Friday, 21 November 2014

Weekly Update 21 November 14

Executive Summary

BULLETIN! 21 November 14 Sean Robinson on his way to Bang Printing in Valencia, California for a "press test" of a HIGH SOCIETY SIGNATURE!  Yes! We might be printing in USA! USA! at least on HIGH SOCIETY.  In no small part because Bang is a three-hour car ride for Sean and he can micro-manage every step of the process.  Sean has promised to give us as close to "real time" updates (as long as it doesn't interfere with his actual supervisory work) here starting later today.  The press test begins SHARP at 1500 hours Western Daylight Savings Time, 1800 hours Eastern Standard Time.

1.  Lou Copeland announces that JUDENHASS will be available for free download at the judenhass.com website (in PDF and CBZ formats). Hoping that some volunteers will post JUDENHASS to as many Print on Demand and other websites as possible.

2.  Sean Robinson bounces back from the TOTAL LOSS of hundreds of CEREBUS scans.  The NEXT DAY faxing that "All of this crap with ____ got me really fired up to make the newsprint sourced pages as good as they can possibly be".  Attaboy, Sean!  "All Hands On Deck" call for CEREBUS OCD CLUB members!  We're NOT going to let this slow us down!

3.  Unconfirmed report from Eddie Khanna that someone has donated $500 a month to our Patreon site.  Many thanks to the unnamed individual (if true).  Please contact me for suitable STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND rewards or -- if you just want to remain anonymous, We are ALL cool with that!  Many, many, many thanks if true.

1.  Fax from Lou Copeland dated November 19 saying he's "on track" for getting JUDENHASS, now in the public domain, into downloadable form at the judenhass.com website as of November 25th, just in time for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.  It was a good eight to ten hours work for Lou getting everything ready and I offered to pay him for his time but he wrote:

On top of all the work I put into the project over the course of two years plus, I estimate I ended up putting a grand of my own money into JUDENHASS in the form of postage fees, office supplies, fax service (there was no free option back in '07) and more, more, more.  So while I really appreciate your offer to pay me for the hours I worked this weekend, I long ago decided this was a project I wouldn't take any money for.  Thanks for the offer, though.  Way I figure it, surely donating that kinda money to such a good cause will get me fast tracked into heaven when I die, right?

Uh. I'm a bad person to ask, seeing as how I give equal weight to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  If you were to take a straw poll, I'm sure 99% of the members of all three faiths would tell you I am DEFINITELY headed for the Lake of Fire (do not pass Go, do not collect $200) :)

Lou also notes:

The actual full resolution printer's files are way too large to host on the website. We both have a copy of these files burned to a disc.  Anyone that's seriously interested in the files should contact either you or me for a disc copy.  

Lou's e-mail address is transmit@phantomprojector.com.  I don't like to sound paranoid, but the odds of getting a useable disc from me are remote.  Most recent example being the CANAR files which I gave to Dave Fisher and he relayed to Tim W. by mail -- and which were missing two or three issues in the middle.  "But -- but -- that's not POSSIBLE!"  I agree! I barely have enough knowledge to click on the CANAR folder and put it INTO the window and push "Burn".  I couldn't NOT download files to save my life.  But that's what happens with anything having "computer" and "Dave Sim" in the same sentence. So, Lou's the guy you should contact.

And, please note the "SERIOUSLY interested".  I -- and I'm sure Lou -- really don't care WHERE you put the full resolution files if you SERIOUSLY think there's a chance that someone might download JUDENHASS or print a bunch of copies and distribute them.  I'm trying to be a diplomatic Luddite here. Yes! The AMAZING INTERNET is capable of getting BILLIONS OF COPIES into people's hands practically in an eyeblink.  You couldn't COUNT the number of places you could place the full resolution files that have LITERALLY BILLIONS of cybernetic walk-in customers just ACHING to

...uh....blah blah blah.

I think Lou and I have done our bit.  Thanks, Lou and good luck at the new job!

2.  Not only did Sean announce his own program of "newsprint restoration" techniques November 18, he also let me know that he already has three CEREBUS OCD CLUB members signed up to assist on newsprint clean-up.  Thank you, all!

No pressure on anyone.  If you want to try it and you find that you just don't have the time and/or it's just not "your thing", just let Sean know.  No harm, no foul.  Sean will just give "your" page to someone else. It can be weirdly therapeutic as I can attest from my limited experience "restoring" BEAVERS strips for the short-lived CEREBUS ARCHIVE.  It really depends on how much of an "inner" Obsessive Compulsive you have.

OR how jazzed you would be to have your name attached to that particular page IN PERPETUITY (or until the next technological advance makes itself known)!!

We're quite serious about this.  Sean's working on back-up pages for the HIGH SOCIETY 30th ANNIVERSARY GOLD LOGO SIGNED AND NUMBERED edition which will include credits for everyone who has donated scans of pages AND all of the participants in the CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER ONE Kickstarter AND everyone who has helped with the technical side in any way.  The credits will be included in each printing of the books and will be part of the digital files when the books go into the public domain after I'm dead.  There's not many of us left, but we are going to be the Second Generation of CEREBUS Custodians who stuck around even ten years after the book came to an end.

Anyway, Sean gets my nomination for the TAYLOR SWIFT "SHAKE IT OFF" AWARD for November 2014.  You want to know the primary job skill for being a Dave Sim and/or CEREBUS fan? SHAKE IT OFF!!

3.  I feel really bad that I haven't been posting Updates to the Patreon site, but I find that there is definitely a "Wall" of what I can take doing this online stuff and doing the Weekly Update is pretty much it.

As a way of compensating for that, however, I've authorized Eddie Khanna to post some of the STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND artwork INTERMITTENTLY to the Patreon site -- without the Joe Kubert lettering.  This is an experiment and I'm anticipating a backlash which I'm asking Eddie to watch for.

Thanks to Tim W. for posting the material FOR Eddie and me.  Eddie reported things "going wonky" with all of his computers and ipod(s?) when he posted the material himself.  Yes, I know that sounds paranoid, but that was Eddie's experience. We're both getting used to that.  "You know what happened to me today?"

I'm trying not to talk about THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND too much here at AMOC.  People are REALLY, REALLY sensitive these days and I infer that that manifests itself in people ONLY wanting CEREBUS to be discussed here.  Could be wrong about that and -- as you can see, I did discuss JUDENHASS, but only in a "finality" sense.  We wanted to preserve it, but not get in anyone's face about it. Or to have anyone infer that we were getting in their face about it.

Bottom line right now (and you can skip this paragraph if THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND offends you conceptually): the slower that I get on THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND, the more thorough I get -- which makes me slower which makes me more thorough, a real feedback loop.  Still learning and re-learning lessons, mostly of a technical nature.  Photorealism is incredibly accurate and there are areas where accuracy is just "beyond me".  Composition and anatomy foremost among them.  So, I'm using really meticulous techniques to try to get around that, like "building pictures" by doing each element separately on separate sheets of tracing paper.  Do the face and then try it at different angles and then do the torso on a separate sheet of paper, then each forearm and hand on separate sheets of tracing paper and just keep moving them around and adjusting them until the figure/panel looks right.  I spent most of yesterday COMPOSING one panel.  It boggles my mind that guys like Raymond, Drake, Williamson and Adams were -- or in Neal's case ARE -- able to do that just off the top of their heads.  Doing six dailies a week (and a Sunday for some of them) they didn't have any other choice.  Leonard Starr remarked about John Prentice using tracing paper when he took over RIP KIRBY and Starr saying he wouldn't have time for that. Which he didn't.  So he had to just LEARN how to do it as second nature.

I'm never going to be in that class, but I'm determined to "fake" my way in just by sheer, hard work.

4.  John's had a few delays getting rolling on CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER TWO, but that's going to happen with a printing business.  A big job -- or two big jobs -- take up time.  Again, we hope that no one gets offended at this.  John will be posting his progress -- or lack of progress -- and, I think, over time we're going to find out what is possible.  As you all know, the original plan was to make the CEREBUS ARCHIVE FOLIOS quarterly and right now we're at three times a year.  By NUMBER SIX, I think we'll know what we can do and what we can't do...but not until then (I'm guessing).

I've asked John to give me an invoice for ALL of his work on CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER TWO by mid-December (based on costs on CANO).  This was the result of a meeting with my accountant where I expressed concern about CANT "straddling" 2014-2015: all the money coming in in 2014 but no expenses on record until next year.  As long as I have an invoice, the charge comes off in calendar year 2014 (I'm going to be getting Sean to invoice for a good chunk of CHURCH & STATE I for the same reason, hoping to cut the Aardvark-Vanaheim tax bill by a few thousand dollars
(which seems "do-able").  So, glad I asked!  I'm definitely working to make sure that all of your generous contributions go as far as I can make them go.

For the record, my biggest personal splurge so far out of the $38K is four pillowcases ($5.95 marked down from $12.95 at Budd's "up to 80% off sale" downtown) and a $6 toque (eh?).  My experience has been that if I have $38K in the bank, God has $38K worth of problems in my immediate future. Could be wrong, but, at least for right now, I'm not taking any chances.

Okay.  Gotta run. I still have to pick up the mail, do some banking and buy groceries.

See you next week, God willing!

And now -- HEEEERE's Sean!  (God willing)!





Thursday, 20 November 2014

Vacation Time: San Jose

MARGARET LISS:
A few years ago I scanned all of Dave Sim's notebooks. He had filled 36 notebooks during the years he created the monthly Cerebus series, covering issues #20 to 300, plus the other side items -- like the Epic stories, posters and prints, convention speeches etc. A total of 3,281 notebook pages detailing his creative process. I never really got the time to study the notebooks when I had them. Just did a quick look, scanned them in and sent them back to Dave as soon as possible. So this regular column is a chance for me to look through those scans and highlight some of the more interesting pages.

Well, not quite yet. I'm heading to San Jose (yes, I know the way) in a couple of weeks to watch the Boston Bruins take on the San Jose Sharks. Way back in the late 1980s Dave and Gerhard went to San Jose. Dave took notebook #10, which I have notebook #10 listed as issue #112/113.  There is also some scripting for the Roach tale from AARGH #1 and some ideas for the upcoming Jaka's Story.

And also some "vacation sketches" by Dave.

Notebook #10 page 57: "Sid Vicious Lives", small text "Your name here

Notebook #10 page 58: "San Jose Chic"

Notebook #10 page 57: People relaxing - probably at the hotel pool.
Any requests for any other phonebooks, non-phonebook stories or items from the notebooks you'd like to see? Leave a comment with your request, thanks!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Costly Continuing Contributions


Sean Michael Robinson:

Greetings all,

The Cerebus Original Art Dragnet suffered a pretty serious blow this week when we heard definitively from a prominent art collector who owns several hundred (!) originals. No, he would not be contributing scans of any of his originals to the art hunt, nor will he be selling any of these pages in the foreseeable future.

This was particularly hard news as this person's collection represents a significant chunk of "in the wild" Cerebus art pages, pages that will now never be scanned for this project, will now forever be represented in print by second, third, or fourth-generation images rather than the pristine reproduction possible when sourcing from the original art.

I'm trying to be sanguine about this, but it's hard to be so while still finishing up work on High Society, a book that would benefit tremendously from any original art Cerebus fans supply us with. As most of you know, for both Cerebus and High Society, none of the negatives exist. In the case of High Society, a good 3/5ths of them were scanned by Sandeep Atwal before his tragic apartment fire, but the remainder of those pages can only be sourced by newsprint scans. And even the negatives are less than ideal, in many cases having been underexposed during initial photography. I've learned several tricks to correct for this, but, as I've said many times before, in many different ways, you can beat your head against the wall trying to make something look better through clever manipulation, but it will ALWAYS be better to fix it at the source. In other words, you could conceivably spend three hours on every page of High Society sourced from newsprint, and it still wouldn't look as good as if someone who currently owns the page drove to their local copy center and sent us a scan.

It's a depressing thought. Every page of High Society that we have original art, or even negatives, will soon look better in print than it ever has before. Every page sourced from newsprint, at best, will look almost as good as it did before, and only after tremendous amounts of work to make it so.




But I'm still hopeful. Mostly, because of people like Greg Kessler and Dean Reeves, who not only have contributed their own collections of scans, but continue to send us leads of auctions as they see them. People like Alan Kleinberger, who just this weekend sent us a scan of a great page you see above, that he just sold on ebay. People like Larry Wooten, who emailed Alan to let him know about the art hunt, and who has in fact continued to email people for the past few months hoping to net us pages. People like Dagon James, who sent us almost a dozen scans of pages he doesn't even own anymore, who scanned them for his own pleasure, but was willing to share with us what he had saved. Jason Crosby at ComicLink, who has twice now taken time out of his incredibly busy schedule to scan pages they have up for auction, for no reason other than it being the right thing to do.

And really, what better way to bring utility to a collection than the actual preservation of art that you care about? Not just in some abstract, locked-in-a-vault way of preservation, but active in the world, duplicated, helping to represent in print one of the singular achievements in comics?

The full list -- so far! -- of Cerebus Art Dragnet contributors-


Dean Reeves
Trent Rogers
Kevin Bonawitz
Thomas K.
Rodney Ascher
Greg Kessler
Dan Parker
Steve Hendricks
Oystein Sorensen
Jason Crosby
Matt Levin
Nat Gertler
Conrad Felber
Jean-Paul Gabilliet
Jeffrey Laurenz
Dagon James
Alan Kleinberger
Larry Wooten
Brian Stockton
Glen McFerren

And our other heroes, the Cerebus Scan Brigade, flying in the face of spine-bends since July of 2014-


Margaret Liss
Lee Thacker
Daniel Elven
Paul Slade
Carl Hommel
Eddie Khanna
David Birdsong

Lots of news coming up the pipeline, so keep the eyes peeled and the ears large and mobile!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

How's Your Beaver? #1

How's Your Beaver? (1976)
by Dave Sim
(Click image to enlarge)
DAVE SIM:
(from Cerebus Archive #1, April 2009)
...Okay, here's something I never thought I would admit to publicly. Highway Bookshop in Cobalt, Ontario had a Northern Ontario cult hit with a cartoon book called Outhouses Of The North... mostly variations on the crescent moon in the door. It was in its twentieth printing or something. Lonely... quiet... place, Northern Ontario. Anyway, they were looking for a follow-up hit and commissioned me to do a cartoon book [How's Your Beaver] for $125, the most I'd ever been paid for anything. So I got a template shot of my beaver character done at Kwik Kopy and did the whole thing in about three days. The good news? I made $40 a day. The bad news? The monstrosity now existed and had my name on it.

Couple of hard lesson: Never "write down" to the level of a book called Outhouses Of The North and remember that once it's in print... someone is going to see a copy somewhere, someday. And if you have an ounce of integrity decades later you'll have to make your mea culpas in public. Mea Culpa. Mea Maxima Culpa.

I don't think it occurred to me how "over the top" the double entendre was... I was a huge Lenny Bruce fan and figured the more like Lenny we could all be, The better off we'd all be. How to talk dirty and influence people. I was hard at work on the sequel: Son Of How's Your Beaver and determined to pick up the quality. So here I am really  striving to pick up my game a few hundred notches. I was going back to the "Aislen Solution" -- lots of little pen lines for a realistic background and then cartoon-y characters in the foreground. I was using a dip pen and felt tips... It's the Cerebus solution "in vitro" as well: using 30% tone on Red's shirt (there were now two beavers: Red and Whitey, the colours of the Canadian flag).

After Highway pulled the plug on Son Of I thought the next logical way to go was a newspaper strip. Yonge St. in Toronto was Canada's answer to Times Square in the 1970s. It's since been cleaned up so it's almost as nice as, well, Time Square.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Glamourpuss Tracing Paper Art Auction: Loco Chanel


Glamourpuss #4, pages 22-23 (November 2008)
by Dave Sim
DESCRIPTION:
This one is a hard-nosed Chanel parody (I think the model is British actress Kiera Knightley) from Glamourpuss' First Annual Swinsuit Issue No. 4 (July 2009) pages 22-23. Left page (p.22) is a type-set mock-up taped on with Sim's hand-lettering in white paint. Right page (p.23) is 12x14-inch pencil drawing & lettering on 14x17-inch tracing paper. Set comes with original reference advert plus Sim's composition paste-up & photocopies.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Half Breed Films: Cerebus Documentary Announced

Watch for further announcements at Half Breed Films.

Gerhard's Art


"Commissioned by Will (he just asked for something Moby Dick related)."

"Back in May, Mia & Charles asked me to draw the birds that visit their palm trees to use on their wedding announcement. I was also asked to draw a close up of the pair of parakeets to use on the menu."

"Julie and Mike commissioned me to draw Frank Lloyd Wright's "Fallingwater", a house that sits atop a waterfall. I wanted to accentuate the flow that Wright designed into the building by keeping the high contrast areas in focus and letting the house blend into the foliage surrounding it."

"I was commissioned by Fred to do a portrait of his wife and daughter. He sent me three photos that I mashed together to get this compostiton. We decided early on to make this a pencil drawing; it's much softer and more suited to the subjects. I hope Duda and Daria agree. I know Fred does."

"I met John Higashi at Big Wow a couple of months ago. He asked if I'd be interested in doing a drawing for his project. The project was inspired by the story of Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese girl who was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped near her home in Hiroshima. Ten years later she was diagnosed with leukemia and had less than a year to live. An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish. A popular version of Sadako's story is that she fell short of her goal of folding 1,000 cranes, having folded only 644. John is planning a 10-year project (started 01/11) to get pieces from 644 different artists. His goal is to make an 81+ page hardcover book and donate the proceeds to 4 charities: Hiroshima Peace Museum, Japanese American National Museum, Hero Initiative and the Mike Wieringo Scholarship Fund. At the end of the 3rd year, 2013, he had 247 pieces. You can check out some of them here."

For your own commissioned artwork contact Gerhard at: gerzmail [at] yahoo [dot] ca

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The Puma Blues: New Zulli Cover Art!

The Puma Blues
by Stephen Murphy & Michael Zulli
(Dover Publishing, 2015)
DAVE SIM:
(from Weekly Update #49, 19 September 2014)
...Got a phone message "out of the blue" (nyuck nyuck nyuck) from Dover Publishing saying that Michael Zulli and Stephen Murphy have gotten together to finish THE PUMA BLUES (they were within pages of being done when they ended up going separate directions) and they wanted to know if I would write an introduction... they're paying me a VERY generous fee for the introduction (which they've also agreed to make the introduction RECIPROCALLY OWNED by Michael and Stephen -- that is, EITHER Michael or Stephen can use it whatever way they want if they go their separate ways at some point -- as opposed to JOINTLY OWNED.  I'm hoping that Michael and Stephen would see THE PUMA BLUES the same way, but that's up to them) so it should be a number of pages long -- it will be nice to read the Entire Book in one sitting and to be one of the first to do so!...

The Puma Blues was a comic book written by Stephen Murphy and drawn by Michael Zulli. Published first by Dave Sim's publishing imprint 'Aardvark One International' and later by Mirage Studios, it ran from 1986 to 1989, stretching over 23 regular issues and a single "half-issue" minicomic. In 2015 Dover Books will be publishing a collected edition of The Puma Blues

CANAR: Fan Artists

Dave Sim contributed to all 32 issues of CANAR (Comic Art News And Reviews) published by John Balge (1954-2014) between September 1972 and April 1976. Balge had got to know the sixteen year old Dave Sim through Harry Kremer’s Now & Then Books comic shop in Kitchener, Ontario. Balge, Sim and Kremer travelled together to comics conventions in the US and Canada interviewing many prominent comic creators of the day, making the back issues of CANAR a treasure trove of interviews with the likes of Will Eisner, Russ Heath, Harvey Kurtzman, Barry Windsor-Smith, Mike Kaluta, Gil Kane, Berni Wrightson, Howard Chaykin and others.  


CANAR #30, February 1975
'Fan Artists' Strip by Dave Sim
All contents of CANAR © John Balge Estate.
(Click image to enlarge) 

Friday, 14 November 2014

Weekly Update #57: Cement, Tar & Dimpleboard

DAVE SIM:
Hello, everyone!

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1.  Off-White House foundation rebuild "caps out" at 48 bags of cement.  Tar and "dimpleboard" have been added and as of today Nov 14, the trenches flanking the two sides of the house have been filled in.

2.  Inventory list arrives from Leamington warehouse. Inventory ranges from 1 copy of CHURCH & STATE BI-WEEKLY (reprinting issue 61) to 4,068 copies of CEREBUS No.202.  CEREBUS ARCHIVE FIRST RELEASE program contemplated.

3.  Three most recent signatories to the "I Don't Believe Dave Sim Is A Misogynist" petition (ipetitions) have arrived on sequential weeks. At the rate of one a week we should reach the target of 2,000 names (which would allow me, comfortably, to go out in public) sometime in 2034 when I'll be 78 years old.

4.  John Funk plans to develop an overview template of the progress of CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER TWO through the printing and shipping phases and to do a weekly update of his own at Kickstarter so everyone can see what progress is being made.

1.  It was a bit of a race with the cold weather bearing down on us and the last couple of days have been very cold and very wet which, according to Scott, is the worst weather for "tamping" the dirt. It's basically wet clay and doesn't transfer easily and doesn't tamp effectively.  But, there is no question that the job is a solid one and the Off-White House is now good for at least another 100 years.  Scott just needs to add three feet of gravel as a base for the interlocking stonework (to be done in the spring) and that will do it for Off-White House Renovations 2014.

There is a necessary balance: part of me wants to conserve scarce resources and just leave the place as it is but part of the deal with Scott is that we jointly improve the two properties -- in his case so he can get "high end" tenants and in my case to try to be a good custodian of a Heritage Property here in town. And, of course, to maintain the neighbourhood which is always going to be a problem with "downtown" properties.

So I basically have the winter to come up with the "most bang for the limited buck" on the exteriors.  I think we're going about it the right way: lunch bucket structural solidity first with the raw materials we have so there's a severely limited amount of "sub-contracting" going on when it comes time to "prettify" both places.

At the same time, there's a level of expertise needed there.  I can design two exteriors (and have done so) but I'm not an expert on 19th century German architecture and what limits can or should apply.  And experts don't come cheap.  One of the reasons that we're all hopeful that the Kickstarter Model continues to be viable.  None of these things can be "costed out" ahead of time.  We have to go through them when we go through them.  The plan that Scott and I have is to work in increments that we can afford, which will be part of the "costing out" of the completion of the exteriors:  how much we do and how quickly.  My concern is that the Kickstarter Model might start eroding quickly at some point and I don't want to be overextended if/when it does -- because there really isn't a Plan B.

And, also, time is at a premium.  It would be great to spend all day, hours and hours, meeting with people and looking at computer simulations, etc. But this is really a small, small, small part of what I need to be doing over the next few years as my stamina erodes and my custodial duties to the intellectual property and physical property multiply.


2.  The warehouse in Leamington has basically sketched in the inventory situation for me, breaking down the quantities into how many cartons there are of back issues.  Which is the first step in the transportation problem:  how many cartons?

To cite one example: CEREBUS No.248 there are 779 copies.  With THIS list, Sharon and Julie have indicated that that consists of three cartons.  Two cartoons of 320 copies each and then 139 in a third carton.  From the Kickstarter One experience, back in 2012, I know that a lot of those copies are a write-off because they were jammed in very tightly, so the top and bottom (20? 30? 40? depends on the box) are buckled and warped and unmarketable.  I'm not sure if that condition worsens over the years -- that is, the longer they sit there the more of them get warped.

But, the bottom line, as I see it is that this is going to be a very labour-intensive process, whatever I end up doing with them.  SOMEONE -- not me -- is going to have to go through and do a cursory scan of each box.  I don't think it makes sense to do a microscopic examination looking for 9.8s or higher, let's say.  But I could offer a persuasive argument countering that:  ALL you want is 9.8s or higher and anything else is just "Recycle City".  That cuts across two "CEREBUS Constitutencies":  the "the value of the comics is as reading material" people and the "the value of the comics is the potential CGC grade" people.

The question for the former group would be: okay, how many potential readers do you see for 779 copies of CEREBUS No.248?  Let's say that 200 of those are rated completely uncollectible.  What do you do with the 200?  Give them to a charity?  What is a charity going to do with 200 copies of the same issue of the same comic book?  Ship them overseas for ESL students?  Shipping is the biggest cost in just about anything these days even with oil at $78 a barrel and dropping.

Conversely, if you DO stick strictly to 9.8 or higher (and there you're talking about someone with that ability volunteering to go through these tens of thousands of books OR someone who can do a preliminary skim:  these LOOK perfect -- and then have someone else go through them who knows a 9.8 from a 9.2:  I know I don't have that skill).

The LONG TERM value, as I see it, is if you can get the inventory down to 9.8 or higher and I can sign them and get them bagged and boarded and INSIDE the bag put a colour postcard showing the book and how it is signed (I'd obviously sign all of them the same way, in the same spot with the same pen and possibly CAFR -- Cerebus Archive First Release -- written under the signature) and then emboss the card with the CEREBUS ARCHIVE FIRST RELEASE embosser.

Well, then you've got something.

I'm not sure WHAT you've got -- not much of anything in 2014 -- but after I'm dead and there are only so many CAFR copies on the market -- even 2,000 -- that seems at least potentially a fund-raiser for The Cerebus Trust.

(Being "backstage" at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge back in 2007 was an education in that regard:  Rockwell spent most of his final years signing material for the Museum, which is now able, in many cases, to trade signed prints for original paintings that would otherwise be out of range for them.  And, of course, the supply of signed prints is fixed and dropping year by year. What would have seemed like an exorbitant number when Rockwell was alive doesn't seem so exorbitant this many decades later)

I'm hoping to experiment with it on the next CEREBUS ARCHIVE Kickstarter, offering the rarest CAFR copies.  Just skimming the list: there are 46 copies of No.152, 21 copies of No.167,  13 copies of No.115, 8 copies of No.125, 11 CHURCH & STATE BI-WEEKLY reprinting No.63, 22 CHURCH & STATE BI-WEEKLY reprinting No.51.  I might not do all of those issues -- they all need to be bagged and boarded and time is at a premium.  But it seems sensible to start with the smallest quantities and build from there. 


3.  Many thanks to Margaret Liss for mailing me a complete printout of the first 570 names on the "I Don't Believe Dave Sim Is a Misogynist" petition. (now 572!) She says in her letter dated October 26:
Every month or so, I'll swing by the petition and check for "spammers" and vandalism.  There used to be more idiots at first, but their numbers have decreased as the years go on. The most I have to clean up is the occasional no first or last name.  I used to be able to send people an e-mail -- as leaving one's e-mail was one of the required inputs -- but ipetitions has gotten rid of that. 
I also noticed that ipetitions no longer lets you access the full list of names (unless that's just my Luddite ineptness at work :)).

But, again, MANY thanks to Margaret who has shepherded this thing for a number of years now and for devoting hours of her leisure time to getting me the complete list.  All of this voluntary stuff is strictly at your own pace.  I haven't talked to anyone in the last few years who ISN'T swamped with just keeping up with basic life stuff, so MANY thanks to everyone who continues to volunteer to help us with all this.

Anyway, I was very gratified to see that Gary Spencer Millidge HAD signed the petition -- and relatively early, too:  #117 in June of 2008!  If you recall, it was getting a copy of MEANWHILE in the mail from him that provoked the question.

This actually ties in with the letter I just got from Eddie Khanna with more GREAT STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND research material.  Eddie says, tongue-in-cheek, that there might be a place in hell for comic fans who bury graphic novelists in research material and who make those graphic novelists therefore have to continue working for years and years and years even AFTER those graphic novelists have already done the world's longest graphic novel.

I look at it this way:  there's no place for me in a society where it is taken as a given that if you aren't a feminist you're a misogynist.  So, not being able to go out in public and with no sign of getting any more "traction" than one signature a week for the next twenty years...

...it might be a simple math problem:  Maybe it will take me as long to finish THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND as it takes to get to 2,000 signatures on the petition.  There might be a sudden surge in signatories and we get there in ten years or twelve years -- and meanwhile THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND just gets longer and longer and longer.  Or we could get there by some unforeseen means in five years or eight years or ten years.  My cheque from IDW for the latest ten pages came in alongside Eddie's letter.  Which seemed an auspicious juxtaposition.

Even though it feels as if I haven't been to the drawing board in the last five weeks with all of the mounds of unrelated work that have to be dealt with, I'm still on pages 8 and 9 of the latest 10-page batch.  Which isn't THAT far off of the five week average for doing those 10 pages. 


4.  Gratified that John Funk plans to start posting a weekly update to the Kickstarter site, starting, as he put it, "at 10,000 ft." with a projection of the targets he's hoping to hit with CANT fulfillment.

That turned out to be one of those really basic structural things.  Obviously, I wasn't looking forward to doing batches of head sketches and signing stacks of prints and hand-lettering stacks of bookplates, so the longer they didn't turn up, the -- secretly -- happier I was: slaving away on THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND.  But, that tends to lead toward bad customer service.  So, having gone through that with CANO, it was a learning experience, best summed up as: "Don't tell ME, tell THEM" -- that is, all of you pledge partners.  HERE's when you can expect to see your CANT pledge items and, week by week, how John plans to get there.  And then explaining on a weekly basis when and how he met the target or missed it.  And blaming me if I'm the one holding things up  :)

Like the "the next bus is due" clocks in the GRT bus shelters.  Even if it's not 100% accurate, it's better than spending twenty minutes wondering if you missed it.

The only related CANO/CANT news is that Diamond HAS received all of the unsigned copies of CANO that they ordered.  At least for the time being, we'll be doing a full page ad in PREVIEWS for each folio, even though it eats up a substantial amount of the profit (putting it over in the direction of glamourpuss-style cash flow territory:  you can't really spend $3,000 printing and shipping a comic book that only generates $3,500 in revenue -- well you can, but your cash isn't going to be there when you need it).  It's less of a revenue stream and more of a "retailer/fan service":  they're always available if you end up missing one of them.

That should be true for the next six months, at least, with Diamond's generous over-order on CANO, but it is something that I will be monitoring on an on-going basis, since we still haven't settled what minimum quantity of folios John would need to have an order for before it would make sense for him to produce them.  Ballpark, he thought, 20 copies.  Which I think should be "do-able" for Diamond.

We'll see when we get there.

See you all next week!    

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Notebook 27 Minds Rehearsal

MARGARET LISS:
A few years ago I scanned all of Dave Sim's notebooks. He had filled 36 notebooks during the years he created the monthly Cerebus series, covering issues #20 to 300, plus the other side items -- like the Epic stories, posters and prints, convention speeches etc. A total of 3,281 notebook pages detailing his creative process. I never really got the time to study the notebooks when I had them. Just did a quick look, scanned them in and sent them back to Dave as soon as possible. So this regular column is a chance for me to look through those scans and highlight some of the more interesting pages.

Notebook #27 is the smallest of the notebooks I scanned in it. It measures 5" x 3", one of those small notebooks that you could fit in your pocket:

Notebook #27 back and front cover
The cover says there are 100 pages in the notebook, but only 75 pages remain: 73 pages with material on them were scanned. Only four pages have sketches on them, the rest is text. What Dave thinks he is going to say to Cerebus during Minds, as Dave gets his say first. Some of it makes the final cut, but not all of it, like what he had to say about Prince Mick and Keef, Oscar, Lord Julius. . .

"The skirted the border-line between breathing fire and soiling themselves noisily. They were (and are) a linger petition to the superiors -- the lesser gods, unapologetic for their contrariness letting their words and deeds peak for themselves. They are restrained at times, lose sight of the untenable position emerging on the chessboard of their lives, they are dismissed as aberrations, explained away as self-promoting exhibitionists. Time is their ally. As their beloved contemporaries fad into foot-noted history or obscurity they are returned to over decades. The defy ready explication."

Notebook #27, pages 24 and 25

Notebook #27, pages 26 and 27
The small text like that is only on pages one to 46, and then the lettering changes style, we get a couple pages of sketches and some of this:

Notebook #27, pages 58 and 59
"Cerebus stands for just about anything if it'll make you buy his phonebooks." Looks like some text for a promotional campaign that Dave was formulating.


Cerebus Visits Lake Tahoe


Mara Sedlins:

After completing our first pass at cleanup and doing an initial layout of the pages, I took off for a couple weeks to visit family in Minnesota and Nevada. Besides being reminded why I live in San Diego (I swear, 40 degrees has actually gotten *colder* than it used to be!), I had some down time to read through and enjoy High Society as a novel.




A portion of that down time happened to be at Lake Tahoe, where soon after snapping the above photo I was approached by an elderly gentleman and his fluffy white dog. I had time to kill, so I didn't mind chatting with the guy for a good 20 minutes or so - turns out High Society is a terrific conversation starter (or at least an excuse for strangers to approach you). 

I talked to him about what a graphic novel is, about the idea of self-publishing, and tried to explain the work I was doing on Cerebus. He was intrigued, as well as impressed by the quality of the artwork, and promised to look it up - so Dave, you have a couple new fans in Incline Village, NV (Wayne, and his dog Sophia).

“You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.”

My little encounter at Lake Tahoe reminded me of this quote (attributed to Albert Einstein), often referenced in the context of scientific communication, but an interesting exercise no matter what you're working on. And as it turned out, I actually did have the opportunity to explain digital restoration to my grandmother (who turned 94 while I was in Minnesota).

At first I said some things about Photoshop and contrast and sharpening - but I think the only way I really got it across was with a side-by-side comparison of the before-cleanup and after-cleanup pages. Which I was able to do, since I brought a printout of the first hundred-or-so cleaned up pages with me, as well as our working copy of High Society.



Our poor copy of High Society, which was unbound with an exacto for ease of scanning.

Besides being able to explain the restoration work to my grandma, this also meant that I was able to compulsively highlight and make notes on the newly restored pages, catching a handful of details we missed the first time around (even though my intention was only a leisurely read). 

II also noticed a dramatic change in my reading experience when I switched to the older edition - I was a lot more distracted by degraded text, noise, etc. It was generally less "crisp", with a feeling of being slightly muddled or out-of-focus compared to reading the restored pages. My attention kept getting pulled into the low-level "structural processing" mode I mentioned in my last post, at the expense of experiencing the flow of the story. It'll be great to see the restored version in its entirety in the next day or so when Sean prints a full-size copy, which we'll check systematically for any inconsistencies or remaining cleanup.

I'll share some more thoughts about the plot itself in a future post, but as a preview I'll just mention that my favorite issue was "Mind Game II" (probably not a surprise, given my background). I really enjoy creative visual depictions of mental processes, and the "strange, grey scenery" as "a manifestation of ... mental clutter" (pg. 51) was brilliant.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Off-White House: Under Construction!

DAVE SIM:
Scott down in The Trench. That's the door to my bedroom over his head.
It's a good thing I haven't sleepwalked since I was ten.

Once everything was stripped down, this here wooden art installation turns out to be the footing
that's holding up the roof. As Scott said, "This is Building Code 101.
 This is why we HAVE Building Codes."

How The Roof Of The Off-White House is being held in place
as of Wednesday November 5th

I remark to myself, "This would be a really good month to have a dry spell.
Or, if not a dry spell, at least a really good month to not have non-stop torrential rains for days on end."

The Beavers: The Untold Origin Of Junior!

Cerebus Archive #7 (April 2010)
by Dave Sim

Monday, 10 November 2014

Gary Spencer Millidge: Meanwhile...

Meanwhile... #1
£4.95/$7.95
On Sale: October 2014

GARY SPENCER MILLIDGE:
(from the Strange Maven Blog, 12 September 2014)
Just to recap, in case you haven't been paying attention, Strangehaven is returning in all-new stories as part of a new (technically revived) ongoing British anthology book called Meanwhile… (complete with those three little dots at the end)... It will be a 52-page 'golden-age' format comic book (i.e. a bit wider than your usual comic), containing a mixture of colour and black and white strips. There's a sixteen page episode of Strangehaven which follows on from issue 18 of the regular series (or from the end of Conspiracies if you've followed the series in collected form), as well as a new continuing series from the excellent team who brought you The Man Who Laughs, David Hine and Mark Stafford. There are also contributions from Chris Geary, Yuko Rabbit and Sally Jane Thompson...

(Click image to enlarge)
via Facebook, 3 November 2014

GARY SPENCER MILLIDGE:
(from an interview at The Sardinian Connection, 27 October 2014)
...The whole of the book was plotted out some time ago. After finishing issue 12 - which completed book two - I decided that Strangehaven would be a four book series, even though I didn't publicly proclaim that at the time. So I sat down and plotted out the next two books, and I've been working to that template since. There have been tweaks and adjustments over the years, but I wanted to remain true to my original vision for the series. Even though there's been no Strangehaven published since 2005, it's never been off my desk. Even while I've been working on other things, I've been pulling together bits of information and collating all the visual research required, experimenting with modifications to my rendering techniques and so on...

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Why Aren't More People Talking About Dave Sim?

RICH JOHNSTON:
(from Bleeding Cool, 8 November 2014)
So Dave Sim went and wrote this, for A Moment Of Cerebus,
I did want to mention that the ONLY complete sets of CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER TWO BONUS PRINT FIRST RELEASEs -- all 21 -- will be sent to... Rich Johnston of BLEEDING COOL. Although people don’t seem to “register” the unbelievable and unwavering level of sheer courage that Rich Johnston exhibits in being the ONLY (I repeat: ONLY) comics journalist to a) mention me b) mention my work c) mentioned them both favourably, this, again, is one of those things that doesn’t go unnoticed by me in the toxic political climate which continues to dominate the comics field and the direct market.
a) That's very, very kind of you and I don’t feel deserving. Obviously I’m not going to object, I’m not an idiot.

b) But I'm not courageous about that at all. I have never had an objection expressed to me for anything I've written about Dave Sim. I've had threats against my life, assault against my person and plenty of lies told with the aim of belittling me and that’s all part and parcel of the job. But I've never had any criticism about writing about Sim, at least none that I've been aware of. I haven't signed his pledge, I like some of his work much more than others, but I do consider Sim to be one of the few genuises that comics have created in the English speaking world. And have never had a conversation that has seen that be a point of contention.

c) Because, yes, he does seem to be ignored by the kind of people who shouldn't be ignoring him. As kind as Sim is, I am not a journalist. I'm an entertainment reporter specialising in comics. But some of you folk reading this are journalists. And you're letting your side down.

I mean, seriously, even if you hate the man and his work, it's surely worth writing about right? Such as...

So JUDENHASS will go into the public domain when Lou gets around to uploading a downloadable version of it to the website. You want to print 30 of them? You want to print 3,000,000 of them and give them away to high schools worldwide? With my blessing! Please! Don’t even think of crossing my palm with silver! BELIEVE ME! Anyone making JUDENHASS available anywhere to anyone for any reason, is more than payment enough for me. MORE than enough! SO! Potentially MILLIONS OF COPIES are about to circulate, nu?

Pardon? AM I smiling? What do you know? So I am. Yes, and that was a philosophical shrug of my shoulders.
There you go. Story. Or at least, the start of one...
UPDATE:

TOM SPURGEON:
(from The Comics Reporter, 10 November 2014)
I get that everyone in comics thinks they should be covered more, and has an idea of what that coverage should look like, but for curiosity's sake I did a quick search of articles that mentioned "Dave Sim" on this site and came up with a mere 28 in this calendar year. I'll try to do better.

CANAR: The Back Alley Report #1

Dave Sim contributed to all 32 issues of CANAR (Comic Art News And Reviews) published by John Balgé (1954-2014) between September 1972 and April 1976. Balgé had got to know the sixteen year old Dave Sim through Harry Kremer’s Now & Then Books comic shop in Kitchener, Ontario. Balgé, Sim and Kremer travelled together to comics conventions in the US and Canada interviewing many prominent comic creators of the day, making the back issues of CANAR a treasure trove of interviews with the likes of Will Eisner, Russ Heath, Harvey Kurtzman, Barry Windsor-Smith, Mike Kaluta, Gil Kane, Berni Wrightson, Howard Chaykin and others.

CANAR #1, September 1972
The Back Alley Report by Dave Sim
All contents of CANAR © John Balgé Estate.
(Click images to enlarge) 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Sketches: Cerebus In Colour!

Cerebus Colour Sketch
by Dave Sim
(via Comic Art Fans)

Friday, 7 November 2014

Weekly Update #56: Judenhass In The Public Domain

Judenhass (2008)
by Dave Sim
(click image to enlarge)
DAVE SIM:
Hello, everyone!

Took me 40 minutes just to open and sort the mail today, so this one's going to be a little truncated. Just a LITTLE, though.  Lots of stuff to cover:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1.  Reconstruction of the Off-White House foundation continues. I've got three photos and captions from this week but Dave Fisher hasn't had time to come by and pick them up. As soon as he does, he'll e-mail them to Tim and get them up here. Starting to get my thinking a little more organized, though  :).  The left rear corner is a nightmare, as you will see.

2.  Kickstarter surveys are still coming in, so not much  to report on that front from my end.  I am finishing the package for Tim F. our $10K retail patron. The last thing is a "Cerebus: The Last Post" piece that I've drawn on the back of a SIX DEADLY SINS PORTFOLIO from 1981.

3.  "If I die tomorrow" is the new basis for my thinking.  First thing:  I would want Eddie Khanna to get together with Ted Adams and get "as far as I got" on THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND in print as soon as possible.  Eddie knows where I'm going with it, so it should be possible to just run all of the new pages and then Eddie can take over in prose form from there on. Not the ideal solution, but preferable to trying to think of anyone who could actually finish it AS a comic book.

4.  "If I die tomorrow" Part Two:  I'm constitutionally incapable of destroying documents in the Archive and that includes my Last Will & Testament from 19 October 2006 which is in the office on the desk and has VOID written on it in big letters.  I've also signed the envelope that it's in twice, once in blue ink and once in red ink, overlapping (so you can't really fake it) and dated both signatures 10/11/14.  I'd appreciate that being called to anyone's attention you decides to take over after I'm gone. That's NOT my Will and shouldn't be followed/

5.  "If I die tomorrow" Part Three:  sudden flurry of JUDENHASS-related stuff. Leading me to the conclusion that it's time to put JUDENHASS in the public domain, having arranged through Lou C. to renew the website for five years.

1.  I'm getting a crash course in basic construction fundamentals and it seems like the best course of action is to get everything done on the house STRUCTURALLY that needs to get done -- and then contact Heritage Kitchener and get some expert advice on what the place should -- and shouldn't -- look like.  I have ideas of my own, but my ambition is really to conform as much as possible to the heritage aspects of the house while making the whole thing work between the Off-White House and Scott's place next door, not getting bogged down in property line obsessions which, looking at the evidence, seems to have a long and unhappy history (his place goes up to within six inches of my property line. Which is nuts, because his downstairs tenant really needs access.  I'm not using the four feet or so of space so it just seems sensible to work something out that's a) low maintenance b) works for him and his tenant and c) conforms to what Heritage Kitchener will and won't allow.

Obviously, this isn't "front of mind" most of the time for me:  but it's always there and has been there since Scott bought the place three years ago.  I'll try to keep you posted but I don't know how much of this is "TMI" as far as most of you are concerned.

I'm hoping to get Tom H to post a report here on everything he's been doing.  It SEEMS interesting to me and, hopefully, it isn't offensive to anyone.  As I keep telling him and Scott:  it's YOUR (I mean, YOU folks') money that's paying for this so I figure you should be shown everything that we're doing as we're doing it.

EVENTUALLY the basement will be a research centre.  In the immediate future, what I'm planning is basically a small loading dock.  I think it's time to import the CEREBUS inventory (mostly back issues) from Leamington Ontario and, basically, autograph everything.  I don't know what I'm going to use them for and I've been resisting doing that because it's a HUGE job, but I basically made that choice when I had to relocate all of the glamourpuss back issues from Val d'Or and persuaded Ted Adams to take them at the IDW warehouse with the idea that we would use them for...something...when it came time to promote THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND.  So, that's what I did.  I wasn't crazy about the entryway of the house looking like a loading dock for weeks on end, which is why I haven't done it again.  But the answer with the CEREBUS inventory -- tens of thousands of comic books -- is that WHATEVER I end up doing with them it will work better if they're autographed. And just putting in an hour or two a day "on the loading dock 'incoming' table" seems Low Stress.

So that involves digging out the rear basement in the spring and basically putting a big table in there where the signing can be an on-going thing.  Un-box them, sign them, re-box them, send them to a local storage facility.  Weeks.  Months. Years.  The journey of a thousand miles, etc. 


2.  John F is gradually getting all of the surveys from the Kickstarter supporters.  I did have a stray thought when I saw all of the names printed out in a post a couple of weeks back.  Is there a way to make the database "name searchable"?  What I'm thinking is: this could be a way to tackle the "Lariv" -- anti-viral -- problem.  If you have a friend who is a CEREBUS fan and their name isn't on the list, can you contact them and just ask if they're aware of Kickstarter, that the CEREBUS ARCHIVE folios in unsigned form will soon be available from Diamond and that it's an on-going series?  I do get anecdotal responses from people which suggest that they don't know about it -- or A MOMENT OF CEREBUS for that matter.  I'm trying not to be high-pressure here.  I just don't know of any other way to contact people who read a comic book ten years ago to ask if they know what's happening with it.

I am thinking differently lately since we started doing the Bonus Prints.

A good example is that I intended to send Tim F. a SIX DEADLY SINS PORTFOLIO and to do an ink drawing on it, which I started this morning (astonishingly, I was absolutely caught up on all the mail and faxes! NEVER happens!).  It was one of those things where I've looked at the portfolio folder for over 30 years and thought a number of times, "That would be an interesting paper to draw on".  It's really like a watercolour paper.  But -- as I figured -- it wasn't as if I wanted to do ALL of the DEADLY SINS portfolios in the Cerebus Archive (six or seven).  Just one for the experience.

If you have a copy you know it has Frank Cirocco's SCHANES & SCHANES logo/illustration in white on a sky blue on the back with plenty of drawing space.  So what I was picturing was in ink drawing and then putting in white highlights with white ink or white paint.  So, that's what I'm doing and it's coming out pretty good, I think.

Up to now, it would be "Well, looks like Tim's the lucky guy who gets this since it's the only one I'm doing".  But, NOW, with the Bonus Prints, I thought, "This would make a nice Bonus Print." And then IMMEDIATELY thought:  POTENTIALLY.  What I think makes a nice Bonus Print isn't necessarily what CEREBUS fans think would make a good Bonus Print.  So, that's interesting.  I'm going to get Dave Fisher to relay a scan of it for posting here and that will be the first FIRST RELEASE BONUS PRINT for CANIII.

I won't KNOW if it's any good (in a CEREBUS fan sense) until I see how it sells during the next Kickstarter. :)

I'm looking forward to that:  WHAT Bonus Prints were the top picks this time and WHAT Bonus Prints are going to be #1/1 (because only one person wanted it)?  :)


3.  I'm trying not to be morbid about this, but it's hard not to be when you start something with "If I die tomorrow".  So, having bummed most of you out (and cheered up some of you), let me just add a proviso to Eddie Khanna and Ted Adams working out some way for THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND HE GOT THIS FAR, FOLKS to be made available:  if there's a self-evident (how can I put this) STRANGE DEATH OF DAVE SIM involved, I'd like Eddie and Ted to get together and use an appropriate visual for a Cerebus Trust Fund benefit that they would both sign and number and auction.  Like if there's a news photo of me "buying the farm" or a news photo of Where It Happened.  Morbid?  Yeah, I suppose.  But I'd hate to think of everyone getting suddenly squeamish about it since the major problem I'm facing is being ignored to death.  "Oh, how TRAGIC!  We'd best just ignore this".

There's no close family to speak of, no friends who are easily unsettled, no sensitivities to tip-toe around.

If it actually sells copies of Our Story Thus Far And No Further, hey, I'M in. Even -- actually especially -- from beyond the grave. WOOOooooOOOOOO.

TRUST ME if it wasn't for Eddie Khanna and Ted Adams the book would never have gotten to where it is now.  After I'm gone IT'S THEIRS.


4.  Not much to add to this one.  There won't BE a will, per se, when I get to it:  just Aardvark-Vanaheim getting folded up, all of CEREBUS going into the public domain and all assets becoming the property of The Cerebus Trust.  As soon as I'm declared dead, everything will fall into place automatically. God willing.


5.  JUDENHASS is very weird.  Absolutely nothing happens with it and then all of a sudden I'll get two or three inquiries about it in the space of a week or two.

In this case, a retailer in a major Canadian city, contacted me because his son, Joseph, has a connection to the Hasidic education environment in that city and was interested in, you know, if something could be done with JUDENHASS and could I send him some sample copies to pass around?  Certainly. I've got like four boxes of the PREVIEW edition that I took here at the house when Lebonfon stopped storing books because I couldn't think of anyone else who would want them.  I mean, Menachem would take them, but that would have been a twenty-year supply cluttering up his store.

I'm not naive.

I sent five copies and included a cover letter basically saying that I could guarantee him that nothing would happen and citing the political climate today As It is (or As I Infer It from abundant evidence).  No need in belabouring it here and, potentially, getting everybody all worked up about it.

Then I heard from Lou C. that the JUDENHASS website is up for renewal and he was offering to fold it into his own website.  Well, no, I don't think anything can be DONE, PER SE with JUDENHASS but that doesn't mean that I want to even REMOTELY disown it.  So, I asked Lou to renew the website for the longest sensible time for the money which worked out to five years.  Okay, good.  JUDENHASS technically exists until 2019.  Not that I think anything is going to change before 2019 or after 2019 or in my lifetime, but ...as I say, it's important to me.  I think it will be seen as an important work but not until long after I'm dead.  So as long as I'm alive, I'm going to keep it alive.

The retailer sent an interesting observation relayed from his son, Joseph: "Despite the Hasids' attempts to live in the 18th century, they're modern enough to be infused with the attitude that it's preferable to dance with the Aloi than it is to study the Morlocks."  That's good, you know?  That's very astutely and wryly put.  Which is really what you're stuck with in our world and you have anything that's remotely pro-Jew, Pro-Israel.  You can only be astute and wry.

So, this from me, in return:

As someone who gives equal weight to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, it is inescapable that the Jews are the most inclusive of the monotheistic faiths.  From the time they "got" virtually all of the holy sites in the Levant, they have been scrupulous in making sure that each faith has access to its own holy sites.  And as we've seen lately, they keep strictly to the policy of Not Allowing Their Own People to pray in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.  I mean, to the Jews that's the Temple Mount, but they understand...How The Muslims and Particularly the Philistines, excuse me, the Palestinians...ARE...about that.  The fact that they have the power to enforce their will and yet keep the holy sites open and in conformity with those kinds of sensitivities, to me, gives them Skyer No Higher in the Monotheism Sweepstakes.

Me?  Personally?  I won't make the Hajj to Mecca or, in fact, go to any Muslim country because they won't let the Jews in.  Excuse me?  You are barring the descendants of Isaac from the "Standing Place of Abraham" in the Sacred Mosque in Mecca?  You won't even let them in your country? Feh. And you plan on BRINGING THAT BEFORE G-D ON JUDGEMENT DAY?

To me, that's inexcusable.  Even as I know the only sensible response is the remark upon it astutely, wryly shrug your shoulders and persevere.

So JUDENHASS will go into the public domain when Lou gets around to uploading a downloadable version of it to the website.  You want to print 30 of them?  You want to print 3,000,000 of them and give them away to high schools worldwide?  With my blessing!  Please! Don't even think of crossing my palm with silver!  BELIEVE ME!  Anyone making JUDENHASS available anywhere to anyone for any reason, is more than payment enough for me.  MORE than enough!  SO!  Potentially MILLIONS OF COPIES are about to circulate, nu?  

Pardon?  AM I smiling?  What do you know? So I am.  Yes, and that was a philosophical shrug of my shoulders.

See you all next week, God willing.