Friday, 16 January 2015

Weekly Update #66: 37 Years An Aardvark

37 Years An Aardvark
Art by Dave Sim
(Click image to enlarge)
Howdy, everyone!

Question from a couple of weeks back (last week?) about the notebooks: what about those missing pages?  That's one of those concave/convex/concave/convex oscillations where I was aware that this was a notebook in which I was writing part of The World's Longest Graphic Novel so that would be a question since the notebooks say how many pages they contain.  So, if I was heading up to Doogies for a beer or something and I wanted to leave a note for Ger ("Ger - I'm up at Doogies having a beer") and I was (as was usually the case) taking The Albatross with me...

Well, good spot to get a quick sheet of notepaper.  But, then I'd think, "Well, that's going to raise questions some day. Did someone tear out pages? Did Dave self-censor himself?  Did the CIA tear them out?"  And then I'd have to talk myself down from the ledge.  It's JUST a notebook.  Even thinking that the question might come up SOME. DAY.  seemed disproportionate and egomaniacal.  Certainly if I had tried telling someone that when I would be hunting around for a piece of paper, they would have thought I was crazy (in a distinctly disproportionate and egomaniacal way).

And, now, here we are, eh?

Belated thanks to Margaret for keeping up with this WELL into Bruins season.

Margaret Mitchell "tasked" her husband, John Marsh, with destroying her writings after she was dead, leaving the judgement up to him -- a task inherited by her brother, Stephens, after Marsh died in 1952.  As late as the 1960s he destroyed the only remaining version of PANSY HAMILTON, FLAPPER HEROINE.  Not my nature, but I can see the logic behind it.  Whatever you leave behind adds many different levels of interpretation (as we've already seen).  My own retention isn't particularly good this many years later of things that didn't make the final cut -- particularly "blue-skying" ideas many years down the road.  As a writer, I often need to see how NOT to write a line of dialogue or an explanation in order to understand how TO write a line of dialogue or an explanation.

But, missing pages, I can pretty much guarantee were just torn out to write notes. And not often, just when I saw a need to talk myself down from a ledge that I was pretty sure I was actually on.

1.  CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER TWO now within 100 autographs of being "off my desk"

2.  CEREBUS: FRACTURED DESTINY Hello Joe Rubinstein Via Facebook!  Hoping to get some sheets of the  comic-art drawing paper you use and wondering if Kinko's can print on that paper.  37 YEARS AN AARDVARK on its way to Antony via Oliver.

3. Bar codes stickers for MELMOTH, JAKA'S STORY, LATTER DAYS and THE LAST DAY have been produced and are awaiting "testing/testing" at Diamond before being applied to the books

4.  Not sure what Scott and Tom will be getting for their work on the GOAT layout but I'll be sending them something today.  Hope Scott -- who has been "under the weather" all week, he says -- is feeling better soon

1.  Funkmaster John made an error in cutting 100 copies of Plate 3 (I'm surprised that doesn't happen more often) (knock wood).  So, I'm almost at the finish line instead of finished.  I forgot about having to sign the labels that go on the front of the IH (Inked Head) copies, so that was another 37 and BP ballpoint pen head sketch copies (another...4, I think?).  Apart from that, signing Plates was Job One on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week between the end of "dinner and flossing hour" (2000 hours) and lights out (2300 hours).  I tend to be quite monomaniacal about it:  I've been paid for these, they arrived tonight, they're getting signed tonight. Period.

The smaller-sized boxes for transport that John got from U-Line are working great.  Much easier on my left shoulder...

[Okay, real quick: Canada Post moved Box 1674 out to Waterloo from Kitchener -- the only way I could retain the number was to go out there -- so as of summer 2013 I was walking out to Waterloo every other Friday to get the mail and groceries, every other Friday to the Frederick Mall for groceries.  And then taking a cab home instead of walking home.  During Ramadan I switch to Central Fresh Market because it's all back streets going over there so there's less chance of my seeing a pretty girl which is really...unhelpful...during Ramadan. Not foolproof: pretty girls use back streets as well as main drags but much lower percentage. Particularly in the summer.  I had always walked back from Central Fresh carrying my groceries so this past summer I naturally did that.  But I'm 58 years old.  If you spend a year -- as I had -- NOT carrying groceries for a mile or two miles every few days, your muscle that does it is going to atrophy.  Which meant pain. Which I ignored. "Don't baby it, don't baby it."  And now I can't sleep on my left side because it stretches the muscle and that means P*A*I*N.  "Okay, maybe we need to baby this."  So, it's either a stretched muscle that will someday come back from the dead, or it's a permanent 60-year old aches-and-pains thing.  Or it's terminal bone cancer.  Or flesh-eating disease just getting warmed up.  :)   I'm pretty philosophical since I'm not a "doctor visit" kind of guy. I It's complicated somewhat by the fact that for 40 years now, I've done everything I possibly could with my left hand and shoulder to avoid any damage or strain to my right hand and shoulder. So my right hand and shoulder are not used to doing EVERYTHING which they now need to do.  Which means they're both eroding faster than, presumably, they would have under ordinary circumstances. End of story  :)]

...John also came up with the idea of putting all the prints in a plastic bag which means I can get them out of the box with one good pull mostly on my right side and only using my left hand to guide them.  Unbag them one-handed, sign them all, slide them back into the bag and slot them in between the two pieces of styrofoam he's got to hold everything together.  So, that's VERY good news for keeping doing CEREBUS ARCHIVE.  Funkmaster comes from an engineering background, so he's always watching for structural things like this.  For which I am SINCERELY grateful.

2. Hi Joe!  Thanks for your phone message which I thoughtlessly deleted before making a note of what comic art drawing paper you use for doing your watercolours.  When you send the three images back to me, can you include two or three sheets?  I might as well work on what you're the most comfortable colouring on.  I'd volunteer to try to get them locally, but neither of the local comic stores has signed the on-line petition (belated THANK YOU! to Don Van Horn for signing a few weeks back and the two other fellas who signed in the last couple of weeks -- 582 names and s.l.o.w.l.y. counting -- a Kitchener person actually signing the petition! Will wundas nevah seize? as Krazy Kat put it.  Don was the guy who took the last pictures of me and Harry Kremer together that appeared on the back cover of 279) and I don't get to Paradise Comics in Toronto often enough to get them there.  Two or three sheets at a time should do fine judging by how little time I have to devote to the movie.

Any preference as to pencil interacting with the colour?  I used, variously, 3H, 4H and 2B Staedler Mars.  Leave a phone message if you have a preference or not if you don't.  

Regarding the 37 YEARS AN AARDVARK piece.  Good point.  Yes, you would have gotten paid for it, but that would depend on how many Bonus Prints it sold as.  And looking at it, I'm thinking, "This is not going to break any Bonus Print box office records." So I'd hate to ask you to put time in on it that would be comparable to the time you'd put in on the FRACTURED DESTINY images which (to my eye, anyway) have much greater box office appeal. And in the case of those, we'll be auctioning the originals as well as selling them as Bonus Prints -- which we wouldn't be doing on 37 YEARS AN AARDVARK.  I'll try to think these things through a little better before saying anything.

So I finished it up in ink (TimW should have the scan I did of it and -- hopefully -- will post it here when he gets home from work) and mailed it to Oliver to give to Antony (who's actually in England) and it turns out that Oliver moved and faxed me not to send anything to his old address which I had already done but fortunately either his or Carma's son in in residence there and will be able to forward it.

We will offer it as a Bonus Print and see "Okay, what does this do?"  And if it turns out to have box office appeal, I'll definitely keep you in mind for colouring other peculiar "one-offs" like this. If it tanks. ...well, better you not have time invested in it.  It's REALLY just something cool for Antony's wall.

I think that covers it.

3.  Funkmaster did a really good job on the bar code stickers (which will be: guaranteed easily removable from the books), e-mailing them to Matt and Diamond and dropping off printed copies for me.  Checked them very carefully to see that all the information is correct, which it was.  Matt has now given them to someone at Diamond to check for "scanability":  do they register as being barcodes for the books for which they are supposed to be bar-coded?  Once Matt gives us a green light on that, then it's a matter of the Waterloo-based company putting them on the books, re-packing the books and shipping them to the Star System warehouse in Mississippi.

Shouldn't be long now!

4.  I'm going to try to do things like this more often particularly with the "early, funnier ones" material where I think CEREBUS fans are always going to have a clearer idea than I do of what's required/apt to work the best because the "early, funnier ones" are "nearest to them in their affections" (Koranic phrase).

It's very much like seeing Cerebus the Barbarian through Kevin Eastman's eyes when the TURTLES crossover pages were coming in.  Instead of "Well, I know how to actually draw now" it was "Hunh.  Yeah, there's a certain E!N!E!R!G!Y! to this, isn't there?  Badly drawn E!N!E!R!G!Y! but definitely E!N!E!R!G!Y! for all that!"

See you all next week, God willing!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for answering the notebook question and I'm glad to have validated your past sense of egomania and disproportion.

- Reginald P.

iestyn said...

In the question answering way - I've always wondered why in photorealism, when transferring the traced images, why don't you use carbon paper to transfer it to the board?

Al that having to rub over it to get the lines to transfer - wouldn't it be much easier and less time consuming?

Graphic Edge Print Solutions said...

RE: Item #3

Dave and All! I'm happy to report that the barcode stickers were approved by Diamond. I've printed them (tested them here at the PrintCave with my scanner, and delivered them to Packaging Too, who are going to "sticker, pack and ship". (I don't have that schedule, but they were happy to get the stickers).

FunkMaster John

Michael Grabowski said...

Well, at least Jeff Smith no longer needs to worry about Dave's left hook!

Stereotypical Cerebus readers are probably not the best people to ask about the benefits of exercise and the correct ones to do for this or that condition--other comics artists might be good to consult--but surely there must be some kind of shoulder muscle rehab exercise Dave can do to restore the use of that limb, reduce his pain, and limit the risk to his SDOAR-drawing arm. Or, Dave, maybe an hour with a trainer at your local gym will give you some good tips to put into practice besides babying it and hoping for the best.

Anonymous said...

Once again Dave is the architect of his own misfortunes. He won't see a doctor for injuries? He has to walk through back alleys to avoid glimpsing pretty girls, lest he lose all control? He won't patronize a comics shop that hasn't signed his petition? (I assume his post office and grocery store have signed.) Dave's a funny guy sometimes.

The best news this week is that the Cerebus volumes will soon be back in the retail chain and available to be purchased by readers.

-- Damian T. Lloyd, crk

Anonymous said...

Torn rotator cuff is what it sounds like to me (because that is what I have) try wearing a sling when your not using it, it helps me with the pain.

Paul Mckenzie

Jeff Seiler said...

"Well, *that's* going to raise questions someday."

Egomaniacal? Not necessarily.

Self aware? Soitenly.

Those of us blessed, or cursed, with heightened self-awareness have these sorts of moments. I have had them on occasion, and I'm not a guy who is leaving behind an archive. Well, sort of, if you count the Sim/Seiler corresondence bin, but not really.

But, in all honesty, if you ask people to be honest, I think most of us have had at least one such moment. It's the human condition.

Jeff Seiler said...

So, did anyone else, just for a second (before doing the mental math) think that "taking the Albatross with me" was a reference to Deni?

Jeff Seiler said...

So, the physical ailments aside was quite interesting. Have we really gotten to that point now, Dave, where we are fascinated by trading physical ailment stories? How the f old are we?

Here's mine: I have, over the past few years, taken to categorizing my waking hours into two columns: Good Hip Days and Bad Hip Days.

A Good Hip Day means I can walk around the neighborhood unimpeded, with my cane.

A Bad Hip Day means staying at home and bitching at the cat for getting out cause I gotta walk all the way down the stairs to the basement of my apartment building and pick him up and carry him back up to my apartment and I have to use both hands because he is so freaking fat so I can't use my cane so my hip hurts bad the whole time.

There ya go.

Your move.

Travis Pelkie said...

Y'know, I've been in a fair amount of comic stores in the northeastern US, and I'm not sure I can think of ANY of them that actually ever used a scanner, so it always amuses me to think that Diamond requires the use of bar codes.

Kind of anticlimactic on the notebook page thing, huh? "I, uh, needed a sheet of paper to leave a note."

Take care of that shoulder!