Wednesday, 15 November 2017

AMOC amuck...Behind the scenes of your favorite blog...

We interrupt your regularly scheduled A Moment Of Cerebus to bring you...this:

Hi Everybody!

Your friendly neighborhood Interim Editor Matt here. It's supposed to be Margaret with a couple of pages from Dave Sim's notebooks (I BELIEVE it's the ones where Dave goes into intricate detail about Sir Gerrick and all the conspiracies and secret societies of Estarcion. Or his grocery list from Mid-April 1987, it's kind of a crap-shoot...)

Anyway, Dave asked me to post this. So I'ma doing it NOW. 

Cause I can...
"It's GOOD to be the King!"-Mel Brooks, History of the World, Part 1

When our esteemed Editor Emeritus Tim W. chose me to be his replacement, I sent Dave a fax to let him know what was up:
Dear Dave,

Hey how’s it going?

So, I don’t know if Tim W. has alerted you yet, but I guess I’m taking over A Moment Of Cerebus, as Interim Editor. (I refuse to be Editor-In-Chief as that sounds like too much responsibility.) Tim is going to become Editor Emeritus.
And the whole crap-shoot is gonna go down in flames (probably.)
Anyway, I’m sending you this fax to:
A.      Let you know what’s up.
B.      Let you object as strenuously as possible.
C.      Let you know my plans for AMOC. Which is basically to fill four days’ worth of posts a week (as Tim says you and Margaret and Sean Robinson take care of the other three.) Which I think I can handle between a series of “Cerebus in My Life” posts detailing my history with the character, the book, and you and Ger (strangely going back to 1982 when I was four…). "Hey, I know that Aardvark!" Showing Cerebus appearances in other books. (And hopefully, I can get the creators of those works to comment on why they used Cerebus.) "Kevin Reads Cerebus" my friend just got into the book big time, and he’s gonna blog issue by issue (he's been buying singles to get a run), which should run for three hundred weeks. And your answers to the “Five” questions we asked during the Great Cerebus Re-Read on the Yahoo group (L nny and Margaret said I could run those.)
D.      And to ask about a couple of ideas I had for AMOC. Two regular features for Sundays. 1. “Sunday Funnies” where I’d like to run The Beavers strips. Or 2. Dave’s Gospel commentaries. I’d need copies of both, if you think there’d be interest/value in running either.
So, that’s what’s up. I don’t know if Tim wants to announce the switch over yet or not (you’d have to check with him,) so I don’t know if you can talk about this on the Weekly Update or not. (I don’t even pretend that I’m in charge.) But if he does and you want to, I say, “go with it!” It’s not like I can stop ya.

Here’s to failing spectacularly upward!
Matt Dow
(I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into, but it’s either gonna be titanic or like the Titanic…)
And Dave responded (through Sean R.):
14 November 17 
Hi Matt:
I don't think the "whole crap-shoot is gonna go down in flames". The worst that happens is you have a short tenure as Interim Editor and "pass the baton" in a lot shorter a period of time than Tim W's six years. So, I recommend that you not stress about that.
A. Thanks for that courtesy on your part, although my own policy has always been to maintain an arm's-length relationship to AMOC. My political and social views are too much at variance with the general population for that, I think, to be otherwise. The closest analogy I can think of is President Trump and the New York Times. Like "Love and Marriage" " ... you can't have one without/the other".
B. So, no objection on my part. I think AMOC is Tim W's to dispose of as he wishes and if he's chosen you as his successor then I will respect that as I would imagine President Trump would respect any decision to change the editorial leadership at the New York Times.
C. All very good suggestions and I hope you'll follow through on them. They're also finite suggestions so I would warn you, personally, that a daily blog like this devours material like a California brush fire -- the name of the online news site, The Daily Beast, sums it up nicely. Ask TimW here at the end of his three hundred weeks and I'm sure he'll tell you that 300 weeks is a lot more like an eye blink and lot less like "forever" that it seems at the outset.
i. I had forgotten the Five Questions during the Re-Reads. I'm going to suggest that those be organized as post-mortem "Notes" for my successor as Aardvark-Vanaheim president in future CEREBUS ARCHIVE PORTFOLIOS after I'm dead.
ii. This illustrates the distinction between the AMOC editor and the· president of Aardvark-Vanaheim. A central concern of the latter is always going to be What can we sell to the core A-V readership in order to maintain Aardvark-Vanaheim in perpetuity? The central concern of the former is always going to be What can we use to feed The Daily Beast?
It would be very helpful -- speaking current president to current editor -- if some sort of "hidden Wiki" could be developed into which my observations, trade paperback by trade paperback, could be "dumped'', engineered in such a way that if the observations already exist on the site, the "dumper" is notified when they attempt a "dump" -- "We already have these" or "We didn't have these until you 'dumped' them, so thank you for that".
The prime source would be period letters and period introductions and period AARDVARK COMMENTS and Notes from the President.
If an inventory of this material could be made available that would mean that after my death the CEREBUS ARCHIVE PORTFOLIO series could continue with whatever-the-next-trade was that I would have been commenting on and instead of "the next ten pages in sequence" it could be "any ten pages that best relate to the Notes on hand". Making the job of my successor in the office of president that much easier.
iii) In terms of "feeding the Daily Beast", a snake eating its tail is always going to be the best solution so I would suggest AMOC's own history: begin reprinting the AMOC posts from the beginning on the -- I think, safe •• assumption that no one remembers 1/10th of them and none of them with any specificity. Which means each post effectively fulfills both its "then mandate" -- here"s an interesting Moment from the History of CEREBUS -- as well as a binary "now mandate" •• here"s an interesting Moment from the History of AMOC. Particularly if TimW is willing to comment from time to time about whatever he remembers going on when he did that post.
D 1. A couple of problems with running THE BEAVERS strips:
i) there's only 104 of them so that's two years and two years will go by in an eye blink and you have nothing to replace them with.
ii) they would require scanning and restoration by Sean and a parallel BEAVERS ART HUNT program trying to track down the original artwork 'and (the president of Aardvark-Vanaheim speaking here) there's no money in it Sean's aptitudes -- scanning, restoration and pre-press-· really need to be allocated to (in descending order of importance) a) CEREBUS IN HELL? b) STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND and c) other stuff with THE BEAVERS at or near the bottom of the list.
2. I'd be hesitant to run my Ton:ih/Gospel commentaries as a Sunday feature since I think commentaries  at the expense of Scripture is one of the great blights upon our worldwide civilization and I don't really want to contribute to that.
As an alternative, I could rustle up my readings of the Torah, starting from Genesis 1 and provide you with those. The question that raises is:
a) What is a sensible amount of Scripture for AMOC to run on any given Sunday? I originally did 10 chapters -- what I actually read in my own Sunday observance -- but that's up around two hours. chapter? Ten verses? I think it would have to be along the lines of "A Moment" so it aligns with the spirit of AMOC and the modern attention span.
b) I would be willing to read and record John's Gospel and Revelation and Suras from the Koran if you want to do a "rotation" -- again, mirroring my own Sunday observance where I read the Torah in the morning, John's Gospel or Revelation at noon and the Koran at night. Rinse and repeat.
c) I think you would have determine how much this encroaches on the largely secular AMOC audience, But, that would be your call as Interim Editor to make: "this is the compromise position between representing Dave Sim and what I picture AMOC as being!'
Welcome to the jungle, Matt!
Best wishes to Paula, Janis Pearl and Bullwinkle.
PS: I had a phone message from George Gatsis, offering his services in running AMOC. I'd suggest that he would be a very good technical advisor for you -· here's what's POSSIBLE in the technical side of AMOC -- and a content provider and sounding board. But, just as there's only one president of Aardvark-Vanaheim at a time, there's only one AMOC editor at a time. I'm sure he'll be happy to give you his advice, as I'm happy to give you my advice, but at the end.of the day, the decisions are yours to make.
Good luck!
So, here we are.

Will Matt take Dave's advice? Will Matt just say, "F--- this noise! I'm Audi 5000!"? Will there even BE A Moment Of Cerebus this time next week?!? What the Heck does, "Audi 5000" EVEN mean?!?!?!?!?

Find out next time on, when Dave responds to my response to his message...

(Probably some time next week...)


Jeff said...

Hi, Matt--In the interest of "feeding the beast", I still have around eight years worth of unpublished letters from Dave to me (at the height of our correspondence that was about one every two weeks, so that would be the math...carry the got to carry that load sec...between 150 and 200 weeks of Beast Chow). Again, an eye-blink, but an additional eye-blink. Or, I could do it bi-weekly or monthly.

So if you care to reverse a previous editor's decision, I could resume my weekly duty.

Some people here actually said that they liked reading the letters...and I'm pretty sure Dave would not object.

Mouse Skull Entertainment said...

Full disclosure:
My message to Dave included a PS (deleted here) with my phone numbers and when I could be contacted. Along with my email address.

I've obviously deleted them from this post, because I may be a marroon, I may even be an ultra-marroon, but I ain't stupid.
Matt Dow
Grand boo-bah

Travis Pelkie said...

I think, Jeff, if you do post your letters and responses again, you make sure that you're adding some value, i.e., contextualizing the letters by making sure we understand what was going on either in society or in the correspondence at the time. Dave's responses are part of the Collected Letters, but your letters and context won't be, so that's where your value is. That was an issue I had with the feature you were doing regardless of what happened when it was stopped, you weren't really adding anything to the letters at the time.

Travis Pelkie said...

Here is an opportunity to define what AMOC is. In Dave's response, he seems to want it both ways -- an arm's length from the site, but also seeing the site as a digital repository of Cerebus stuff for the post-mortem Dave. (Forgive me if I'm reading this wrong.)

So here's a chance to define it. Is AMOC a fansite that happens to have the subject of the fandom as a contributing member of the site? Or is AMOC a quasi-arm of A-V the publisher that's curated by someone else, someone willing to devote the time to maintaining it as an online presence?

(Let's not get into all of the Trump/NYT analogy, but suffice to say, the NYT has existed long before Trump [and hopefully will exist long after], whereas there would not be an AMOC without Dave having existed.)

FWIW, in my view, AMOC should be mostly independent. If Dave, Sean, Carson, or anyone else directly connected with A-V is willing and able to share material, great, but if not, do whatever the editor wishes (within reason).

For example, if Matt had Beavers strips from another source (say, the Captain Canuck issue they appeared, or any that may have been printed in Cerebus), he should run them if he wants to, as they are something worth running. I don't think Matt was saying that he wanted to scan and restore them for future publication, which is what Dave seems to be saying here, and would be an arm of A-V the publisher. He just wanted to share for now. If, in the future, someone restores them for posterity, those posts can be updated.

And I should probably wrap it up there.

Glen said...

I also question the future of the Cerebus Archive Portfolio Kickstarter campaigns after Dave has passed.

Why would someone with no association with AV decide to take on an enormous project like that?

Also Dave long ago could have hired someone to set up/run a Cerebus website to sell his books, original artwork, blog, (vlog), & keep fans up to date on his future projects. His site, his rules.

I always thought AMOC was a fan site where people could celebrate, discus, debate, & argue on all things Sim.

Craig Johnson said...

Well good luck and god speed and break a leg and all that...

...but what happened to George, I thought he threw his hat into the ring and you said he had your vote?

Have you wrested the election from his grasp by querying his private email server or something????

Mouse Skull Entertainment said...



I had a hanging Chad?
I'm not registered to vote in this county?
The ballot was too confusing?
I've been legally dead for the last year (for tax purposes)?
Voter suppression?
Too many illegal immigrants voted for me?


Matt Dow
"I am NOT a crook!"

Jeff said...

Travis--If certain people were to agree, I could post *all* of the letters, both to and from.

I am not afraid to show my foibles, (nor is he), but that would be up to Matt.

It is not my decision, but it should be noted that I have around 95% of the ten-year+ correspondence filed in chronological order.

It was a fascinating run, until he couldn't write anymore.

That doesn't mean that he didn't have more ideas, thoughts, or things to say; it simply meant that the writing hand was damaged.

I am grateful for the semi-annual phone calls from him.

So, Matt, let me know.