Dave Sim responds to my letter from March of this year in his blog (#291 & #292). Before the “blog” (I use quotes as Dave doesn’t blog in the usual sense. He types up his entries in a word document, gives a disc to someone who then emails them to the guy that posts them on the blog. ) I’d get a letter from Dave from a couple days to a couple weeks after I sent the letter.
So this three month time delay is going to take some getting used to. That and having the entire world read my letter to Dave and read his response. Kinda like having Collected Letters with the letter writer’s original letter, posted. Which I don’t really mind, as I’ve got this blog and as you’ve seen, I’ve posted letters to Dave here before. Though I don’t remember posting any of his letters here. . .though prehaps I did, I just can’t remember them right now.
Though it really is just an odd time delay. . .
So my response to #291, which I posted to the Yahoo!Group as well:
Dave: Darrell also sends along a couple of Victor Davis Hanson columns including an interview with him from THE JERUSALEM POST. THE POST asks:But…let’s save that for the Sunday Edition (no, that wasn’t what THE JERUSALEM POST asked). We’ll get back to Victor Davis Hanson, but first let’s check in with Margaret Liss (only three months ago – 21 March). Margaret writes;
whooooaaaa. flashback. Dave already talked to me about this letter at SPACE. . . .
Dave: See what I mean about Margaret having a “blind spot” when it comes to Cerebus and Dave Sim?
“blind spot”, great admiration for, call it whatcha want. :)
Dave: I talked about it with her in Columbus and explained that there really is absolutely no value in the negatives. Even if you back them with a white sheet of paper, unless they are absolutely flush with the backing paper you aren’t going to be able to see anything. I’m with Matt Dow on this one: I could have “suckered” you and Jeff out of money for them but certainly in my own mind that would be what I was doing: “suckering” you and that’s something that I just don’t like to do. And I really think it would have just been you and Jeff. The biggest problem for ME is that there is labour involved on my part – all of the negatives are stripped up on huge two-foot by three-foot “flats” that expand dramatically when you roll them up (which is the only rational way to mail them – in mailing tubes: to send the negatives to a specific trade paperback to Lebonfon, the new printer, flat and protected, I have to get a special box constructed that costs somewhere on the order of fifty bucks at a box-making place way to hell and gone out in Waterloo). Or I have to take each of the negatives off the flats individually, put sheets of paper between them, find sheets of cardboard to brace them, put them in envelopes…
I’m already working 12 to 14 hours a day just to keep from falling too much further behind than I already am and at a specific point that requires making hard choices about where and into what I’m putting my time. No offence, but there was no way I was going to put in the hours making sure I had preserved and packaged upwards of 2400 negatives (in ADDITION to the 6,000 negatives that needed to be preserved) for you and Jeff.
I do tend to forget that it is just Dave up there in the AV offices and with all the other stuff he has to work on, packaging his “garbage” to send to Jeff or myself is very very very low on the list of priorities – that I can understand.
Dave: No, you weren’t too pushy, Margaret – you were just trying to communicate the sense of urgency you felt and that you managed to do — but for me it’s in roughly the same category as the time the guy picked up my cigarette butt off the sidewalk out front of Jim Hanley’s Universe on the ’92 Tour and asked me to sign it. Which I did. A lot of guys wouldn’t, but I could see the humour, so I did. If I’m not mistaken it’s even turned up on eBay from time to time. But that’s very different from me choosing to get little Mylar snugs made for all of my cigarette butts and making sure that I signed and dated and numbered them sequentially (to make sure I had a “complete set” categorized by package of 25) every time I stubbed one out and then getting Jeff Tundis to make up a special “cigarette butt” page at cerebusart.com and paying him for all his hard work in cigarette butts.
Umm. Cigarette butts he says. . .::rubs chin:: that could make a pretty penny on eBay. . .
I kid, I kid.
I just saw some retail value in the negatives to other diehard Cerebus fans out there, which could earn AV a bit of money. However, it would appear that the time and cost for the “shipping and handling” of said negatives would not make this a cost effective endeavour.
Dave: I’ve been slowly cleaning out Camp David out back of the house and there was a whole whack of what are presumably now Ultra Rare Dave Sim Viscount 1 cigarette butts (since the supply ends at March 17, 1999) back there but I wasn’t tempted for one minute to sit down and sign and number and grade them. Whoosh. Into the garbage. I would estimate that what Jeff has posted and is selling on my behalf (and thank you, Jeff) of the tracing paper drawings represents about 25% of the available supply. Up until I started saving them they were just considered garbage on studio clean-up day. So, okay, I persuaded myself to look at them as more than garbage and there is any number of successful bidders over the last few years who are glad that I did. But it really doesn’t require me having to let my mind’s eye go too far out of focus to know that BASICALLY what I am doing is getting Jeff Tundis to sell my garbage and paying him with my garbage to do so.
While I can kinda understand the mylar negatives being considered garbage, the tracing paper drawings are part of the creative process and as so hold value with regards to the history of the creation of Cerebus. Not dissimilar to the notebooks, though I would put those a couple of “chessboards” above the tracing paper drawings, they both fit in the same category of “materials used in the creation process of Cerebus.”
And my response to Blog & Mail #292 (also posted to the group):
Dave: Actually, not really changing the subject, just answering Margaret’s horror at my throwing out the Bi-Weekly negs with some more information:Dave: I still have at least nine massive cardboard folders that need to be gone through that probably contain another two or three hundred negatives – none of which are actually needed in order to keep the trade paperbacks in print or to produce the CEREBUS covers volume at some distant future date, so there is no question that I will be able to send you (and Jeff, if he’s interested) SOME Cerebus negatives and I promise to do so – rolled up in a mailing tube. But I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that they’ll stay in the mailing tube and every time you run across it, you’ll pick it up, weigh it carefully in your hand, carefully pull out one of the negatives (and end up getting three or four of them instead), look at them for a few seconds, then spend a half hour getting them back into the mailing tube and sit there and wonder, “WHY did I want these again?”
Well, my original idea was to sell them on eBay to earn AV a (probably very) small sum of money. But as I said in my response to Blog & Mail #291, it will probably not be very cost effective to do so. Though my own curiosity will be sated as I’d love to know what the mylar negatives look like (working with mylar phototools to shoot a negative image on photolithographic film at work, I have a rough idea of what they look like. . .but the engineer in me is curious to the whole production of comics, and printing process.).
Dave: And ULTIMATELY – somewhere up ahead in the distant future – I assume the negatives will get digitized. I can’t really justify the expense right now (it’s about two or three grand to get Lebonfon to digitize one of the trades) but I assume the expense will come down as it always does with computers and somewhere up ahead I will be able to get the trades digitized at Kinko’s for 2 cents a page (and get a nifty Kinko’s coffee mug and fanny pack because of the volume of business) and at that point there will be roughly nine hundred two foot by three foot flats that I will no longer need and you will be more than welcome to rent a flat-bed trailer U-Haul and come up here and take them all back to Massachusetts with you. Of course you’ll have to rent another apartment just to store and display a fraction of them but (as we all know) if anyone’s going to do it CerebusFangirl is going to do it (you really should design a costume).
Well, I do have the shiny new white motorcycle with matching white helmet and white jacket. . .nah.
Me: “Also — while I’ve got a moment of your time – I am enjoying the Blog & Mail. Well, except when Jeff was just posting your daily prayer. I understand that you were sick and wanted some time off from it all…but I rather enjoy reading your essays on Islam or your Biblical insights that you usually posted on Sundays. So, seeing that you’re feeling better is good on two fronts: 1. you’re feeling better and 2. no more repeating of the prayer. Nothing against the prayer – I would say the same if you just repeated the same blog entry again and again. I’d rather have new material to read.”
Dave: Yeah, that was just one of my little quirks. I figured from the beginning that the Blog & Mail should be a daily thing but that raised the question of Sabbath content. I didn’t want to have people even getting the illusion that Dave Sim spent the Sabbath blathering about Spider-man’s new costume even though I would have written the material on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. When I got sick, I was able to get Claude Flowers to cover for me with excerpts from COLLECTED LETTERS 2 which he was already working on. That seemed to be more than enough of an imposition on a guy who was scrambling to get a job without croaking at him over the phone “And can you make sure that all of the excerpts for Sunday are faith-based?” So, I decided to share the imposition by getting Jeff to type up my prayer and, of course, when I started getting better a couple of weeks later Jeff rather broadly suggested that for all the time that he had put in typing the prayer (and it’s certainly much, much, much longer in cold type than it is in the ten minutes it takes me to recite it) he hoped that I might get more than two “insertions” out of it. I so seldom get a combination “excuse to slack off” and ” mandate to Do the Right Thing” that I (in my still wobbly state) metaphorically jumped at it. It shan’t happen again, Maggs, unless Dame Indisposition pays another visit.
Well, I for one would be interesting in reading your commentaries on the Gospels, which would constitute Sabbath content. Perhaps just some excerpts from them, to wet our appetite should you ever decide to publish them in the future. But hopefully Dame Indisposition doesn’t pay you another visit – as on one hand I’d like to read the commentaries, but not at the cost of your health.
Side note to self: Understand that the Blog & Mail is not something that Dave is required to do, there is no contract, no obligation on his part. So you should just be dang thankful for what you get. :D
Dave: Synchronistically, as I am writing this section, the clock is ticking down on June 6 with me leaving for Toronto tomorrow and the fact is that Jeff will be out of Blog & Mails come Monday and I’m unable to find Sandeep Atwal — who downloads the Blog & Mail entries onto disk and then e-mails them to Jeff — so I have an emergency call into Claude to e-mail Jeff excerpts from COLLECTED LETTERS 3 and have also faxed Craig Miller about e-mailing Jeff excerpts from FOLLOWING CEREBUS 10 which, in either case, is still going to leave me with the same problem of the Sunday Edition and I will (sorry, Margaret) probably just get Jeff to re-run my prayer. Who knows? Maybe Sandeep will turn up in the next seven hours and save the day. And spare you another exposure to my prayer.
::whispers:: Gospel commentary excerpts instead? But wait. . .Toronto comicon has come and gone so I won’t be getting any commentaries . . .another odd time “bump”. . .
Dave: I hesitate to even pretend to be the definitive Answer Person on these things (as you will remember, Jeff Tundis asked me a while ago to send him a list for Nate of what printings each of the trade paperbacks is on. Under the natural assumption that the books here at the house would all be the most current printings – supplied by Recker from their inventory – I went through and carefully documented the information and read it to him over the phone. He faxed me a week or so later with at least five examples where my answers were demonstrably wrong.). However, with that caveat, according to my latest inventory list (month ending April 07) from Recker there are second printings of issues 151 and 152 (both in stock), 153 (sold out), 163 (in stock), 164 (sold out – except for the last few copies autographed by Gerhard that I still sign for the occasional letter-writer inquiring three years later about the Neil Gaiman free Sandman parody issue offer and the carton full in the basement which I optimistically had Recker send when it looked as if the free comic book offer was going to hit the 3,000 mark instead of tapering off to nothing at around 2,000) and 165 (in stock).
It amazes me that all of the 2nd printings were for the Mother & Daughters issues. Thanks for the info.
So I know chances are very unlikely that Dave will ever see this if I just post it to the group, so I’ll print out my blog entry to mail to him. . .