Friday, 6 February 2015

Weekly Update #69: He's Not Only The Star... He Also Makes A Great Bodyguard


Hi everyone!

Way late getting this posted this week so sincere apologies!  So late I didn't have a chance to review the last week's worth of posts, so if anyone had a question for me, send it to me in a letter, fax or by phone message and I'll get to it next Friday.

1.  Lake Erie Warehouse Report follows this Update:  Step One in making ALL of the inventory available for sale ASAP (hopefully calendar year 2015), including the Off-White House Copies of CEREBUS and my IDW variant covers from 2012-2013 
2.  CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER TWO North American orders are now packaged and ready to be shipped so they should start arriving in the next two weeks or so.  Watch the Kickstarter site for last minute glitches or individual problems with YOUR order. 
3.  ALL of the original art in the Cerebus Archive from CHURCH & STATE I has been scanned and is on its way to Sean Robinson for remastering.  Next: the negatives!
4.  Still looking for suggestions for the eight remaining Bonus Print slots for CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER THREE.  My two suggestions?  The LOCK & KEY variant cover and the ULTIMATE CEREBUS cover for the GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING.  Also: Diamondback decks will be our first Bonus Feature (not Print) item! 
5.  CEREBUS: FRACTURED DESTINY specialty drawings: two down -- "TT" and DeDe Gardner (which should be pictured around here somewhere, courtesy of Sean)  -- and one to go (Brad Pitt).

1.   Dave Fisher and I had our first meeting today on the Off-White House Copies getting ready for making the first major push on getting them ready early next week. Don't miss his "Report from the Warehouse" posted earlier today.

As I was reviewing the photos, it occurred to me, "These are SEALED boxes.  And they've been sealed from the time the books in them were brand new."  Not only that, they're all in PRENEY PRINT & LITHO boxes which are the LAST PRENEY PRINT & LITHO boxes in existence.  If you're an obsessive CEREBUS collector (and there are a few), I need to point that out.  I mean, right NOW there are thirty-some-odd skids full of them.  But, once Dave Fisher starts breaking the boxes down and prepping the books for sale, there are going to be fewer and fewer authentic boxes in existence.

But these photos are always going to exist.

So, if you're a person with a favourite CEREBUS issue (Margaret leaps to mind, whose first CEREBUS was 114 and which "looms large in her legend") and you want something very few CEREBUS fans are going to have, now is the time to say something.  Don't wait until you're looking at the photos ten years from now and going "Oh, man -- all those boxes are GONE NOW!"  Virtually all of them WILL be gone.  I'm going to pick a sample box for the Cerebus Archive. I don't know which one, but one of them.

I'm just saying:  don't say I didn't warn you WAY ahead of time  :).

And some good news for all of you who were concerned that they didn't have a low enough number to be able to get Off-White House Copies:  the Off-White House Copies are also going to include all twenty-odd IDW variant covers that I did.  Some of those books I've still got 75 out of the 100 I got as part of my payment, so that means some of those books will be available to those of you with numbers up around 100.  Stay tuned!  

2. Apart from that, still a weird "in-between" time where I'm "hands off" with the CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER TWO.  John informs me that the North American orders have all been prepped and are ready to go.  A couple of late glitches in the USA shipping but, he's working on it.  John also informs me that he's done a video on the Kickstarter site demonstrating the best way to unwrap the package when you get it (when we wrap them SECURE we wrap them SECURE!). So, everyone waiting for their copies, please be sure to check that out.  And remember, we always have GUARANTEED replacement on anything that gets damaged even if it's just that you didn't know about the flaps on the Stay-Flats.  Zero Disappointment is our GUARANTEE.

I REALLY like the gold logo on CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER TWO and I'm pretty sure all of you will as well.  

3.  Apart from THAT, I am finally scanning the CHURCH & STATE artwork after a few fitful weeks of getting the scanner to work.  Many thanks to Sean for all his help.  Time-consuming as well: my working day starts at 4 am with an hour of scanning every day (not to mention cab transport to and from the artwork off-site storage location during the working day).

But I have to say that the A300 scanner is all that it was promised to be: literally NINE SECONDS for a full 11x17 scan.  So I was able this week to scan ALL of the CHURCH & STATE I pages in the Cerebus Archive in three morning sessions.  At that rate, I should have ALL of the artwork scanned in two or three months at the most.

4. You may have noticed Sean asking for suggestions for Bonus Prints on CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER THREE.  This was my suggestion to him because I tend to have very esoteric taste in my own artwork.  When I hear a Cerebus Fan suggestion, I always go, "Of COURSE!" but I tend not to think of it myself.  So, the two suggestions that I'm offering for inclusion in the ten NEW Bonus Prints are 1) The LOCK & KEY variant cover and 2) the ULTIMATE CEREBUS cover.  I'm pretty confident about those!  The other eight?  Well, let's hear from you!

Menachem suggested remastered Diamondback cards.  Which, I think I can go one better on that: ORIGINAL Diamondback card decks (Second Series)!  First come, first served, but there's definitely a small box of them downstairs, already signed.  Watch for CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER THREE coming soon!

5.  "TT" (whose photorealism comic-art portrait should be around here) is one of a consortium of Hollywood investors who have expressed interest in CEREBUS: FRACTURED DESTINY.  He's a huge fan of Oliver's filmmaking (as am I!) and is the one with whom Oliver has had the most regular on-going contact.  So, I think it's a given that he will be our "go-to" guy when it comes to Hollywood interface.  He's the one (you may recall from last week) who brought up DeDe Gardner (my spellcheck insists that's the correct spelling but I think it might be Dede) of PLAN B ENTERTAINMENT.

IS there a role for investors in what we're doing?  I'm guessing "Yes", but that depends on all of us coming up with a movie that I'm going to approve.

Right now, we're all -- including me -- just Oliver's Volunteers pitching in on Oliver's CEREBUS Movie.

I'm very RESPECTFUL of that.  These are people who are all nuts about 3D animation the way I'm nuts about Photorealistic Comic Strips.  They work terribly hard at it all day and then come home terribly hard at it for free.  If I can make this "happen", I will.

[It's unusual but not unique, I found, to do something like this.  About a year after Oliver asked if he could make a movie and I "didn't say no", I read about a Winnipeg Theatre Company which developed a stage musical based on Sir Elton John's music and then wanted to know if they had his permission.  Sir Elton basically did the same thing. He "didn't say no" and they went ahead and did it, without formal legal authorization.  And they got a BUNCH of investors to invest in it to the tune of many millions of dollars.  ALL of the investors knowing that if Sir Elton ultimately said "no" they were out a pile of cash. I think they ultimately got approval but I don't know how far the production itself went from there]

I'm also going to leave it up to "TT" to take any of the content of these Updates that he thinks would be useful and to "crunch" them into personal letters, e-mails, FYI's -- whatever.  Basically translate it into Hollywood language and "reach out" to anyone he thinks might be attuned to what Oliver is trying to do.

And, on my part, I'll be happy to participate in a limited way, doing specialty drawings like these.

I got the DeDe Gardner one most of the way done and then called "TT" to find out "How WELL do you know DeDe Gardner?"  One of those times when HOW someone reacts is as important or more important than WHAT their reaction is (thus phone instead of fax relay through Oliver).  Part of it was the personalization.  He's giving her this drawing so, how would he address it if it was, say, a birthday card?  Full name (in both cases).  He wanted me to put my name first and I laughed.  Well, no, she knows YOU.  If she saw you in the reception area, she'd be, like "Oh Hi!".  If it was me, she'd call security.  As well she should.

The question I didn't ask him was "Are you cashing in serious chips on this?"  That's up to him to judge.  Right now, we aren't offering anything because -- the way we're doing it -- the movie has to be made first before there's even anything to talk about.  If Oliver or "TT" on behalf of Oliver wants to round up money for Oliver's movie on the "Sir Elton" basis, that's up to them.  Maybe PLAN B ENTERTAINMENT would be interested.

For MY part, it's, like, "Seriously. D*E*D*E G*A*R*D*N*E*R?"  On Oliver's behalf and on behalf of the production I'm volunteering on, that warrants a Very Nice Piece of Art.  Framed (I'll be sending "TT" a cheque to get both the DeDe Gardner and Brad Pitt pieces framed).  So if "TT" is -- however inadvertently -- cashing in some serious chips on our behalf, maybe he isn't going to lose ALL of the chips he's cashing in.

[Although I have to admit, while I was doing the Gardner piece and now that I'm on Day Two of the Brad Pitt piece, I'm wondering:  what would someone in Hollywood MAKE of these?  Pen and ink photorealism is so far out of fashion, I'm not sure what they would relate it to.  It might be useful to have "TT" there just to say, "Uh, yeah -- those are all actual little tiny pen lines. India ink."  I think in 2015 the reaction would be: "They have a computer program for this now? Scratchy pen 2.0?"  :)]

But, definitely, I'm all in favour of Oliver making EVERYTHING available to DeDe Gardner that "TT" thinks she might be interested in.  I mean, she is HUGE in every way that it's possible to be HUGE in Hollywood.  And HUGE in a way that we might really need somewhere up ahead a few years, because one of my primary concerns is that CEREBUS: FRACTURED DESTINY is a very tough pitch.  Just going on "Approach to PLAN B ENTERTAINMENT":

1) it's a COMIC-BOOK MOVIE, so it APPEARS to be completely off your radar screen. However, on a COMIC-BOOK MOVIE scale with EAT, PRAY, LOVE as a "0" and THE AVENGERS as a "10", CEREBUS: FRACTURED DESTINY is going to be a "2" or a "3".

2.  It's a 3D ANIMATED MOVIE.  However, it's not TEX AVERY BERSERKER ANIMATION.  On that scale, if EAT, PRAY, LOVE is a "0" and MADAGASCAR is a "10", CEREBUS FRACTURED DESTINY is, again, a "2" or a "3".

The only category where those needles would budge is PRINCESS FANTASY FILM where, if EAT PRAY LOVE was, say, a "2" and FROZEN is a "10", CEREBUS: FRACTURED DESTINY would, again, be a "2" or a "3"

I mean, that's in the "I'm not seeing it" category relative to Hollywood, I think.

Like the best "elevator pitch" I've come up with:
The Genghis Khan of cartoon animals reflects on his blood-soaked genocidal rise to absolute political power in a wide-ranging interview conducted by a UMass Psych Major who is unaware that she is a dead ringer for his long-dead One True Love, The Princess of Palnu.  Miscommunication ensues as romantic sparks begin to fly.
That's why there's no way around it:  we have to just MAKE the movie and show it, in progress, to people as it's being finished.  Because there's no way anyone is going to "see" it otherwise, I don't think.

But, definitely, we want to keep PLAN B ENTERTAINMENT "in the loop" on this.

Next week, God willing, I'll have more to say about the pure creative side of CEREBUS: FRACTURED DESTINY.  The purer the better.  Basically:  I want everyone working on the film to be entirely comfortable Showing Off Their Best Chops.  How that applies to where we are right now and how that applies, however remote a possibility, to Brad Pitt as I say,  I'll get into next week!


Jeff Seiler said...

So, Dave, am I to take it from your somewhat cryptic...warning(?) poit one of this week's weekly update that *now* is the time to make an offer on an unopened *box* of my favorite issue?

If so, could Dave Fisher post what issues are in full, unopened, still-under-the-original-seal boxes, and what stated count is for each?

And, to be clear, these are *not* Off-White House Copies, right?

Jeff Seiler said...

Oops! Heh. Freudian slip there.

Should be "point", not "poit".

Heh. Made myself laugh.

Tony Dunlop said...

As someone with almost complete lack of interest in contemporary popular culture, I'm gently patting myself on the back for having absolutely never heard (or read) the name "DeDe Gardner" before it appeared in AMOC.

Oliver said...

@Tony Dunlap Most people don't know the names of movie Producers. Dede Gardner has produced some of the most acclaimed films ever the last few years - their merits rarely rivaled in any artistic medium, even Graphic Novels:) Films such as "12 years a slave" Oscar winner of Best Picture last year, "Tree of Life" nominated for Best Picture Oscar year before and "Selma" nominated this year.

Also: those are phenomenal drawings!! Really amazing!

Tony DunlOp (NOT DunlAp) said...

Ah, that helps explain it. I asked my wife, who *does* pay quite a bit of attention to that sort of ephemera, if she'd ever heard of Miss(?) Gardner, and when she said "no," I thought, well, she can't be as big as Dave seem to think…but I'd been assuming she was an actress.

I've heard of those films, but only because (for the first two) I live a block from one of those three-dollar just-before-they-go-to-video theaters and saw the names on the marquees and (for the last one) because it has been heavily advertized on public transportation, which is how I get around.

Oliver said...

@ Mr Dunlop So sorry about the misspelling! Oh and she also is the President of Bred Pitts production company "Plan B Entertainment" the company behind said films along with more "comic bookey" fair such as "World War Z", "Kick Ass" from the Mark Millar's comic and have optioned Paul Pope's graphic novel "Battling Boy".

Tony said...

Dang. That's one ambitious, hardworking lady.

Ollifer said...

for sure and even on Hollywood Reporter's list of most powerful women in entertainment

Tony said...

I must say, though, I've never liked the term "graphic novel"... - I prefer "funnybook."

Travis Pelkie said...

Well, the difference probably is that I don't think that Elton John was working on the musical with the theatre company in the mean time without giving permission...

I wonder if that's opening a door there -- by letting Oliver keep going, drawing these pictures for people, and doing other things to help out, you seem to be giving tacit approval for whatever gets completed with the movie. If you do decide not to ok the movie, I would think that, were some people involved with the money inclined that way, they could probably insist on it going forward anyway, and may even be able to get the legal system on their side (or as a wise man once said, no company will ever pay you enough to successfully sue them).

I'm probably just paranoid, but I think it's something to keep in mind.

I'd also question the elevator pitch, given what Oliver said he's adapting -- if he's not adapting any of the Jaka issues, it seems like bad storytelling to make the interviewer a dead ringer for her. That's what gave the end of Latter Days such an impact, because the years of Cerebus obsessing over Jaka seemed to pay off with this stunning reveal. Without the buildup (and I'm not sure you could have that buildup in a 2 hour movie), I think you have to figure either multiple movies, where the interviewer isn't revealed until near the end of the last one, or...well, I'm not sure "or".

Just my 2 cents, though.