Tuesday, 22 January 2019

It's not stealing if you say, "Yoink!"...

Hi, Everybody!

Okay, once more. With FEELING:

Comiclink auctions.

The remastered Volume 1, digitally for $9.99.

For anyone who missed the birthday card Kickstarter, there's a Indiegogo live
So, scanning through Jeff Tundis's www.cerebustheaardvark.com (again,) I found the "F.A.Q." tab, which has all of the Yahoo Group "5 Questions" that Dave answered back in the day (again,). And in the Cerebus Volume 1 section, there was this one, which I think is germane to something I posted recently:
Q5: We just noticed that the 11th printing of Cerebus includes, for the first time, the Silverspoon story (which, technically, would make the "11th printing" the "1st printing of the 2nd Edition" of that book). Why did you choose to include this story now? Have you changed your view of what constitutes the technical "complete Cerebus Novel?" Do you view that as being (a) the 300 issues; (b) the 16 phonebook volumes; (c) either of those PLUS some/all of the miscellaneous material (Swords stories/issues 51, 112/113, Likealooks, ElfGuest/Epic stories/Cerebus 3D/Cerebus Jam/the letters pages & notes from the President) or Cerebus cameos in other creators' books); and/or (d) some other combination of these or other materials?

DAVE: Um, actually, that came about because of a completely unrelated re-reading of Cerebus: this one having been initiated by Joe Matt who suggested that he and Chester Brown should re-read all of Cerebus because I was coming down to visit reasonably often and, basically, Joe's just like that. Pull out a chessboard at lunch. "Let's play chess." Uh, I'd really rather just talk, Joe. "No, let's play chess. C'mon. I'll let you be white." Most of the time you just give in because it's easier than discussing it for an hour or something. So, they both re-read Cerebus. And one of the things Chet wanted to know about was "Why aren't the Silverspoon strips reprinted in the Cerebus volume?" And I said, they are. And he said, mm, not in my copy. Really? And I went home and checked and sure enough, he was right. They weren't in there. One of those "I must've dreamed that last part" moments (apologies to Fat Freddy's Cat).

So, I made a note to put them into the next reprinting, having wrestled with whether or not to promote it as such, since that would seem like I was conniving to find a way to get everyone to buy another copy even though I was aware that a certain number of people would buy another copy. The Silverspoon strips I tend to see as being in a different category because without them Lord Julius just suddenly appears in the story with no explanation.

"Magiking" I figure can be left out because there isn't that big a leap from i12 to i13 without it. Cerebus is on a river and wakes up washed up on a bank, with only one caption indicating you might've missed something. Likewise "What Happened Between Issues 20 and 21". It's more of curiosity item if you're one of those really intense Cerebus fans. i51 and i's112/113 I still don't see sitting comfortably on the end of High Society, or the beginning and end of Church & State OR the beginning of Jaka's Story. "ElfGuest" I tend to leave out because Wendy and Richard just aren't "that way". Like just about everything else about me, they consider it an insult. I'm sure they considered it an insult when I congratulated them on their DC deal in my comp space in Diamond Previews and I'm sure they would have considered it an insult if I neglected to mention them. They seem to me to epitomize the comic-book field in that way.
Now THIS is the 1st appearance of the vest...

All of the material that you mentioned, apart from "ElfGuest" for the reasons outlined, I picture doing in a single supplementary volume at some point. That's somewhere up ahead, as in late 2005 or early 2006. Since it will be the last "new" Cerebus volume, we obviously would like it to make its own splash if possible and not to bunch it up with The Last Day. And if the books keep selling at their usual predictable rate we're going to have to be doing a number of reprintings back-to-back through 2004 and 2005, so we'll try and schedule the book for when we catch up. Apart from that, there are a few semi-published stories, including "Passage" which only the near-fossilized Cerebus readers (I won't embarrass Steve Bolhafner by identifying anyone by name) would remember from the Cerebus Fan Club Newsletter days. Actually that was probably before Steve's time, so that makes me the only pre-crustaceous life-form that knows it was an unpublished Cerebus short story done between issues 3 and 4 and originally intended for Dave Cothrane's Faerie Star groundlevel comic (as we pre-crustaceans used to call them back in the late 70s). It only exists in the form of really, really grey photocopies (I tried "blacking in" the grey areas and gave up partway through the first page). Anyway, it's the official first appearance of Cerebus' black vest as well as not being very good. And then there's "Anatole's Solecism" (seriously, "Anatole's Solecism") which I did for Magic Eggrollian Funnies (seriously, Magic Eggrollian Funnies) which survives only in script and rough outline form. These Craig Miller will be publishing in Following Cerebus as curiosity items but they'll almost definitely not be in the Miscellaneous Cerebus volume.
I bolded the relevant bits. You're welcome. -Matt

I'd have to say that my personal view is that the 16-volume story stands alone now that the Silverspoon strips have been incorporated. The other pieces are either historical curiosity items or "untold stories" from between the principle graphic novels. It will be a while before all of these pieces are in print. As an example, we had tentatively planned to do a colour volume with Bob Chapman of Graphitti Designs years ago that would contain the colour stories from Epic magazine, the Animated Cerebus portfolio, various unpublished colour pieces as well as a variety of covers without the logos and typesetting and issue numbers on them. There are a couple of problems. Bob has all of the negatives for the Epic stories except, I believe, for "A Friendly Reminder". The negatives for the Animated Cerebus Portfolio were accidentally totalled at Preney which would have meant that we would have had to shoot from a printed copy. Until recently, that is, when I unearthed the original overlays and backgrounds, so it would be possible to reconstruct it probably a lot more cheaply in today's age of computer scans (the original negs were all hand-cut and stripped in by hand, unbelievably expensive and difficult). Of course the backgrounds are kind of rough, which then raises the possibility of getting Gerhard to do new backgrounds. But, then, if Ger's going to do new backgrounds, why don't I redraw my part of the portfolio as well? And then you have people who would want the new version but also the original version, so you have to ask yourself, well, what is it that we're doing here? Reproducing an artefact or using it as a blueprint for a new piece?

A lot of the motivation in doing the Animated Cerebus was to get the animation bug out of my system. Which worked. No more bug. Given that it's out of my system, why stick to an animation format? Why not redraw them as comic strips with all the extra detail and contour you can get in there? And that's fine until you run up against the fact that it's like pulling teeth to get Gerhard and I to do one Following Cerebus cover every three months. And then there's all the covers that we have in their original form. Well, as soon as you print an assortment people are going to want all of them. You can do all of them, but what's that going to cost? And (the more important question from my standpoint) how much are you competing against yourself? If it's a hundred-dollar colour volume, a store that orders one is probably going to cut their trade paperback order by five or ten books and, to be honest, I'd much rather have the chance that ten new people were giving the story a try than that one long-time reader was oohing and aahing over the covers, the Epic stories and The Animated Cerebus. Not the most diplomatic thing to say on a website made up of long-time readers, but I'm afraid it's the way I look at it. These are the sort of circles that I go round and round on a good bit of the time.

There are so many angles and permutations that its really difficult to arrive at a conclusion. The fact that the first priority is keeping the trade paperbacks in print 1-16, I think that shows what I consider, personally, to be The Definitive Cerebus. Collected Letters 2004 is running at about 500 pages at this point, in the same format as High Society. I think Cerebus readers will "get it". At least I hope they will. It seems to fit the bill in the same way that Aardvark Comment used to close out the total monthly Cerebus package. The sixteen volumes needed something like Aardvark Comment to finish off. My own first experience with a collected letters volume was Oscar Wilde's. It seemed very strange, at first, because you're only getting the one side of the story, but, to me, it's certainly the best way of familiarizing yourself with a writer. When I did my Hemingway research, the first thing I did was to read Selected Letters, which wasn't nearly as good because of the motive in selecting the letters (Mary Hemingway wanted to discredit all versions of Papa except her own), but it was still a very good introduction to Hemingway. I actually happened on the idea of doing it myself accidentally. It seemed to me that the easiest way to answer the letters was to put them all in one "save as" computer file and just print them out one at a time as they were completed. At that point, I thought, you know if I just delete each person's address as I go and center their name over their letter in 20 pt. Type, badda-bing-badda-boom instant Collected Letters format. So, I thought, It will make for a nice little one-off volume, a quick eighty- or a hundred-page snapshot of what was going on a month after I finished, as I answered the three-year backlog of mail, leading up to Cerebus 300 coming out and then on through what response there was to issue 300.

I've just finished file No.17 of 50 pages each, so the modest little volume idea has gone by the wayside. It might turn out to be a strange enough book that it could end up becoming the Cerebus introductory volume. Here, read this. If this interests you, Cerebus will probably interest you. And for long-time readers, here's everything that was going on in my life from January 23, 2004 on. As I'm doing here, I tried (and am trying) to answer everything as exhaustively and as honestly as I could (and can), in no small part because somewhere up ahead (with sufficient cross-referencing) I may end up having answered virtually every question anyone can throw at me. This was the idea behind The Guide to Self-Publishing and it seems to me that that's worked for about seven years now: if you make sure that you answer everything in print, rather than in conversation, you can just hand someone the whole package.

A number of these letters are ten and fifteen pages long, so when I say that I'm trying to answer the questions exhaustively I mean to the metaphorical point of utter collapse in a lot of cases. As it stands I'm still answering mail close to ten or twelve hours a day so, obviously, even if there wasn't the "permissions" problem, I would never have time to input all of the mail that I'm answering, but I will certainly be encouraging those Cerebus readers who are interested to post their side of the correspondence to the Newsgroup if they're so inclined cross-referenced to the relevant page numbers. I detect an ill-concealed lack of interest whenever I mention Collected Letters 2004. I mean, I do understand that people are hoping that I'm going to do more comics, but I have to say that the odds are not very good for a variety of reasons, foremost among them the fact that feminism is still a universal condition in the comic-book field. It would be like asking me to do an astronomy textbook for a world that still universally believes in a "flat earth". Mentally, this is always what I run up against when I consider doing a new comic-book story. I don't believe the earth is flat and, while acknowledging that belief in a flat earth is a fully protected free will choice and honestly meaning no offence, I really don't have anything to communicate to people who do believe in a flat earth beyond what I've already said. When I look at the Diamond Previews catalogue, all I see is super-heroes, soft-core pornography, paganism and Marxist-feminist propaganda, all perfectly valid free will and First Amendment protected choices but of zero interest to me.

If that changes, even incrementally, I think I'll know. But the pendulum has been swinging at top speed away from me for at least the last fifteen years and it shows no signs of stopping or even slowing down. I'm very appreciative, more than I could ever express, that the store owners whose customers genuinely prefer super-heroes, soft-core pornography, paganism and Marxist-feminist propaganda are also willing to carry some or all of the Cerebus trades. I consider that a very open-minded thing to do for someone whose only claim to fame is that he's lost the Best Letterer award every time he's been up for it. I still have high hopes that Cerebus might be a top-selling line of trade paperbacks someday. As it stands right now it seems more polite to just to stay out of the way and let the Marxist-feminists bring the comic-book field to dizzying new heights now that Dave Sim and Cerebus aren't in the way, irritating everyone and being evil. I mean, for me, this is a very comfortable situation. I don't owe anyone anything that I'm aware of, so I'm able to correspond with people who are genuinely interested in ideas. I don't have to worry about any of them. They read the book. They know who I am and they know what I think and they're actually interested in an exchange of viewpoints.

Likewise with Following Cerebus. Craig and John are big boys. They read the book and they're actually willing to attach their names to a magazine devoted to it. Not something I would have recommended personally, but, as I say, they're big boys and able to make their own decisions. And then there's the Newsgroup, the only place in the world right now which is willing to discuss my work or myself as having any sort of merit. And even that is mostly a dozen or two dozen people with 500 people listening. Can you imagine how many of those 500 people would be flat-out humiliated if anyone even suspected how often they sneak over here when no one's watching them because they feel compelled to check and see what everyone's saying on that weird website where freedom of expression actually means something besides using the word cunt nine times in the same sentence or gratuitously insulting people because you're hiding behind a pseudonym?

And personally, I think that's great.

Genuine freedom is an irresistible concept so, to me, anyone in the comic-book field who sneaks over to see what the Cerebus Yahoos are talking about, well, to me that means that there's always hope. Even so far off in the future that you can't even pretend to see it from here, hope is still hope.

As I recently wrote to Stephen Holland of Page 45, the Yahoo newsgroup is something I never would've come up with on my own or have seen a need for. Fortunately, his business partner Mark Simpson did see a need and went ahead and filled it. And here we are on the narrow swaying rope bridge between issue 300 and Following Cerebus No.1. And, having set the whole thing in motion, Stephen and Mark don't even participate anymore. You can't beat that with a stick.
Well, THEN. NOW, it's just a couple of hobos fighting over a near-empty bottle of cheap rotgut, and occasionally wondering who that kid in the bunny suit is. ALL the trendy, good-looking Cerebus fans are on the Facebook grou...I mean HERE. Here. The creme-de-la-creme frequent A Moment of Cerebus.

And I thank you kindly! (I'm SO fired...)

Next Time: While I start checking to see if the guy who runs the Power Pachyderms Blog is looking for a replacement, Hobbs!


Anthony Kuchar said...

I know that it's kind of a pipe dream for the planned but never released "single supplementary volume" to be made some day (between Dave's work on SDOAR, CIH, his health problems and the ever increasing cost of paper) but I would still love to buy it.

It would be awesome if it also included a bunch of other stuff, like the Epic Illustrated stories, TMNT#8 and Spawn #10.

Jeff said...

Anthony, it's been a pipe dream for so many years that it's all clogged up--no longer a lead-pipe cinch.

Kit said...

I'm sure they considered it an insult when I congratulated them on their DC deal in my comp space in Diamond Previews and I'm sure they would have considered it an insult if I neglected to mention them. They seem to me to epitomize the comic-book field in that way.

It was extremely rude of the Pinis, and of the comic-book field, to definitely embody these completely hypothetical, contradictory, and wildly unlikely positions that Dave made up in his head.