that I think. And I am trying to stay away from the Con Circuit until I can actually get some books out and see how much time I'm going to have for other things. It would probably be best to leave it for next year, but if I was going to make an exception it would definitely be for the HEROES CONVENTION.

02-22-2008, 06:39 PM: Well, thanks, Billy. Actually as I picture it glamourpuss is the envy of women everywhere because she is able to pretty much change her looks at will, but each new look is still glamourpuss.

I'm also trying to keep the website artwork strictly to the website. Yes, the Victory Cafe one is one of my favourites and I plan to do photoprints of it for the night itself. You should see the original photo, by the way! What a cutie! One of those times when I said "Even if I only get 60% of this one, it's going to be AMAZING!" I actually got about 75 or 80%.

Cut it out -- now I want to go and draw again and I have to phone Jean Shuster Peavy after my last prayer time.

02-22-2008, 06:40 PM: It does? Hmm. That's true. Well, if The Duck Swims At Midnight is a poem title, what makes a good password? Remember Swordfish is taken.

02-22-2008, 06:43 PM: Hey, C.M. "Wicked". Hmm, as I recall that's...a good thing...in the lexicon of you "youths".

Thanks for "Rapping", "Man".

"That which is!"

Okay, am I cool yet, or what?

02-22-2008, 06:46 PM: Thanks, Jonathan: I just got a Kitchener Rangers t-shirt thrown at my head, so I'll have to check it out tomorrow!