Dave's Cerebus Archive: Report to the Cerebus Newsgroup III

February 2005

In between getting our work done, Gerhard has been providing me with an on-going distillation of the Cerebus Archive/Cerebus Legacy discussion that I initiated. This has raised some interesting questions, first of all in the structural sense—that is, how is the discussion going to proceed and how am I going to take part in it? It seems to me that the best course of action is for the Newsgroup as a whole to continue the discussion(s) internally and for me to respond where I see myself as being able to make a helpful contribution. Personally I have no problem with the discussion taking place both here and at Margaret’s website. In fact I think that might be helpful in that each group would have to distil the conclusions it has come to and present them to the other group. There’s nothing like having to explain something to someone else to sharpen and clarify your own arguments for yourself and to throw flaws in your reasoning into sharp relief.

One of the suggestions was that I might be averse to the technologists in the crowd and euphemistically telling them to shut up. Nothing could be further from the truth. The context is technological so it would not only be foolish but impossible to ignore technology and self-destructive to even attempt to do so, in my view. The problem is one of comprehension. I just don’t know what is being referred to, so I can’t sensibly pass judgement on it but I suspect that—because you can’t completely separate Policy from Technology on the Internet—much of the discussion that needs to take place involves those areas where the two overlap: This is What We Intend to Do intersects with This How We Intend to Do It and, from there, branches off into areas where those intentions run afoul of This is What is Possible and the hypothetical This is What Will Be Possible (subdividing into This is What We Hope Will Be Possible Soon, This is What We Hope Will Be Possible Someday, This is What Will Be Possible by mid-2005, mid-2007 and so on). As with the Cerebus Archive itself, the overall goal is preservation and—in a way comparable to being stranded on the proverbial desert island, the first priority isn’t how to make a coffee table, the first priority is shelter which was why my first priority was to get the Cerebus Archive testimonial letters. Everything hinges on the unknown parameters of my own life expectancy. If I’m going to get hit by a bus in June of 2004, I have until June of 2004 to create a perception that a Cerebus Archive is worth preserving. The thirty or so responses I had by then, given to my lawyer for distribution to the local media in the event of my death—albeit a Hail Mary pass—in my view constituted the best possible hope for preservation. A Hail Mary pass is always preferable to just standing there watching the opposing lineman pounding towards you. I didn’t die in June of 2004, so that meant I had more time to develop the lifeline from a Hail Mary pass to something more substantial. Although I don’t know what is being discussed, I think the same thing needs to be dealt with on the technological side—technologically maximizing the odds of immediate preservation, followed by short-term preservation (say the next year or two) and then a general acceptance—with One Large Caveat—that changing/mutating technologies could take everything in another direction. The One Large Caveat is that I am a big advocate of having a long-term game plan based on current realities rather than always having only short-term plans because everything is going to change in five years: change so dramatically that the world itself will be unrecognizable. After all, if I had listened to everyone back in 1979 I wouldn’t have done Cerebus because it was commonly accepted by techno types and cutting edge thinkers that print media would have long ceased to exist by the year 2000. In my experience it is always more sensible to assume that everything is going to stay roughly the way that it is now—and modify your game plan after change has already taken place—rather than having no game plan because you assume everything is going to change so a game plan is pointless. I didn’t have to change the game plan for Cerebus. Structurally it was the same in 2004 as it was in 1979 whereas those enterprises that started with the assumption that everything was moving onto computers and it was time to ditch print media are all pretty much yesterday’s potatoes.

So that would be my best advice in the technological debate. Assume that everything is going to stay structurally the same while taking it as a given that certain technological advances are on the way, but only modify your planning when the actual advances get here rather than choosing not to develop a plan while waiting for the advances to get here. Every model for The Computer Takeover of Reality from Scott McCloud on out is way, way, way behind schedule, falling short of expectations, not living up to initial promise, etc. etc. I think it’s worth betting that the Internet as now constituted is how it’s going to be in ten or even twenty years’ time and plan accordingly. The Internet is never, in my opinion, going to change the very nature of human reality, it’s just a repository for a lot of stuff, a library in a box of coloured lights. A library isn’t a genetic-level transformational state of mind, it’s a library and a library is roughly the same today as it was two hundred years ago. I assume the Internet will be the same.

Edging sideways from Cerebus Tech to Cerebus Policy…

I would agree that the rereads are the on-topic gravitational center (which, it seems to me, first focused the Newgroup) and that gravitational center proved strong enough and unique enough that the Newsgroup was the only sensible place to hold the post-300 virtual reality “news conference” which led to the monthly questions and answers which led to this debate.

Someone made the point (I’m paraphrasing) that you could fruitfully divide Cerebus Policy into Cerebus Policy Carved in Stone (i.e. no colour on the storyline) and Cerebus Policy in Development. I think it’s likely that elements of the former and the latter will inevitably shift, starting with an absolutist position that seems Carved in Stone which then gets punched full of holes in further discussions (Cerebus Swiss Cheese Policy) and moves back to Cerebus Policy in Development for retooling. And I would agree that that’s purely a classification thing. We want to arrive at an agreement and if we do, the agreement goes in the Carved in Stone box.

I don’t think it’s necessary to “go” anywhere—for the group itself to relocate—and I was a little perplexed by the suggestion. I don’t want to affect the purpose of the Newsgroup as a place for interested Cerebus people to hang out and schmooze. That was here long before I was here. I would like, if possible, to see this discussion incorporated into the Newsgroup as constituted as the monthly question and answer thing as has been suggested by Lenny and as already seems to be taking place.

Edging from Cerebus Policy to Cerebus Legacy…

It seems to me that the Internet has a lot of potential as an environment where natural groupings occur, as this one has centered on Cerebus. I don’t really have a long-term goal in mind for this discussion. My long-term goal is to preserve Cerebus and this seems to be a place that can help with that now and in the future. How it does so and If it does so would seem to me to hinge on the directions the discussions go. Not knowing What It Is, I can maybe start by saying what I Hope It Isn’t. I would really like to avoid something governmental and hierarchical (famous last words). The group of participants seems small enough and interested enough that it seems to me to make sense to see how far you can move an Internet mailing list along as part of the mechanism for preservation of an intellectual property before you start intruding on its primary intention of maximum freedom with governmental and hierarchical structures. Fatalists are always going to assume that government and hierarchy are inevitable and, on a down day, beyond a certain population size, I would tend to agree. As an example, I don’t think J.K. Rowling could come up with a Harry Potter Policy Discussion and come up with anything fruitful just because of the size of the audience involved. At that size an audience becomes incoherent and interesting only in the fact that it is collectively able to fill ten football stadiums. The Newsgroup would be lost in a football stadium but it would certainly fill a hotel ballroom and there’s no question in my mind that there is more discussion possible in a hotel ballroom than in ten football stadiums. So, the question to me becomes: Is the Newsgroup too large to effectively accomplish preservation without having to impose order externally? The only previous experience I had with this was the Northampton Summit on the Creators’ Bill of Rights where we had something like nineteen creators in one room and I suggested to Kevin and Peter, as hosts, that the only model that I thought would work was the one in Golding’s Lord of the Flies where you had an object of some kind and as long as the person was holding the object they could speak and everyone else had to listen. It turned out to be unnecessary, I suspect because creators are all pretty much oddball characters in context that we didn’t interrupt each other because we were so used to being interrupted ourselves. Everyone just said something if they had something to contribute and the rest of the time they listened. Some people would contribute a few sentences or a pertinent thought. Much of the time was taken up with me explaining how I saw things and Scott McCloud explaining how he saw things. It seems to me that the Internet is really well suited to that sort of discussion. But returning to my point: is 664 so many more than the 19 in Northampton that this isn’t going to lead anywhere? Possibly, but here it is, so I thought it was worth bringing up the idea to see if it led anywhere worthwhile.

To correct one of the misapprehensions that came up, I don’t see this discussion or Cerebus Legacy as a mechanism for popularizing Cerebus. In fact, I think exactly the opposite is likely to result—having extended dry discussions that exhaust every corner of a subject is a good way to keep the “F**k Art, Let’s Dance” crowd away. “F**k Dancing, Let’s Think” has always been more my motto and a good way to clear a room in a hurry. As it stands now, I’m still working too many hours a day answering the mail from readers and, with the massive response from the Neil Gaiman plug still fresh in my mind, I can’t think of anything more abhorrent as I’m turning fifty years old than becoming The Breakout Success of the Twenty-First Century and suddenly finding myself up to my eyeballs in “F**k Art, Let’s Dance” people.

That having been said, I can’t rule out popularity as a default result somewhere up ahead. When I declared myself to be opposed to feminism the entire context in which I lived switched over from “1” to “0”. I became universally ignored, abhorred and vilified. It was virtually instantaneous and universal and, from what I could see, largely unconscious (which explains why so many people are now having to explain that they didn’t ignore or vilify Dave Sim, well, not really, well maybe a bit, but not personally, or well, yes, personally, but not intentionally, or well, yes, intentionally but not maliciously and so on, scrambling to find a sensible cover story for their emotional reaction). It seems to me that a mass grouping that can switch effortlessly and unconsciously from “1” to “0” can probably switch from “0” to “1” just as easily—particularly now that it’s becoming apparent that feminism can only sustain itself as a dictatorial governmental and hierarchical system of thought where all dissenting viewpoints are ruled out of order and which allows only itself to speak and only allows its own opinions to be granted validity. It’s like the dictatorships in Ukraine or North Korea. You can sustain it for a period of time through totalitarian means but eventually the wheels are going to come off. When the wheels finally come off of feminism there are not going to be too many other places to go, that I can see. Which is where I see “popularity by default” as a possible outcome. The feminists have already used the “feminism”/“post-feminism” Marxist-style “logic of the next step” terminology to sustain totalitarian feminism in the academic world, so there isn’t a “next square” on the chessboard for them to move to that I can see. In my ideal world, the wheels come off of feminism ten years after I’m dead so I don’t have to cope with the influx of people who change their perceptions of reality only a little less often than they change their underwear. That was one of my motivations behind questioning the elasticity of whatever it is we can put together here. If we all die at roughly the same time, we won’t have to deal with the influx of people who are going to want to infest the Cerebus Experiment and change it after-the-fact into Nouveau Feminism or Deconstructed Feminism or Thinking Emotionalism or whatever multi-pronged range of tactics they’re going to adopt to try and destroy the core of the book while using its intellectual nutrients to preserve their own misapprehensions. If it happens while we’re all still alive then I think we have to be prepared for an influx of whatever size endeavouring to flee conventional feminism.

I can understand the urge to “more closely monitor” Policy sections and to delete OT postings to keep the content pure, but I am hesitant on this point because this seems to me the first step into governmental/hierarchical areas. Am I just being overly optimistic in thinking that people can do this voluntarily, so long as the core of the Newsgroup—the social aspect—is being preserved apart from the Policy discussions? I’d hope that this early on we could agree to not delete anything and see if the problem comes up. And if the problem comes up, I think it would be worth looking at what, specifically, is the nature of the problem? If there’s someone who just doesn’t understand the difference between Policy and OT or is being perverse in dragging the discussion all over the map, then I would agree that is a problem. But I would tend to lean in the direction of having faith that everyone understands the difference and that the people who aren’t interested in discussing Policy would just avoid those threads of discussion voluntarily and stick to the purely social areas of the Newsgroup. If someone just can’t abide an intelligent discussion that doesn’t eventually come around to Princess Leia, then I think you deal with that someone incrementally. A friendly reminder and escalating from there as necessary. I also think if there is going to be deletion of content there should be an appeal mechanism. There are people who just take a roundabout route to what it is that they’re saying, not by choice, but because that’s how their minds work. They should be able to make a case for the applicability of their remarks before they’re deleted. As someone else pointed out to me, Lawrence Summers’ On-going Feminist Quagmire at Harvard is scarcely off-topic for the Cerebus Newsgroup. Arguably, it’s a core point of what the Cerebus Newsgroup is about.

Steve Bolhafner makes some interesting points about deconstructionism. I have no problem with oppositional viewpoints (obviously) which originate in different foundations of thought. As I’ve said in Following Cerebus, I’m pretty much amenable to the existence of the idea that there might be things in my writing which I didn’t consciously put there but which nonetheless exist and can be discerned only by a trained deconstructionist. In discussing the content of the book I certainly wouldn’t automatically exclude any opinion that originated in those areas—although I would hope that readers would take me at my word that I didn’t consciously put something in if I didn’t put something in consciously. The point I was making was that, given that the subject under discussion is “how to preserve Cerebus—Cerebus the intellectual property and concept as opposed to Cerebus the 6,000 page story—after my and Ger’s deaths,” while I would accept that someone can honestly believe that “The fish” is a worthwhile contribution to that discussion, I don’t think a proliferation of that sensibility is going to move in very many helpful directions.

I think the actual content and history of the Newsgroup might be of more interest than it might appear to be on the surface if, as I anticipate, the discussion takes us in valuable directions relative to the preservation of intellectual properties and unprotected trademarks. I’ll flatter myself that Cerebus “works” as an intellectual property in a way that is more closely attuned with human freedom than is the present cultural norm where the model is still pretty 19th century. Copyright and trademark have made some legal progress in the last century towards being more closely attuned with human freedom but still—even at the discussion stage—lag well behind the cutting edge of democracy. Most of the people lurking or participating here have a much clearer idea of the foundational elements in the debate because of their awareness of Cerebus and the creator’s rights debate Cerebus arrived in the middle of and are therefore far ahead of the cultural norm of Intellectual Property + Contract=Big money/Big money=happiness construct. Structurally there is a big difference between Cerebus and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, between Cerebus and Spawn, Cerebus and Image, Cerebus and Todd McFarlane Productions just to cite four tangents from the foundational element that Cerebus represents in that debate. Content aside, I think Cerebus is a better idea than the other four cited as incarnations and permutations of an intellectual property. Even at the rock bottom level of nomenclature, Mirage studios, as a name defining a core aspect of an intellectual property gets closer to the core of the core of the concept, Image Comics far less so. You are more closely aligned with human freedom if your company is a Mirage than if your company is an Image.

I do like his point that this will always be the Cerebus Yahoo Group even if Yahoo never exists just as your high school buddies are your high school buddies no matter how long it’s been since you’ve left high school.

I’m not sure if Jeff Tundis posted his recent letter to me, but here are my replies to his numbered points:

  1. I’ll look forward to hearing from Brown University in Rhode Island. I only know John Peck’s work from the cover of a book on Comix that came out years ago, but it’s nice to know that he’s still around and still participating in the field.
  2. In terms of funding the Archiving process both in getting Margaret her own server and arranging for back-ups, it really depends on what sort of amounts we’re talking about. I would imagine that Aardvark-Vanaheim can do a certain amount of the heavy lifting involved with some sort of vehicle for people to contribute financially if they’re so inclined. That would be a “later stage” aspect that we can get a clearer sense of when Ger and I actually have all of the documents in some sort of order and can assess the volume of material that needs to be scanned. Followed by the pecking order of what needs to be scanned followed by the logistics of how it is going to be scanned. But I think it is worth discussing now even though the next step might be months or even a couple of years away at our present pace. We at least have a day of the week dedicated to Archive work now.
  3. I addressed most of this above, but I did want to reiterate my caution about appearing governmental and reiterate that I think the social aspect of the Newsgroup has to remain the core of it. As I said, the social aspect was here long before I got here. The PG Offline filtered, searchable databases sound promising as a means of locating salient points in the discussion by subject and doing an end-run around OT. It might be worth developing keywords like Swiss Cheese Policy when referring to vague concepts here at the beginning of the discussion and getting into the habit of using them to make backtracking to a discussion point easier. The sticker sounds like a good idea once we’re completely certain where everything is going to be found. At least Yahoo and Cerebus fangirl and a possible extremely basic, no e-mail Aardvark-Vanaheim website for artwork announcing their auction on eBay. Ger is doing the research on that one and might welcome input and/or volunteers.
  4. There’s nothing legally that can be done to prevent corruption once the intellectual property is in the public domain, but my guess is that the gravitational strength of what we are doing here will, over time, become pretty formidable for someone who wants to play fast-and-loose with the avowed intentions since what we are trying to do is to find out where trademark and copyright conventions intrude on human freedom. To cite two of the examples you mention here: I’m only opposed to doing hardcovers myself. That would be “Carved in Stone” for Dave Sim and possibly wide open for Gerhard after I’m gone and definitely wide open after we’re both gone. That’s something that I think the market should decide based on the best efforts of the individual or company who wants to put up the money. Like Krazy Kat. There are cheap softcovers and pricey hardcovers of the strip because it’s in the public domain, thick books and thin books. Someone might want to do a folio edition of the text pieces from Jaka’s Story, full size on archival paper and charge an arm and a leg. That’s not in my nature. Nor do I want to put the same material out in different formats and under different covers. If you bought High Society in 1986, you have basically the same book as if you bought it in 2005. That’s my preference. Gerhard goes along with it because it’s my book. If I die before him, it’s his book. He might choose to do other things with the material. After we’re both gone, everyone gets to decide what format to try. At the opposite extreme from a folio edition of the text pieces from Jaka’s Story, you would have, maybe, a Church & State hardcover. A slightly longer than Bone-sized Church & State hardcover with both volumes consolidated. The individual pages were never intended for colour so colour just isn’t going to look right on the pages no matter what you do. Artwork intended for black & white reproduction when you add colour to it is too dark. Period. No rational debate possible. Jaka’s Story wasn’t drawn to be seen full size or on paper other than newsprint, but you could do the pages full size or enlarged on a variety of paperstocks and it would still be the same intended aesthetic effect. That’s on the radar screen, colour is off the radar screen. You’ll just have to take my word for it if you don’t share my view of the aesthetic difference. Production values are not a term with a fixed definition. Anyone doing a Cerebus book after Ger and I are gone, I would imagine the biggest problem they’re going to be facing is “over-producing” a book and making it gaudy. It’s a very delicate balancing act. The large-sized Idyl collection of Jeff Jones’ strip is on very good paper for the density of the blacks and the line work. I’m not sure it would be the best choice for Cerebus artwork. It’s not a problem that I apply myself to, because I have my preferred format but I can guarantee you that there is a certain unknown level of gloss and whiteness and thickness of stock that most Cerebus pages would look better on. I’m also reasonably certain that Jaka’s Story would take a different value of all three than would The Last Day. If someone wanted to run some pages different sizes on different paper stocks and send them to me for my opinion, I’d be glad to offer it, but I don’t think we’re at the Application stage, this is all still Theory. In terms of merchandising, it’s a Carved in Stone policy that anyone who wants to handcraft a Cerebus something or other and sell 30 or fewer copies of it in a comic-book store, I consider that fair usage for an unprotected trademark. The advantages of someone getting the learning experience that goes into producing a statue, copying it a bunch of times, getting a store to display it and sell it, to me, outweigh the trademark infringement. For the sake of the 30 bucks I might be entitled to it’s really not worth becoming another part of the person’s problem. Mike Dow asked permission to do his Cerebus coffee mugs and I said sure. He is, as he said in his most recent letter “SO out of the coffee mug business”. That tells me it was a valuable learning experience that he would prefer not to repeat. Those are usually the most valuable learning experiences. My criteria for inoffensive merchandising that isn’t technically legal is that the person is still doing it themselves. If they do 30 statues and they sold like hotcakes, well by all means do 30 more. Stay up until 4 in the morning painting in all those little eyeballs or, as was the case with the Cerebus stuffed toy, have a living room full of little aardvark legs and arms and vests that all have to be put together. Whatever you’re going to sell them for you will have earned every penny and more so. But if you want to get them done at a factory in Korea and solicit them through Diamond, well, no—I could have done that myself. The intention is not to let someone sit back and make money off of Cerebus while other people do the actual work. In that case you better cut me in for part of the action and you better write and ask permission. As I say, this is the borderline between the legal reach of trademark and copyright and human freedom. It’s something that I’m obligated to decide. And right now it’s very manageable because the book is not that popular and few Cerebus fans would take the chance of buying an unauthorized piece of merchandise because they don’t want me getting ripped off and most particular they don’t want to be a party to it. So there’s an enormous amount of work for very little reward which is always a healthy thing. The danger comes in if, somewhere up ahead, Cerebus ever becomes a license to print money as was the case with the Turtles. You put the Turtles on it in 1986 and you’ll sell a bunch, whatever it is. If that happens for some obscure reason after I’ve been dead for twenty years, it’s apt to be a problem for the state of the intellectual property. Those problems are usually temporary, however. They slapped Popeye on every inanimate object when the live action movie came out and took a bath. Popeye’s only enduring appeal is the Segar strip and the Fleischer cartoons (which are locked up in a hissy-fit fight between King Features and I believe Time Warner which is exactly what happens when you have a purely legal take on trademark and copyright: no one can see the best version of the property and no one can make a nickel on the best version of the property). I tend to see a lot of elasticity in my limiting it to hand-produced material. If you’re willing to do the work, you can be as greedy as you want, you’ll still end up learning a far more valuable lesson than you set out to learn. I would trust the Newsgroup to find the quality material as well. I don’t think you need to vilify the publisher or the manufacturer as long as you just reasonably say on the Internet, “Well, there is no question that this is a loathsome piece of garbage. I think this would devalue any Cerebus collection it was in.” It’s very difficult to sell something if that’s the consensus view of it. Conversely, the Newsgroup would also be a good arbiter of quality. “This guy in Brazil did this really cool Cerebus the Barbarian statue and he’s selling it for thirty bucks.” I’d be willing to bet that by the time he has done 50 hand-painted statues he will be “SO out of the statue business.”
  5. Thanks for sending along the pages from the long-lost “Ambuscade”. A lot of people have been sending me John Cothran’s address and phone numbers. My own inclination is to just let it go. If John wants to contact me at some point, that’s up to him. I’m just glad to see the story again. I saw my ex-brother-in-law Michael at the Farmer’s Market—he co-owns Old Goat Books out in Waterloo—and told him I would be sending him a copy of the story. It really threw him for a loop.

23 February 05

Jeff Seiler

Dear Jeff:

I’m typing this as part of my February answers to the Newsgroup, so you might want to post your letter and indicate that that’s what this is about.

I think it’s a good idea to try for some level of political identification in the Newsgroup for exactly the reasons you outline. I’d be very curious as to what a survey would turn up if you asked everyone to identify themselves as Liberal, Conservative or Something In Between as a good starting point for the discussion. I also think that you make a good point about finding the monthly answers more conveniently. I have been honestly trying in recent weeks to make an effort to check the occasional website on the Internet if someone specifically asks me to—previously I just ignored all such requests—and I just have no patience with it. What am I supposed to ‘click on?’ How do I ‘turn the page?’ “Where did everything go?’ With a book I can check the index, then find the page number, flip to that page and see if it’s what I’m looking for. On the Internet I have to find what I think is a pertinent reference (and never is), click on that, scroll through it until I give up, go back to the home page, click on something else. Given a hundred years of evolution it might achieve the efficiency of a book with an index, but I’m not holding my breath.

And I do think that Cerebus would be better served by Conservative interests and that a foundation would be a good idea eventually. Ger and I are mutually insured through the company so he would be getting a pretty good sum of money at my passing, but that’s his money. I’d certainly recommend forming a Cerebus Foundation and dovetailing it with Cerebus Legacy, but that will be his decision to make—I can’t tie his hands ahead of time in good conscience. And, as I said before, I think that the possibility of a trough should be resisted in the early planning for Cerebus Legacy because otherwise you attract the wrong kind of people. If you accomplish as many tasks as you can just structurally and then apply specific amounts of money to specific problems—like memory for Margaret’s computer, etc.—then you’re going to be making better choices. If you start talking about salaried positions then you have a vested interest in someone continuing to draw the salary and you have a perhaps terminal drain on resources if Cerebus stays the size that it is and a cesspool of corruption if it gets much or even a little larger. But, definitely, if I had to pick a good early course direction to take, it would be giving a disproportionately larger voice to those who identify themselves as Conservative. Trying to avoid creating a Foundation with salaried positions and keeping money as far as possible from the day-to-day running of Cerebus Legacy is a Conservative approach. I can’t see the problems that exist as having any chance of being solved by having money thrown at them and you’re going to need a strong Conservative hand on the tiller—and Conservative voices willing to speak up and be heard—to keep that from happening.

On the subject of replacing the “originals,”—that is, the present-day Newsgroup members—I think as long as an honest dialogue is taking place that that won’t be necessary. How many honest dialogues do you know of? I think they’re a) pretty rare and b) pretty attractive in no small part because they’re pretty rare. I didn’t want to make you all self-conscious about your ages—or, more relevantly, about your pertinence to Cerebus—but I’m definitely aware of the condition you describe. My own view is that you will become Cerebus celebrities in your own right directly relative to the level of celebrity attached to the book as the years go by. The fewer there are of you, the more important you’re going to be seen as being. The fact that—I assume—the poll will indicate that the vast majority of the Newsgroup identifies themselves as Liberal will—again, I assume—prove to be a genuine credential in the years to come. You stuck it out with a viewpoint that you deplored. Well, that’s genuine Liberalism, inclusive rather than exclusive. It will get tested every time there’s another societal convulsion that doesn’t favour the book and it will get tested every time there’s another societal convulsion that does favour the book.

[I’ve deleted further observations I made here regarding incorporating the covers into the reprint volumes. Jeff phoned to tell me that his references in his letter were to the selling of prints of the reprint volume covers and not about incorporating the original monthly comic book covers into the reprint volumes—he agrees with me that that would be a bad idea. So, I’ll just say here that I put that in the Carved in Stone category—the reprint volumes should only contain story pages. The original covers should only be reprinted in a separate area of the reprint volume or, ideally, in a separate volume altogether].

All best wishes to Lenny (Margaret notes: this is the only change I made to Dave's original, where he had put Lenny's e up, I can't do that, and don't want to confuse with just an e-less L nny) who is, by all accounts, barely treading water under his workload at this point.