100 Hour Tour: Sequential Tart's "Tartsville" forums

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

02-04-2008 10:26 AM: Hi. Sorry I'm late. I'm Dave Sim and I'm here to promote my new comic glamourpuss which is in the current Diamond Previews (Feb for Apr shipping). There are about 100 stores in Canada and 200 in the US that have advance copies available for viewing for anyone interested in flipping through a copy.

ALL of the stores will be getting an advance copy in Diamond Dateline for Feb 13 so from there until the end of February youshould be able to walk into any comic book store and ask to see their Comics Industry Preview Edition of glamourpuss No.1 before deciding if you want to order one of your own.

I don't have Internet access of my own, but I'm doing this in the back room at LOOKIN FOR HEROES on Ontario St. S. here in Kitchener. Thanks to John (who isn't in today -- it's his day off) and Duane and Richard for "working around me". If you're coming in to pick up the books in your subscription file, feel free to say hello and shake hands.

02-04-2008 10:36 AM: Okay. This is pretty much the way the Comicon visit went for the last hour or so, so I guess I'll just muse aloud to myself on the offhand chance that there might be someone else in the room listening (a distinctly weird proposition for someone like myself who, until last week, had never done this before).

I'm starting to get some positive feedback on the advance copies of the book that I've sent out which is always good. What I'm hoping is that there will be an indirect positive effect out of this and that other self-publishers and small publishers will consider doing short preview runs of their new books so that the stores have a fair opportunity both to assess the book themselves and to let their customers do their own assessment. It does seem rather unfair to me that the stores are expected to order a completely Unknown Commodity based on a postage-stamp sized cover reproduction and two lines of description.

02-04-2008 10:44 AM: Are we allowed to refer to Stanley as Ray? I was trying to avoid blowing anyone's cover. The lettering font is Comiccraft's Joe Kubert font and Sandeep has it installed on his computer. I actually bought the font for myself and for my Technical Director on Secret Project One until I found out that Comiccraft has a "five computer policy" -- you can install the softwear in five computers before they deem you to be ripping them off. So, technically I can outfit six more computers before I cross the ethical line. Jeff Tundis has the font as well so he can do the glamourpuss and Secret Project One websites. You want a copy of the Kubert font, Margaret?

As to your question, yes all the material will be reprinted which should make for a very unusual package that would beg the description "graphic novel". I had a letter from Stephen Holland at Page 45 in Nottingham this morning saying that he couldn't believe I could be that iconaclastic and scholarly in one package.

Do you visit SEQUENTIAL TART on your own very often. Maggs?

02-04-2008 10:55 AM: Sorry, I missed the point of Ray's question in the eerieness of this echoing empty room quality.

I had the computer through to the middle of issue 2 but now that the computer has gone bye-bye, I think what I'm going to do is to letter the captions and word balloons on tracing paper overlays as I go and get Sandeep to type them in after he scans the artwork.

We've already run into the situation of my needing to provide word balloons. I think Comicraft has a word balloon template but that's getting complicated considering that Sandeep is going to be doing the scanning in and around his work on his own magazine VERSUS. I've watched him photoshopping the pages over his shoulder so I can get an idea of what the most time-consuming areas are and trying to avoid those if I can. He'll be pretty happy if it makes an additional non-time consuming revenue stream but if it starts devouring whole days then I don't think he'll be Technical Directing glamourpuss for very long.

He's helping with some of the writing and making suggestions here and there. It was his idea to do the "STYLE has a new address" as a magazine style page.

02-04-2008 11:00 AM: I'm a little more than halfway through issue 2. The iconoclast pages are done and now I have the scholarly pages to do. I'm not sure if that's how I'm going to do the book from now on. Since I had to suspend all work in mid-November for the three month promotion period, I'm not going to get a real working rhythm going until March or April at the earliest.

Oh, I got your letter this morning, too. No, I thought the Neve Campbell reference was fine. Of course I didn't know she was a lesbian until I read your reference. Is that common knowledge or (as Filgate put it) "a well-known secret"?

02-04-2008 11:06 AM: Hi Billy: Well, it was a consideration on my part which is why there are the two versions, the Comic Edition and the Fashion Edition. My guess is that there will be a lot more copies of the Comic Edition than the Fashion Edition ordered for that reason. I like to think that there's sufficient interest in good comics...and curiosity about the other team's literature... to make the gender divide a moot point. When Trevor was in filming the "Making of Glamourpuss" video for the website there were parts where he just left the camera running while I was inking. I turned around a couple of times and he was completely absorbed in the latest issue of GLAMOUR!

02-04-2008 11:21 AM: Greg Shantz: Yes, Lookin For Heroes does subscriptions...I've got a wall full of them on my right as I'm typing this.

I'll be happy to discuss doing the podcast about a month from now. Right now, I have exactly twenty-four days until the retailers are going to be deciding how many glamourpuss to order, so this is literally all that I'm doing until after S.P.A.C.E. Thanks for the invitation.

Talon TM: I do find the Dr. Phil phenomenon more than a little odd, structurally. Here you have Oprah, the highest apex of commercial success and most highly regarded woman on the planet and she manages to place a therapist very close to that highest apex just by having him on her show and endorsing him. I'm stretching a point in having Dr. Norm be glamourpuss' therapist since I don't believe Dr. Phil was ever Oprah's therapist. The same as the relationship of glamourpuss and her evil twin sister Skanko is an exaggerated version of the Ann Landers/Dear Abby schism. Twin sisters who didn't speak to each other for decades but who were dispensing advice to everyone else!

The retailers have been very enthusiastic so far. Particularly Phil Boyle who I had a lengthy phone chat with when I got to the Florida stores on my list. I don't think he expected that any publishers were going to meet his 50-50 challenge but he does admit that I've done so and plans to put a big push on the book. We're all in the same boat, 24 days to make the final choices as to how glamourpuss does. March 1 the whole thing is out of my hands. The orders will be into Diamond by then.

02-04-2008 11:30 AM: Hi, Gene -- Well, arguably we're right back to the same societal condition described in the biblical passage you quote (it actually takes up the better part of a chapter and gets a good deal more venomous), but I can't say that I fault personal adornment specifically and, no, that isn't going to be a major theme in glamourpuss as far as I know.

Making yourself attractive and making yourself sleazy are really two different things, as far as I'm concerned. One of the fashion magazines I was reading the other day had a pretty intense debate going on about "How sleazy is too sleazy for office wear?" The first generation feminists were taking the line that, "Hey we fought the good fight to prove that we weren't taking unfair advantage of cleavage and things like that" and the modern ones were in "Oh, lighten up" mode. "So my breasts are hanging out of my top at work. What's that got to do with anything?"

It's the women who will sort it out, but I'm willing to bet that argument is just getting rolling.

02-04-2008 11:40 AM: Another Deafening Silence. I'd also point out that most women that you would call the fashionistas, high end designers are usually engaged in charity work as well. What Donna Karan or some other Top Female Designer can raise for charity just by donating a dress or two puts all of my charitable efforts to shame. I might be giving more proportionately of my income, but I would never downplay hard numbers when it comes to charity.

02-04-2008 11:51 AM: Another Deafening Silence. I guess I'm treading in controversial areas. I do think there are problems with dressing provocatively (or "provocatively") at work because it's the meeting place of free will choice (this is how I want to dress)and issues of professionalism (you look like a professional, just the wrong kind, honey).

The upshot of the discussion in the fashion magazine seemed to be that free will choice would prevail and that any kind of dress code was going the way of the dodo. Right now hotpants and halter tops are "out" in the boardroom but usually in this case what is "out" is usually just "out" temporarily. If free will choice wins enough skirmishes (which it is) then there's no longer any grounds for imposing any limits.

Okay. Prayer time. This is also a "fast" week so I might actually be back a little earlier since I don't have to "do" lunch.

02-04-2008 12:56 PM: JK Carrier: 1) roughly 20 issues depending on how long it takes me to say everything I have to say about Alex Raymond...the more I think about his work, the more I have to say.

2) No, glamourpuss is much easier. All of it is pretty much off the top of my head and there's nothing more fun than drawing beautifully dressed young women.

3) CEREBUS hardcovers. I had breakfast with Terry and Robin Moore at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge and I asked Terry if he had found it a good idea to do hardcovers. "Yeah. Once." he replied, pretty definitively. I have a lot of respect for Terry and Robin's joint business acumen so I'm mulling it over. Hm. Once.

4) That's always a danger with Google. It unfairly puts pressure on everyone to maintain an on-line presence in order to shape their "Reader's Digest" version...the top Google search entries. My use of the term "homosexualist" is a good example. Gary Groth has sneered at that a few times. I got it from an essay by Gore Vidal where he pointed out that homosexual is an adjective and the noun form should be homosexualist. Made sense to me.

I think there's a "baby with the bathwater" quality that is very destructive in our society. Vidal himself has been a victim of it. His defiant belief that FDR engineered Pearl Harbor to bring the US in the war has put him "beyond the pale" for a lot of people. Well, I don't think he's right about that and I definitely think he was over the line with his Miller-Mailer-Manson man declension. But his collection of essays Homage to Daniel Shays is tied with Mailer's Cannibals and Christians for what I will grab if I want to read a few pages of something good.

The impression that I have is that most of the world just isn't like that. Vidal believes FDR engineered Pearl Harbor? Away with Gore Vidal! That's inconceivable to me.

02-04-2008 01:06 PM: Gail Simone: I'm going to take your posts one at a time, Gail. That's interesting that styling places get fashion magazines for free. It certainly makes sense.

I don't think we'll know if there's any interest in glamourpuss among women or homosexuals until I get the orders. It's one of the reasons that I'm sending out comp copies of No.1 to the stores ahead of time. I can't really describe the book thoroughly enough without spoiling it for people who don't want it spoiled for them. At the same time I can understand that no one wants to spend 3.00 on a comic book and find out that it offends them personally. So, for those people what I'm trying to do is move up the assessment moment from April to February. Read as much of it as you would read standing in the store when it came out to see if you want to buy it. It's what we all do with a new book, isn't it? Flip through to get an overall idea and then read some of it...just enough, usually, to decide either to put it back on the shelf or pick it up. In the latter case you don't want to read too much because it'll spoil reading all of it later. If the former case you only read it until you've "had enough".

I just think it would help the stores if they could get the bottom line during the ordering period. So that's what I'm trying to help with.

02-04-2008 01:12 PM: Is it defensible to boycott a book based on he author's beliefs? Oh, of course. Anything is defensible if it comes to a person's free will choice if it doesn't harm someone else. You can decide not to buy a book and you can advocate that others not buy a book. You can even organize a boycott if you're so inclined. Free will choice.

Personally, I try not to listen to what other people have to say about a book to the extent of allowing them to make my choices for me. I put off reading "Ayn Rand the Nazi" for years because that was the way she was presented to me. When I finally read THE FOUNTAINHEAD and ATLAS SHRUGGED it was an object lesson in not letting people make my decisions for me. I disagree with Ayn Rand in many ways and on many subjects but she has too many valid thought-provoking points to dump her in a box with Hitler and Goebbels and say "Case closed."

02-04-2008 01:24 PM: gene: Yes I did get your letter, two days before I posted to the tcj message boards for the first time so it had the quality of a warning shot fired across my bow. I think the bottom line for me is that cowardice is not a laughing matter -- certainly not the suggestion that I'm a coward which for me is in the "either back that up or back down" category -- but I can see from Bryan Talbot's post that cowardice is something that he thinks should be laughed off as good-natured teasing. We'll just have to agree to disagree on that, but I don't hold any malice towards Bryan because of it. I hold very pleasant memories of that night at Castle Talbot.

02-04-2008 01:32 PM: gene: All the evidence is pretty anecdotal but there are a lot more women at S.P.A.C.E. both as customers and as exhibitors. I think one of the overlooked potential goldmines is the spouse-publishing model since it tends to combine a number of best elements in a society trying to figure out how to have both spouses working as well as rearing children full-time. Publishing your husband or wife's work tends to leave a lot of extra time and it can be done under one roof. I don't think Anne Campbell had to change very much of her daily routine when she was the publisher in residence of Eddie Campbell Comics.

02-04-2008 01:42 PM: Gail Simone: Well, my views on feminism are, I think, foundationally the same: that is, I think that women are by nature and inclination wives and mothers for the most part. I don't think and have never thought that women should all be forced to be wives and mothers exclusively but I think our society has gone to the other extreme and starts with the assumption that all women should go out and work and if they want to be wives and mothers as a secondary interest they're free to do so. I think as a result that a lot of very good wives and good mothers are being subjected to working world pressures that are probably more than a little cruel given their natures and inclinations. This is an extreme minority viewpoint but it is the viewpoint I hold. My impression is that homemaking skills, as an example, are being permanently lost because they are viewed as being sexist or patriarchal or demeaning to women. Girls pick up on that and parrot the party line but I wonder how many of them are looking at movies from more traditional time periods and secretly longing for the "old way of doing things". In today's political context I don't think we'll hear from anyone who is thinking that way. She'd be denounced as a dupe unable to recognize her own victimization.

I do think that society is moving more and more in that direction and I think one of the net effects of that is going to be worldwide feminism moving in that direction that will basically attemptto steamroll Islam as constituted.

02-04-2008 01:52 PM: Reverend Smooth: Well, at the same time, if I didn't promote the book on female friendly sites then I would be indicted for evading them and sticking to masculine or gender neutral sites thus proving that I'm a misogynist.

Gail: I think Vidal has his blind spots, most particularly the extent to which he jumped on the specious evidence that homosexuality was more common that it was. As larger studies have demonstrated, a lot ofthe early studies (Masters & Johnston nd so on)were skewed by suspect methods and questions. As a reader you make allowances for those "near and dear" subjects. The fact that he's wrong a lot of the time doesn't mean that I don't laugh out loud every time I read his review of EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX *but were afraid to ask -- even though the book itself has been so thoroughly discredited by now that Vidal's review is hardly the timely and arresting public service announcement about a dangerous pop psychologist it was at the time.

02-04-2008 02:08 PM: Sorry, we spilled over onto another page. I'm still not exactly used to this.

Reverend Smooth: I think if you look at Jaka's actions in JAKA'S STORY, she put everyone in danger because of her dancing and knew she was doing so. The only thing she didn't realize was that her diplomatic immunity wouldn't extend to Rick. In each instance where the greatest good for the greatest number was involved, Jaka would usually pick what was best for Jaka. In the context that was a particularly irresponsible way to be. It doesn't appear on the surface and until I was doing JAKA'S STORY I was really only dealing with Jaka on the surface. Her choices came as a surprise to me as well.

Gail Simone: I think that misogynist and homophobe are very convenient labels to slap on people you disagree with in order to invalidate their opinions without actually discussing those opinions. In the same way that I don't think Ayn Rand had Nazi sympathies. To me the Nazis werewhat they described themselves as: National Socialists. They believed in taking away possessions from non-Germans and giving them to Germans. Socialism based on nationality. That's very far away from Ayn Rand's view of personal excellence as a societal ideal.

02-04-2008 02:24 PM: Reverend Smooth: No, it's an honest answer. I thought that Sequential Tart was a primarily female primarily feministic site and it's certainly the only female specific site that I knew of as someone who is not on the Internet.

I think what you're reacting to is the fact that this is the way the accusation of misogyny works. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation.

Gail Simone: Well, I think in your own case your situation is working at home as a writer, isn't it? In that case I think you're probably as close to the wife and mother paradigm as possible without being exclusively a wife and mother. I think that's another aspect of the debate and one of the reasons that I brought up spouse-publishing. At least potentially it allows you to be engaged in the working world while still devoting time to the more traditional female enterprises. It seems to be that there are ideal percentages of the day that should be devoted to both but we aren't, as a society, at the point of discussing those percentages. We're treating the full-time wife and mother, the nearly full-time wife and mother (like yourself) and the wife and mother who sees her kids for an hour or so every day when she gets home from working double overtime as if they're all the same thing. I don't think they are.

Reverend Smooth: I think that there are extensions of nesting that are more natural to women than to men. I don't think feminizing men is the answer. I think presenting feminism and homemaking as two separate things and presenting the pros and cons of both in a more balanced way instead of skewing everything in the direction of "Career First homemaking maybe later" is more attuned to natural reality. Give girls a fair choice between the two or a realistic idea of how difficult the balance is to strike and what the drawbacks are.

I don't think we're there yet.

02-04-2008 02:40 PM: Gail Simone: I think we have to be far more hesitant in our society than we appear to be in calling people misogynists and homophobes because we disagree with them.

There are unquestionably misogynists and homophobes in society, but there are also people, like myself, who have legitimate concerns about society moving in wrong directions. One of the worst directions to me is reducing someone's ideas to a discussion-ending pejorative label. I don't see dissenting viewpoints as something you have to "wade through" although I understand that liberals look at it that way. Reading contrary viewpoints accurately expressed just leads me to say, "Okay, I disagree with this. WHY do I disagree with this?" Which leads me to examine my own ideas.

I certainly appreciate the offerof the fashion mags. I'm still getting used to what it is that I'm doing on glamourpuss. I suddenly stopped buying fashion magazines and wondered why. It has to do with the tag line "the high fashion comic that's SO six months ago." Just by doing half of issue two in November means that the gap will actually be closer to ten months in that case. In order to keep it to six months as far as I can see, I have to go and buy the latest fashion magazines as shortly before I'm drawing the pages as I can.

That is, I think I'm going to be getting rid of my OWN fashion magazines as being outdated even though they have lots of pictures in them I want to do.

But I do appreciate the offer.

And, yes, by all means come up and say hello at Torontocon!

02-04-2008 02:51 PM: Gail Simone: Well, of course it would skew that way because we are inside the context of a society that takes that as a given: women have to go out and earn money, same as men.

My parents and I'm sure my grandparents didn't assume that they needed two incomes to make ends meet, but then they didn't see a lot of luxuries as necessities either as we tend to today.

Forty years ago, women staying home and being homemakers was the norm, now women going out and working is the norm. The percentages have virtually inverted. My point is that I think that is to the detriment of society in general whether you're looking at the increased incidents of divorce, illiterates being graduated from high school and so on. I'm not saying we can't as a society choose to go further this way, but I do think it's worth looking around and seeing what's being lost in the process.

Okay. Prayer time. I should be back around 3:40 or so.

02-04-2008 04:20 PM: Sorry I'm late getting back again...I finally got a hold of Keith Davidsen at Diamond and there were a few things that needed to be addressed immediately with the Comics Industry Preview Edition of glamourpuss No.1 now at Quebecor and being inserted into Diamond Dateline Feb 13. Sorry I did want to get at least one mention of glamourpuss in here every once in a while.

I think the problem I always see with these discussions is the complete resistance to discussing them in terms of percentages because I think most large societal issues are eventually going to come down to percentages.

The last I heard roughly 80% of the women in our society work outside the home at outside the home jobs...forty years ago only 20% of women worked -- most of them in a period between graduating from high school and getting married and then getting pregnant. Sixty years ago maybe 6% worked.

Since the run-up from 20% to 80% was largely unimpeded (in no small part, I would venture to say, because anyone who said anything negative about it was called a misogynist pig) am I safe in saying that the consenus is that we are headed for 100% and the sooner we get there, the happier and more successful a society we are going to have?

I take issue with that. I don't know what the natural percentages are -- how many women would be working and how many women would be full-time wives and mothers and homemakers if the options were presented as having equal value and equal merit and equal efforts were made to figure out how to make each workable for each choice -- but, personally, I don't think the natural percentage is 100% of the former and 0% of the latter.

02-04-2008 04:35 PM: Gene Phillips: I think Lookin For Heroes is open until six or so. I have another prayer time at sunset which is around 5:25, so I'm probably gone in about forty minutes.

I'll be glad to contribute to the discussion until then and, so far as I know, I will be circling back once I'm through the list of websites that Jeff and Rick have registered me at. I did toy with the idea of doing another day here, but I think this is part of the problem with our society that once you get onto Women's Issues that's it for any other discussion (except for side trips into homophobia).

Glamourpuss is a lot of hard work and it's something that I really want to do. Part of my Shared Risk, Shared Responsibility, Shared Rewards "pact" with the retailers is that I've agreed to do 100 hours of promotion of the title on the Internet. I don't think I can qualify any more than 15 minutes of my working day today as promoting glamourpuss.

If people are genuinely concerned that I'm a loathsome misogynist and homophobe, then I'd suggest that they either decide that they're not going to look at the advance copies of glamourpuss already in the stores or the copies that will be arriving at ALL stores mid-month and call it a day, or keep an open mind, flip through a copy and read as much of it as they want before making up their minds.

Anyway, back to the discussion

02-04-2008 04:41 PM: Reverend Smooth: Well, I'm not sure that taking a two-hour commute as a given -- a four-hour commute if you have two cars going two different directions -- isn't stacking the deck in your own favour. Check out what Marcus Lusk is saying: where is all the money actually going from that "can't do without" second income. I've never owned a car for the reason that it is an unnaturally expensive luxury relative to what it is. Two cars...to me, and I think the evidence would support it...moves you, proportionately into Rockefeller territory. Logistically, if you work closer to where you live and live closer to where you work you bring down the "necessities" from an astronomical plateau pretty quickly.

By the way, Marcus, thanks for jumping in here. Any chance of some more TALES FROM THE BOG in my future comic shop purchases. It was always one of Ger's favourite books, too.

02-04-2008 05:00 PM: stanleyleiber: I can appreciate the fact that a lot of people showed up here to talk about gender. Although Dave Sim and gender politics are considered to go together like ham 'n' eggs, I have very little interest personally in gender politics. I've pretty much said what I've had to say about it.

The point about percentages is really my best attempt at the collapsing of what I have to say to white dwarf size. We are definitely plowing forward to 100% of one and 0% of the other (which I don't think is a strawman argument -- just calling something a strawman argument is the same as name-calling unless you can indicate where its insupportable. I think it's a sensible extrapolation. Used to be 6% became 20% is now 80%...where do you THINK we're going?). I don't think it's a good idea and I don't think we're well served in not examining it.

But I also don't think we're really making any progress here as a discussion when there is complete resistance to seeing the direction we're self-evidently going based on documented percentages and calling such documented percentages a "strawman argument".

I think I'm safe in saying that if I hadn't said that I was not going to be discussing gender issues on TCJ and Comicon that it would very quickly have turned into what this has turned into.

I'll be glad to throw a comment in here and there when I come back, but I think the momentum and direction is pretty obvious...and doesn't qualify as the 100 hours of promotion I promised the retailers.

02-04-2008 05:14 PM: Stanleyleiber: 24 pages black and white and yes, the cover will be monochromatic, the colour picked specifically so that the line-work will show through.

Jeff: Thanks for the kind words on Secret Project One. Keith at Diamond was very enthusiastic, too, and I've actually got one of those hard to get, it doesn't get any better than this "Featured Items" for it.

No, I won't be doing any promotion for it, given the subject matter. Glamourpuss is being promoted...Secret Project One will just be released.

I did the interview with Jeff Seiler for CEREBUS READERS IN CRISIS #3 and he rightly pointed out that I only discussed the book in the first answer so we've done a follow-up series of questions.

As far as I know the end of February will be "it" as far as me discussing anything publicly. Judging by the huge order from Diamond last week and the fact that my massive phone campaign to the retailers -- in this age of miniscule phone rates -- cost all of $254, I think that's where I'll be putting my promotion time in from now on.

Hope to see some of you tomorrow at the ComicsVillage website to discuss comics and glamourpuss (not necessarily in that order).

Thanks again to Lookin For Heroes 93 Ontario Street S. across from the Grand River Transit Terminal in downtown Kitchener for giving me the computer time.

Prayer time.