Friday, 31 August 2012

HARDtalk: The Dave Sim Interview (26)

Please tell me you still read comics, because I worry that Alan Moore doesn't: the industry I infer he perceives from what he implies in interviews is a very different one from the one I see on the other side of my counter. And although I love Uncle Alan with all my heart that sends out all the wrong signals, counter-productive not only to what Page 45 wants to achieve but what it has already achieved: quality and diversity now freely available getting into the hands of the Real Mainstream. It is possible to break the corporate superhero stranglehold on comics. We've done it. Our biggest seller last year was Craig Thompson's Habibi. And that came out LATE in the year.

Menachem Luchins sent me HABIBI and then later apologized for doing so when he read his own copy.  I'm a First Amendment Purist but not Absolutist and I was really looking forward to reading it.  And then I found it to be basically Islamaphobic pedophile rape porn.  Couldn't make it through.  I don't think there should be a fatwa against Craig -- I don't think there should be a fatwa against anyone: I'm Western to the core in that way.  But it just wasn't saying anything except "Okay now she gets raped again".  "Okay now the kid gets castrated."  Menachem said it didn't really go anywhere good from there.  I'm glad it sold well for you.  Looking on the bright side, it might be the only exposure some people will have to the Koran or Arab culture. I doubt it, but maybe it would be.

Coincidentally, Barry Deutsch sent me his HEREVILLE which is kind of a Jewish equivalent.  Lots of Orthodox Jewish background, Yiddish words, clothing, customs, etc.  And then it turns into a sort of infernal, pagan story "Yet Another Troll-Fighting 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl: How Mirka Got her Sword".  Oy.  Should I be reading this during Ramadan?  That's not a rhetorical question for me.  Ramadan or not, I just felt like I was intentionally making myself dirty reading Craig's book. And I'm a huge fan of his work. HEREVILLE was further over on this side of the 50-yard-line than HABIBI, in my view.  He's working on a sequel right now. I want to read it a couple of more times before I write to him about it.

I finally get around to answering the question about collaborations, referring to GUN FU.  I haven't heard from Howard Shum in AGES and right today he sends me his new self-published project, FUSILLADE.  It's a gorgeous book and I'm looking forward to reading it.
Rick Norwood sends me COMICS REVUE and it usually takes me all month to read all of the strips, starting with Goodwin and Williamson's SECRET AGENT CORRIGAN, then MODESTY BLAISE, then STEVE CANYON -- way late in Caniff's run.  There was a LONG sequence from 1971 trying to "riff" on "Women's Lib".  Yike.  Um, Milt?  This isn't going to "go over" with ANYONE.  BUZZ  SAWYER.  Early sixties stuff where he's in Vietnam on behalf of US Navy intelligence.  Pretty much what you'd expect.  But it's gorgeous.  That guy did Craftint like NOBODY'S business.  I'm really flexible that way.  I really don't agree with a lot of what this is saying but ain't it gorgeous?  TARZAN by Bob Lubbers AND Russ Manning which is hallucinatory going from one to the other.  Harry Harrison's & Dan Barry's FLASH GORDON and then Mac Raboy's FLASH GORDON.  Same hallucinatory effect.  KRAZY KAT (you see how far down the list it is for me).  THE PHANTOM from the 1930s.  MANDRAKE from the 1930s.  Phil Davis actually getting pretty close to Alex Raymond's X-9 style which he is obviously devoted to.  Much closer than I ever thought he would have gotten.
Tribute to Comics Revue magazine, Cerebus #295 (October 2003)
Art by Dave Sim & Chester Brown
I'm about three books behind on DICK TRACY which Ted Adams (IDW Publishing) has been sending me.  As soon as I start, I'll bomb right through them.  Haven't touched the first four years of LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE which is a crime.  I WILL get to it.  "Are there any of our other books you want?"  JEEZ, TED I'm wracked with guilt as it is!  He sent me the BIG Wally Wood EC STORIES Book.  Just JAW DROPPING ALL CAPS.  It's my "Under the Coffee Table Book" along with David Mazzucchelli's DAREDEVIL, Neal Adams' THRILLKILL and Berni Wrightson's MUCK MONSTER.

Yeah, I read quite a lot of comics.  Brian John Mitchell -- there, I mentioned him again.  "The Lay's Potato Chips of Micro Mini Comics:  Bet You Can't Eat Just One".

And I'm looking forward to Craig Thompson's NEXT book.  :)

Tomorrow's question?

What happened to your plans (announced in Cerebus #300) to donate the ‘Cerebus Archive’ collection of your papers to a university or museum? Did you have any takers, and if not, do you have any alternative plans for that physical resource? Can you describe the size and scale of the Cerebus Archive? I’m picturing 2 or 3 filing cabinets in the corner of a room, or has it taken over your entire house? 

Stay tuned for tomorrow's installment! SAME Moment Of Cerebus time SAME Moment Of Cerebus Channel! 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

HARDtalk: The Dave Sim Interview (25)

You and Robert Crumb are notable examples where drug taking seemed to result in a step change in artistic ability and vision. Would you advocate the use of LSD or other drugs by an artist seeking to improve his/her art?

Well, no, I wouldn't advocate the use of LSD or other drugs by anyone.  But, at this point, I wouldn't advocate masturbation, cigarettes, fats, sugars, popular music, most fiction, dancing, movies, card-playing...very little besides reading Scripture aloud, working 12 hours a day six days a week, fasting nine days out of ten, eating very little when you're done fasting, exercise...you see where I'm going with this? :)

But that's the voice of hard experience: that you never know what things in life are going to prove to have an Enormous Adhesive Aspect until they're stuck to you good and proper.  It's received wisdom that pot isn't physically addictive.  Well, it sure was for me.  For a couple of decades there, if I had pot and I was stoned, I was okay, I was wonderful.  If I didn't, I was cranky and jonesing for it.  By the time I knew that that was my relationship with it, it was too late.  It might as well have been grafted onto me with sutures.  Buy a quarter-pound for personal use.  You know, a dealer's quantity.  When I was down to a half ounce, I was "almost out" -- time to buy more. Just trying things to find out if that's the way you are with them, it's Russian Roulette.  When you get burned you get burned but GOOD!

At the same time, OUR society is in advanced adolescence, young adulthood (the civilization formerly known as Christendom, I mean) where it's really your decision.  I mean, REALLY your decision.  Not "You better be VERY careful".   You want to try heroin?  Take a vacation to Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.  You can shoot up in the street and no one will bat an eye.  Contrasted with Islam which is still in its relative infancy:  get hooked on something you shouldn't and its a capital offence.  Homosexuality is a capital offence.  A lot of things we in the West have come to look at as, hey, whatever, Dude are capital offences in Muslim countries.  Want to know what you can do and what you can't do?  Go ask the Imam.  But bet on it being "No, you can't do that. In fact you should be flogged just for asking about it. Don't move while I consider whether you will be or not."  Christendom was like that for a LONG time.  When John Scrudder's girlfriend said she wanted to get a boob job if enough Kickstarter money came in, I said, "Well, God gave you free will the same as he did me."  Which she translated into "He says it's my body and my decision" which isn't QUITE the same thing.
Cerebus #28 (July 1981)
Art by Dave Sim
For me, it's forty years of bad decisions and -- to this point -- sixteen years of repentance.  SERIOUS repentance.  Don't apologize for it.  STOP DOING IT and apologize to God for how long you did it.  22 years of fornication and 16 years of repentance.  Six more years and I'm even.  Theoretically.

But, I do think it's a free will thing.  I'm pretty sure it's where God wants us to get as a civilization and as individuals.  When it's a capital offence, you aren't REALLY being tested.  When heroin is just a plane ticket to Vancouver and a jaunt down to Junkie Heaven, that's when you are REALLY being tested.

Good luck to anyone reading this who thought they'd just try something and now find that it might as well be grafted onto them with sutures.  I can't even imagine what access to online pornography must be like.  Any perversion that comes into your pointy little head(s) just the click of a mouse away.  I feel guilty just watching the occasional music video.  It takes all kinds.

Stephen, you've been uncharacteristically good as gold over there.  What's on your mind?

Please tell me you still read comics, because I worry that Alan Moore doesn't: the industry I infer he perceives from what he implies in interviews is a very different one from the one I see on the other side of my counter. And although I love Uncle Alan with all my heart that sends out all the wrong signals, counter-productive not only to what Page 45 wants to achieve but what it has already achieved: quality and diversity now freely available getting into the hands of the Real Mainstream. It is possible to break the corporate superhero stranglehold on comics. We've done it. Our biggest seller last year was Craig Thompson's Habibi. And that came out LATE in the year.

Stay tuned Moment Of Cerebus fans. Be here tomorrow. Same Moment Of Cerebus time, same Moment Of Cerebus channel! 

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

HARDtalk: The Dave Sim Interview (24)

Cerebus and your work lately seem to be getting some more attention of late, as attested by the recent essay collection Cerebus the Barbarian Messiah and the forthcoming interview collection Dave Sim: Conversations. Is this part of an emerging recognition of your work?  Do you have any thoughts about the fact that academic presses are interested in Dave Sim?

Well, right now, it's mostly just you guys [Eric Hoffman and Dominck Grace].  But I was interested in the immediate online review of CEREBUS THE BARBARIAN MESSIAH that said "Why so thin [a book]?" I think that's one of those cyberspace questions that makes a lot of sense.  The book as constituted is an Internet raw material for its contributors.  AS a book, there are limitations.  How many pages can you do based on perceived demand?  It's no small question for a University press. You have to move those books around the country at x-number of dollars, you have to offer y-discount for ordering z-number of copies.  But as an e-book version, you can keep adding to it.
Like THE COMICS JOURNAL roundtable on Bob Crumb's BOOK OF GENESIS.  You have the initial pieces and then you have the commentators commenting on each other's commentary.  It gets a little comedically "diffuse" at that point in that case.  They're pretty obviously avoiding talking about the material itself -- the BOOK OF GENESIS -- and are off in their secular humanist comfort zone but as long as (in this case) you, Eric were playing "shepherd" and herding everyone BACK to CEREBUS THE BARBARIAN MESSIAH when they start straying from the subject, I think you could probably start a whole end of the academic press that could "encompass" CEREBUS.  Which is a core academic problem with the material.  How many pages do you have to produce to "encompass" 6,000 pages?  How many pages did Hemingway write and how long did it take to generate, say, a 20:1 ratio of commentary-to-subject? Matthew Bruccoli (God rest his soul) did it pretty much single-handedly with F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Depending on what Fitzgerald would have thought of Bruccoli --  that could be a good thing or a bad thing.
Cerebus #289/290 (April/May 2003)
Art by Gerhard
Speaking personally, I'm most jazzed about the academic in England who asked for permission to reprint the Origin of Everything prologue to THE LAST DAY in a book he's doing about dovetailing science with The Bible -- which I happily gave a couple of years ago.  But, that's obviously a very specialized interest at many levels.  Most people don't think of science and the Bible as existing in the same universe -- even and often especially if they're devout believers.  Fewer of them would think of a comic book as having any application if asked.  Virtually no comic book readers would be even vaguely interested.  Sounds like a challenge.

Okay. The question for tomorrow is:

You and Robert Crumb are notable examples where drug taking seemed to result in a step change in artistic ability and vision. Would you advocate the use of LSD or other drugs by an artist seeking to improve his/her art?

Tune in tomorrow. Same Moment Of Cerebus time, same Moment Of Cerebus channel!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

HARDtalk: The Dave Sim Interview (23c)

Can we expect to see more Dave Sim collaborative work in future? 

So, the problem is, trying to describe what I'm doing and why I think it could help pretty much everyone.  Richard Starkings is an incredibly experimental guy but a very pragmatic one: I mean, he figured out how to do a title with pretty much a different creative team every issue.  I pointed out that he's got an enormous inventory of Elephantmen pages with a SICK amount of painted detail on them -- particularly in the early going.  Plenty of potential to "Ken Burns" the pages, just having to add in new characters, classic animation style.  It's YOUR world and it's just sitting there while you're getting guys to run ahead of the freight train to keep to a plausible schedule.  As if animated films were made the way Winsor McKay did it where you had to redraw the background every time.  

It really violates a core "work ethic" thing attached to comic books.  I understand that.  But it works.  Don't do a whole issue with it, but do five pages with it.  Do a page transition with it.  Do a pan shot with it.  If JUDENHASS had been a hit instead of "here and gone" it might've taken hold, I don't know.
Elephantmen #42 by Dave Sim (2012)
So, the answer to your question is: if you're talking about a Dave Sim collaboration, that's what we would be looking at.  I'm not going to pencil or ink 20 pages of foregrounds and backgrounds and work on a script.  All of my writing and drawing time is going into THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND.  20 pages would probably take up six months to a year of my life.  I can't afford to just throw that away at this point in my life (actually I never could, I just didn't figure that out until recently).  But, it's hard to communicate with people.  I am TALKING with someone I consider a VERY BIG NAME right now about a collaboration.  Going back to the Creators' Bill of Rights time -- and especially with Steve Bissette and Michael Zulli's experiences with Mirage and Tundra -- it became obvious that you needed to keep track right from the beginning of who contributed what because it gets lost in the fever of just throwing ideas around in a room.  So, that's been a hidden blessing of my not answering my phone, just recording messages and then listening to them.  The SOMEONE I'm "talking" to is leaving phone messages about this project he wants to work with me on.  And I'm -- with his permission -- recording the phone messages.  Then I record myself leaving him phone messages.  Right from the beginning.

I'm basically just giving him "Here's what I think is good, here's what I think you're forgetting that you have to move to the front burner, here's some ideas."  And now he's at the point of getting a full proposal down on paper and sending it to me.  Notes going back years, auto-bio stuff, but I'm definitely helping him shape it.  He's always been more of an artist than a writer. Shaping it might be all that I end up doing.  Or I might end up being a script doctor on it.  "Here's what you're trying to say, here it is with the fat cut off it, here's the point of it sharpened and here's where it hits the readers between the eyes on page 9".  The stuff I do in my sleep.  Put "Thanks to Dave Sim for his input" and call it a day.

And we'll/he'll probably do a Kickstarter campaign for it.  It seems sensible to me.  Plan a single issue and put the cover and sketches and prints and stuff up on Kickstarter.  If you take in $5K let's say, well, okay. That pays you to write and draw it and give it to all your pledge partners in digital form. No overhead.  Just 1's and 0's e-mailed to them.   The $5K pays for the writing and drawing.  Then you solicit for it.  You get orders for 2,000.  Uh, nope.  It doesn't have the "legs" to be an actual funnybook.  So sorry.  Can't say we didn't try.

I even wonder if you could keep it simpler than that.  "Dave Sim and Very Big Name" are talking about doing a comic book together.  Who's in?  Who's in for $20?  Who's in for $100?  Just theoretically, let's say "John Byrne and Brian Michael Bendis" or "Howard Chaykin and Mark Millar".  You don't have to invest six months of two lives, a whole man-year of work, waiting to find out if it has "legs" -- 30 days later you would know.  "Yeah, I'll draw a comic book for that.  Hell, I'll draw ten comics books for that."

Okay, Eric and Dominick again:

Cerebus and your work lately seem to be getting some more attention of late, as attested by the recent essay collection Cerebus the Barbarian Messiah and the forthcoming interview collection Dave Sim: Conversations. Is this part of an emerging recognition of your work?  Do you have any thoughts about the fact that academic presses are interested in Dave Sim?

Be here tomorrow Moment Of Cerebus fans. Same Moment Of Cerebus time, same Moment Of Cerebus channel!

Monday, 27 August 2012

HARDtalk: The Dave Sim Interview (23b)

Can we expect to see more Dave Sim collaborative work in future? 

Brian John Mitchell is a regular correspondent and a very productive creator.  Every second or third envelope arrives with a good half-dozen of his micro-minis in it, all of which I would rate at least 3 out of 5 stars and many of which are easily 4 out of 5 or 5 out of 5 stars.  One of his more interesting series which swerves from poignant to outright hilarious is LOST KISSES.  It's really not politically correct, but it's hysterically funny when he's doing humour.  Especially ULTIMATE LOST KISSES: THE DAILY STRIPS, his self-confessed "bitter break-up" mini.

So, as usually happens, I was answering the mail and I knew his letter was coming up.  It had a script in it for ULTIMATE LOST KISSES -- that is LOST KISSES drawn by other people (Brian himself does stick figures -- so it was a funny idea already).  Well, no, I'm running ahead of the freight train as I always am.  I can allocate a couple of days to answering the mail every month or two but answering the mail doesn't include drawing a 25-page comic -- even when it's not much larger than the size of my thumbnail.  Maybe especially.  I've never worked that size.  So then I get to the letter and I'm reading the script.  And it's a good script.  Actually it's a GREAT script. It has to be. It's BJM.  He's never written anything bad that I've read and he sends me everything he does.

So, then I go, "Well okay, what would be involved here?  What if I did it JUDENHASS style?"  That is, doing a single drawing and then "Ken Burns-ing" it.  Enlarge it on the photocopier to do a close-up. Reduce it to do a "camera pulls back".  Pan across it by chopping it up left to right or right to left.  How many drawings would I need to do to "cover" the material?  I'm still not committed to DOING it but I'm not outside of my comfort zone of answering a letter...YET.  Takes maybe five minutes to break the problem down.  Yeah, I could do this with -- whatever it was -- four drawings, five drawings.  Okay, now, it's (as Gene Day used to say, without the hyphens) "S--it or get off the pot" time.  So I grab a sheet of scrap illustration board and do the four or five drawings which takes maybe a half-hour because they're size-as or slightly larger.  And then I start photocopying them and cutting them up on the light table and taping the enlarged and reduced photocopies into place in BJM's script (which thoughtfully leaves space for the drawings).
Extract from Lost Kisses #11 (2009)
Story and words by Brian John Mitchell, art by Dave Sim
I think it took me an hour and fifteen minutes to do a 26-page story (or however long it was) which was very empowering. I mean, it's not FINISHED but it's a complete blueprint for a comic book.  The rest of it is just a tech problem.  I sent him the original art, he scanned it and then copied my photocopy clip- and-paste job in Photoshop.  Clean copies, clean cuts, squared-up borders with the same line density.  But I don't have to do that (and, in fact, don't know HOW to do that).

Yes, this works.  Remember this.  So I DID remember it as I was working on Rich's ELEPHANTMEN cover.  Which is why I thought to pitch him on the idea.  I think I just did the first couple of pages so he could get the idea.  And he didn't say, "This is just one drawing reused" which seemed a real possibility.  No, if you know what you're doing, it isn't obvious.  The camera "movement" creates the drama in the same way that Ken Burns' camera work created an extra layer of drama in his CIVIL WAR documentary.  So you forget you're looking at still images because the "cinema tropes" are so deeply ingrained that you respond to the "movement" and how it's changing the emphasis of the words.

Tomorrow:  Will Dave Sim ever actually answer the question about possible future collaborations? It's been DAYS and DAYS!  Tune in Same Moment of Cerebus Time, Same Moment of Cerebus Channel!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

HARDtalk: The Dave Sim Interview (23a)

Can we expect to see more Dave Sim collaborative work in future? 

The situation with Richard Starkings was an unusual confluence of events: I happened to be grafting John Scrudder's interview with him onto that episode of CEREBUS TV where he said "I'd LOVE to have Dave do an ELEPHANTMEN cover" so I called him to see if he was still interested. And then when I had it done, I thought I'd pitch him on two more covers and three more back-up stories done JUDENHASS style from each piece. Hey, why not? He was surprised that I was back, like, two weeks later with the finished work. When I say I'm going to do something, I do it.
Judenhass by Dave Sim (2008)
Click image to enlarge
As I say, most people think I'm Cerebus.  Who wants to work with someone who's just going to bite your head off? So, that perception has to be gotten around.  And probably can't be.  In comics, once you're carved in stone, you're carved in stone.  I know that, probably, better than most.  And it has to be someone who agrees that I can reproduce my own work, which I knew wasn't an issue with Rich (I mean, the episode of CEREBUS TV was all about how influential the Creator's Bill of Rights was for him back in the late 80s).  I'm not going to rush it into a DAVE SIM ART BOOK right away, any more than I did with TURTLES No.8 and SPAWN No.10 -- but maybe a couple of years down the line, you know, "Here's what my original story looked like".

I don't know how Marvel is, but for DC that's a deal-breaker on their work-made-for-hire titles.  So, "probably not Marvel", "pretty definitely not DC" but maybe anyone else who is a little bit flexible and thinks I can produce a viable raw material for them.  Oh, and they can't think that you can't be found because you don't have an e-mail address. 519-576-0610.  It's called a "telephone".  Or 519-576-0955.  It's called a "fax machine".

Actually, the collaboration with Rich came about because of my collaborations with micro-mini-comic creator Brian John Mitchell of Silber Media of North Carolina. I'll talk a bit more about that tomorrow.

TOMORROW: How ULTIMATE LOST KISSES No.11 led to Dave Sim's ELEPHANTMEN stories.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

"Bad News" - Fire Destroys 'High Society' Negatives

DAVE SIM:
(Kickstarter Update #78, 24 August 2012)
Just thought everyone should know:  Fisher came over today and asked if I had heard from Sandeep. No, I hadn't. Hands me today's RECORD.  Front page: Sandeep's place -- and the buildings on either side of him -- were gutted by fire yesterday afternoon. He got out in one piece but with nothing but the clothes on his back and his wallet (he had been in the shower and a cop showed up at the door:  "You have the leave. NOW") The whole place went up in about five minutes.

All of the negatives for HIGH SOCIETY were destroyed as well as the 11x17 scanner and the new negative scanner. No insurance.  So, I thought I'd better let everyone know that we're definitely not on track for the September 12 launch at this point.

I don't expect that I'll hear from Sandeep for at least a few days -- he's staying with friends and obviously has a lot more important things to think about than HIGH SOCIETY DIGITAL.  

Okay -- gotta run to make my 3:00 prayer.  Please feel free to relay this to anyone you think should know.  Particularly people who are waiting on HIGH SOCIETY DIGITAL.

THE RECORD:
Firefighters battle blaze in Uptown Waterloo
(Janek Lowe, 24 August 2012)
WATERLOO — Uptown Waterloo filled with smoke Thursday as firefighters battled a blaze along King Street North.

A restaurant and a recently vacated convenience store in the building numbered 37, 39 and 41 King St. N. were ablaze shortly after 3 p.m. The two storefronts and the apartments above were gutted. Flames shot up through the roof, thick brown smoke pouring out.

Gord Pesst, who co-owns Mom’s Tattoos with his girlfriend, said he spotted the fire at the back of an alley between his building and the vacant store when he dialed 911.

“Basically the fire went from nothing to the whole building in five minutes,” said Pesst.

He ran upstairs to the apartment he and his girlfriend rent to grab their two dogs and close the windows in a last-minute effort to stave off the smoke.

“I didn’t think it was going to spread that fast.”

Patrycja Rembiszewska was working in the back office of Ish & Chips when she first smelled smoke. She thought it was paper burning in the kitchen when “someone just ran in there and told us the building is on fire.”

When she and her co-workers walked out to see what was happening, they turned around to see the entire restaurant filling with smoke.

“We tried getting whatever we could and just ran out of there,” she said. “I was literally shaking. I couldn’t get myself together.”

The fish and chip restaurant across the street from Princess Twin Cinemas opened in July 2010. Rembiszewska, who has worked there since it opened, said her boss was on a plane coming back from a European vacation and did not yet know about the fire.

“I feel really bad for him.”

King Street between Erb Street and Bridgeport Road was closed well into the evening as Waterloo firefighters poured water and foam onto the scene.

Four fire crews of about 20 firefighters were attacking on three fronts — from street level above and behind, and an aerial unit hanging overhead. Just after 5 p.m. the roof started to collapse.

Police struggled to keep the crowds back behind the police line, those flocking to the scene to watch and photograph the action deep within the brown smoke billowing from the building’s rooftop.

Most businesses along the affected block closed their doors, but patios of local bars and caf├ęs continued to serve customers braving the dark cloud that shifted back and forth across the area.

Waterloo Fire Chief Lyle Quan said heavy smoke was visible when fire crews arrived at the scene. Everyone was out of the building that was on fire, allowing them to work to protect neighbouring buildings.

“If no one needs to be rescued, then the safety of the firefighters becomes our priority,” Quan said.

Quan reported no injuries, but said the building was destroyed. However, the 100-year-old Waterloo post office building south of the blaze and Mom’s Tattoos were believed to be unaffected.

After more than six hours, firefighters were still putting out hot spots and were expected to be on the scene for several more hours.

“It will take us quite a while to get this quenched,” Quan said.

The cause is not yet known. However, a fire investigator from the Waterloo Fire Department was on the scene. Preliminary damages exceed $500,000.

COLLEEN DORAN:
(from the A Distant Soil blog, 25 August 2012)
Most sincere sympathies to Dave Sim and his Cerebus High Society digital archive team. As many of you know, Dave enlisted aid in scanning and archiving his work for a new digital edition of Cerebus. This week, the home of his archivist, as well as the homes of others on the same block, were completely destroyed in a fire. Though it is a great relief no one was killed, the property was a total loss, and all of Dave’s negatives and digital scans were destroyed. It’s a terrible blow, both personally and professionally, for everyone involved. This is also an uninsured loss on the heels of a brilliant Kickstarter fundraising campaign.

While I do not mean to diminish the serious personal loss of anyone else involved, naturally, my past friendship with Dave, and my deep respect for his accomplishments as an artist and creator rights activist, has left me heartsick on Dave’s behalf.

Sincere hopes and good wishes to Dave and his supporters.

HARDtalk: The Dave Sim Interview (22b)

Since finishing Cerebus, you have done some work with other creators, even occasionally scripting for others (e.g. the issue of Gun Fu you co-wrote), something you'd done early on but, except for with Gerhard, rarely have done since that partnership formed.  How do you find it to have to script for another artist, or to accomodate your style to someone else's work?  

So, I had mocked up the whole "Ebony Dreams" with pasted-together photocopies with Richard's own Joe Kubert computer font lettering (In Pace Requiescat, Joe Kubert!! Your computer ROCKED, ROCKS & WILL ALWAYS ROCK MY WORLD!)  I wanted the three Elephantmen pieces in black and white.  Well, he obviously tried that on the computer screen, mocking it up and went, "No, this isn't working for me".  And then, trying to stick over in my direction, he said he was going to colour it a light monochrome -- 20 percent cyan or something.  And then, obviously, looked at that and said, "No, this isn't working for me either." It's still a good 80 percent or more of what I sent him. Which is a pretty good track record for making someone else's jigsaw puzzle piece.

Which, even just in the story sense, is amazing in itself because I was definitely taking his storyline in an entirely new direction.  This storyline he's been working on for years.  "Mappo but higher up".  Well, Rich --  there it is.  You can rewrite the ending or do a transition that establishes it JUST as a dream and edit the "Mappo but higher up" out of the other two stories.
Ebony Dreams by Dave Sim (2012)
Black & White version: Hero Comics 2012 (Hero Initiative)
Colour version: Elephantmen #42 (Image Comics)
But if you stick with it it's, at the very least, a long-range story arc across the three characters who have roughly the same dream.  A game-changer.  Well, he decided to go with it.  Which is very flattering and very gratifying -- I can DO this for other comics, I can satisfy another creator with this. It showed he had confidence not only in my writing but in my conceptualizing.  "This appeals to me -- I could do some good things with this."  I'm an Elephantmen fan so it was me saying "Here's what I would do and here's the three characters I'd do it with and here's the escape hatch if you don't want to do it."  I even included some sample snapshot dialogue it could lead to.  It's there if he needs it.  If he can't use the snapshot dialogue maybe it will trigger something for him.  It's like tennis doubles -- you work with your partner and try to set things up.  You do what works.

Okay, Eric and Dominick, you have a follow-up question for this?

Can we expect to see more Dave Sim collaborative work in future? 

Okay, that's a good one.  Tune in tomorrow to see if The Caped Crusader will sober up from The Riddler's Mickey Finn and doing the Batusi in time to drive the Batmobile to Robin's rescue.  (That was actually the first Batman TV cliffhanger back in January 1966... unless I dreamed that part) Same Moment of Cerebus Time, Same Moment of Cerebus Channel!

Friday, 24 August 2012

HARDtalk: The Dave Sim Interview (22a)

Welcome to the Moment of Cerebus Holiday Editions done a) on the fly and b) way ahead of time so Tim can get a few days away. A question from Eric Hoffman (Cerebus the Barbarian Messiah; Dave Sim:Conversations) and Dominick Grace (Dave Sim:Conversations):

Since finishing Cerebus, you have done some work with other creators, even occasionally scripting for others (e.g. the issue of Gun Fu you co-wrote), something you'd done early on but, except for with Gerhard, rarely have done since that partnership formed.  How do you find it to have to script for another artist, or to accomodate your style to someone else's work?  

Not really difficult at all.  In fact, it's one of the things that I missed out on throughout my career -- being able to write something "to order", the bane of the average freelancer's existence: editorial revisions.  Something I would do on CEREBUS, extensively but internally.  As I continue to annotate my notebooks for HIGH SOCIETY AUDIO DIGITAL, it's amazing how BRUTAL an editor I was with myself the first five years or so.  Dropping large chunks of material because they slowed the story down or went too far from the main point.  Often losing some good sight gags and funny lines because I needed a quicker transition. Particularly around the late issue 30s -- I've just hit the point in the Notebooks at the end of Petuniacon where I realized that I was running out of pages on HIGH SOCIETY.  HOW CAN YOU RUN OUT OF PAGES ON A 500-PAGE STORY!!???
Gun Fu: Showgirls Are Forever (Image Comics, 2006)
Art by Dave Sim, Gerhard, Joey Manson & Howard Shum
In the case of Howard Shum's Gun Fu: Showgirls Are Forever and, more recently, Richard Starkings' Elephantmen, it's THEIR book so you basically take it as a given that whatever you are doing is a raw material, not a finished piece so I make sure they understand that at the outset.  Anything you don't want in there or anything you want to change, feel free.  For obvious reasons, a Dave Sim fan -- and they were both longtime Dave Sim fans -- are very hesitant to edit Dave Sim.  Until they're actually looking at it as a jigsaw puzzle piece they have to fit into their own cosmology.  There's no way another creator is going to make a perfect jigsaw puzzle piece for you.  It's YOUR jigsaw puzzle so it has to be your jigsaw puzzle piece.  Time to get the, you know, jigsaw out and trim some of the "Dave Sim" off of this thing so it fits!
Elephantmen: Ebony Dreams (Hero Comics 2012)
By Dave Sim with Richard Starkings
As happened with Rich, he tried to keep it my thing. I mean, there were immediate changes that he made in the script.  He's been writing Elephantmen for years so he knows an Elephantmen caption from an Elephantmen "space invader" and sent back his revisions.  And then probably held his breath waiting for me to go ballistic (people always confuse me with Cerebus). No reaction on my part apart from curiosity as to what it was that he was seeing -- which I'm not going to know.  Just glad that he was able to use the rest of it.

Tomorrow:  How much more of this can I take?  everyone wonders.  Quite a lot, as it turns out.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

HARDtalk: The Dave Sim Interview (21)

From the material reprinted in the Cerebus Archive magazine, you seemed to keep just about every letter or scrap of paper you ever touched. Are you a hoarder by nature or did you have a sense of its importance and that all this stuff was worth keeping at the very start of your career? ...But before you answer that, I thought I'd mention that we have our first news site joining us today for the "march downfield" to the HIGH SOCIETY DIGITAL LAUNCH 10.10.12 -- BLEEDING COOL.  I'm just going through their first batch of questions now for some good ones and I'll be faxing them to you shortly.

Say, that's great Tim!  You know one of the reasons that I don't have Internet at home is that I know if I did I'd be hooked on BLEEDING COOL! Just completely absorbed in watching all the breaking news and trending items on BLEEDING COOL.  BLEEDING COOL really have all the stories that comic fans are looking for, up to the minute, 24/7. Consequently BLEEDING COOL has the best-informed, most intelligent audience of pretty much any news site on the Internet I could think of.  In fact I'm typing this on August 21st and I was just up at the counter buying my coffee here at the coffee shop and there were two average downtown Kitchener businessmen ahead of me in line -- just regular guys with, obviously, a lot of disposable income and right smack in that target demographic everyone is looking to connect with on the Internet these days -- and they were talking about BLEEDING COOL's breaking story of Geoff Johns leaving AQUAMAN and whether it would be trending up or down on the home page. That happens to me so often these days -- people who haven't even touched a comic book in twenty years absolutely immersed in what's happening on BLEEDING COOL -- that I don't even remark on it anymore.

Anyway.  No, I WISH I had been that scrupulous.  There were various points where I just junked whole piles of artwork, letters, stories because I wanted to move mentally past it.  Single pages and cartoons and sketches and I'd think, "No, this isn't it. I'm in love with how it looks but there's no market for it."  Purging files.  I absolutely hate to think of the stuff I would throw away so I could start fresh.  "Just put it -- CAREFULLY -- into a garbage bag and STORE it somewhere."  I hung onto stuff that had gotten published, mostly.  THIS saw print. THIS is okay.  Focus on THIS.  Letters. All of my interviews with Mike Kaluta, BWS, Berni Wrightson, Harvey Kurtzman.  Well, don't need these anymore. Might as well use them to record mixed music tapes.  ARGH.  

The Gold Standard is really Milt Caniff's Archive at Ohio State University.  ALL of his fanmail kept chronologically, to the extent that Jules Feiffer could narrow down to a space of a year or so when he had written to Caniff at age 10 (or whatever) and there it was. Jules Feiffer's letter to Milt Caniff.
Cerebus Archive #16-18 (October 2011 to February 2012)
Art by Dave Sim
I don't have the first drawing of Cerebus.  The one on the back cover of CEREBUS No.1, the A-V logo I did for Deni.  No real need to keep track of it.  It's a mascot for a fanzine.  A fanzine isn't taking me where I'm going.  It got me a girlfriend. It served its purpose.  At a specific point, I did start to save a lot more stuff.  But, as an example, I only have the tracing paper drawings I'm selling at Dave Sim Art from the last few years of CEREBUS.  Before that, I just threw them out.  End of the issue clean-up -- "Go in with a flamethrower" Ger and I used to call it.  Same idea.  I need all of this No.134 CRAP out of my way so I can start thinking seriously about No.135.  Bunch bunch bunch. PITCH.

I'd get lazy. There's about ten years of correspondence missing because I'd just handwrite the answers, Karen or Carol or Monique or whoever it was would type the letter and mail it.  "I really should get them to photocopy it and file the copy before they do that."  If you've got Dave Sim letters, please send photocopies of them in -- particularly from 1988 to 1996 or so.  After CEREBUS was done, I kept all of the letters in comic magazine boxes.  Letters, photocopies of my answers and whatever it was that came with the letter.  Boxes and boxes.

Kept EVERY scrap of glamourpuss pretty much.  Done with it? I'd have a magazine box standing on its end and just put every proof, every sketch, every stat in it.  Two long boxes over four years. It doesn't take up that much room and THERE's the only chronological record.

Tomorrow's question? Why, its right here:

Since finishing Cerebus, you have done some work with other creators, even occasionally scripting for others (e.g. the issue of Gun Fu you co-wrote), something you'd done early on but, except for with Gerhard, rarely have done since that partnership formed.  How do you find it to have to script for another artist, or to accomodate your style to someone else's work?

Stay tuned Moment Of Cerebus fans. Be here tomorrow... same Moment Of Cerebus time, same Moment Of Cerebus channel! 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

HARDtalk: The Dave Sim Interview (20c)

I donated to the Cerebus Kickstarter fundraiser as I instantly understood the importance of creating a permanent digital archive of the Cerebus comics and related materials which will exist long after we are all dead and buried. Was this your motivation behind the Cerebus Digital 6000 project, or are you just looking to make a quick buck off the younger generation of comic readers?

Okay so my point is:  this is not making a QUICK buck or a STEADY buck necessarily.  It remains to be seen if there are going to be ANY bucks.  So far, we know that we were able to get Kickstarter crowd-source funding to do this ONCE.  On "9.12.12" (or "12.9.12" if you're in the UK) -- the week after the FREE download of No.26 has "shipped" when the four-issue package (#27-30 for $3.99) "ships") -- we'll find out if it was just 1,140 people giving me money ONCE or if this thing "has legs".  It's a very interesting situation because all we can do is forge ahead covering as many bases as we can.  The FREE download of No.26 now exists in raw form.  I've recorded all of the audio.  Sandeep has scanned all the negatives -- and the scans are GORGEOUS no matter how much you enlarge them -- I've annotated all the Cerebus Archive documents from the time (30 pages per issue roughly), I've annotated all of my Notebook entries for No.26, George has the scans Paradise Comics did of the front and back covers of the Dave Sim file copies at 1200 dpi and has put together an animated intro with them.  But it's still just in raw form.  Roughly four weeks before it "ships".  It's a brand new world.  What happens NEXT we have no idea.

Is "the younger generation of comic readers" -- that you started with in your question way back a few days ago -- going to be remotely interested?  No idea.

Black and white on the Internet is pretty much unheard of from what I understand because colour doesn't cost more to "print".  Will anyone put up with black and white?  No idea.

Is 40 to 60 pages of annotated additions "overkill"?  No idea.

Does the fact that you get the first issue free, the next four for $3.99 and "two a week" for $1.99 after that going to outweigh the perceived drawbacks?  No idea.

At the very least, we'll be able to say that this is the most thorough presentation of HIGH SOCIETY possible.  If it crashes and burns, well, at least we can say that out of the 16 books, HIGH SOCIETY was done properly and thoroughly.  Even if it flops as a paid digital download we'll still have enough money to start on the CEREBUS volume and get as far along with it as possible.  And then try to raise money to keep going with another Kickstarter campaign.

I'm very interested in seeing how this plays out over the next 25 days.  We all are.
Cerebus #26 (May 1981)
Free Digital Download - Available 12 September 2012
So what shall we talk about tomorrow? Let's see now:

From the material reprinted in the Cerebus Archive magazine, you seemed to keep just about every letter or scrap of paper you ever touched. Are you a hoarder by nature or did you have a sense of its importance and that all this stuff was worth keeping at the very start of your career?

Be here tomorrow, same Moment Of Cerebus time, same Moment of Cerebus channel!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

HARDtalk: The Dave Sim Interview (20b)

I donated to the Cerebus Kickstarter fundraiser as I instantly understood the importance of creating a permanent digital archive of the Cerebus comics and related materials which will exist long after we are all dead and buried. Was this your motivation behind the Cerebus Digital 6000 project, or are you just looking to make a quick buck off the younger generation of comic readers?

Okay.  Am I just trying to make a quick buck off the younger generation of comic book reader? Well, yes, in a sense. More of a STEADY buck than a QUICK buck.  CEREBUS is not and never will be a HARRY POTTER kind of thing. So I need as many different small streams of revenue as I can come up with.  So that's what I started with with the HIGH SOCIETY DIGITAL.  Basically get enough money at Kickstarter so I could pay Sandeep to scan all the pages and do an audio book side -- a revenue stream.  Maybe when it exists someone will buy it.  Well, okay.  Actually raising money to make it happen was HUGELY successful.  But that's just the first step.  The second step was saying, Okay, there's enough money here to do a VERY thorough job of this.  What I hadn't realized was HOW thorough a job.  I've been AWOL from the HARDtalk interview because I hadn't been doing the annotations on my Notebooks.  Plenty of time for that.  Just "here's what you're looking at".  Boom I'm done.

Well, as I started actually READING the Notebooks -- and I'm unquestionably the only person who CAN read my Notebooks -- I found a lot of interesting stuff that I had forgotten.  Things like alternative dialogue between Cerebus and Jaka in No.36.  I don't remember writing it, but I'm -- you know-- familiar with the material to say the least.  So in reading it, I go, Oh, okay, that's why that didn't work. That's what I saw at the time and that's why I stopped there.  In No.37 when Bran Mak Mufin comes in and talks to Cerebus in the Oak Room...well, originally I had Suenteus Po.  So there's a couple of blocks of dialogue between A Suenteus Po (not THE Suenteus Po) that is very good background on Illusionism.  It wasn't usable for a different reason, but it is authentic writing from CEREBUS from that time period.
Cerebus #37 (April 1982)
Art by Dave Sim
See, people want me to go back and do that stuff again.  Well, I can't. I'm 56, I'm not 26.  But I CAN dig through what I was working on back then and decipher my hand-writing and tell you who I wrote the dialogue for -- and there you go: that's as close as you're going to get to NEW HIGH SOCIETY stories.

But, it's VERY time-consuming.  I have to first read it, then decipher what I can't read and then figure out what I was doing and then type out an explanation of what I was doing.  So, it's taken me all week to annotate the Notebooks from No.26 to No.36.  This with the "9.12.12" ( or "12.9.12" if you're in the UK) deadline for release of the free HIGH SOCIETY NO.1 DIGITAL DOWNLOAD (No.26) bearing down on us all.  Sandeep's a CEREBUS fan and he'd LIKE to read the annotations as he's e-mailing them to George.  But he can't. He's scanning negatives from the time he gets up in the morning until he goes to bed.

So, now I'm recording me performing all the voices in an issue -- No.37 -- and then recording Aardvark Comment and then annotating the Notebook entries for that issue (which is easier when I've just performed it -- I know what Notebook entries are IN the issue and which entries AREN'T) and then annotating all of the Cerebus Archive documents.  Also from the moment I get up until the moment  I go to bed.

So what's my point?  I'll get to that tomorrow. SAME Moment Of Cerebus Time. SAME Moment Of Cerebus Channel.

Monday, 20 August 2012

HARDtalk: The Dave Sim Interview (20a)

I donated to the Cerebus Kickstarter fundraiser as I instantly understood the importance of creating a permanent digital archive of the Cerebus comics and related materials which will exist long after we are all dead and buried. Was this your motivation behind the Cerebus Digital 6000 project, or are you just looking to make a quick buck off the younger generation of comic readers?

Boy, Tim, you have a real knack for asking very complicated questions that look very simple on the surface of them. And I'm trying to be "Moment of Cerebus" concise here!  Let me answer it over a couple of MOC entries.

First, I was certainly self-conscious about trying Kickstarter.  It definitely didn't sound like something for guys in their late fifties.  There comes a time when you have to just let go.  But it had come up a few times in discussions of "where next?" You have to cross things off the list. Okay: that didn't work. Next?

And, of course, it did work -- phenomenally.  So then I had to reconfigure everything in my life around Kickstarter. $63,000 in 2012 is like $600,000 pre-September 2008.  WHY did that work?  And it seems obvious to me that the answer is that the ipad is a game-changer on a scale no one really thought it would be.  The idea of having HIGH SOCIETY in a high quality form on their ipads appealed to a lot of people. The people I know who are my age or twenty years younger than I am if they have an ipad they don't really use it.  They have a cellphone and they use that and have a computer and they use that.  They don't think in terms of something between a cellphone and a computer.  But people who are thirty or forty years younger than I am DO.  And they do in a BIG way.  It's a big part of their identity that they can have massive parts of their lives on these book-sized devices.
Cerebus #116 (November 1988)
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard
There's a Model Condo where they're planning to build them next to City Hall here in town. And I remember being struck by the size of the rooms.  They're tiny.  I mean, one of the big sight gags in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE when that came out was when we see Alex's apartment where he lives with his parents for the first time.  Tiny little rooms. Well, we're THERE.  Dystopia means you can't afford the space you could before and the more "dystopiac" a world you have, the tinier they get.  Again, post-September 2008.

The point is, the room to have a comic-book collection is an unimaginable luxury in 2012 for most people and certainly for most kids.  In my day, most parents had a basement and that was where the comic book collection went.  That's not nearly as common.  And comic books themselves have become unimaginably expensive relative to how much "walking around money" the average 18-25 year old has.  So, it's, I think, a matter of how much comic-book collecting you can do on your ipad.  A lot of people are having to downsize their lives and they have a LOT of books of all kinds. If the book is available in the public domain online, it's hard to justify spending money on storing it.  There's enormous resistance to that truth in people my age and twenty years younger than I am. But, for an 18 year old who has only known our dystopia-as-constituted, it's a no-brainer.  You pay to store things you actually need -- like clothes -- anything you can store online, you store online.
See all the 2010-2011 Cerebus Head-Sketches at Behind The Panels
Tomorrow I'll get to the "making a quick buck off the younger generation" part of the question. SAME Moment Of Cerebus Time. SAME Moment Of Cerebus Channel.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Magic Really Exists

Cerebus #115 (October 1988)
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard
DAVE SIM:
(from Note From The President, Cerebus #120, March 1989)
Magic really exists. I mean the horsey ride in Jaka's Story. Yeah! That's a for real playground (albeit with the background suburbs eliminated, as well as most of the rest of the playground equipment that's there). Can you believe it? I've been meaning to mention that since 114. 

...Yes. Magic the wonder horsey ride exists between Mill Street and Highland Road right here in Kitchener, just behind the lawn-bowling and tennis club. I decided to walk down there the day I finished Church & State, while Ger still had the last few pages to do. I was free! Free, I tell you! I had a whole gaping novel ahead of me. Most of the Rick/Jaka/Cerebus/Pud part I had already worked out, but I got to pick and choose from all of the incidents in Jaka's past I wanted to work with. I was sitting on the park bench (Oh, hey! Right. I forgot. The park bench exists, too) staring at the horse when I started getting all of these mental pictures of Jaka and what she would be fantasizing while she played on this horse. And. The best way to write a character ...is ...you've got to hear them. And. Like they're in your head. And. Suddenly there was Jaka. And. She way only so many years. And. That's Magic. Magic's my horse. And. When I'm playing on Magic I'm playing that it's Pageant. And. I get to go to Pageant. And. I sit right behind my uncle. And. He's Lord Julius. 

Well you know how a three year old tells a story. I think I sat there most of the afternoon listening to ages three and four. And. I still left most of it out. The original idea had been to do a Prologue that was all text about Jaka's earliest years. Try as I might to compress her childhood (mentally) into twenty pages of text and single illustrations (which had initially seemed like a lot of pages to fill) it just wasn't going to fit. I tried the first two pages. One tenth of the way through, she was out of bed and having a bath. It did not bode well for that. . . word that means intimidating but on a grander scale . . . climb to age twelve (Ooh! Ooh! Teacher! Pick me! Pick me! Yes? Daunting? Very good!)

Margaret Liss goes in search of Magic in Kitchener at the Cerebus Fan Girl Blog.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Arthur L. Guptill

Rendering In Pen & Ink
by Arthur L. Guptill
From The Comics Journal interview with Gerhard, December 2010:

TCJ:
I was wondering how many classic ink illustrators you’d looked at. Did you ever see the Arthur Guptill book Rendering in Pen & Ink?

GERHARD:
Geez, I've got a book named that. I wonder if that's the same one.

It's the one written in the '30s and reprinted sporadically since then.

Here it is! Arthur Guptill. I would refer back to it. Not that I would want to emulate anything in particular, because, again, I was just better off drawing the way I draw, but I would look through that and think, "Wow, that's the stuff."  Well, here we go, I just flipped it open and I obviously used some of that in Church & State, in the room that Jaka was in. Page 211. And here on 212 was the basis for one of the Epic illustrations. Not the color stories, but one of the individual illustrations we did and I colored up. That was definitely a reference for one of them. So, yeah, this book was something I would refer to often. But not too often, because sometimes I would just get out-and-out intimidated, as in "I can’t do that." Another one was Winsor McCay, Daydreams & Nightmares, and towards the end of the doing Cerebus I found Franklin Booth’s Painter With A Pen. It's phenomenal.

Booth was incredible. He's got a bunch of work in the Guptill book too.

Obviously, he would have to be in there. When I first started on Cerebus, I was over-rendering, using way too many lines. I tried to be more economical as I went along. But there was definitely a big learning curve for me.

Read the full interview with Gerhard at The Comics Journal: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Friday, 17 August 2012

Tribute Art Round-Up #3

Art by Moritat
Spy Guy
Art by Mike Kitchen
Art by Kevin Johnstone (with Dave Sim)

Art by Tyler Crook
Art by Shaun Crystal
Cerebus The Last Supper (2008)
by Chris Samnee
Art by Michael Howey
Captain Amerebus
Art by VagabondX

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Elephantmen #42

Elephantmen #42: Sleeping Partners Part 1 (of 3)
by Richard Starkings, Alex Medellin & Dave Sim
Image Comics, $3.99
On Sale 15 August 2012

Synopsis:
Sleeping Partners Part 1 - Sahara is pregnant, Panya is pregnant... and their lives are at risk.

ONE GEEK NATION:
(from a review at One Geek Nation by Josh Pierce, 14 August 2012)
...This book is fantastic, stellar, and out of this world... The artwork is divine especially the Dave Sim segment in the beginning of the issue. Say what you will about Dave Sim, the guy has a chock full of talent and he continues to prove it time and time again... 5 Stars.

UNLEASH THE FANBOY:
(from a review at UTF, 14 August 2012)
...The character is in a coma, and it is here that Elephantmen #42 really shines. This segment is very well detailed, with lots of care going into showing the private thoughts and world of a troubled character. Ebony’s narration is very well written, the repetition of “there’s a sword in my hand” lingers even after reading. As for the artwork itself, the detail in this section stands out completely. The detail and effort gone into Ebony's skin gives the impression of an old and tired warrior. Likewise, the blowing snow and surroundings add a certain vibrancy to an otherwise dark section of the plot. It all adds up to a rather insightful and deep reveal of a character’s inner thoughts... 4 Stars.

FANBOY COMICS:
(from a review at Fanboy Comics by Jason Enright, 14 August 2012)
Elephantmen is the best book you aren't reading right now. That's a real shame, because everybody should be reading it. Sure, it's a weird, high concept book filled with sex and violence, but when you pull back those layers, it's a really wonderful, emotional story about flawed people trying to do their best... Elephantmen #42 is a good jumping-on point for the next arc, and if you like it, Elephantmen is collected in a series of trade paperbacks that are packed with content and very reasonably priced. Pick up this awesome series, and, even better, add the future issues to your pull list.

RED-HEADED MULE:
(from a review at Red-Headed Mule, 3 September 2012)
WOW. I am always amazed when I open a new issue... Ebony’s dream sequence in this issue... there are no words. The art drawn by Dave Sim is so highly detailed that I found myself staring at it for over 30 minutes. It’s visually stunning.