100 Hour Tour: The Comic Bulletin Pt 1
What follows are the posts from Dave Sim made to The Comic Bulletin's message board as part of his "100 Hour Internet Tour".
02-12-2008, 11:42 AM
Hi, Mike and thank you for the welcome to Comics Bulletin (formerly Silver Bullet Comics). What department are you working in at City Hall? I was just there doing my morning constitutional -- ten flights of stairs starting next to the wedding chapel and ending on the cafeteria level. Then back down for decaf and cookies in William's Coffee Pub.
Is there anything that better epitomizes the Internet revolution in the comic-book field than a guy three blocks away welcoming me to a message board headquartered across the ocean? Hello to all long-time readers on the other side of the Big Pond. Looking forward to seeing all of you at the big Bristol show in '09!
Okay, I have a post-it note here reminding me to "stay on-message" -- particularly on these high traffic, high prestige sites: So, I'm not sure what the situation is in the UK but most comic stores in Canada and the US should be getting their COMIC INDUSTRY PREVIEW EDITION of glamourpuss No.1 in the next day or so as part of their Diamond Dateline package for Feb 13. If you have any hesitancy about signing up for a subscription to glamourpuss -- and with all the creative curve balls I've thrown in the last thirty years, who can blame you? -- here's your chance to flip through and/or read all or as much of issue No.1 as you care to before making your decision. It'll take about twenty minutes. As the saying goes: I can't give you back the 20 minutes, but I might be able to save you three bucks.
In addition there are 100 stores in Canada and 200 in the US and about a dozen in the UK that have autographed copies of the Preview Edition for you to look at right now. Many of them are also holding a drawing for the autographed copy with the names of all the new subscribers put into a hat. So far, none of these copies have showed up on eBay (which everyone told me was an impossible dream a month ago), so thanks to all the retailers for really giving this advance promotion that unbelievable and truly gratifying level of support.
And thanks for mentioning LFR, Lookin For Heroes, here in Kitchener at 93 Ontario St. S. right across from the Grand River Transit Authority Terminal. In business since 1989, it is now your comics. gaming and card headquarters in beautiful downtown Kitchener.
Duane says hi. Actually, he's vacuuming and watching a South Park DVD but if he wasn't, I'm sure he'd say hi.
Okay, I think I might be doing that "hiding in plain sight" thing again -- at least until people realize that I'm here under "Welcome Dave Sim" instead of "glamourpuss Dave Sim" so, in the interests of staying "on message" again:
A lot of the basis for this promotion campaign is summed up as cooperation between creators and retailers: Shared Risk, Shared Responsibility, Shared Rewards. Simply put, if we had the work ethic on the creator side of comics that we see -- daily -- on the retail side, this would be a much healthier business.
It took me five weeks to write and draw glamourpuss No.1. That's the reason that I announced it as a bi-monthly. Although common in the field, the idea of saying "Well, I'll get faster as I go along, so I'll announce it as a monthly"...I really don't think that's responsible behaviour. If I can get three issues out on a bi-monthly basis, comfortably and if I'm able to build up some lead time, at that point I can CONSIDER making glamourpuss a monthly. But if it consistently takes me five weeks -- or even four weeks -- to produce an issue, that means there is no margin for error built in and I'm really just asking to be off-schedule inside of six months.
It isn't a matter of having two issues "in the can" or three issues "in the can". If it takes you ten weeks to draw an issue and you announce it as a bi-monthly, you will be off-schedule -- SERIOUSLY off schedule -- within four issues. To me, that isn't Shared Responsibility: the retailers show up for work EVERY morning. If they don't they're out of business sooner rather than later. If you want to know the Big Secret to comics success, there it is. 90% of it is simply showing up for work every morning and doing your job.
Ger and I always treated CEREBUS as a job and as a result the book came out on schedule from 1990 to 2004, every month, and concluded on the exact date I had announced in 1979: March, 2004.
In comics, with retailers and their customers, you ARE your track record.
Okay. End of lecture. Sorry about that.
1) Yes, you can definitely ink me in for Bristol '09. Stephen Holland at Page 45 said you were more than generous with the arrangements you were willing to make and Stephen's word is always good enough for me.
2) Absolutely no idea how the orders are going to pan out on glamourpuss No.1. It's now down to the last fifteen days of the 90-day glamourpuss promotion campaign and all I can say for certain is that Ralph DiBernardo is still signed up for 250 copies...
(he's the retailer who bought 150 copies of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES No.1 from a "couple of scruffy looking kids" who came up to his booth at a local flea market in New Hampshire and "talked me into it". He always remembers the number of copies he ordered because he VIVIDLY recalls handing over a cheque for NINETY DOLLARS and thinking, "Man, I sure hope I make at least SOME of that back". He went on to buy another 350 over the next year and was instrumental in making the book into a cult hit in New Hampshire before it started catching fire in the Direct Market. He recalls -- somewhat ruefully, as you can understand -- cutting up mint copies of No.1 to make flyers advertising the book. The way he looked at it it was cheaper to cut up the books than to get good photocopies made of different panels and cut those up!)
...and long-time CEREBUS reader Robert Rowe is up for 100 copies -- which he's prepaid for. I'll find out what the orders look like mid-March when I get my TRU Report from Diamond by fax.
The clock is ticking and February 27 at 7 pm when Lookin For Heroes closes for the night, the glamourpuss promotion campaign comes to an end and I fly out to Columbus Ohio for S.P.A.C.E. 08 (March 1 and 2) and the official announcement and exhibit of Secret Project One.
At that point, the fate of glamourpuss is completely in the hands of the retailers.
3) No, I wouldn't be looking for the CEREBUS MISCELLANY anytime soon. There are too many loose ends. Should it include the complete Turtles/Cerebus crossover? Should it include the Spawn/Cerebus crossover? Would Pete Laird and Todd McFarlane be willing to give permission for that? Or Mark Bode with MIAMI MICE? Do I reprint the entire story for the sake of the one or two Cerebus panels?
There isn't even a consensus among the CEREBUS Yahoos -- some want a narrative book to fill in the holes in the Cerebus trades and some want a COMPLETE CEREBUS -- convention program booklet drawings, the Now & Then Books matchbook cover, etc.
Feel free to join the debate at the CEREBUS Yahoo discussion group: there's a link at www.cerebusart.com.
4) Erik Larsen was nice enough to show up for a few minutes on the Comicon appearance and I mentioned it to him at that point. But, same deal, what SHOULD be included in the book. If the answer is EVERYTHING in colour then you're talking about a very thick book.
Or is the preference for a complete covers book, or just a slim Young Cerebus from EPIC volume?
Questions, questions, questions.
Very nice of a high profile creator like Brian K. Vaughn to say that publicly, I must say. The more hard information aspiring creators have, the better off we're all going to be.
I'd have to say at this point that if I don't hear from Erik Larsen in the next while about any specific plans, I'd have to say that IDW would be my strong second choice. They have a great line of books and Ted Adams has been great about sending me comps through the Blog & Mail Year.
But I wouldn't consider moving the "in principle" agreement from Image (and Bob Chapman at Graphitti Designs) to IDW until we have a specific project proposed. Which is why I would recommend any interested individuals get involved in the debate over at the Yahoo Cerebus Newsgroup. It might just be a matter of the Yahoos putting together a "rough cut" of everything and then letting Erik and Bob offer an opinion on what they think "their" volume would look like and then seeing what the Yahoos think of that. There might be enough there for an Image volume, a Graphitti volume and an IDW volume. The Yahoos are the Primary CEREBUS Audience so I wouldn't make a move without their approval at this point.
1) No, not at all.
Given that this is the first time that anyone has done 100 hours on the Internet to promote a new title (as far as I know), I consider it both a privilege and a serious responsibility as with just about everything else I've done associated with self-publishing and the Shared Risk, Shared Responsiblity, Shared Rewards pact I've always had with the retailers. If it works -- if it generates sales that everyone is going to agree wouldn't have been there if I hadn't done three months of promotion -- then it becomes a template for the future and gives "one book" creators a distinct advantage over mainstream companies who have to divide their promotional resource pie into really tiny individual slices. Since Marvel and DC have so many advantages we don't have, I think it points towards a more level playing field -- as long as the "one book" creator delivers on his or her promises.
That's too important to even take a chance of messing it up, as far as I'm concerned.
2) There are times that I think it would have made a lot of sense to put CEREBUS on hiatus back in '92 and do a six-issue mini series through Image at the time when anything they put out was selling a million copies.
Today, the revenue from six million comic books would certainly be buying me a much higher grade of tuna fish.
Of course I would never actually have done it. It would have sent out the wrong message to potential self-publishers: go to Image instead. It would've undermined everything I was working for at the time with the '92 Tour and the Spirits Stops.
Hi, Matt! The best "five-second pitch" to sell glamourpuss, I think is, "Here: take a look at this autographed Preview Edition of glamourpuss that Dave Sim sent me." (er -- you DID get yours, didn't you?).
Or in the case of the retailers who didn't get an autographed one, "Here take a look at this COMICS INDUSTRY PREVIEW EDITION of glamourpuss No.1 that came in with Diamond Dateline [today/Feb. 13/Feb.14 -- should be sometime this week]."
Mainstream media? "Anna Wintour's VOGUE meets MAD Magazine: Hilarity Ensues" along with one of the glamour shots in the first issue or from the website, www/glamourpusscomic.com. That would be my guess, but it's just a guess.
Tell Travis (good man you've got there, Matt!) Dave Sim says "Hi" and sends his best wishes to everyone at the Silver Bullet and the Ricochet Cafe!
Okay. Prayer time. I have to do some banking and a few errands but I should be back by around 6 pm GMT or 1 pm EDST. See you then!
Okay. I'm back. Took a little longer than I expected because there was a fax from Stephen Holland at Page 45 in Nottingham. He informs me that he's seen a preview of the cover to COMICS INTERNATIONAL #206 "with the return of Dave Sim one of the headlines, and an image from Glamourpuss dropped n towards the bottom, promising a preview (looks like my scans worked)".
There's also going to be some coverage in #207. This is HUGE as far as I'm concerned so I'm "reet chuffed" as you say over there (or used to say, in any event).
Really good news coming up on the halfway point in the 100 hour Internet end of the glamourpuss campaign.
Thanks to Stephen and CI editor Mike Conroy for all the great interview questions. Stephen should have them even as I'm typing this (if he can decipher my handwriting).
Bryan Hitch was definitely one of the guys that Andy at Carry-On Books out in Waterloo (Kitchener's Twin City) had picked out for me to look at when I asked him to put together a package of his best selling titles and the titles he likes the best (Andy is a fellow photorealist enthusiast -- a large number of his back issues on display are DC comics from the 60s and 70s with Neal Adams covers).
He's really, really, REALLY good -- and make no mistake about it it's a lot more difficult to do narrative art in the photorealist style than it is to do the oversized pin-ups that I'm doing on glamourpuss. Definitely one of those names that automatically files itself away in my brain so that anytime from now on when I see "Bryan Hitch" in the cover credits -- ERT -- time to stop and take a look.
Thanks for dropping by!
That IS encouraging, given that so much of this campaign is me "firing blind" and hoping for the best.
The evidence is anecdotal right now: the absence of the autographed copies from eBay and the "buzz" on the Internet, but it looks like the retailers are coming through BIG TIME in the Shared Risk, Shared Responsibility, Shared Rewards program.
Everything depends on what happens in each individual store in the next two weeks or so but, considering there are still only 300 stores or so that even HAVE the COMICS INDUSTRY PREVIEW EDITION of No.1, I'd have to say we're off to a good start with fifteen days left on the clock. Of course I'm not taking ANYTHING for granted. I have another 50 hours to put in on the message boards here until I can say that I lived up to my half of the bargain.
No, I hadn't. I saw the headline when I was logging in here this morning, but basically dismissed it as "metaphorical" -- someone complaining about Steve's writing.
He was a wonderful guy. The last time I saw him was the night of the legendary Aardvarks Over San Diego party at the Holiday Inn Embarcadero (sp?) when Ger and I had a two bedroom suite on the top floor, handed out 30 invitations and had most of the comic-book field show up at one point or another. We actually had security from ANOTHER hotel a few blocks away show up way late. The silhouette of all those people on the three balconies and in the living room and two bedrooms -- he just HAD to see what was going on.
As it turned out, it was also the night of the HOWARD THE DUCK movie premiere and Steve and Deni (who was his date that night) showed up after it was over. He wasn't exactly bubbling over with enthusiasm about the film. but Steve was always in the "anhedonia nebbish" Woody Allen mold (about which he always had a great sense of humour). He was wearing the movie t-shirt and I said, "Hey, can you get me one of those." He said, "Are you kidding? I had to buy MINE."
Sobering to consider. Read those contracts carefully, kids.
Of course CEREBUS never would have existed without Howard the Duck. Steve got there first and lucked onto something that was a million dollar concept: the funny animal inthe world of humans: something that comics could do and make look natural in a way that television and movies couldn't even approach. Like super-heroes. "You will believe a man can fly" but only if you squint and check a few brain cells at the door. Curt Swan or Wayne Boring or Neal Adams or Joe Shuster DRAWING it? THERE you'll believe a man can fly.
I was pleased to call in some favours from BWS, Jeff Jones and others for the F.O.O.G. Friends of Old Gerber portfolio to raise money for his lawsuit attempting to recover the rights to Howard. He eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed sum and we were all pretty content if Steve was content. I even did a frontispiece for HOWARD THE DUCK magazine (issue 8? -- the one with the Batman parody by Marshall Rogers) taking it as a given that Steve would be okay with that. Around the same time, I was offered the scripting duties.
The scripting duties on HOWARD THE DUCK? I sure could have used the money at the time, but -- apart from the conflict I saw in trying to write CEREBUS and HOWARD at the same time -- the bottom line was that Howard was Steve Gerber's character. The fact that Howard went from "breakout pop culture phenom" ("Get Down, America -- Vote Howard the Duck in '76") to grounded waterfowl in all subsequent incarnations keeps the record straight on that score.
No Gerber, No Howard.
It's worth noting that Spider-man, Howard and Conan were the only Marvel properties deemed culturally popular enough to be made into newspaper strips.
As Hemingway once said about getting to the age where your contemporaries begin to pass, one at a time, "There are people dying who never died before."
Comics is the poorer for the loss of Steve Gerber and I know that the entire worldwide Comic Book Nation, with one voice and one heart extends our greatest sympathies to Steve's family and friends.
Or by sending an email to:-
Your Cerebus Yahoo operators are standing by!
India?! I forgot. You're in India.
Craig, it was late in India five hours ago when I came on.
I'm having a LOT of fun with glamourpuss. The three-month promotion campaign is a LOT of non-stop work but on the occasions when I've been able to stop and do a glamourpuss drawing (the NYCC shot and the "glamourpuss at the Victory Cafe" shot under GLAMOURPUSS EVENTS at www.glamourpusscomic.com) thinking, "is this REALLY worth all this hassle?" as soon as I'm working on one of the pictures, I go, "Oh, yeah, this is worth all the hassle. This is worth crawling through broken glass and iodine on my knees, this is."
Sorry, this part got totally bunged up owing to my complete lack of Internet expertise. D'OH!
What I wrote (somewhere now vanished) is that I think I would give Bob Chapman and Erik Larsen first pick of what they want to do -- since they were the two earliest to express interest -- and then see what's left over. One volume? Two volumes?
One step at a time with these things.
Hi, Glenn: much appreciated, indeed! One of the reasons that I bunged up the CEREBUS MISCELLANY answer is that I kept cruising by to look at the cover to CI 206 -- WOW! glamourpuss right up there with Alan Davis and the super-heroes, Captain Action and everybody.
I'm impressed, for one -- and I've still got fifteen days to go!
Well, hey, more good news! You want to mention the name of the store and the street it's on? I think it's a good habit to get into. If we don't treat OUR stores like shared property -- pumping them up when we can, speaking from experience, you can suddenly find them gone. R.I.P. Memory Lane R.I.P. Now & Then Books.
I actually made it over to the Steve Gerber obituary and back again...first side trip I've made in the two weeks I've been doing this. Steve's definitely worth it.
Okay...I've got another prayer time and John tells me it's started snowing again: we're expecting another 20 cm overnight. I'm running out of places to put the stuff!
Canadians always use centimetres when discussing snowfall because 20 cm sounds a lot more impressive than 8 inches. Same as using celsius for temp. 0 degrees C sounds a lot more hardy and outdoorsy than wimpy 32 degrees C. We fool a lot of Yanks with that.
Oh, by all means. I'm flattered that you're interested in using it. I wish I had a scanner so I could scan the two photos we took of me with Steve and Deni with Steve at the all-suites apartment we stayed in in Los Angeles in '82 on the First American Tour. The shot of me and Steve is in front of the push-button fireplace ("Flame on!") in the living room. "Please don't put anything flammable in the fireplace" read the little sign. Only in L.A., eh?
I'll trade you 9.4 degrees right now.
Nova Scotia has got more than their share of lousy weather, but it's definitely a pretty spot in the summer. And you get GAME ZILLA if you pick Truro, STRANGE ADVENTURES if you pick Halifax, COLLECTIBLE COMIC GUILD in Cape Breton.
That's a very good question about the stores that I suspect is going to quickly become a moot point with the arrival of the glamourpuss No.1 COMICS INDUSTRY PREVIEW EDITION in Diamond Dateline for Feb 13. There's a good chance that by Thursday there won't be a store in North America that doesn't have a copy.
I think looking for glamourpuss advocates is maybe a little ambitious. I'll settle for glamourpuss subscribers right now (and for the forseeable future). Unless of course you have serious acting chops and you want to read the first issue laughing out loud on a busy Saturday going, "This is SOOOO FUNNY!!"
Not so that they call the men in white but, you know, maybe enough to get someone else to read it.
"YOU are the new number two."
"WHO is number one?"
"THAT would be telling."
Yes: in order: Secret Project One will be announced Friday February 29 -- the website address will be inthe glamourpuss bulletins section at the Cerebus Yahoo Newsgroup -- and all the artwork will be on display at S.P.A.C.E. March 1 and 2. That'll be it as far as promotion goes.
I'd say about a dozen people have read it at this point. Of those I have blurbs for the website from Neil Gaiman, Joe Kubert, Peter Straub and Marv Wolfman.
Rory Root of Berkeley California's legendary COMIC RELIEF store asked me about Secret Project One, so I told him about it, basically because he's Rory Root. Then he wanted to ask a lot of questions and I pointed out that was part of my concern: I want to keep all the attention squarely on glamourpuss through to the end of February when the retailers have to have their orders in.
He understood right away and we went back to discussing glamourpuss.
is there are a www.comicscity.com or a www.comicssuburbs.com or www.comicsboroughs.com?
Just went over and checked the news bulletin about Cold Cut Distribution's new management. Thanks to Mark Thompson for all the heavy lifting over the years on behalf of so many indy creators and publishers.
And good luck to the new owners!
You might want to check www.comicshamlet.com while you're at it. Could be quite versatile with threads devoted to Neil and Charlie's MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM issue of SANDMAN.
What about a nice big photo of Hillary Clinton saying
IT TAKES A COMICS VILLAGE!
So, Darren Schroeder, what attracted you to or merry little band here? (he queried, grasping at straws with an hour to go in the festivities)
Whoops. That scared him off. I guess that's "bad form" addressing a member directly.
I can see that. Imagine being Darren Schroeder, cruising through the Dave Sim thread and suddenly reading "So, Darren Schroeder, what attracted you to our merry little band here?"
It'd be enough to give you palpitations. You can see why they don't want me associating with normal people if it can be avoided.
I'd take foggy and rainy at this point, too.
I've definitely considered it. I don't think that I could literally do an entire movie like THE MALTESE FALCON just because of the copyright issues alone (not to mention it would be more than a little redundant) but I have been rolling the idea around in my head of tracing a fumetti and then putting different dialogue in there. Draw a scene from the MALTESE FALCON but use dialogue from WAITING FOR GODOT, say. Just letter it in and see what results. If you violate two copyrights at the same time, does that keep you on the right side of the law?
I owe you a Cerebus and Mary Astor. When I get that done I'll be able to tell you what fun a whole whack of Mary Astors would be.
Had a chance to look at the Gospel According to Mark commentaries yet, Claude?
One Christmas I think three different relatives gave me drawing materials -- a sketchpad and oil pastels were in there, as I recall. In retrospect I probably had done some drawing during the year and word got around.
I quickly learned that it is very difficult for a novice to do a good picture of Batman with oil pastels, so I switched to sketchpads and pencils and markers and then bristol board and markers.
It was a professional artist here in town, Bob Seguin, who sat me down at some point and said, "You know if you want to do this professionally you're going to have to learn to use dip pens and brushes and india ink." I owe him a lot just for saying that, cutting tothe chase as it were when I was asking him to critique my work. "Don't use markers." Good start.
The biggest difference with glamourpuss is just doing Big Pictures because it becomes progressively more difficult to do a good photorealism figure the smaller the figure is. So I've adapted my whole approach to keeping the pictures big. There's an extreme close-up that takes up a whole page in issue two that is really one of the best pictures I've done so far. It looks good and it pretty much inked itself. Of course I'm going to have to force myself to do tiny perfect figures with a minimum of ink lines if I really do want to be Al Williamson when I grow up.
That's a good point.
Since I usually comment for a good four or five paragraphs (at least) for each single line verse you might even be able to just divide the page with the majority of the page for the commentaries and a strip on the outside edge of the page for the original word-for-word translation of the Koin Greek.
I've been thinking of putting an introduction in as well that says If you take issue with any of the translations, I'd certainly welcome your feedback.
I already have a preface that consists of a back-and-forth with Chester Brown that came down to the fact that his Concordance was referencing the King James translators' choice of word rather than the widely accepted meaning of the word in Koin Greek. Excuse me, but I call that cheating.
Well, thank you. Yes, he certainly was. Of course since I read the news, I've been thinking about him all day. I think it's significant that even though I had only met him once or twice, he was right up at the top of the list of people to call in L.A. when Deni and I were there in 1982. If you think about it, he had very good reasons to resent someone who owned his own version of Howard the Duck but I never got any sense of that from him.
Unconsciously, I was probably channeling his "Dreaded Deadline Doom" issue of HTD when I put the text pieces into JAKA'S STORY. If he wasn't the first to do text and single illustrations AS comics, he was the first person I was aware of who did it. I loved that issue because it had Tom Palmer artwork in black and white. Good stuff.
Sorry, I'm still getting used to this message boards thing. I get hypnotized by the number of members and guests listed at the bottom of the screen.
No, I didn't have the pleasure, I must confess. My own very strong impression is that it's a single narrative, starting at Genesis and concluding with Sura 114 in the Koran. The biggest question for me is: what is being said here? As soon as I determined that God and YHWH God were two different beings, the whole thing started falling into place.
Which definitely puts me at complete odds with every Jew, Christian and Muslim -- and which I can't do anything about it. Once a thing is seen, it can't be UNseen.
Of course I'm always interested in what other people see in scripture. When I was staying with Billy Beach and his family in Italy, we spent an evening reading favourite Biblical passages out loud to each other and, after, explaining what we see in it and why it's a favourite. Mine was Numbers 22-24.
That's a "one step at a time" kind of thing. Ironically enough because comic book stores are almost universally secular -- and given the Chester Brown illustrations I'll be including -- I think I have a much better chance of getting the commentaries into comic book stores than into religious stores. I may be wrong about that, but I think the average devout Christian reading my Mark commentaries is going to have the same reaction that feminists had to "Tangent" -- they're just going to blank out and withdraw: even (and perhaps most especially) the ones who don't see themselves as being "like that". There's open-minded and there's open-minded when it comes to deeply held and cherished beliefs.
Yes, very good. I'd forgotten that. Woman Thing. Basically teasing Marvel for doing Spiderwoman (obviously under strict Legal Dept./Executive Level orders) to keep anyone else from snatching the trademark on a female Spider-man.
"You mean: if I do WOMAN Thing, that means that I own it? COOLNESS!"
Ah, the joy to be had in pulling the lion's whiskers (carefully).
The same kernel is in there, I think. Same as with the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel where Michelangelo has a panel of God with bared buttocks making the plants grow. He saw the same thing, I'm pretty sure. "YHWH God is the one with the plants -- the tender grass -- and the one that lets Moses see his back parts on Mt. Sinai. God is a different being".
Terrible risk he was taking doing that under the Pope's nose with the Inquisition in full swing which just shows that his first loyalty was to the Truth.
Okay -- sunset prayer time. Hope to see some of you tomorrow at IMWAN http://imwan.com/phpBB3
"The Drawing Board" section.
Thanks Comic Bulletin! See you soon.