Friday, 2 December 2016

Weekly Update #159: Jerry Siegel

Dave Sim on a missed opportunity to work with Jerry Siegel.


Jeff Seiler said...

Nice, Dave. Did you ever get to meet him face-to-face?

Jeff Seiler said...

Nice, Dave. Did you ever get to meet him face-to-face?

Unknown said...

Uh, no, I didn't. I did have his phone number in Los Angeles and never called him. One of those times when you're pretty sure you're just going to keep going, "Oh, wow" over and over again with the guy on the other end going, "Uh, yeah. You already said that. A couple of times."

Every time I see the number in my phone directory, I think, "I really should call" in case his wife (Joanne, who was Joe Shuster's original model for Lois Lane -- she answered a newspaper ad -- and who he married YEARS later) or his daughter is still at that number. So far, no. But maybe some day.

And in answer to your phone message, yes, MINDS is the next book you'll be proofreading. You haven't gotten the JAKA'S STORY pages because we still have inventory for JS. Diamond just ordered 51 copies for the first time in about six months, so we have enough inventory for four more shipments of that size. So, two years or so at the present "velocity".

Jeff Seiler said...

Aw, man!

I had so much fun proofing Jaka's Story, as well as figuring out the most efficient and efficacious (not to mention excellent) way to do the proofing.

Two years!

I might be dead by then!

As you'll see in tomorrow's post (God willing), I've finished my handwritten notes/corrections of MINDS and am about halfway through highlighting it, to ultimately send it off to Sean. Another couple of days, and then off to the FedEx office I go.

You're gonna be sitting on an embarassment of riches!

Thanks for the update.

CerebusTV said...

Back then, those guys had been written off pretty much as National Periodicals/DC had done to them, evaluating them as irrelevant third-raters except for their juvenilia "lucky strike" pastiche of the Man of Bronze and his Fortress of Solitude. History is kinder.

Slumbering Agartha said...

Dave: I wonder if any of those old scripts are still around somewhere. I would hope they're preserved in some fashion. Why not turn that regret into action, alchemy-style? Is it too late to bring one of these stories to life? Should I get back to praying for your wrist to heal to full capacity? :)

Speaking of life... how about that scene between LIFE-QUEEN and REDD DEATH? Wow. I'm trying to wrap my mind around you illustrating THAT story. If I think about it too much longer I'm going to turn into one of those cartoon robots with the cogs and gears 'spronging' in all directions due to being overloaded by too much of a good thing.

Thanks for another great weekly update, even if it did detail a regret. It was pretty amazing listening to a master of the form reading a personal and impassioned letter from the godfather of comics.

Travis Pelkie said...

I wonder if the Siegel family would ever be interested in trying to get current creators interested in adapting these works into GNs, perhaps through a Kickstarter? One would think that many creators would be interested, since as CerebusTV points out, history has been kinder to S&S than DC or earlier comics fans necessarily were.

This would have been around the time of the divorce from Deni and the ...shrinking of A-V (if you will) and the introduction of Gerhard, no? Undoubtedly that all played a role in you not going on to do more work with Mr. Siegel.

Would have been quite cool, though.

Jeff Seiler said...

Hey, Cerebus TV! Another Doc Savage fan (I presume)!! I've been a fan since coming across the movie-related Bantan Books printing of the first Doc book in the Scholastic book order form, when I was in junior-high school. I recently found two different bookstores that have pristine (NM or Mint) copies of the Bantam Books paperbacks. Also, the recent reprintings in their original pulp mag format have been great.

And, yes, Superman was a direct ripoff of Doc Savage. Stan Lee, also, was once quoted as saying that Doc was the grandfather to superhero comics, or something to that effect.

A fond memory I have is of being in Columbus, Ohio, back in the aughts for S.P.A.C.E, when a group of us, including Dave Sim, went to a comic book store near the campus of Ohio State. While we were there, I noticed the great coffee table book about the artist James Bama, who did 96 of the Bantam Doc Savage paperback covers. It was fun showing that to Dave and watching him flip through it. Bama was very much a photorealism artist. I could tell that Dave was looking at the drawings with an artist's eye.

Unknown said...

Mike Battaglia - I DO still have the script for the first issue of RICKY ROBOT in the Cerebus Archive. I'm not really committing to doing anything besides what needs to be done...

(having made the foolish mistake of "backing into" THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND: having no idea how many YEARS it was going to take to do it properly)

...but it has occurred to me while working on Carson's bridging material (two more pages today) that, depending on how long I live, it could be possible to do more comics by the same method: take photos or direct the taking of photos and have guys like Karl and Carson do the actual execution. DAVE SIM's PHOTOREALISM COMIX & STORIES. Photorealistic RICKY ROBOT!

That gets into awkward intellectual property rights issues with Mr. Siegel's work since I'm pretty sure it's under family control and there's only the one daughter that I know of. Did she get married and have kids?

Unknown said...

Travis - Well, yes. And it had, to my regret, WAY too much to do with "chasing skirt" after Deni and I broke up. If I could go back and tell my something (that I already knew at the time) it would be: it's a bad trade-off. You're not going to make the "skirts" happy (you're just in the way of them finding Mr. Right), you'll have nothing to show for it and you know that you OWE it to Jerry Siegel to do EVERYTHING that you can to make his stuff work for a modern market.

Dean Mullaney and cat yronwode to their credit published a couple of Mr.Siegel's scripts and public domain non-SUPERMAN work from early DC Comics and Jim Warren (God bless 'im) when he became aware of the situation said, "Jerry Siegel can't find work? Jerry Siegel is working here!" Unfortunately the scripts were not "primo Siegel". But, as I say, there are things you can do in the layout, composition and storytelling stages to ameliorate that. If you aren't going to use every trick in your magic bag to make Jerry Siegel's scripts work for modern readers, who ARE you going to do it for?