Friday, 11 November 2016

Weekly Update #156: Cerebus Archive #6 Is Now Live!

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 


Anonymous said...

Hi, this might've been discussed already (and if so, please give me a link; I don't keep up with the daily chatter), but is there any solid plan to what is being offered letters/notebooks-wise? The previous kickstarter not only had completely different collections that are no longer being offered, but now it seems to be randomly jumping to 1990 for the letters and notebook #5 (which covers what issues of Cerebus?). I would mainly like to know if all the previous stuff will be available again eventually or are we to snatch these up now as they will be "limited editions" or what. Thank you.

Sandeep Atwal said...

Hey Anon. We're still figuring it out. Right now we're sticking with the stripped-down Kickstarters which will only include the portfolios. We're making collected letters and notebooks available again this time, but not for free with the portfolio. You would have to pledge for them separately. If there's any interest in them, we'll keep making them available, but if not, we might drop them altogether. It's really a question of time and money. If there's no overwhelming interest in the notebooks and collected letters, we can't justify spending a lot of time on them. Stay posted, Dave's upcoming "TMI" series will help explain the situation.

Jim Sheridan said...

An unrelated question: I finally went to Amazon to put in my order for the IDW Cerebus Covers book, and it was only available through 3rd part sellers. Does that mean it already sold out, or that Amazon did not get enough copies, or...?

Paul Slade said...

I tried to buy a copy through Amazon UK, which initially promised delivery on November 8. On that day, I got an e-mail from them saying they'd so far been unable to get hold of any copies from their suppliers and that there would therefore an unspecified delay. My local comics shop here in London already had copies on the shelf, so I cancelled my Amazon order at that that point and bought it in the shop instead. This switch increased the price I had to pay by about 25%, but was worth of it to get hold of the thing more promptly.

Dave Kopperman said...

Long, weird story with my Amazon order on the book (that Dave or IDW may want to look into): I originally ordered the book when it was first listed. Then through some glitch of Amazon or IDW, when the book was relisted a year later, it became somehow two copies. It's a great book, but I only needed the one, thanks.

When it arrived last week, although it had been shipped via UPS, UPS handed it off to the post office for final delivery (?), and it arrived with the box crushed and held together by rubber bands, the books unwrapped and with no packing material or documentation whatsoever. Needless to say, both were damaged. Thankfully, Amazon took the return and promptly sent a properly packaged pristine copy via UPS 2-Day. But strange.

Anyway, great book. Not perfect - I'm not personally wild about the typography or the border design that runs throughout, etc., but it feels like a labor of love and there's so much beautiful original art in there that it's all been worth it.

Dave Kopperman said...

Possible CAN6 promo idea: what if Dave does some kind of portfolio review thing for aspiring cartoonists? One or two a week for the duration of the Kickstarter. Kills several birds with one stone: definitely opens up a new avenue for promotion; gets Dave to share his insights on craft with younger artists; in general gets Dave and Cerebus in frint of a new generation, etc. Maybe it could even take the form of a contest, where the 'winning' artist gets a copy of CAN6 (or any earlier Archive).

Steve said...

Not to sound ungrateful but I was hoping for several more volumes on Collected Letters and the Notebooks as well.

Perhaps as an add-on bonus?


Glen said...

My copy of "Dave Sim's Cerebus: Cover Art Treasury" arrived 10 days ago in perfect condition from the Canadian online book retailer I paid roughly $68 (CAD) with taxes and free shipping for the book.

It probably helps that I'm about 1 hour away from the warehouse where it ships in Southern Ontario.

Paul Slade said...

Are there any plans to eventually make Dave's Cerebus Archive commentary essays available to a wider audience at some point?

Obviously, you'd need to be careful not to destroy their value as a continued incentive for people to buy the Archive portfolios themselves, but perhaps at some point in the future they could be published without damaging these sales? I'd gladly cough up the price of a paperback book just to read the Archive commentary essays alone.

If publishing them in print can't be justified commercially, then how about a paid download?

Dave Sim said...

Anon. - No solid plan, but a lot of discussion of how we're going to do the COLLECTED LETTERS/NOTEBOOKS thing. I'd describe it as wanting to "incentivize" Kickstarter participation so one possibility is making COLLECTED LETTERS/NOTEBOOKS available on AFTER they've been made available on Kickstarter but at a higher price point...

[someone commented here a while ago on the use of the term "price point". Personally, I use "price point" if it's under discussion. If it's a "price point" that's been decided on, then it would be the cost of the thing. A good example is the IDW COVERS book: what Amazon charges -- or charged -- for it would be a "price point" or "the Amazon price" while "$75 US" -- the amount on the cover -- I would consider "the price"]

...let's say $40 each at and $20 on Kickstarter. I think it would be hard not to compel the inference of "price gouging" by doing that. The "price point" would determine the gap between "incentivizing" and "price gouging" and I'm not sure there's a clear way forward. So, that's a "can we're kicking down the road": let's keep Kickstarter simple and, for the moment, leave the future availability as a future problem.

Dave Sim said...

Jim Sheridan - That's INTERESTING anyway. Did Amazon "lowball" their orders and get caught short? Or is it a book that Amazon would really prefer not to handle (I.e. Dave Sim and anything he does is on an Amazon -- not a blacklist -- but, what would you call it, "lowball list"? "Do not revive" list :) . Can you keep all of us on AMOC posted on Amazon availability, say, week-to-week? I'd have to guess that the five-star reviews -- and a LENGTHY four-star one from "Buffy" -- would have to have been considered extremely unlikely.

Dave Kopperman - Seems to me SOMEONE's trying to tell you SOMETHING. "All's well that ends well?" "Have you considered buying SANDMAN instead?" :)

I agree with you about the typography -- "Broadway" seemed to me to pitch it at a "middlebrow" level at best: "this is not a REAL art book because this isn't REALLY art" -- and I suggested a change to ANYTHING more sophisticated. No go.

Dave Sim said...

Dave Kopperman II - I think Kickstarter disallows contests.

I've thought about this before and I decided the main problem is that it would have to be a "big ticket" pledge item and that means a creator with deep pockets is going to get a review and a creator with shallow pockets isn't. Which, I'm pretty sure is a message I don't want to be communicating.

We could maybe do something where would-be portfolio review creators post a Single Page from their comic book and any pledge partner votes on which one they want to see reviewed and gets a digital copy of the person's comic book (finished or in progress) and my critique of it. That way, getting the review would be a popular "audience decision" financed by pledge partners. But, post it where? I think we want to keep AMOC to Cerebus as much as possible and Kickstarter isn't set up for that kind of "input".

Still mulling it over.

Dave Sim said...

Steve - THIS time around there was a definite conflict between "expand the digital rewards" and "keep it simple" and "keep it simple" won.

And the inclination right now is to stick with that for at least a couple of Kickstarters and work on the actual Portfolio fulfillment process: make that whole process go faster and more smoothly by sticking with the "stripped down" quality.

Unfortunately, that doesn't show up on the pledge partner radar -- except in how quickly you get your portfolios. So it seems as if we're not doing anything. Trust me, we are.

And we'll get to things that WILL show up on your radar, hopefully by mid-2017 once we've got everything else smoothed out.

Dave Sim said...

Paul Slade - No, definitely no plans for that. I want to make sure that the CEREBUS ARCHIVE Portfolio is a) ideal MONSTER CEREBUS FAN package b) worth the money. And the NOTES are, obviously, the best way of doing that.

[The big advantage is that I don't have to EXPLAIN CEREBUS or anything about it to the Pledge Partners, so I can keep strictly to MONSTER CEREBUS FAN content. There also might be copyright problems with the artwork that I'm reproducing if I made it available in a "general market" way (the owner(s?) of Benton Battbarton, as an example with this latest one). This way, it's just "here's what Dave Sim has to say to his 200-or-so core audience members". Like doing a slide show in a restaurant or something. No copyright or trademark threat.]

Some DAY, yes, I would imagine, depending on how far I get with the NOTES, they would make very nice oversized Artists Archive books. But that would be long after I'm dead.


i.e. "Dave Sim 1956-????"

Anonymous said...

I too only really care about the notebooks and letters. The problem is if I buy them in the piecemeal way they are being released with the kickstarters, it will add upbreally quickly. Is there a 300-600 page collection for every year, and will they always be priced at $20? Maybe at the end you can do a deal for all the letter collections or all the notebooks for $100, like you do the entire Cerebus series?

Jim Sheridan said...

Dave wrote, "Did Amazon "lowball" their orders and get caught short? Or is it a book that Amazon would really prefer not to handle (I.e. Dave Sim and anything he does is on an Amazon -- not a blacklist -- but, what would you call it, "lowball list"? "Do not revive" list :)"

I'm not really sure. I don't know how Amazon works; for example, I don't know if IDW is who should be on top of this, getting a re-supply to Amazon, or if it is Amazon who has dropped the ball.

I know with Terry Moore's "Rachel Rising" trade paperbacks, Amazon never seemed to have their own copies; they strictly offered them via third-party sellers. I don't know why that is.

In general with Amazon (and I don't mean to state what is commonly known info, but maybe some folks here don't use Amazon), books are offered for sale directly from Amazon, usually at about 2/3 the price of cover cost. I assume the artist or publishing company eats the loss, but the trade-off is that the book is being sold on a very popular website, so it balances out. I have always wondered if for a Terry Moore / independent artist, it made more sense only to sell his books directly from his own website and NOT have to eat the loss that enables a creator to sell work directly on Amazon. I don't know.

Amazon IS incredibly easy to use, especially for people who buy a lot of books; you can subscribe to Amazon prime for a yearly fee that gives you unlimited free 2-day shipping; you can have your Amazon account linked to an Amazon credit card so that ordering is done with 1 click; you get bonus points with each purchase that can apply to your next purchase; you can empty your coin jar into the Coinstar machine at the supermarket and get credit toward Amazon. For buyers, it is a great website, so from a buyer's standpoint, it seems desirable for a creator to have his works being sold on Amazon directly; the buyer wants that material available on Amazon. I'm not sure how well Amazon treats creators, though.

I haven't seen any kind of agenda at work on Amazon; they seem interested in profit. However, I have not been considering this angle, so I could be completely wrong about that.

At any rate, it would be worth checking in with IDW, as they are a stakeholder here. Are they on top of Amazon? Can they get more copies to Amazon?

Dave Kopperman said...

Dave: I think the portfolio review would essentially be done through AMOC, running concurrently with the Kickstarter. It's a little lumpy, but given how well synced Tim has made AMOC with the general AV promo, it should be workable. I think the review process would go something like this:

1) Prospective reviewee sends five pages to TBD (maybe Tim, maybe yourself, maybe Sandeep?). They can be five random pages, but maybe nailing down set categories is a little more productive - say, one 'action' page demonstrating anatomy, one 'dialogue' page, page with exterior scene, etc. - since these are the general storytelling tools cartoonists will need.
2) You post the work with the commentary. Nothing extensive - making more work for you is definitely not the point.
3) I'd say that the blog comments from people who aren't you or the cartoonist should be kept to a minimum, until:
4) In the last week of the Kickstarter, Tim posts a summary of all the portfolios and then a survey - not comments, mind you, but an actual 'click here to vote' kind of survey - to determine the winner. This will actually increase traffic to AMOC and the Kickstarter in the last week, since the artists will encourage their friends to come here and vote for them. Debate on merits of the artists pro or con from the rest of us can then be made in the comments section of the AMOC post announcing the survey.

It seems like a win/win for everybody, to me - CAN6 gets the promo, the cartoonist gets the encouragement/guidance/exposure ("on the back of a pro," as it were), and the internet gets to remember that Dave Sim knows his shit.

Dave Kopperman said...

Also: set up a 'rules' page indicating that they give the right to post the work and commentary here, and indicate specs for portfolio submission (I'd say RGB JPEG (11 compression), 1200px wide by whatever height). Maybe specify black and white? I'm afraid that might limit entries, since a lot of people work in color from the start, these days.

Dave Sim said...

Jim Sheridan - The only experience I had with Amazon was "way back when" and the experience was that they would fax an order for two or three copies of a book and then -- before we could even ship them -- fax a cancellation notice. And then two or three days later, we'd get another faxed order for the same book, but it would be one copy less.

I know Ted Adams was complaining when he was up here in 2012 that Amazon was instituting really Draconian packaging policies that you had to conform to if you wanted to sell through them. I inferred (and infer) from the fact that he was definitely going along with it that, yes, Amazon is such a huge buyer that you "ask how high on the way up".

Sounds like you're "WAY inside" as an Amazon customer. Let us know if you see any patterns like this. I mean, I was going to suggest "Maybe that's how they deal with self-publishers" -- given your Terry Moore example -- but IDW isn't a self-publisher.

It might be difficult to get hard information if it's a case of "You Don't DISCUSS Amazon. You OBEY Amazon." But, AMOC is here in case anyone wants to enlighten us -- anonymously or otherwise.

Dave Sim said...

Dave Kopperman III - It sounds like it's getting closer to a workable concept. I'm still concerned about clogging up AMOC with non-CEREBUS stuff. And I'm definitely with you on This isn't about more work for Dave! :)

Dave Kopperman said...

Dave: I'd say limiting it to four participants (and maybe double posting on Friday) would keep it contained, and since it's you doing the reviews, that's about as much on topic for AMOC as Jeff's publication of some of your correspondence. It's possible that you could work it into your weekly video instead of a text & image posting, but I think that would be a little less impactful. And since Blogger (the Google-owned platform Tim uses for AMOC, if anyone needs clarification) makes it very easy to add a poll, the endgame will run pretty smoothly, I think.

I had another thought that it might be more interesting and beneficial if the reviews were specifically aimed at younger cartoonists (say, 18-26), since that's where Cerebus needs to build awareness, and because giving a portfolio review to a 45-year-old wannabe who's probably already a fan (hello!) defeats the purpose of it serving as promotion (Cerebus University?). So maybe an age-range limit, which does give a nice built-in promo angle as well.

Jim Sheridan said...

Good news!

I contacted Amazon 2 days ago, and they said that they did indeed sell out of the Cerebus Cover Art Treasury but expected to be re-stocked soon. The response seemed kind of like a form letter, so I also contacted IDW, and they said that Diamond has plenty of copies and that if Amazon ordered more, Amazon would be all set.

IDW contacted me today to say that Amazon IS re-stocked, and I checked the Amazon site, and sure enough, the book is for sale again. They sell it for $50.00 even, a big discount from the cover price of $75.00, and if you are an Amazon Prime member, you get free 2 day shipping.

So! If you don't have it yet, there ya go. If you have received this book, put a review on Amazon's site.

I did order mine through a 3rd party seller in the interim, so I don't have it yet. When I do get it, I will post my review there.