Friday, 16 May 2014

Weekly Update #31: High Society Audio/Visual Experience In Previews!

Cerebus Head-Sketches Now Available At Kickstarter.
Just finished reading the comments from last week.  But, first an announcement:

Didn't want to say anything until I was sure that we were in the September PREVIEWS (because the ad proof went to the post office and I only pick up the mail every other Friday, IDW's request that I approve the ad IMMEDIATELY basically sat there until two days after the PREVIEWS deadline. But, I got a call for a comment for the press release yesterday so, YES!  We are in the September PREVIEWS:)

1.  CEREBUS: HIGH SOCIETY DIGITAL AUDIO/VISUAL EXPERIENCE is on the way from IDW.  Although I haven't seen the package in person yet, I have seen all of the artwork -- including the disk designs for all 13 disks in the box set and the DVD menu screens which are particularly nice -- and the photo of it (exterior and interior) in the PREVIEWS ad.

Basically, a stunning piece of work by Justin Eisinger and his crew.

And, of course, I had no idea when I signed for it with IDW almost two years ago, that we were just at the beginning of the HIGH SOCIETY DRY SPELL with no end in sight.  So, as I said for Dirk Wood's press release -- which you should all be reading any minute now -- "IDW and Justin Eisinger to the rescue!"  I'm hoping CEREBUS: HIGH SOCIETY DIGITAL AUDIO/VISUAL EXPERIENCE "works" for the stores not only as a stopgap measure while we're getting the book back in print...but as a comics-related product in its own right.

Really looking forward to holding one of them in my hands sometime soon!

Picking up on the comments from last week's Update:  So, Sean -- if I'm reading you correctly, that means that we SHOULD be scanning at 2400 dpi if we want more accurate reproduction?

It does sound as if we're getting somewhere with this.  A bit at a time.  I was wondering if Eddie couldn't try getting in touch with Allan Harvey c/o Colleen Doran Studio.  I'm not sure how I would phrase it, but, mindful of the fact that if he's got some new ways of doing restorations -- I really can't get over the substitution he did on the much looser 40% mechanical tone with a finer 40% tone and at the same time saving the line work that was under there -- that's an "intellectual property" in itself ("I know how to do something no one else knows how to do") I'm wondering if Kickstarter restoration money couldn't be invested in getting him to do comparable Extreme Fine Tuning on CEREBUS and HIGH SOCIETY.  A couple of possibilities:  pay Mr. Harvey as a consultant, giving him what George and Sean have done so far and asking for his input. Or as I say, saving him for Extreme Fine Tuning. Either that or keep going and assume that we're approaching our own pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Obviously A DISTANT SOIL would come first.  I don't want to be accused of raiding someone else's restoration person. I have trouble imagining ANYONE wanting to do all 6,000 pages solo even if they were getting paid.

VERY good news that you think that a lot of this can be farmed out to interested volunteer parties, Sean.

And, of course, I never think of shopping online for used equipment that's still viable.  Obviously, however, a good use of Kickstarter restoration money.  You can buy a lot of scanners for $150 per.

But, again, we have to watch for 2400 dpi capability, correct?  600 dpi isn't going to cut it?  It IS very good news because it means that the money can be used pretty much exclusively for labour costs and "the price of however many people having their brains turned to cream cheese converting negatives for days and weeks on end".

Speaking of Kickstarter, it's definitely exceeding mine and John Funk's wildest expectations for where we'd be at the midpoint of the 30 days.  So that does suggest that we could be looking at ways of spending the money to move the restoration along in the very near term.  If the numbers hold up through May 31st, we're getting pretty close to the Aardvark-Vanaheim share paying off the Lebonfon debt in one go.

We're going to be accounting for every penny, publicly, as we did with the first Kickstarter, but I think we could be looking at compensation "going forward" for what Sean and George are doing and will be doing (as opposed to what they have done so far).  It depends on how fast we want to go, in a lot of ways.  That's definitely a question for George and Sean:  which would YOU do if you were me?  Compensate you guys so as to be "front of line" in your working day or stick with the volunteer basis because all of this is going to take a while no matter which way we go?

I also don't want to be counting chickens before they're hatched, but, again, if the numbers hold up through May 31st, we should be at least giving ourselves a much longer way to fall on CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER TWO before we get to the last 10 CEREBUS customers.

Peculiar quirk:  out of the 110 or so people who reserved numbers ahead of time, that number has been dropping slowly in terms of "actual pledges".  There was a point this week where it had dropped to 57 and, according to John, just stayed there.  Still, it's good news:  either the 57 actually pledge or all of the people with "standby numbers" get to move WAY UP in the line in a hurry!  :)

In terms of Dave Sim "the misogynist" reading too much into a woman pledging and cancelling -- out of the 1100 people pledging last time, I think there were -- maybe? -- a dozen women? Two dozen?  I mean, it's a fact of life, folks, not something that I'm making up.  A couple of things were being personalized last time and, with the female names, I just posted the question to them, "Is this for your boyfriend or husband?  That's usually what it is in the rare instance where there's a female name."  And, sure enough, that's what it was.  And they thanked me because obviously they wanted boyfriend/husband's name on there, not theirs.

Margaret Liss is the exception that usually proves the rule.

Speaking of which, I'd like to thank the most recent signatories of the petition:  according to the home page, Stuart Martin signed 6 days ago and Anwar Ganama and Fort Dudak both signed two weeks ago. Bringing us up to 550 names in the last six years.  A little below our 100 names per year average, but -- there you go.

See you next Friday.


Sean Michael Robinson posts a practical proposal on how to tackle the Cerebus restoration project and George Peter Gatsis responds.

Allan Harvey's reply to Eddie's email:
Hi Eddie,
Thank you for getting in touch, and thanks also to Mr Sim for his kind comments regarding the restoration of A DISTANT SOIL. However, having read all the posts you've provided, I don't think I have anything to add. As you say, there are already two people working on the restoration of CEREBUS and HIGH SOCIETY, each with strong opinions, and I fear another would only muddy the waters. I have no intellectual property to reveal or special knowledge to impart. What I did on ADS wasn't ground-breaking, just well known techniques familiar to Photoshop experts -- albeit applied, I hope, to a high standard.

I have just started work on the next volume of ADS, so that's going to be taking up my time for the foreseeable future.

I wish Mr Sim every success in his efforts to restore his work.



Eddie said...

I've sent an email to Mr. Harvey through the address listed on his website

Sean Michael Robinson said...

Hey Dave,

His process isn't magical, though it may seem like it-- Colleen said on her blog post that she had photostats of some of the artwork without the tone/prior to the tone. And that on pages that they needed to replace the tone, it took upwards of 20 hours.

If you have a tablet and a good hand, you can "draw" (carve?) out tone from inside/around hatching underneath. Total pain to do, and I'd say not feasible (or necessary) except in the most dire circumstances.

As for everything else-- it's a complicated question. I'll give it some more thought and post a more thorough response in a day or two.

Sean Michael Robinson said...

Another thought-- if you have tone "in the clear", i.e. no line work under/atop it, it's comparatively easy work. But as I said before, the only place in the whole 6,000 pages I really anticipate any problems with the tone density would be the skies in Jaka's Story, the really fine (and light) tone with etched clouds. And those happen to be in the clear, so, if need be, they could be replaced, drawing them out with a tablet and then replacing them in Manga Studio. (But that's several steps ahead of where we are right now.)

Anonymous said...

"In terms of Dave Sim "the misogynist" reading too much into a woman pledging and cancelling..."

This is another example of what I was talking about. I was not calling you a misogynist, in any way, shape or form. You don't get to frame it that way. I will not be black to your steadfast white here.

I was, however, suggesting that your insinuation of a specific motive on the part of someone withdrawing from a pledge was not only unfair given the lack of specific information you possessed about that particular case, it was wholly unnecessary.

Yes, you read too much into it. And no anecdote about women buying things for their significant others changes that - even those were legitimate purchases, despite being for males. Nothing about that story says women are looking to prank your kickstarter. "Women don't buy from Dave" is not the same argument as "ladyfolk are actively screwing with Dave."

I'm not saying you shouldn't think what you choose to think - about life and the world in general, and about the potential rationale of a particular person pulling out of a pledge for some big photocopies of some funnybook pages. Godspeed on all of that.

But it is worth considering whether a little restraint might be in order. Frankly, you're a man who has staked out his position. It is not a popular position. And there are repercussions to its lack of popularity. That is the price you pay. But to view the entire world through the prism of those repercussions - and then to make specific, unprovable declarations based upon that worldview in a way that is off-putting to an audience you are theoretically still attempting to serve and maintain - may not be the wisest way to run a railroad.

Put another way: when they come to storm your front door, I volunteer to stand watch and tell them to go on home.

But I'd ask you consider it may just be the new mailwoman delivering today's post.