Thursday, 7 May 2015

Weekly Update #81: BIG Road, BIG Roadmap

Dave Sim discusses Mike Kitchen's Spy Guy (wearing his glow-in-the-dark Spy Guy t-shirt -- buy yours here!),  researching Strange Death Of Alex Raymond, and bagging-and-boarding the Off-White House copies.

Bonus Items:

Draft of the 'Off-White House Certificate Of Authenticity'

Dave Sim goes to the cinema to see 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron'
with Mike Kitchen & Family


Jeff Seiler seilerjeff said...

To whom it may concern:

Regarding the certificate of authenticity, I hope no one has made it official yet. Because, there is no such thing as "most unique". The word "unique" doesn't take, nor does it require, modifiers. Something either is unique or it is not unique. There is no in-between, nor is there a superlative version of "unique". "Unique" is a superlative in and of its own right.

I hope that that can be corrected.

Sandeep Atwal said...

FYI, I talked to Dave about changing the Tumblr project...instead of a page a day, which personally I find a little infuriating, I'm thinking of changing it to an issue a week, perhaps every Thursday or Sunday night so people will have it Friday/Monday. Also, I'm going to add the letters and other back-of-the-book stuff. However, I'll need some help with that...anybody have the first 25 issues with all the letters pages? Let me know, thanks!

p.s. Jeff, it's a draft, what you are reading is known as placeholder text.

M Kitchen said...

The Ultraist Studios Warehouse gave the last large glow-in-the-dark iSpy t-shirt to Dave Sim... but the online store let's you pick your size, style and colour!

Jake Capps said...

That poster shot at the end...NICE!

ChrisW said...

Dave f*cking Sim gets to see "Avengers 2" before I do? That's so unfair, it couldn't be any more unfair if it were at the Unfair Theater in Unfairville. :(

iestyn said...

@Sandeep - I think that sounds a much better idea.

Anonymous said...

Hard to read all of the text on the certificate, but "Internet" should be capitalized.

--Claude Flowers

Paul Slade said...

Sandeep - I can't hep you with issues 1-3, but I have got all the others in their original form. If you need me to scan the letters pages in and send them over, just let me know.

Daniel Elvén said...

Sandeep: I have all the early issues, except for number 21, which is mysteriously missing. I'll be happy to help out, if I can.

- Daniel

Anonymous said...

Don't know if Matt Drudge reads Dave's work, Glamourpuss/SDOAR-related material in particular, but a new headline on The Drudge Report:


Sandeep, have you asked Tumblr users if they like or dislike the page-a-day format? To me it sounds similar to what one would read in a daily comic strip, providing an opportunity to extend the project over 6,000 days rather than a shorter 300 weeks.

--Claude Flowers

Max West said...

That's a lot of research you're doing, Dave. While I use the Internet, I still go to the library to do research. In this digital age, many write off their local library but the truth of the matter is that they have resources you can't find online. Many books and periodicals will have a goldmine of information that can't be found on any blog, Facebook or Wikipedia entry. Plus many libraries have access to databases not available to the general public unless you've got dough to spend.

Eddie said...

Hey Max! We've both been hitting our local
libraries, and the binder of Margaret Mitchell information I sent him came from microfiche I ordered in from my local library. Interestingly, it was around the same time a lot of the discussion of digital printing was going on. Not having had to use microfiche for, like, ages, I didn't even know you could print them out, and I found the printed images from the negatives of the microfiche were in some cases sharper and crisper to pdf images printed from the web.

If I had a teleporter, there are definitley a few specific libraries out there I would hit up.

Eddie said...

Actually, if anyone happens to be in the Atlanta, Ga area and has access to one of the better libraries there and cares to help out by looking up a few things, email me at

Paul Slade said... is a terrific research tool you can use from your own computer. I've been researching an 1890s murder recently, and it uncovered loads of relevant stuff for me quickly and easily.

You have to subscribe, but if you're a regular user, the annual cost is well worth it.

A Moment Of Cerebus said...

My thoughts on the issue-a-week Tumblr idea, for what it's worth...

Personally, I'd stick to just the covers and comic pages. Do new readers really need letters pages etc? Aren't they just a distraction when new readers should be judging the quality of the comics themselves rather than non-core issues.

If you go weekly, you'll zip through the lot in just 300 weeks (or just 6 years). Doesn't that kill stone dead?

I do agree that complete issues would read better on Tumblr. Also, could you index the posts so that it is easier to jump to specific issues?

If the intent is to sell copies of the physical/digital collected editions, I'd try a free 'sampler' issue from different points across the run so readers can decide for themselves if they want to continue, rather than just basing that decision on the earlier issues.

I've mentioned this to George before (sorry George) but that is one ugly, unuser-friendly site. if this is Dave's main 'shop-window' on the web, I'd focus on this being as slick as possible (oh, and ditch those very annoying ads while you're there!).

So, if you do hook new readers via your Tumblr efforts and they want a physical copy of the book, where are they expected to go? I can appreciate Dave may not want to set up a mail order business himself, but if he won't sell on Amazon, he really should offer an alternative. Why not hook up with a preferred comic shop on each continent which would keep all 16 volumes in stock, offer incentives for ordering from them by post etc.

Shouldn't you be plugging all the various Cerebus Online sites -- and AMOC if you want ; ) -- on each of your individual sites. If someone finds your on Tumblr, they probably would want to follow you on Twitter as well.

...but what do I know!! Good luck with it all!!

Paul Slade said...

"If you go weekly, you'll zip through the lot in just 300 weeks (or just 6 years). Doesn't that kill stone dead?"

I agree that this is a real danger. If you provide too good a service on Tumblr, you'll just encourage people to continue grabbing Cerebus for free rather than paying for it in one form or another. That would be entirely counter-productive.

Racking up a huge number of online followers (or whatever Tumblr call their equivalent) is worthless if you're not converting them into cash customers further down the line.

Glen said...

Did Dave have to sell an original piece of Cerebus artwork to buy that popcorn?

Tony Dunlop said...

That little "comic art metaphysics" teaser has made me excited about SDOAR all over again. Praying fervently for a fully healed right wrist...

Jeff Seiler seilerjeff said...

I agree with the idea of posting up Cerebus Zero. I've already suggested to Dave and Sandeep that there should be random pages posted occasionally, some really funny stuff from throughout the series, so that people get a sense of "oh, this is going to get so much better".

A page a day is glacial, but an issue a week is too fast. The idea of a "bonus day" where you get extra pages is okay, but I think it ought to be the random pages from throughout the series, rather than 5 or 6 extra pages from the currently posted issue. The only use of doing that, I think, would be if they were the last pages of the currently posted issue, so that they wrap it up and, perhaps, posit a cliffhanger, leaving the reader (viewer?) anticipating the next issue.

And, yes, a link to a dedicated comic book store that would sell the hard copies is a very good idea. I do know that Titan Comics, in Dallas, used to be sure that they always had at least one copy of each of the 16 volumes available at any time, and perhaps they still do. They also used to sell signed and numbered first printings of some of the volumes.

Just some thoughts, along the same lines as those above.

Anonymous said...

In my view, the format of Cerebus, as it is now, is by far best suited for print, and communicates poorly online. This is likely true for all comics based on the 6-panel per page format. The problem is the format, not the release schedule.

Again, my view is to reformat the whole thing, so that it can be viewed on screen, one panel at a time. Basically you have it so that you can view each panel in full screen mode and simply arrow through the book.

It would be much more pleasant to be able to arrow through each panel in full-screen mode than to have to try to look through a full page onscreen, which will be too small, and will force the eye to run across and down and across and down and across on a typical page. Maybe you will want to zoom in and out as well to see detail. This will tire the eye out. It would be much more pleasant to have the pictures move at a click in full screen mode so that the eye can do less work.

The only theoretical benefit to releasing Cerebus incrementally is to make it easily digestible to a reader. But it won't be easily digestible if it is presented in a format that was designed for print.

Furthermore, releasing the book incrementally means that people can't just jump in where they like. That is how I read Cerebus -- somewhat randomly buying back issues. That is one of the pleasures of reading a series with a long run.

I think that a website as described would still help promote the printed works and not take away print sales as I think fans will want to pay to see a work in the format in which it was originally intended.

Personally I think that the individual issues should also be periodically reprinted and offered for sale. If a new generation online fanbase can be built - and I would suggest that the site I propose would help with that - then it would make sense to offer reprints of the single issues on occasion. for instance, you could have a limited edition high quality reprinting of the individual issues of High Society, perhaps with some additional commentary.

It's a big project, but ultimately I think anything else is going to be seriously problematic.

- Reginald P.

Jason Winter said...

How about an issue a month? Just like back in the olden days.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading in one "Note from the President" that Dave favored European/French films over American ones because of the silly plots and constant use of violence...

30 years later Dave goes to see THIS thing!?

Sandeep Atwal said...

Many thanks for all the comments! Still not sure exactly which way we'll go, I'll talk it over some more with Dave and mention your comments above. The problem is, I don't think a page a day is the most effective way to attract new readers and I don't think it's a very good way for existing fans to do a re-read. Who's just going to slowly read Cerebus over 20 years? I think an issue a week solves a bunch of problems, though raises others. The scrolling makes more sense, it would free up the rest of the week for color images or sneak previews of future issues, quotes about Cerebus, etc. I'm on the fence about including letters etc. because then I think you really are giving away too much....but maybe not.

The whole issue of "giving away for free cutting into sales of product" is the dilemma of the digital age! But in general, anyone who wants to read Cerebus for free can already do so, easily, and is encouraged by Dave to do just that. If they're never going to support Cerebus via either physical copies or downloads, so be it. But some of those people will become FANS and will be collecting all 16 volumes, getting involved in kickstarter, etc. So to me it's an issue of serving the fans you have and attracting new ones. The fact is that an ever-increasing amount of Aardvark-Vanaheim's revenue is now from online sources, so that market has to be served.

I've talked to George about a redesign of the site, so we should see some changes there as well. I agree that there should be an easy way to order the phonebooks, but from what I understand, Dave wants to be a supporter of comic book stores and encourage people to go to their local one to ask for/order the phone books. As I say, there are a number of issues to discuss.

Anyway, I'll keep you all posted on any changes, updates, etc. Thanks again!