Sunday, 27 November 2016

The Cerebus-Ending Crisis: Can We Keep Going? - Part 11

A Portfolio of 10 Signed & Numbered Prints with Exclusive Commentary by Dave Sim
Raising Funds For The Restoration & Preservation Of The World's Longest Graphic Novel 



More responses to the survey question "Do you have any suggestions for future Kickstarter campaigns?". Hot Topic #3 was definitely original artwork/sketches:

Kent K Saskatoon SK:
Obviously original art or drawings from Dave Sim is the best (but understandable if it can't be included)

David B Corning NY:
I would love the opportunity for some Cerebus original art!

Joe G Saugus MA:
Some way of getting sketches or original art as rewards would be great.

Andreas K Berlin GERMANY:
I would have like to pledge extra for a Jaka headsketch or drawing

Adrian D Niddrie VIC AUSTRALIA:
I would love to see sketches avaliable again if/when Dave is able to do them again. Otherwise, I'd like to see an option for one higher quality print (Lithograph/Giclee or similar) maybe once or twice a year at a higher price ($50 to $100).

Murray R Brooklin ON:
Sim commissions (when his hand allows him to draw again!)

John W Mechanicsburg PA:
Keep it up and keep it simple. A top tier that allows you to select an original art page from the subject phonebook would be amazing.

The situation is that the right wrist is "not good". I'm still hopeful that by resting it, somewhere up ahead, I'll be able to do SOME of the artwork on STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND while letting Karl Stevens and Carson Grubaugh do most of the heavy lifting. In this case, "somewhere up ahead" is measured in YEARS and I have no idea HOW MANY years. I'm about four years into the research/writing side and I'd be surprised if I'm much past the halfway point. So, even at the most optimistic it will be 2021 or 2022 before I can even EXPERIMENT with drawing again. If I AM able to draw, that's where I'm going to be doing ALL of my drawing.

In practical terms? Dave Sim the CEREBUS Artist is dead. Which means however many CEREBUS pages and drawings exist, it is now a finite amount.

Which means, as the sole custodian of the Cerebus Archive -- to whatever extent I would have considered selling artwork before February 2015 -- I have no intention of letting ANY part of my finite "stake" in CEREBUS original artwork go. If I do, it will be because Aardvark-Vanaheim was no longer viable as a business, in which case I would just trickle the artwork out through Heritage Auctions for the sake of simplicity.

Bottom line: no Dave Sim or CEREBUS artwork is going to be made publicly available except through Heritage Auctions.

Hot Topic #4 was definitely hardcovers:

Bill R Uniontown OH:
Hardcover S/N Limited Edition of the CAN book!

Tom P Ridgewood NJ:
Hardcover books. :) I think they will do better than expected.

Florian S Weil am Rhein GERMANY:
Cerebus Hardcover with good paper. Notebooks and Letters as printed books.

Jim M Seminole FL:
Glamorpuss Hard Cover Collection

Just on a whim, I contacted our Retailer Patron, Tim F, and asked him what he would be willing to pay for colour CEREBUS ARCHIVE-style copies of all the pages from GUYS and MINDS (his two favourite books) in the Cerebus Archive bound as hardcovers and he came back with an offer of $20,000 US. So, that's the Gold Standard right now when it comes to hardcovers. The downside is that I can't really offer the same thing to anyone else for substantially less without "ripping Tim F off".

This is definitely a TOP priority because $20K pays a lot of bills. Our printer who does the CEREBUS ARCHIVE Portfolios is in touch with Tim F and will be offering him a spectrum of paper choices suited to his own preferences as an Artists Editions collector. We'll also fine-tune the exposure/greyness to suit his personal preferences. Anyone else with deep pockets like that, feel free to contact us about your own personalized, custom-tailored hardcovers.

In terms of general hardcovers being made available of my work, there's a post for July 6, 2016 here on AMOC that covers all of the questions I would have for anyone who was proposing to do hardcovers of any of the CEREBUS trades. I've memorized the date because it's a recurring question, so I covered all of the concerns that I would have -- and explained why -- all in one semi-lengthy post. And I haven't heard back from anyone I've referred to that post. Nor do I expect to. It would be nice if CEREBUS was popular enough to be reprinted in hardcover, but it isn't. We're just about (I hope) big enough to keep going on the "bare bones" basis I've outlined. Hardcovers really aren't in the "bare bones" category, unfortunately!

But, if you read the July 6, 2016 posting and can see something there that I'm missing, I'm always happy to be proven wrong!




Travis Pelkie said...

I was one who wanted HCs at some point.

Then this debacle with getting the Covers book (see under the Gerhard/Heavy Metal post for details) has made me reconsider that.

And as someone willing to replace any copy for any good reason, it would give you nightmares.

So I'm more on board with not doing them now.

Someday? Sure, it'd be great to have the series in HC.

But until we're all that flush with cash, it shouldn't be a worry.

Anyway, as to the bonus print stuff mentioned in another post, I like them for the reason of being able to get "rare" Dave Cerebus art for my collection, and since you guys aren't able (or necessarily willing at this point) to do a Cerebus Miscellany volume, the bonus prints were a good way to get rare art. Eventually when I figure out what ones I didn't get, I'll bug ya all for more, but right now, basic portfolios are fine.

Anonymous said...

While I'm not in the market for a hardcover Cerebus set, I would suggest that the recent covers volume would make a good model for the format if such a run ever happened. The paper quality, paper size, and the cover style are great. Although given the $75 price tag on the covers volume I don't want to think about how expensive such a print run would be.

What I would be in the market for are a glamourpuss phone book and a Cerebus Archive phone book.

Dave Sim said...

Hi Travis - Yes, let me emphasize that, for the foreseeable future, we'll be dealing with the Bonus Print situation on a "brushfire" basis: anyone who is well and truly hacked off that they couldn't get A specific Bonus Print or Bonus PrintS that they had been aiming for in future Kickstarters and are willing to pay a premium price ($30? $40?) to get one of them, we'll be happy to try and work with you on it. Not quite on a priority basis, but you will get confirmation that you're in the "on-deck" circle.

And, yes, we're pretty conscious of not branching out too far, given that I think the ONLY way to do business is to replace any damaged article with no questions asked. It WOULD give you the willies, wondering how many of the CEREBUS COVER TREASURY books have needed to be replaced!

Dave Sim said...

Anonymous - Still "up in the air" on a glamourpuss collection. I don't want people getting confused between the glamourpuss Alex Raymond material and THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND ("Oh, I already read this." ) since there's some overlap in the early going. We're really waiting until the glamourpuss material loses its "toxic political charge" and I think we'll be waiting a while for that.

You will probably see a CEREBUS ARCHIVE collection LONG before a glamourpuss collection.

Thanks for posting!

Barry Deutsch said...

For what little it's worth, I won't miss the bonus prints; I'm much more a fan of the panel-to-panel art, which the kickstarters will keep on providing.

The thing I'm most eager for, is for all of Cerebus to be restored and put in print. I think it's an important work, and the restoration is keeping it accessible for future generations of comics readers.

Whatever sort of kickstarter accomplishes that with the least stress put on Dave and crew, is the sort of kickstarter I favor.

Jeff Seiler said...

Of course, in a "cost/benefit analysis" sort of way of looking at the bonus prints, I think you have to consider: a) how much money are you missing out on by no longer offering them, b) versus how many people won't pledge for any more portfolios that don't include bonus prints and what you lose thereby, c) how much less overhead there is in man-hours and printing costs versus the a above, and d) how much money you save on the aspirin it took to assuage the headaches caused by the bonus prints.

I'm guessing c and d win out for the foreseeable future.

And, just 'cause I enjoy stirring the pot from time to time, I'm also guessing that maybe you were running out of viable subjects for the bonus prints. Although, there was still the drawing of that handsome gentleman that was first published on the inside back cover of CRIC #1...

Michael Grabowski said...

The remastered editions on far better paper have gone a long way to making me much less interested in any future hardcover edition.

Steve said...

Once again, any one at any time can get their Cerebus in hardcovers: all you need is a bookbinder and the money to pay for the project.

I've personally had at least three runs of Cerebus bound in hardcovers in addition to individual volumes (such as Swords) or storylines (such as Church and State).
I've used original issues, bi-weekly reprints, and a mix of both.

And I've ALWAYS at least doubled my investment, and if memory serves the set I sold on eBay years ago had about a 20X return on investment.

When we all heard how many multiple copies of the reprint issues were in storage, I immediately thought of custom hardcovers. The comics are little more than pulp fodder - but a custom hardcover available only thru A-V with some sort of Limited Edition designation and signature plate from Dave, you bet there's be a market for them.

Granted, not for hundreds of them, but for perhaps a dozen or twenty.

And believe me, at least with the bindery I've used for some 10 years now, the quality is excellent and the cost is very reasonable.

And as Jimmy Gownley has noted, reasonably priced hardcovers can be done using currently in=print books as well.

I've been completely flabbergasted that Dave has treated Jimmy's counsel gained from experience so dismissively.

(Gerhard's site for April 2016 shows one full run I handled for Corey.)


Dave Sim said...

Steve & Michael - It's a STRETCH to think that Diamond will continue to finance keeping the books in print and helping, in the process, to finance the restoration, but it's a PLAUSIBLE stretch: all 16 volumes are kept in print as long as we can keep tens upon tens of thousands of dollars flowing through Aardvark-Vanaheim on a consistent basis in cash-flow rip tides for an uncertain number of years.

Steve - I definitely agree with you that people who want hardcovers should do their own hardcovers with a good local bookbinder. We're doing complete books of the Cerebus Archive pages of MINDS and GUYS for Tim F, who pledged $20,000 US for them. If anyone else is interested, please let us know!

Michael - The CEREBUS ARCHIVE Portfolios are really the only sensible "way forward" for a book that has a built-in double whammy: too many pages (6,000: all of them needing to be restored at considerable expense) and too few patrons (200 or so) to accomplish the restoration task.

Barry - All of it is pretty high stress.

I wish the overall news was better. All I can do is hope that the pledge partners who are able pledge for more than one Portfolio -- without personal financial hardship -- do so and that more pledge partners turn up at some point.

I'm concerned that the 14-part series was a mistake and has now hurt the pledges for CAN6 irreparably. I try to err on the side of honesty and openness about what's actually going on, but there's probably a good reason most people don't do that.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Dave: I don't think you should worry that this series has been a mistake in that it will hurt pledges for future KickStarters. At worst, you might not convince any new people to pledge, but I don't think you put anyone off who would otherwise have pledged. I wish I had fresh ideas to offer that would improve sales and visibility of the work and sales of the portfolio and the phonebooks, but I think we know how things stand, moving forward with some data. Thanks for writing.

-- Damian

al roney said...

FWIW - I like, er love, the Bonus prints.

Many are great standalone pieces not available anywhere else.

Put it this way - I actually frame the bonus prints and hang them up in my "man cave" (along with my BWS prints, Frazetta stuff and a few rock (Beatles) prints) and they are rotated "in and out", or "off and on", on a regular basis.

The regular archive prints? I look at 'em while I'm reading Dave's commentary, carefully place them back in the envelop and then put them in my "Archives" plastic storage bin. And that's where they remain. If i want to look at a particular page again, I have the phonebooks on my shelf.

That said, I'll still be in for every CAN offering moving forward, but, to be perfectly honest, they just aren't as interesting, or enticing, to this Cerebus fan as they were when the BP's were part of the package.

...still pining for the first Cerebus phonebook cover to be made available as a print and/or downloadable file too.