Thursday, 1 December 2016

The Cerebus-Ending Crisis: Can We Keep Going? - Part 14

A Portfolio of 10 Signed & Numbered Prints with Exclusive Commentary by Dave Sim
Raising Funds For The Restoration & Preservation Of The World's Longest Graphic Novel 



More responses to the survey question "Do you have any suggestions for future Kickstarter campaigns?".

Peter S Waterloo ON :
maybe t-shirts

Hi, Peter! There are several problems with t-shirts. One is that they're different sizes so you can't just order, say, a dozen. You have to order a dozen S, a dozen M, a dozen L and a dozen XL and a dozen XXL and then you run out of one of the sizes when you still have a half-dozen of the others left. All of your money tends to be tied up in your inventory and as soon as you sell out, you need to print more of whatever size(s).

They're also expensive. The t-shirt itself is a fixed cost and people have a mental image of what they'll pay for a t-shirt and those two prices are very close together.

The reason that CEREBUS ARCHIVE works (so far, anyway) is that we're printing copies that cost 59 cents each and selling them for 10 dollars. On the scale that CEREBUS has dwindled to, you literally need to have that size of a profit margin to have any way of keeping going. That's why I designed CEREBUS ARCHIVE the way that I did: What's the least expensive format and number of pages I can imagine that I can charge the most for?

Are there are other things like that that would work? So far, we haven't come up with anything, but if we all keep focussing on it, maybe we will.

Margaret L Buzzard's Bay, MA:
I really liked the collected letters volumes, more of those please. also, a digital / pdf of the CEREBUS ARCHIVE comics - I know I have them all, but there are many out there who would like to get them. Also, if Dave's hand is still on the mend, he doesn't need to sign my prints. I rather his hand get better for TSDoAR.

More COLLECTED LETTERS on the way, Margaret!

I appreciate your thoughtfulness in offering to have me not sign your prints, Margaret, but SIGNING isn't a problem with my right hand. It takes a while for me to find the exact right position: by making sure that the right hand is FULLY extended so that the index finger is in a straight line from my elbow and my forearm is resting on a folded up towel. But, once I'm "there" and Rollie (or whoever: it's usually Rollie) is pulling the plates off as I'm signing them, I blow through all of the plates -- roughly 3,000 signatures -- in about four hours.

We take a pen and mark where the corners of the plates go on the desk. The stack can only be "so" high, but as long as the stack goes in the same place and as long as I keep my hand in the correct alignment, everything's fine.

We don't converse, while I'm doing this: if we start talking then I lose focus on keeping the hand in a straight line and the wrist starts to tighten up: it's just four hours of pure focus in absolute quiet.

[In fact, that part is getting better. It used to be -- CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER FOUR -- that I could do about 10 or 12 signatures and then there would be a "hiccup" in the wrist where the signature would land about a quarter of an inch to the left of where it was supposed to and I had to "roll" the forearm about a quarter of an inch to the right when I could feel it was about to happen. That didn't happen signing CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER FIVE a couple of weeks ago.]

It's one of the few things I CAN do without having any impact on the wrist. It's all fingers and thumb, there's no wrist involved. I get a stiff neck on my left side because maintaining a FULLY extended right hand/arm at right angles to my torso and keeping it there, the stress has to go somewhere and it's my neck. But it's very gratifying that there is at least ONE USEFUL THING I can do with my right hand and it's sign my name. As many as you want. All day and all night.

It's the reason that I don't have much confidence in medical science for this: people don't hear what it is that I'm saying when I explain it to them, so I've stopped trying to explain it. "We treat HOCKEY PLAYERS who make MILLIONS OF DOLLARS!" Yes, but what hockey players use THEIR wrists for is like a monkey wrench and what I used to use MY wrist for was like a Stradivarius. You can't repair a Stradivarius as if you were fixing a monkey wrench. Which is, I'm afraid, what they were talking about doing.

Signatures are zero problem. Ask me to pull open the waxed paper inside of a box of cereal and THERE there's a problem or to open a cardboard box and THERE there's a problem because it's ALL wrist. Or ask me to draw something which requires the interaction of wrist and fingers and thumb -- and ALL drawing requires the interaction of wrist and fingers and thumb -- and it just doesn't work. The line doesn't go down where I want it to go down because all I'm aware of is the wrist and that it isn't doing what the fingers and thumb need it to do. You can't draw if all you're aware of is your wrist.

Jan E Malmo SWEDEN:
Get that IDW Cerebus covers volume out sometime SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON

It finally arrived at the end of October, Jan. Hope you managed to find a copy!


Slumbering Agartha said...

Dave, I can't imagine what you're going through with your wrist making it impossible for you to draw. It's like Pavarotti not being able to access his voice. It seems like this has been persisting for quite some time now. I'm going to pray for you, buddy. Here's to your wrist coming back stronger than ever, and soon.

Unknown said...

Michael - Um, actually it doesn't really bother me at all. I know that sounds odd, but it's really true. February of 2015 I was the best that I've ever been and I still have that batch of pages on the wall. Did I just DREAM I was that good? I'll go over and check them from time to time. Nope. Best pages I ever did. At age 58 (at the time), you've got to think, Well, how long can I STAY up here? Also the pages were taking multiple days to finish and the end of SDOAR was nowhere in sight. Something's gotta give. And it did.

As soon as Karl Stevens turned up -- and then Carson Grubaugh -- well, okay this is how this one's "gonna go": I'll be mocking up pages on the photocopier. They'll still be my pages, I'll just have Karl and Carson doing their best Al Williamson chops bringing them to life.

Confirmation that it was inevitable came when Carson turned around the first couple of SDOAR bridging pages overnight (it seemed like). One of those, "It's later than you think, Grandpa," moments. If SDOAR is going to get done it's going to need a couple of guys who are that fast.

And I really do want SDOAR to get done.

I appreciate the prayers, Michael, but, really! I can't think of anything I didn't get a chance to draw (usually multiple times). No complaints.

Although as you'll see in tomorrow's Update I do regret not giving Jerry Siegel WAY more of my undivided attention considering my industry wouldn't exist without him.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Semi-related note for fans of cartooning: You can get a free ebook every month from the University of Chicago Press here: This month it's Outside the Box: Interviews with Contemporary Cartoonists by Hillary L. Chute. Looks like the interviewees are:

1. Scott McCloud (2007)
2. Charles Burns (2008)
3. Lynda Barry (2008)
4. Aline Kominsky-Crumb (2009)
5. Daniel Clowes (2010)
6. Phoebe Gloeckner (2010)
7. Joe Sacco (2011)
8. Alison Bechdel (2006 & 2012)
9. Françoise Mouly (2008 & 2010)
10. Adrian Tomine (2012)
11. Art Spiegelman & Chris Ware (2008)

Might be worth setting up an Adobe ID if you don't have one.

-- Damian

Michael Grabowski said...

It's like that gag from C&S where prime minister Cerebus tells his secretary to stop telling him what he was signing and just put the papers in front of him.

Slumbering Agartha said...

@ Dave -- That is great to hear. Almost like it was meant to be. From the work I've seen from Carson, I think it only adds to the intrigue and buzz surrounding SDOAR (kind of like Gerhard did for the second half of the first half of Church and State (and beyond), albeit in a slightly different capacity). I've said it before: I'm a huge fan of your solo stuff, but I appreciate the freedom it provides you to have a high caliber artist working with you, and Carson has fierce chops and a big time work ethic, so that can only bode well. I checked out his website and was pleasantly blown away by his art.

Unknown said...

It IS interesting as a creative experience. There's this cosmic s**t special background effect that I developed for about a 30 or 40 page stretch of SDOAR -- microscopic Gillott 290/Hunt 102 pen strokes -- and solid black inked mostly with pen. About as pathologically detailed as it sounds. Just complete showing off. Hey, if not at age 58, when am I going to do it? and I thought, (looking at Carson's photos) whoa, hey! Incorporate that effect into the bridging sequence Jack at LOCAL HEROES in Norfolk posed for!!

So, I've spent the last week photocopying my own backgrounds and pasting them up with the photos of Jack. And, I'm going "Stars. I need more stand-alone stars and curved strobes". Uh, no that was part of the showing off. Remember? Do the effect for two or three pages and then radically modify it into a related but completely different look.

How to drive your future self crazy. 'COULDN'T YOU HAVE DONE TWO MORE #$%@ING PAGES WITH STAND-ALONE STARS?' Um. I guess. Is it important? "YES! IT'S IMPORTANT!"

Nyuck nyuck nyuck (what a future maroon -- what a future ultra-maroon)!

Unknown said...

And SINCERE thanks again to Jack for posing! There's this perfect series of reaction shots I'll be adding in a good two or three pages in order to do justice to them.

Carson Grubaugh said...

Wow, I shouldn't have read this thread. Too many compliments! Thanks, guys. It is funny that Dave perceived those pages as happening fast. I felt like they took forever!

Also funny, I just got done writing my next SODAR post in which I spend a good amount of words talking about star-field imagery. I can tell you, the "cosmic s**+" backgrounds Dave is referring to are totally bonkers and definitely something I both wanted to have a go at and totally fear doing at the same time because, as he said above, Dave colored in the blacks a hatch mark at a time. Totally nuts, but it adds a ton of dynamic thrust to the images.

Very glad to hear Dave is handling the design aspect of the "cosmic s**t" because they have lovely flowing designs I doubt I could match left to my own devises.

Travis Pelkie said...

I...think...there are online places where you can upload a design and essentially print on demand t-shirts (Café Press, iirc the name of one), but I suspect, like you say, the price one would expect to pay for a t-shirt and the price it would cost to make a t-shirt are probably too close to make it worth your effort to do.

Also, there's Graphitti (sp?) Designs, which I believe you did the shirts with back in the day, but who knows what the cut would be for them, and what the demand would be. They seem to offer shirts in Previews that get cancelled later on, so I suspect that wouldn't work out.

Let's be realistic, though, most of us Cerebus fans shouldn't worry about other sizes and should just go with a XXL at this point in our lives, no? ;)

As to signing vs drawing, well, I'm glad it's no undue strain on the wrist to sign stuff. I've been wondering if the repetitive motion of that did you in, myself. I think it's a shame to lose Dave Sim, Writer/Artist, but as CIH? is showing, Dave Sim Writer is still pretty damn good.

Unless all the good CIH? strips are Sandeep, then forget I said anything, old man. ;)

Slumbering Agartha said...

Hearing about the "cosmic s**t background" makes me instantly think of the Cerebus double issue 289/290 (Chasing YHWH VIII: "The Final Twinkle"), which remains the most amazing comic-book-reading experience I've ever had.

Unknown said...

Carson -- I've already decided to just push through to the end of the bridging material mock-ups themselves (ball park? Six pages to go) and then send you a REALLY LONG email about the "cosmic s**t" theories since there's no way I can actually paste up EXACTLY what I want them to look like. So it will be along the lines of "Okay, here's VAGUELY what it's supposed to look like and here's where it's WRONG".

It's really a meeting place of Stan Drake's cross-hatching that Neal Adams refined but taken down to a microscopic level. Mostly because the reproduction is there in 2016 in a way that it wasn't for Drake's HEART OF JULIET JONES and Neal's BEN CASEY as newspaper strips. We CAN go much further into the page now than we could then so, really, I think we SHOULD or we're, metaphysically, not find our way back in.

Unknown said...

"Not going to find our way back in". Speaking of the (theoretical) next generation of comics photorealists.
After we're dead. Stan Drake and Neal Adams did Major Burrowing into the page which made guys like Sean Robinson necessary. The Burrowing was so Major, it really took 40 and 50 years and a computer revolution for the technical side to -- anecdotally! -- go "Oh, all the way in HERE? There's a HERE in here?"

Yeah, look at it through your jeweller's loupe or just keep hitting ZOOM on your Edit function.

"How in the heck can you make lines that TINY?" With the unspoken subtext of "WHY would you make lines that tiny?"

al roney said...

T-shirts are NOT expensive. 'Nuff said.