Friday, 25 July 2014

Weekly Update #41: Club 261

Executive Summary
  1. On track for shipping of the Remastered CEREBUS Volume One trade. Today. Retailers being enlisted to notify AMOC when they (re) enter Diamond's Star System.
  2. Sean Robinson preparing his "guided tour" of his four remastered signatures which will appear here at A Moment of Cerebus as soon as the first copies reach comic stores.
  3. George Peter Gatsis will be doing his own "guided tour" of the balance of the CEREBUS Volume One trade.
  4. Sean and Mara's CEREBUS ART DRAGNET finds 10 of the Most Wanted already!
  5. CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER ONE Artist's Edition. All that remains to be done is:
    a) sign the "Club 261" membership cards (see illustration)
    b) U.S. domestic packages will ship from Menachem Luchins' ESCAPE POD COMICS.
  6. Scanning for the next Kickstarter: CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER TWO (The ten earliest HIGH SOCIETY pages in the Cerebus Archive) begins Monday.

1.  So far as we know there have been no last-minute glitches in the printing and binding of CEREBUS volume one's 16th printing which means they should be on their way to Diamond even as you're reading this.

We're requesting that our regular retailer readers -- Menachem Luchins and Trent Rogers (hi, guys!) -- make use of the "COMMENTS" section of this post to let everyone know WHEN the CEREBUS trade becomes available for order by retailers from the Star System.  (so far as I know it's listed as out of stock right now and will be listed as such until the books are received and entered into Diamond's Star System).  If you're a fan and want to get a copy, the Star System order code is STAR00070. Tell your retailer but WAIT until we have confirmation that we are "live".

The consensus is that this is definitely, hands down, the best version of the CEREBUS trade ever produced.  Of course, me, George and Sean are perfectionists so...

2. Sean Robinson is, at my request, hard at work on his self-critique of the four signatures that he restored.  We were actually getting into pretty in-depth stuff when I suggested that we needed to "hold that thought" until all of you CEREBUS fans who were interested had a copy of the 16th printing so you can look at it and follow along and (for those of you replacing an earlier "dog-eared, read to death" printing) to be able to compare what has been the status quo for the last twenty years, what our team has managed to fix and what we see as still being left to do.

I wouldn't say we're exactly "full speed ahead" in one sense but we are in another:  basically, Sean was offering to slow down on sending the invoices for the work he and Mara are doing.  I appreciated the offer, but my business theory has always been to pay invoices ASAP -- i.e. when they come in -- in order to have the clearest idea of how viable your business is.  If you hold off on payment, you can LOOK as if you're doing fine (money in the bank) and be much farther down the line than you think you are.  Sean's latest invoice was for $1515 and represented two weeks' worth of work.

It isn't really a predictable thing: i.e. budget $750 a week.  A lot of the work Sean is doing right now could best be described as R&D -- Research and Development -- HOW we're going to restore the pages.  Which means he can work two days on a problem without coming up with a finished digital file.  BUT!  If the two days result in a proven method of recovering line work on negatives or scans of original artwork, then it's money well invested.

And, as I mentioned before, we're coming to a fork in the road where Sean's going to have to allocate his time while doing three things at once: 1) continuing to refine the CEREBUS Volume digital files 2) beginning to refine the HIGH SOCIETY digital files and 3) beginning to establish procedures where we have both scans of the negatives and the original artwork (which only starts to happen with volume one of CHURCH & STATE).  You can see why postponing invoices wouldn't be a particularly good idea at that point  :).  Right now we've used up about two thirds of the Kickstarter money (expenses, taxes, paying for the aborted HIGH SOCIETY, etc.) but there will be more revenue coming in on the CEREBUS trade sometime in September and HOPEFULLY we maintain our Club 261 list of people financing all this through CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER TWO.  The money is here now and for the foreseeable future, so I don't see telling Sean and Mara to "hang fire" AT LEAST through August and September.  That can change.  It doesn't mean that we're BEATEN -- it just means we have to go slower than the steady forward speed we have right now.

Lots of possibilities.

3.  George Peter Gatsis, who did the original restorations on the CEREBUS trade, will also be weighing in with his views on the 16th printing.  As with Sean, the order of the day will be self-critique and critique of the other's work.  Everyone's putting their ego in a box and off to one side.  We're all learning as we go so there's no need for anyone to take anything personally.  We'll all be looking at the same book.

We're also fortunate that Lou Copeland who did the EXTENSIVE computer work on JUDENHASS will be offering his opinions.  Lebonfon has his address and will be shipping him a copy hot off the presses.

I'm hoping Sandeep Atwal -- who did most of the initial scanning of HIGH SOCIETY before the negatives were destroyed in the tragic fire at his place (and did all of the GREAT computer work on glamourpuss) -- will also join in.  Sandeep! Drop by and pick up a copy of the CEREBUS trade or, better yet, get Lebonfon to send you one!  He and his buddy Craig have a new place in downtown Waterloo, so, less than two years after getting out of his place with ONLY his wallet and the clothes on his back, he's back in business! You CAN'T keep a good man down.

4.  Sean's definitely come around to the view that the original artwork is a Best Resource for restoration (despite inherent problems like tone discolouration and shrinkage), so as you read right here, he's initiated a CEREBUS Art Dragnet (Da da dunh dunh).  As I told him, it's interesting you would call it that because one of the next things I have to do is to recreate one of Mel Keefer's DRAGNET photorealism strips.  And, of course, as soon as I realized that, I remembered that Sgt. Joe Friday's badge number (the badge was the "outro"graphic on the old TV show) was 714.  And, here we are, in 7/14.  Comic art metaphysics. It's everywhere!

Anyway with MANY thanks to Neil Gaiman for re-tweeting the link and to "Dean R" who has already contacted Sean about the "Ten Most Wanted" pages he owns, we're off to a great start!

In addition to be willing to finance "de-framing" and "re-framing" of original pages, let me also say that for those Major Art Collectors and Dealers who keep their most valuable pieces in insured storage and are worried about the insurance consequences of moving them for scanning, we are willing to help finance that as well.  Just give us a contact name at your insurance company and we'll be glad to pay for bonded, secure transportation -- armoured car, whatever it takes.  Or arrange for a security guard to accompany someone with a portable scanner to the vault where your artwork is stored and to scan it there.  There are mechanisms to work around these problems.  Any CEREBUS page is "chump change" compared to a Van Gogh and they move those around all the time!

I'm also going to be creating a certificate, (verifying BOTH the person whose possession the page was in when it was located and scanned and anyone who LOCATED that person) featuring a small reproduction of the digital scan, the "7/14" Dragnet badge (I'VE GOT TO DO ONE NOW!) and illustration of Cerebus as Sgt. Joe Friday.  This will be sent to BOTH individuals as soon as we receive a set of digital scans.

And, each of the CEREBUS trades will feature a list in perpetuity of those individuals.

So, if you have a page...or Agent Sean or Agent Mara (Da Da dunh dunh) and become a part of CEREBUS history.

5.  We're definitely down to the last couple of things that need to be printed and signed on CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER ONE (and thank you all for waiting so patiently for us to get with the learning curve on Kickstarter!):

a) basically the membership card for Club 261.  As I mentioned elsewhere, I do want to keep track of this: how many people were there in May 2014 when we had no idea if it was possible to finance the restoration of the CEREBUS trades?  AND: does that number go down?  Does it go down dramatically? Does it go up?  With the 35 copies ordered by our seven retailer partners (and I can't thank you guys -- and Mimi -- enough!), we come out to just about exactly 300, so that's what they'll actually be numbered out of.  But it's 261 people who made it happen. Surprise Bonus!  I contacted Lebonfon and had them trim the signature #1's signed and numbered from TAKE ONE of HIGH SOCIETY and ship them to John at the Print Cave.  So, in addition to the 261 membership card, you'll also get the aborted HIGH SOCIETY signed and numbered signature # that corresponds to your CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER ONE number!

b) the Lower Labels have been signed for the regular signed and numbered edition.  But I still have to sign the unique Lower Labels that will be included on those CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER ONEs where the pledge partner committed for a fully-inked Cerebus head and the ones that will be included on the CANOs where the pledge partner committed for a blue ballpoint ink Cerebus head.  There are 26 of the former and 4 of the latter.  So, if your number is say, 125, your label will say "Signed and Numbered First Edition This is No.125 out of 300" and also "This is Also No. ___ of 26 with a fully inked Cerebus head by Dave Sim".  And on the ballpoint pen ones, "This is Also No. ___ of 4" with head sketch of Cerebus by Dave Sim done in ballpoint pen" (wording is not exact).

c)  I will ALSO be lettering the names of the comic stores on their dedicated CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER ONEs.  Here, again, the CANO will be part of the 300-copy edition, so the label will specify that:  which number these five are out of 300.  But it will also say, below the label, hand-lettered by me "ESCAPE POD COMICS No.1 out of 5" "ESCAPE POD COMICS No.2 out of 5" etc.  Retailers won't be getting 5 sequential numbers, in most cases, but they will be getting 5 "out of 300" numbers.

d)  Many thanks to Menachem Luchins for agreeing to forward the US domestic packages (which we will be bulk shipping to him as a way of saving money -- Canada to US postal rates are OUTRAGEOUS!).  The mailing label will have the Escape Pod Comics return address.  If you have ANY problems or complaints about your order, you only have to return it to Menachem, he'll return it to us, we'll destroy it and send you a replacement.

We've shipped a test package from Kitchener to Eddie Khanna in Vancouver and had him mail it back.  I'm pleased to report that the bubble mailer it shipped in is not longer quite in mint, but the CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER ONE came through with flying colours.  We don't anticipate many -- if any -- damages.  Again, full return, full replacement policy in effect.  No worries.

6.  Scanning for the CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER TWO (the ten earliest HIGH SOCIETY pages in the Cerebus Archive) will be done (God willing) on Monday and forwarded to Sean for high tech sharpening.  I'll also be writing the commentaries on them, hopefully in the next couple of weeks, then doing the new video for Kickstarter and then we should be off to the races!

Bad news on the "I don't believe Dave Sim is a misogynist" petition front. Mitch Grady signed yesterday. Nick Wyche signed two weeks ago. And before that we had a month-long dry spell. 560 people and pretty much flat-lined.

No problem, by me.  I've always been more than happy to let people make up their own minds about these things.  But it does make a big promotional tour for STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND distinctly unlikely.  Potential fallback position?  Exhibit of the artwork in San Diego at an off-site location during Comiccon of (whatever year) and reception elsewhere where I'll be glad to meet and greet any petition signatories.  Seems fair to me.  You want to see the artwork?  There it is.  You want to meet Dave Sim?  Well, if you think he's a misogynist, I'm afraid he doesn't want to meet you.

Would you want to meet someone who thought you were a misogynist?

From the comments section last week: I'll certainly consider making reproductions of the CEREBUS trades available through Kickstarter but that would involve a lengthy process of reassessment. One of the core concepts of CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER ONE (and forward) is that the packages are all the same size. We're going to add in some features as we go, but always on the basis of 11x17 or smaller. Which wouldn't be the best use of the trade paperback covers in my opinion. We want to get GOOD at this format before we start messing around with things we don't know how to do.

The point was made that Sergio is selling GROO posters for $60. I'd caution that there's often a difference between offering a poster for $60 and selling a poster for $60. I want to avoid -- with the VERY limited time I have -- "test marketing" prints and copies by spending all of the money involved to print them and then finding out it's one of those "Margaret and eight other people" things.  :)

JP Pollard on the Series 7 brush. Literally as I was walking out the door, Tim's package with the two brushes came in. Yes, we are definitely talked about the WINSOR & NEWTON SERIES 7 number 2 STANDARD brush [available from and], not the MINIATURE brush. Many thanks to Tim. I'll be able to tell you next Friday when I go to pick up the mail if any others have come in. Couldn't have come at a better time: I now don't need to S!AV!E! my one unopened brush. And the next thing I have to ink is a Jose Luis Salinas CISCO KID panel. If ANYTHING calls for a brand new brush, THAT does!

David Groenewegen on his suggestion that I buy the Xacto 41 sharpener replacement blades instead of a whole new sharpener. That's an interesting idea. Can you check online and see what the difference in price between a sharpener and replacement blades would be? I tend to think that the blades would be a substantial part of the cost since that's really all that an electric pencil sharpener consists of. But, I've been wrong before about these things.

Okay, have to write an update for the Patreon people.

See you all next week (God willing).


Paul Slade said...

I'm getting confused. Could someone clarify how (if at all) this 16th printing of the Cerebus volume relates to the Legacy editions we've also been discussing?

Is the 16th printing volume one of the Legacy project, or is that something entirely different which will come later?

Like I said: confused.


Sean R said...

Hey Paul,

The 16th printing is the previously on-hold Lebonfon printing, with four replacement signatures (128 pages) prepped by Dr. Mara and myself. So the book is effectively made up of two different sets of pages, printed at two different times.

The Legacy edition, when it arrives, will likely be very similar to the 16th printing in terms of those four signatures.

Here's my original "review" of an unbound copy of the 16th edition printing, along with my suggestions to replace several signatures to make the book more viable--

And so that's what we've done!

Jason Winter said...

Regarding the pencil sharpener issue, has Mr Sim thought of trying a mechanical pencil? You can get them as small as 0.33mm, although 0.5 is considered more efficient.

A Moment Of Cerebus said...

Xacto 41 blades = $26.99
Xacto 41 model = +$130

Link embedded above.

John Mosher said...

Hey Dave

This is the sharpener you want. This is what I have used at school as an art teacher for the last 4 years. Not only does it show no signs of slowing down, I replaced the blades for the first time this last year. 375 kids sharpen a lot more pencils than you do.

Best money I ever spent. You would never buy another sharpener again.

Best wishes


A Moment Of Cerebus said...

I'm curious. "Club 261" implies that 16 people didn't fulfill their original Kickstarter pledge -- 277 are listed on the Kickstarter page.
If so, how much did CA Number One finally end up generating for you? Presumably somewhere short of the $33k we all thought...

Jake said...

I'm kind of lost. I clicked on the W&N link but I don't know what brushes to buy. I know it's number 7? If I have them sent from the online store to CA will the sable get flagged?

A Moment Of Cerebus said...

Hi Jake,
The W&N online store is a little tricky. I've added Amazon US/UK links into the article.

Graphic Edge Print Solutions said...


Allow me to answer your question, as Dave won't likely see this until Friday when he does his weekly post.

There were 277 total backers and all pledges were collected on except for a $2 pledge. The 261 number is the total of backers who pledged for one or more (including the retail stores) portfolio sets. The difference of 16 comes from those other reward categories such as bookplates, birthday call/card and so on. Dave wanted the membership card to be distributed with the portfolio packages.


John Funk (on behalf of Dave Sim).

Jason said...

Dave, I don't know if you're aware or if you care, but the Norman Mailer vs. the Feminists "Town Hall" event you mention in one of the later "Cerebus" issues was filmed: