Saturday, 27 December 2014

Weekly Update #63: The Morning After

The Morning After (Swords Of Cerebus Vol 2, 1981)
By Dave Sim & Joe Rubinstein
Hello, everyone!

As I wrote Jeff Seiler, if that isn't the funniest Christmas card I ever saw, it's certainly in the Top Five. Bringing a whole new meaning to the term "ugly Christmas sweater". So funny I took it with me to Mike and Erika's place on my pre-Christmas visit. Where three-year-old Zack GLOMMED onto it. I'm hoping Mike or one of the girls can shoot low-res footage of the card and post it here (we're all wondering how long the battery will last under 'three-year-old game conditions").

Executive Summary
1)  Rarest Cerebus Archive FIRST RELEASE print: the Barack Obama/Zombie Cerebus cover from CEREBUS ARCHIVE No.2: only 20 signed and numbered FIRST RELEASE copies

2)  JAKA'S STORY, MELMOTH, LATTER DAYS and THE LAST DAY to be available again from Diamond Comic Distributors early in 2015

3)  Joe Rubinstein to contribute "The Morning After" splash page BONUS PRINT to CAN3 (CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER THREE) and production paintings for CEREBUS: THE MOVIE

1)  I signed and numbered all of the BONUS PRINTS for CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER TWO in one marathon ten-hour session December 23. I was interested to note that the Barack Obama CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER TWO cover was the rarest of the Bonus Prints, selected by only 20 pledge partners. Just to give you an idea, the second rarest print was the BACK cover of CEREBUS ARCHIVE No.1, the Zombie Cover.

Which might, I think, prove to be a mistake in retrospect.  Although the President is not exactly at the peak of his popularity in December of 2014, a) he IS the first black President of the United States and b) Democratic presidents usually hit a low-ebb while in office, but usually rebound in popularity (although admittedly the process usually takes roughly 50 years:  Harry S. Truman is just now "coming into his own" and Jimmy Carter isn't due until around 2030).

Anyway, this means that all I have left to do is to sign the 10 HIGH SOCIETY page prints and hand-letter however many bookplates we had ordered this time.

Thanks to Funkmaster John and Funkmistress Karen for "getting 'er done" before the busy Christmas holidays.

We know we have a lot of eager pledge partners out there, so just wanted to let you know: We ARE Getting There!

2)  Owing to a miscommunication -- Diamond thought that the Lebonfon inventory they purchased late in 2012 included ALL of the trade paperbacks Aardvark-Vanaheim has in stock -- JAKA'S STORY, MELMOTH, LATTER DAYS and THE LAST DAY have been unavailable from Diamond for some time.  This gradually moved through the system and a couple of weeks back, I got an order from Diamond for 200 of each of those trades (which will come in handy as Aardvark-Vanaheim's US$ reserves have been dropping like a stone:  with most of A-V's expenses now in US$: with a US printer and Sean's restoration work being done in the US and being paid for in US $).

That will make READS the only officially "out of print" CEREBUS trade at this point.

Hit a snag just before Christmas.

It's been so long since I've shipped books to Diamond from the Leamington warehouse, I forgot that all of that inventory is PRE-"Bar Code Edict" (everything sold through Diamond needs to have a bar code on it as well as on the box its shipping in).  I still haven't heard from Marquis Printing (not even a storage charge for November) so I'm working on this from the other side: getting Diamond to e-mail Funkmaster John the digital files for the bar codes (and Diamond order number) for all four books, which are right now sitting at the "freight forwarding" service I use from time to time out in Waterloo.  John will be printing removable bar code stickers and then the "freight forwarding" place -- I HOPE -- will be unpacking all of the books, putting bar code stickers on them and then repacking them and shipping them to the Star System in Mississippi.

Of course everyone involved is gone for their Christmas break, so there are faxes and phone messages from me to all concerned letting them know that I don't THINK this is an emergency (I notified Eileen Palmer at Diamond that I wasn't going to be able to hit the 12/24 order cancel date) (a Star System order is ONLY valid for two weeks -- Diamond's way of making sure that their "just in time" Star System works, uh, "just in time") and that -- as long as we get to it sometime in January -- that should do it.  I always hate to think of people coming back from Christmas Holidays to BLARING EMERGENCY MESSAGES.

I'll try to keep everyone updated on the progress on this.  Judging by the experience on the CEREBUS TRADE being back in print, it takes about a month from the time that books are OFFICIALLY available to when the retailers are actually notified.  I'm going to try to estimate that arrival time and post the Diamond order codes for all four books in a future Weekly Update and then rely on Menachem -- as usual -- to let me know when its OFFICIAL on the retail side.

3)  I also did a marathon cleaning of my Rectangle Office (as opposed to the office where I do all of the actual office work) and found a post-it note with Joe Rubinstein's address on it.  Which I had known was under the big pile of stuff on my desk...SOMEwhere.  We had left off in our correspondence, years ago, with him suggesting that I send him a pencil drawing of Cerebus that he could watercolour and we could...jointly sell?

I had sent him scans of the two pages of "The Morning After" (the back-up story he had inked WAAAYYYY back in SWORDS OF CEREBUS No.2) and suggested that we could both sign prints of them and...jointly sell?...those as well.

This, of course, was long before the CEREBUS ARCHIVE BONUS PRINTS and CEREBUS: THE MOVIE arrived on the front burner at pretty much the same time.  Literally, Oliver sent me a fax hoping that I would be able to do some paintings -- the religious paintings in RICK'S STORY, LATTER DAYS and THE LAST DAY for THE MOVIE for the new scene that I'm working on (uh -- not LATELY but which I have worked on)(and I faxed Oliver that I don't really paint and that I didn't think actual watercolour paintings would work in a digital film)  at the same time Joe left a phone message reminding me that that had been his original pitch: water-colouring a pencil drawing of mine.

Joe also asked in his message if I wanted the piece water-coloured in the old-fashioned way or if I wanted it coloured digitally -- Pixar-style.

So I did pencil a CEREBUS: THE MOVIE production painting on watercolour paper on the day between finishing all of the inked Cerebus heads for CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER TWO and when the two big cartons of BONUS PRINTS arrived.  Now I can't find Joe's address again, but I do have his phone number and when that gets to the top of my list (the top of my list always being "Things I've Been Paid For And Haven't Done" which means anything having to do with CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER TWO), I will be mailing him the pencil drawing.

And if Joe is reading this -- and wouldn't mind leaving me a phone message with his mailing address -- the answer to your question, Joe is: I think it would be a good idea to do BOTH and we'll offer both CEREBUS:THE MOVIE as Bonus Prints as part of CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER THREE.  I'd be interested to know how many people were interested in a "Classic Watercolour" look and how many people were interested in a Pixar look.

And, of course, I'd like to go "One Page At a Time" on "The Morning After":  Joe, for you to do a watercolour version of the splash page and we'll follow that with water-coloured versions of each successive page until all of the pages have been offered as Bonus Prints.

We could also consider auctioning one of the CEREBUS:THE MOVIE Sim/Rubinstein paintings -- the ACTUAL old-fashioned watercolour production paintings -- on eBay and, depending on how much money IT generates, consider doing that on an on-going basis.

I'm even going to try printing the CEREBUS:THE MOVIE logo as a screen capture and pasting that up at the bottom of the painting -- so it looks, you know, REALLY official. Depending on how my printer is behaving at the time.

Happy New Year, everyone!

See you January 2nd, God willing!


Oliver said...

Happy New Year! I can't imagine a more anticipated year than 2015!

Anonymous said...

Can anyone reveal what the first paragraph is about? (The "Christmas card" / "ugly Christmas sweater" bit.) Thanks!

-- Damian T. Lloyd, azm

Travis Pelkie said...

I think Seiler sent Dave an amusing Christmas card. If so, Jeff, and you have a copy, can you share with Tim so we can all see, and it doesn't mystify us all?

I wasn't quite intrigued enough by the Obama/zombie Cerebus cover enough, given all the other cool choices. I'm guessing that's as much why others didn't choose it (too many other good choices) as any other thoughts to his presidency. Although that probably factored in as well.

So High Society is in the latest Previews, and it's listed as a gold cover signed and numbered edition. If this is still the case, is the numbering on a "luck of the draw" system? I plan on ordering through my local shop again (got the first trade a week ago, I guess, after having to have my guy call in a damaged copy at first, because it had a banged up corner. Collector OCD strikes! [well, it IS a 30 dollar book -- I want it mint!!!]), but if I can get a particular # through Dave...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone!

Jeff Seiler said...

Sorry I'm late here, folks. Left my phone at my friend's house 3 days ago and just got it back last night, late.

I try, every year for the last several, to send Dave either the funniest or the most annoying X-mas card I can find. Apparently, this year I hit the trifecta: annoying, funny, and 3-year-old magic!

I think Dave opened his update last week hoping that there would be a picture or video of the card above his "cold open", but then that didn't happen, so Tim went with what we all saw, instead.

The Christmas card was a small-ish (about 4 inches by 3 inches) replica of an ugly Christmas sweater, hanging on a small hook that had "pull up" printed on it. Across the front of the sweater were the old-timey large X-ms tree bulbs attached to cords. When you pulled the hanger up, the lights lit up and the card played a melody of "Deck The Halls".

Annoying and ugly as...well, you know.

And, then, Dave took it with him to Toronto when he went to visit Mike Kitchen (Spy Guy!!!) and his family and, apparently...

Well, Dave wrote me that 3-year-old Zack found the card to be so much fun that Dave left it with Zack as his Christmas present, as Dave said he could not think of a better present for Zack. And, then, Dave told Mike that they should all pray that the battery would die sooner rather than later.

I got a very nice thank-you in return, from Dave, a few days ago. Unfortunately, I left it in my brother's car while he was visiting and now it is in Arkansas. Hope I get it back.

So, there's the story.