Monday, 2 November 2015

Patreon Update: The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond

(from Patreon Update, 30 October 2015)
Nice page up there, eh? It's from what would have been the cover to #4, back when Dave's drawing hand was still working and before the decision to release the work as a series of trades. As you can see, it's some of the best and visually stunning and impressive work he's ever done. Dave's STILL relentlessly working on SDOAR (in addition to everything that else that he needs to work on), going through and pulling out information and annotating his findings in the Rip Kirby volumes. Pages and pages of faxes with annotations and comments continue to pour through my fax machine, (as I continue to try and keep up with it all and send him back material as well)... [Read the full update at Dave Sim's Patreon site]


Dave Sim said...

Steve - thinking it over, I'm pretty sure the shoulder pain and pain in all of my joints is the result of the cortisone shot wearing off. Pretty much what I expected, which is why I kept the wrist brace on. I just don't agree with medical science about what steroids DO. I don't think they HEAL inflammation, I think they just SUPPRESS the sensation. Which means you -- generally, I mean, not me -- just FEEL as if the joint is normal and proceed to damage it by treating it AS IF it's normal. Didn't happen with my wrist because, again, I don't trust FEEL. DID happen with my shoulder because I wasn't thinking that ANY steroid injection is going to migrate to inflammation. So now I've re-torn whatever it was I tore last summer and have set back my recovery by months. It was ALMOST okay and now it's torn again.

A writer types in my world so I can't picture using voice software. If it becomes "deathbed inevitable"...maybe.

In terms of promoting the restoration, Sandeep, immersed as he is in this, "got it" yesterday: You don't have to be optimistic. In fact, optimism is detrimental. You have to do things that you think MIGHT work while remaining fully aware that they WON'T work. Right now, all that "works" for CEREBUS is Diamond and Kickstarter.

I wasn't making a joke about the other comics newssites. It just isn't going to happen. As CEREBUS fans (and, even worse, Dave Sim fans) you are immersed in a world that 99.9999% fundamentally disagrees with you: Dave Sim DESERVES to be shunned and hated. Shunning and hating Dave Sim in the comic-book field is a credential.

That's why what I'm suggesting is leaving Dave Sim out of it -- and CEREBUS out of it -- as much as possible. Just find Arts & Entertainment environments online and in your geographic community and pitch it to them as "CLIMBING THE MT.EVEREST OF COMICS...AGAIN!"

"Please help" "Please relay the word about this enormous RESTORATION and PRESERVATION project". Include photos of Sean and Mara and lots of computers. THAT's the story in 2015: there's this giant non-computer mess and computers and computer people are fixing it. Period.

It isn't going to go VIRAL, but someday it might connect with somebody.

See you guys tomorrow!

Sandeep Atwal said...

Was that Dave Sim or a ray of sunshine? I can't tell!

But seriously, I can't wait until people see their first copy of Strange Death of Alex Raymond. It will blow their minds.

You could almost say I'm optimistic about it!

Bill Ritter said...

So here’s what rather frustrates me about Dave and his approach to the business aspect of Cerebus & activities...

Part One: “A writer types in my world so I can't picture using voice software. If it becomes "deathbed inevitable"...maybe.”

There are software solutions that have proven to be effective (Dragon, as proven by Mr. Kopperman in the previous post/comments, if we take him at his word (and why would we not?)). Yet, stubbornly Dave would rather remain steadfast in his approach than adapt. There’s no “real” reason for Dave’s refusal save for his preference. Ok, fine, respecting that decision…despite it’s being entirely contrarian to building a business.

To degree this decision is costing in Real Money, Real Presence, Real Market Penetration…who knows. But I’m biased toward the “if you aren’t producing something, no one is buying anything…”

Part Two: “…Dave Sim DESERVES to be shunned and hated. Shunning and hating Dave Sim in the comic-book field is a credential. ”

It’s my opinion that Dave’s doing far more damage to himself…call it self-shunning? I fully accept that there will be a number of stores that will not stock Cerebus, and likely a few others that will not stock Dave Sim stuff. Most stores, I’d wager, will stock that which sells. That provides margin, new readers, new traffic. That has some promotion activity by the publisher and creator (in case of Cerebus, the same dude!).

I surmise that the more active the creator is, the more sellable that creator becomes. What is active? New material. Show attendance/signings. Striking lightning in a bottle.

Dave is anti-selling. He’s positioning himself in a “I am shunned and thereby not accepted”, so new readers and stores are left with “um, ok.” And life goes on. This is made far worse (more impactful) since Cerebus the creator and Cerebus the publisher are the same fellow.

I dunno…new readers are out there waiting to discover the series. The gang (Sean, Mara, Sandeep, Dave, so on) are doing tremendous restoration work. I’m thinking it needs a bit of love from Dave outside of birthday phone calls (which don’t help stores promote/sell or give margin (but are neat for the established fans, not the audience Cerebus needs)) or self-deprecating rehashing of the past.

Where’s the Dave-centric promotion strategy? Stores need that nudge, and we’re rather missing that incentive on the Patreon, Kickstarter and AMOC promotions…

Or at least that’s my 2-cents…and this Part Two observation...well it’s a (more than a) bit frustrating…

Sandeep Atwal said...

I understand what you're saying Bill, but rest assured when it comes to business, Dave knows what he's doing and tries virtually every single idea he has to promote Cerebus and goes hard into it, trying everything to the fullest extent. I see it. The only thing that's insane about Dave Sim is how much effort and work he puts into promoting/preserving/restoring Cerebus.

While I understand that nobody wants to read about how Dave is shunned, it is the truth. Just check the web sometime, or virtually any story or comment about him in the last 20 years.

As for the VRS, we'll see what happens, but it's really not going to help him THAT much since it won't help him draw. It would be a stop-gap at best, but might be useful.

Having said all that, any ideas to promote and sell Cerebus et. al. are appreciated, let me know!

Bill Ritter said...

Your points are taken, Sandeep. But, as Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying (on the internet): "Not everything you read on the internet is true."

Glibness aside...

I'm willing to wager that the volume of negativity is far far less than the potential audience of new readers. My point is: if those new readers are presented a creator (and publisher) who perpetuates that negativity (even if that is to dispute it), then the argument gains credibility.

Or, another angle: Howard Stern is presented as...various shades of an awful, perverse individual. He just doesn't (publicly) care and will attack directly those whom attack him. He doesn't engage in petitions or sly references - faces what he considers the BS head on. One may continue to think he is perverse, not that he'll give that any credence with debate.

So, a sample script:
Carter, internet author: Dave Sim, creator of Cerebus and a renown misogynist...

Dave, Cerebus creator: Carter, basement dwelling troll of no consequence, is an asshat. Nothing more to say on that topic. Moving on!

Aardvark-Vanaheim: Carter, a renown asshat, is dead to us. And to you also, dear readers. However, Cerebus is not an asshat - and boy do we have a saga for you!

I bring this up only that I've been an admirer of Dave's since issue #26, have met him a few times (Albany Con, a NY City yahoo group meet up), and gotten a few letters published in Comment. I've stated that of the 40,000 or so comics I have accumulated, that Cerebus is the only title I'll retain when I sell the collection off. And I recommended it numerous times over the past 2ish decades, as a store owner (when I owned one) and as a web admin (for a friend's store). I'm just preferring Dave call an asshat an asshat, move on. Build the readership, forge ahead with new stuff (as writer, or artist, or both), and essentially stick the finger to those who feel the real story is not Cerebus or the accomplishment or the current restoration.

Much love atcha all! Bill