Friday 31 March 2017

Jeff Smith vs Dave Sim: Round 2

The Naked Artist: Comic Book Legends (2007)
by Bryan Talbot

(from The Blog & Mail, 13 September 2007)
Sad but true. So, as has become our new custom here on the Blog & Mail we'll start this new session – and our second year -- with a progress report on YHWH's War on Dave.

Everything is pretty much "status quo" with both Secret Project I and Secret Project II on hold – work is progressing on both, but I'm definitely starting to feel like Israel here. If I can make it through one working session in between Blog & Mail stints without being attacked I'll be happy to talk about peace (i.e. scheduling the projects).

Not really sure if this latest attack constitutes "progress" from his/her/its point of view – on the one hand its got a proven track record of rallying everyone to the Anti-Dave side of the fence and taking the focus off of feminism, on the other hand, it's got all the appearance of "a dog returning to its vomit" which could suggest that YHWH has pretty much used up his/her/its resources artillery-wise and is now having to repeat his/her/its self. That would be the optimistic way of looking at it and by this point in my life I have learned to be extremely wary of any form of optimism. But, looking on the bright side if the entire comic-book field doesn't stampede away from me as they did in 1994 and 1999 after reading the following then I think I can be safe in saying that we've been eyeball-to-eyeball for thirteen years and the YHWH just blinked. Thanks, as always, to the dozen or so retailers reading this who continue to order the CEREBUS trades and if some or all of you feel compelled to join in the stampede at the end of "Oh, No! Not Jeff Smith Again" Week and never again order the CEREBUS trades, well, nothing new there and no hard feelings.

So anyway, here's how it "went down":

The TCAF weekend got off to a bad but completely familiar start when I ran across Bryan Talbot's new NATIONAL INQUIRER-style volume on the comic-book field which had just come in at the Beguiling. Sad to think that this is the degraded level to which the author and artist of the classic Luther Arkwright and One Bad Rat has sunk, but there you go. As per usual, the Marxist-feminists, unable to counter the Sixteen Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast, resort instead to character assassination. March 30 of this year, my Technical Director and Research Assistant on the secret project wrote to me:
"By the way, speaking of Jeff Smith... I don't want to meddle in your affairs, but I wanted to make sure you knew that Jeff has continued to say nothing but nice things about you and CEREBUS in the press."
The subtext being: don't say anything more about the contretemps between the two of us: which is always the subtext in the comic-book field. I haven't said anything, privately or personally, and I always find it irritating when the Marxist-feminist comic-book field behaves as if I have, selling themselves on their collectivist Crazy Dave Sim the Evil Misogynist party line. It's always the Marxist-feminists who revive the controversy and then blame me for responding to the character assassination being perpetrated against my reputation, which always amounts to Big Tough Jeff Smith staring down weak (and a new addition this time out) out-of-shape Dave Sim who proves to be a coward. Look, folks: I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings in your Good Jeff Smith/Evil Dave Sim construct, but there is only one obvious source for this calumny and that's Jeff Smith himself. I have no doubt that Jeff continues to say nothing but nice things about me in the press but obviously he is telling a different story at restaurant tables on his many globe-hopping world travels, pumping himself up into the Marxist-feminist Defender of the Faith and bane of evil misogynists everywhere. Or do all you Marxist-feminists think that Bryan Talbot just manufactured this pile of horse manure on his own out of whole cloth? I think I have the right to defend myself and, yes, you're all more than welcome to roll your eyes theatrically at this point, but here we go again:

What actually happened – my lips to God's ear -- was:

SPACE organizer Bob Corby came up to me about an hour into the SPACE show in question and said, "I don't know how you want to handle this, but I thought I should tell you that Jeff Smith just walked in." I thanked him for letting me know and continued to talk to the occasional fan coming by for an autograph or a sketch. My reputation having been completely destroyed by the Marxist-feminists at that point, my table, post-1994, has been seldom "crowded with fans" as Talbot maintains. There was certainly no one at the table except me when Jeff had made his way around the exhibit room – having stopped to talk to a number of exhibitors and to buy a couple of books from them (which I thought was nice of him, local hero and all – it would be nice if he would do it again someday).

It's literally the only time in my life that I made no move to shake hands with someone that I knew when he or she approached. He had behaved in so completely under-handed and dishonourable fashion towards me over our political differences after I had devoted any number of hours to answering his many questions about self-publishing and had made prodigious efforts on his behalf after he gave me the first few issues of BONE at a Capital City Trade Show (he was desperate for help with his comic book which was going in the toilet – the Cap City Show was a make-or-break proposition for him -- and at Larry Marder's behest he came to the table I was sharing with Martin Wagner and asked me for any help I could give him which I then proceeded to give him as I tend to do with anyone I think I can help to this day) that I just could not bring myself to extend the courtesy of a handshake to him.

[It's one of the unhappy repercussions of my experiences with Jeff that even though I continue to help people, I take it as a given that they will all turn on me at the first opportunity as he did. I certainly noticed – and notice -- that no one I had helped over the years had said a word about my treatment post-1994. Helping people is still the right thing to do, so I do it. Believing that cartoonists are decent human beings who remember people who helped them is something I have learned to place in the "wholly mythological" category. Live and learn.]

As far as I was – and am -- concerned, I had met Jeff more than halfway. I had notified him by letter well ahead of time that I would give him the opportunity to make good on his imagined threat of "decking me" or "giving me a fat lip" and told him to name the time and place. I came in two days ahead of time for the exact reason of giving him as many scheduling options as possible.

By that point, I had been – and continue to be -- pretty gracious, I think, about the entire comic-book field turning against me and had accepted my pariah status and the fact that I was completely without any friends or allies anywhere in the comic-book field, high or low – as I am to this day (handful of exceptions duly noted) -- without complaint. You do what's right and if everyone else chooses to do what's wrong – as the comic-book field unanimously chose to do and continues to choose to do -- well that's their choice and, ultimately, they have to live with the consequences.

That's one thing.

However, calling me a coward in print and saying that I backed down from a threat of unprovoked physical violence, as Jeff did, well, that was in a whole different category. That had to do with my personal honour as a man. You're certainly at liberty to call me a coward and say that I backed down from a threat of unprovoked physical violence so long as you do it in tried-and-true Marxist-feminist fashion – that is, behind my back and in secret -- but, if you make the assertion in a public venue like the COMICS JOURNAL, ultimately, you have to back that up. Or back down. I waited a year after the JOURNAL interview to write "Dear Jeff Smith" because I was annotating FORM & VOID in the back of CEREBUS – basically writing the "To Ham & Ham Not" material that appears in the back of the trade at the same time as I was serializing the story. I wasn't about to interrupt something important like that for something as ridiculous as Jeff Smith acting tough five years after the fact.

(from The Blog & Mail, 14 September 2007)
I always try to do the right thing. The only time it becomes really difficult is in a case of severe demonic possession where I am presented with a Gordian Knot which presents me with one of several unpalatable and unacceptable options. In the case of Jeff Smith's interview in the Trilogy Tour issue of the JOURNAL, I have to admit that it took me about a year to try to untangle what the right thing to do was. If someone is running around saying that he threatened to deck you when he did no such thing, is it the same thing as threatening to deck you? Ultimately, I decided it was infinitely worse, particularly since it was only in the COMICS JOURNAL in 1999 that this delusion on his part had become public. However, it was pretty obvious that this was the story he had been telling people for five years whenever they asked him about the split with Dave Sim. It was also pretty obvious that everyone believed him. There was certainly an urge to correct the misinformation right away, but there was also the awareness that five years worth of damage to my reputation had been done, that the damage was irreparable and that six months or a year wasn't going to make a whole lot of difference. I was already universally hated and if I dared to suggest that Jeff Smith hadn't been wholly consistent with the truth (to say the least) it would only serve to make me that much more universally hated. The coward's way out was obvious: let Jeff Smith's version stand for all time and hope that grovelling before and capitulating to Marxist-feminists would allow me to retrieve some sort of status in the comic-book field.

[Okay, I got to this point in the narration of events and I started realizing how much of the back-story I have to relate in order for people in the distant future to understand. I mean, I know that my generation is a write-off and the generation after that is a write-off and the generation after that is a write-off – the best I can hope for, at least for the next two or three decades, out of this explanation is a completely feminized "Violence is so ICKY! Only an evil person would commit an act of violence in this day and age" coupled with "Jeff Smith can't possibly be at fault so whatever Dave Sim did to provoke him to threaten violence must have been REALLY, REALLY EVIL!" Witness the reaction to the Sixteen Impossible Things. You can't discuss things sensibly with a block of cement. But, for the sake of those people in the far-flung future who once more take an interest in reality:]

When I read the interview in the Trilogy Tour Issue, my primary response was to feel sorry for Jeff Smith as I feel sorry for anyone who has completely let go of reality in order to embrace a manufactured delusion in place of reality (i.e. feminists). I mean, I knew what I had written in issue 186 and comparing what I had written and what he was claiming I wrote in his COMICS JOURNAL interview the extreme variance was glaring.

It's nothing I wasn't familiar with.

My ex-wife and several of my girlfriends were in the category in question. They literally couldn't relate an incident the same way twice. It's an easy thing to check. If they tell you a story and it just doesn't sound right, wait a couple of days and get them to tell it to you again. If it's one of the unreal stories that they feel compelled to tell (and it is a psychological condition: or, as I prefer to call it now, demonic possession) it will be inconsistent from beginning to end every time they tell it. I couldn't find my copy of the Trilogy Tour issue of the COMICS JOURNAL (#218) when it came time to write "Dear Jeff Smith", but I basically said, look, just read what I wrote and read what Jeff is claiming that I wrote.

"Ultimately, Jeff's going to look really bad out of this," I thought, and I felt bad about that on his behalf, as I always felt bad when I saw that someone Deni had befriended had twigged to her condition and was now putting a lot of distance between them. The fact that these people can't help themselves is really saddest part of their natures.

What I failed to reckon with (as usual) was the extent to which facts and reality have nothing to do with what the comic book field -- universally dominated by Marxist-feminists -- responds to and how it responds to it. It is already immersed in the same condition so it tends to perceive reality based on its own prejudices (i.e. anyone who isn't a Marxist-feminist is evil) and to ignore anything a Marxist-feminist does wrong so long as they remain a card-carrying Marxist-feminist. Obviously, Jeff was and is very much in that category. It meant that "ultimately" kept getting pushed further into the future. At first "ultimately" was "when people compare the text in READS with what Jeff is claiming that I wrote." Then "ultimately" was "when CEREBUS fans compare the text in READS with what Jeff is claiming that I wrote." Then "ultimately" was "when someone who is interested in reality compares the text in READS with what Jeff is claiming that I wrote." That's where it stands now. My conservative estimate being that interest in reality – as opposed to Marxist-feminism – probably won't arrive for at least fifty to a hundred years.

[To this day, I don't want to call anyone bad names – I trade off "Marxist-feminist" for "misogynist": you call me a "misogynist", I will call you a "Marxist-feminist" – but even someone whose... distortions... effectively ruined my career and my professional reputation... well, let's just say that Jeff didn't completely invent out of nothing the "Big Johnson" Bone Tall-Tale-Telling character who compulsively blows everything out of proportion in STUPID, STUPID RAT TALES (if you catch my drift)]

Well, returning to reality (which I always like to do) no one compared the two texts. It was then that I realized that this was what the comic store environment had degraded itself into: a high school girls' clique. Jeff was a Marxist-feminist and was therefore IN and Dave Sim was an anti-feminist and was therefore OUT and, consequently, facts had nothing to do with it. As with a high school girls' clique. The dominant female decides who is going to be excluded and everyone goes along with it if they know what's good for them. If you ask them WHY the one girl was excluded they couldn't tell you. There are no facts, no reasons, just a natural compulsion to exclude someone that is a core part of female nature, a soul-deep delight in the harshest forms of emotional sadism of which they can conceive, the same sort of female nature that has, obviously, been running the comic-book field at least since 1994. I mean, to the extent that even CEREBUS readers – many of whom still claim to be fans of mine (with fans like this, who needs enemies?) – didn't bother to read the two versions.

To this day.

So, okay, I phone the Fantagraphics 1-800 order number to buy a copy of the Trilogy Tour issue. It's been eight years and I'm still the only person interested in reality and it's a matter of face it, Dave, if you don't do it, it isn't going to get done. The 800 number doesn't work from Canada. So I send Gary Groth a fax asking if he can fax me the relevant quote from Jeff's 1999 interview and – just for the sake of explanation – I faxed him the actual text from page 241 of READS. I also thanked him for not editing out the favourable reference to me in Andrew Langridge's interview in the latest issue of the JOURNAL.

Definitely a surprise but the return fax comes in, like, the next day. Full of sneering sarcasm about my reviving this "nonsense" and letting me know that I had absolutely no stature or credibility in the field – how else would I know it was actually from Gary? – but, give the devil his due, with the excerpt requested. I was flattered considering that I am universally viewed as the lowest form of scum in existence in the comic-book field. I figured I would get a snotty phone call from an underling and I could give them my VISA number over the phone for the copy of issue #218. Or maybe they would just fax me the information. I really didn't think I was still in the category of meriting an actual letter from Gary Groth.

Why? Well, this is The Big Reason right here. You ready for it? For those of you who have been never quite sure of WHY you're supposed to vilify and ignore and disparage Dave Sim – I mean, you've read 186 or READS and you've been left wondering exactly what the big deal is supposed to (even theoretically) be, as some people were starting to do by 1999 – let Jeff Smith clear up the confusion for you. Here, right here. This is why Dave Sim is an evil misogynist who deserved to have his career ruined, his character assassinated and to ensure that no good and decent person would speak to him (if they knew what was good for them) or acknowledge his presence ever again, amen:

Oh, heck. We're out of time. Hey, why don't you track down your own copy of COMICS JOURNAL #218 and look it up yourself so you'll be prepared to rationalize it away tomorrow and thereby restore what you know to be true: Dave Sim is EVIL!

Next: Seconds Out... Round 3!

Weekly Update #176: The Incredibly Productive Colin Upton

...featuring the comics of Colin Upton.
In other news, Dave's computer died. :(

Thursday 30 March 2017

Cerebus "Hulks-Out"!

Send your parody covers to: momentofcerebus [at] gmail [dot] com! 

Last week in the comments Dave wrote:
"Can you "lean into that" and shrink the head even further? That is, keep the bottom of the snout roughly where it is but keep shrinking the head "down and in" and patching the missing details with cloned fur? I've got a gut instinct that there's a Hulk-ish sweet spot in there -- with really hunched shoulders -- that should be very, very funny. And the only way to find THAT (I think) is to intentionally go too far and then "walk it back".

"We can have an informal poll here when you have a few different choices: Which one is the funniest UN-BEDABLE VARK? "
Attached is a comparison of six different head sizes. I thought 1 was to small when I made it, but the more I look at it, the funnier I think it is. 3 is probably closer to proper Hulk-ish proportions. I can make examples even smaller than 1 if anyone desires such a thing.
Additionally, there is a comparison of a larger arm size to the original arms. (If anyone was interested in the arms being further "Hulked out." Although this may make him look to much like an ape, and less like a Hulk.)

Cerebus In Hell? -- Week 40

 Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at
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Wednesday 29 March 2017

A Deal For A Single Gold Coin

A few years ago I scanned all of Dave Sim's notebooks. He had filled 36 notebooks during the years he created the monthly Cerebus series, covering issues #20 to 300, plus the other side items -- like the Epic stories, posters and prints, convention speeches etc. A total of 3,281 notebook pages detailing his creative process. I never really got the time to study the notebooks when I had them. Just did a quick look, scanned them in and sent them back to Dave as soon as possible. So this regular column is a chance for me to look through those scans and highlight some of the more interesting pages.

The majority of Melmoth is covered in Dave Sim's notebook #19, which covers Cerebus #141 to 149. We've only looked at it twice, first in Melmoth and Tiny Thumbnails and then in Characters of Melmoth. We've never seen the cover, but no surprise, it is another Hilroy:

Notebook #19, front cover
As I mentioned in Characters of Melmoth, there were 19 blank pages. In the beginning of the notebook, Dave drew some really nice fully inked sketches of Dino. However, he drew them on both sides, so they bled through to the other side. A bit into doing that, he started to only use one side of the page.

Here is a sequence you might find familiar:

Notebook 19, page 11
Notebook 19, page 11

Notebook 19, page 15
Yes, pages 12 and 14 were blank, so while I did not scan them in, I numbered the pages to indicate that they were not on the same physical sheet of paper.

The scene above happens in Melmoth, pages 51 and 52 (Cerebus #141, pages 3 and 4), but not quite as shown. Dino doesn't flip the coin, just puts it in his pocket. He does hold his hand out for the handshake, but Cerebus in his semi-fugue state, just says 'aye'.

Tuesday 28 March 2017


My laptop computer died today so it looks like that's the end of my participation here on AMOC apart from the Weekly Updates. I'm going to get all the digital files salvaged from the hard drive and preserved on an external hard drive but I can't see myself buying another computer at my age. I'm surprised I put up with it this long.

I am glad that my computer lasted long enough to see SOMEONE take my side against Jeff Smith and Vijaya Iyer after fifteen years. Thanks, ChrisW! You made my year!

Monday 27 March 2017

Reviewed: Cerebus In Hell? #1 & #2!

(from a review by Travis Pelkie, 24 March 2017)
...I love this comic because it showcases how funny Cerebus is just by being an amoral jerk aardvark. His obstinate nature creates chaos and reacts to the absurd situations he’s put into in Hell, and the resulting reactions by Virgil and Dante to his asshole nature are funny. Not all of the jokes land for me. Some are over my head. But the ones that work get me rolling, so overall, it’s an excellent humor comic. You also get, in the comic books, amusing “rules” on how to contribute your own Cerebus in Hell? strip, as well as funny bios of the creators. If you like to laugh, I think Cerebus in Hell? is a really good, funny comic, and if you don’t like it, Cerebus the Aardvark will probably stab you or something... [Read the full review here...]

Sunday 26 March 2017

Swords Of Cerebus Vol 3: Cerebus #10

Published between 1981 and 1984, Dave's six Swords of Cerebus volumes were his first attempt to collect the book in a more permanent form. He gave each story included in these volumes a prose introduction, explaining where the book stood when he'd been working on that particular issue and how he was thinking of its prospects at the time. We’re currently covering the intros from Swords volume 3. Also check out the full 'Swords Of Cerebus' Introductions Index.

"This was the first time that Cerebus is shown to use any discretion whatsoever
 when it comes to a potential confrontation," says Dave.

Next week: The Sarah Bernhardt of comics.

Saturday 25 March 2017

Diamond Preview Picks: March 2017

Travis Pelkie returns with his regular monthly selection for Cerebus fans of comics and books featured in the latest Diamond Previews catalog. Travis is co-founder of the Atomic Junk Shop, a site about comics and other fun pop culture. To see your comics featured here or at the Atomic Junk Shop feel free to send an email to Travis at: atomicjunkshoptravis [at] outlook [dot] com. 

Secret Sneyd: The Unpublished Cartoons Of Doug Sneyd
by Doug Sneyd
Dark Horse, $14.99
On sale: April 2017
Diamond Order Code: DEC160115

The publisher says:
Veteran artist Doug Sneyd presents a collection of unpublished cartoon concepts created throughout his career with Playboy magazine. This novelty book is packed from end to end with one-liners and pretty girls-funny, charming, and risqué jokes, each one full of all the life and expression that only a master artist can impart with a few strokes of the pen and brush! Over 200 original cartoons! Foreword by cartoonist Arnold Roth.

Dave Sim says:
(from an AMOC Comment, 27 December 2016)
Of the Playboy painting cartoonists, I'd rank Sokol WAY at the top -- particularly his early to mid-60s work -- followed by Jack Cole followed by Canadian Doug Sneyd... I think Fantagraphics has just solicited a book of Sneyd's Playboy cartoon preliminaries. That was how the cartoonists pitched cartoons to Hefner with colour roughs. I prefer Sneyd's finished work, but I think it would be an interesting reference work for someone who was looking to see how spontaneous you can be with painted colour.  

Drawing & Life Lessons From Master Cartoonists
curated by Craig Yoe
IDW, $49.99
On sale: July 2017
Diamond Order Code: MAR170625

The publisher says:
An unparalleled book, the very first of its kind! Taken from uber-rare, never-before reprinted cartooning courses with expert teachings from cartooning's rock stars: Peanuts' Charles Schulz, Little Nemo's Winsor McCay, Superman's Joe Shuster, Flash Gordon's Alex Raymond, Terry and the Pirates' Milton Caniff, The New Yorker's Whitney Darrow, Jr., Betty and Veronica's Dan DeCarlo, Prince Valiant's Hal Foster, Barney Google's Billy Debeck, Plastic Man's Jack Cole, Gasoline Alley's Frank King, Popeye's E.C. Segar, and many more icons of comic art. These esteemed geniuses act as life coaches with inspiring stories of how they succeeded and give stirring and wise encouragement to propel you to your own success. For beginners, seasoned professionals, teachers, students in school classes hungry to learn, and even those that are passionate about comics history, this will be an invaluable classic in the field.

Travis says:
Alex Raymond is included here in a collection of art lessons by famous cartoonists. From the image shown in Previews, he's showing you how to draw nekkid wimmins. A bunch of other great cartoonists as well, including "Batman's Joe Kubert" (hey, that's how he's credited!). 

Motor Girl
Absract Studios, $15.99
In stores: May 2017
Diamond Order Code: MAR171184

The publisher says:
When a UFO crashes into her desert junkyard, Samantha and her imaginary gorilla friend, Mike, repair the ship and win the heart of the little green pilot named Bik. Now an industrial tycoon wants to seize the property so he can  install his new anti-UFO weapon but Samantha is determined to stop him. What happens next is out of this world in Terry Moore's new series, Motor Girl! Collects issues #1-5.

Travis says:
Self-publisher Terry Moore's latest series, Motor Girl, is collected in a trade here, with the first 5 issues under one cover.  Imaginary gorillas, UFOs, and a cute mechanic combine for fun.

Songy Of Paradise
by Gary Panter
Fantagraphics, $34.99
In stores: May 2017
Diamond Order Code: MAR171775

The publisher says:
Fantagraphics is proud to present a major all-new book by Gary Panter. Songy of Paradise is an inspired interpretation of John Milton’s retelling of the story of Jesus being tempted by Satan after being baptized by John the Baptist and fasting for forty days and nights in the Judaean Desert. Panter’s version doesn’t rely on Milton’s words, but faithfully follows the structure of Milton’s Paradise Regained, with one notable exception: Jesus has been replaced by a hillbilly, Songy, who is on a vision quest before being tempted by a chimeric Satan figure. Gary Panter is one of America’s preeminent artists, designers, and cartoonists, whose work defined the L.A. punk scene and the vibrant work of the television show Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Songy of Paradise presents Panter’s singular vision in an ornate, hardcover format that does justice to Panter’s densely packed pages, with a stunning two-color stamping on cloth covers. It will be an art object, a brilliant literary experiment, and the most eye-popping graphic novel of 2017.

Travis says:
This one caught my eye as a sort of companion piece to Cerebus in Hell?, maybe. Songy of Paradise is by the great Gary Panter, with the role of Jesus in the desert played by a hillbilly and the entire graphic novel is "inspired by" Milton's Paradise Regained. Definitely a strange one. 

Comics Revue: April 2017
edited by Rick Norwood
Manuscript Press, $19.95
On sale: May 2017
Diamond Order Code: MAR172362

The publisher says:
America's longest-running magazine of classic comics now has twice as many pages of strips as the earlier version, on better paper, includes 8 pages of full-color comic strips, and features "Tarzan" by Russ Manning, "Rick O'Shay" by Stan Lynde, "Flash Gordon" by Harry Harrison, "Gasoline Alley" by Dick Moores, "Alley Oop" by V. T. Hamlin, "Steve Canyon" by Milton Caniff, and "Casey Ruggles" by Warren Tufts. Plus, in black and white, "The Phantom" by Lee Falk, "Krazy Kat" by George Herriman, "Buz Sawyer" by Roy Crane, "Sir Bagby" by R&B Hackney, "Steve Roper" by Saunders and Overgard, and "Modesty Blaise" by Peter O'Donnell and Romero. 

Travis says:
Dave recently talked about Comics Revue here at AMOC, so here's the listing for the latest issue.  Good looking stuff.

by Stephen King & Bernie Wrightson
In stores: May 2017
Diamond Order Code: MAR171842

The publisher says:
Now back in print: the graphic novel adaptation of Stephen King's Creepshow, based on the 1982 horror anthology and cult classic film directed by George Romero (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead) and featuring stunning illustrations by the legendary Bernie Wrightson with cover art by the acclaimed Jack Kamen! A harrowing and darkly humorous tribute to the controversial and influential horror comics of the 1950s, Creepshow presents five sinsister stories from the #1 New York Times bestselling author - "Father's Day," "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill," "Something to Tide You Over," "The Crate," and "They're Creeping Up on You." Unforgettable tales of terror to haunt your days and nights! 

Travis says:
After the recent passing of Bernie Wrightson, I had to feature this one. A reprint of the movie tie-in comic drawn by Wrightson in the EC style. As I went ahead and ordered this myself, I'll be reviewing it at some point over at AJS.  DC also, coincidentally, had a collection of House of Secrets starting with the Swamp Thing introductory story in this Previews, but it's way expensive and it's DC, so screw them. (ahem!)

More Diamond Previews picks at Atomic Junk Shop's regular Flippin' Through Previews column.

Gerhard's TorontoCon Sketches!

"Gerebus" convention sketches
by Gerhard
(TorontoCon, March 2017)

Gerhard's 2017 Convention & Signing Itinerary:

Keep up to date with Gerhard's latest news at Gerz Blog!

"Cerebus In Hell?" Parody Covers: Part 8

Send your parody covers to: momentofcerebus [at] gmail [dot] com! 

looking closely at your VARK No.1, I like the way you Photoshopped the arms. Can you do a "standalone" of that VARK figure and e-mail it to me through Sandeep? It strikes me as innately funny: VARK KILL!! VARK SMASH!! And it's just Batvark with his arms out and taking up more of the panel
To which Lee Thacker said:
The 'Hulk' arms Cerebus jpg: the foreground Cerebus figures are hiding a multitude of sins in my Photoshopped 'Cerebus with his arms out' picture. I'll try to get a 'good-looking' jpg together but I fear this might be a job for Benjamin!
And since I'm Benjamin, I went ahead and made a version, which I've attached. The image was surprisingly complicated to edit. Lee did a lot more than move the arms out as Dave said. The head is smaller, the torso is wider. I think the tail is smaller as well. My version differs from Lee's in that I've removed the sword, filled in the shadow on the left leg (to cover up the fact that there is no sword), replicated the left side of the torso to fill in the right side, and drew in a couple of thumbs.

Jeff Smith vs Dave Sim: Round 1

by Dave Sim
(Cerebus #264, March 2001)

Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you about this, Jeff, but, considering that it took you nearly five years to "go public" with your side of our disagreement(s) – and in light of my own avowed intention to limit myself to writing only "Chasing Scott" and "To Ham & Ham Not" here in the back of the book (and nothing elsewhere) for the three-year-minus-two-months it was going to take me to finish Going Home – I didn't think that time was of the essence.

My "sabbatical" was partly an exercise in self-discipline and partly my concession to the comic-book environment. Having been "all over the place" in promoting self-publishing as a viable direct market vehicle for comic-book creators for three years or so...

[and – whatever else you have attempted to portray my efforts as in subsequent years – that is all that I was trying to do. I know you find it hard to believe that the direct market existed before you came along, Jeff, but believe me it did. And there was a time when virtually the entire direct market – most especially publishers like Gary Groth, Denis Kitchen and Mike Richardson – made a great point of the fact that self-publishing was not a viable option and that Dave Sim was the "exception that proved the rule". My efforts on behalf of self-publishing were not to create a "self-publishing movement" (as you keep saying), but to disprove Groth, Kitchen, Richardson et al and to show that it was possible – more than possible – for others besides Dave Sim to make a living self-publishing their work and only self-publishing their own work. I intended to devote a fixed amount of time to that task (which I did) and then I intended to walk away (which I did) and – if, thereupon, self-publishing proved itself to not be a viable option for others (without my on-going, hands-on interference) – I intended to eat Crow back issues (as it were) and admit that I was wrong and that I was, in fact, some sort of mystical being, the only one endowed with the ability to self-publish successfully. The fact that you are one of the outstanding examples that assisted me in refuting that misapprehension is one of the reasons – 'til now, anyway – that I have not responded to your own vague but passionate insinuations that "Dave Sim is terribly, terribly, terribly wrong and terribly, terribly, terribly evil in some way". However inadvertently, you helped me to disprove the only misapprehension about myself that really concerned me: that I was uniquely and exclusively suited to self-publish. The rest of the "terribly, terribly, terribly wrong and terribly, terribly, terribly evil" stuff is just part of the price one pays for being a non-feminist in a feminist world. Water off a duck's back.] seemed as if a comparable period of keeping the direct market "Dave Free" (outside the pages of Cerebus) was the least that I could do. Apart from a letter to The Comic Buyer's Guide on the occasion of Gil Kane's passing, a press release when Going Home caught us flat-footed by selling out its second print run too quickly and a cover and introduction for Dork Tower and an interview or two for small fanzines, I stuck by that vow. As the three-years-minus-two-months unfolded, I reminded myself that if there was anything which really stuck in my craw, I could address it after the three-years-minus-two-months were over. Many things stuck in my craw (my craw just seems to be constructed that way) but, as the three-years-minus-two-months came to an end, nothing had really "stuck" (craw-wise) that I could count worthy of attention. Attention, in my view, better spent preparing myself, mentally, physically and artistically for the final three year climb up the final rock face on my own personal Mount Everest, the 300-issue Cerebus project.

Except one.

Just about a year ago at this time, I was still "pissed off" (a definite exception to the rule of my largely non-emotional life) about your assertion in your Comics Journal interview (the belated Trilogy Tour issue) that you had threatened to give me a "fat lip" that time that I stayed in your lovely A-frame house overlooking the San Andreas Fault.

Can't remember the last time I ever said this, but I'm saying it now – to you, Jeff.

You are lying.

(If anyone doubts that you are lying, I invite them to read what I wrote about that visit in Reads – page 241 - and compare it with your recollection of what I wrote as you "reconstructed" it – that is to say as you completely fabricated my words – in the aforementioned interview)

Leaving aside your "Big Johnson Bone" fabrications, I'm not sure what my reaction would've been had you, indeed, threatened to give me a fat lip. I find accurate perception a sufficiently arguous on-going task without muddying the waters of perception by dealing in various permutations of the hypothetical. I suspect I would've asked to use the phone and called the nearest hotel and then the nearest limo company and made arrangements to leave (since you had picked me up in a limo, I could at least be sure that one could have made it up those mountain roads) and then I wouldn've taken you up on your little "challenge" once I was sure that I wasn't staying under your roof any longer.

But, of course, there was no "challenge".

That's the really infuriating part of this whole business, Jeff: your assertion in the interview that you presented me with this "challenge", and "everything got very quiet" and then you proceeded to "enjoy your weekend". The comic-book field is not a particularly masculine environment so, for a certain unknown-but-presumably-large percentage of the people who read your interview, the whole thing was very straightforward. You threatened me and I backed down. For a likewise unknown-but-presumably-small percentage of the people who read your interview – that is for the (dozen? two dozen? three dozen?) men as opposed to males in the Comics Journal's readership, let's face it, Jeff. You were calling me a coward who backs down from another man's challenge to settle things man-to-man. And then you compounded your insult by portraying me as a weasel who would stay under another man's roof after having backed down from that man's challenge to a fight.

Off-and-on, I have now spent the better part of a year trying to figure out how to address another man's entirely fictional "challenge" to "step outside" (presumably we would have stepped outside as opposed to "duking it out" in your living room) made five years after the "fact". At the height of my "pissed-offedness", I just kept thinking to myself, "I'd like to see him try."

Once my "pissed offedness" had subsided (it took a few weeks), to my own not inconsiderable amusement I realized that that was exactly the sum and substance of my reaction. All emotion aside:

I'd like to see you try, Jeff.

I have to confess that I never thought that, at the ripe old age of forty-four (forty-five in May) I would be "stepping into the ring" with someone, least of all a fellow cartoonist. No matter how much of a fighter you are – George Foreman aside – it's really a game for one's twenties and thirties. But, clearly, I can't just let this pass without taking some action to defend myself from this... (whatever you call it. Before this, who would have needed a word for "lying about a challenge to fight man-to-man"?)

[I do understand – given the fact that I am not a feminist – I have to accept that it is "open season" on Dave Sim. Any feminist is going to feel him - or herself more than entitled to talk about me behind my back and to exert any and all efforts to destroy my reputation and credibility through gossip, innuendo and outright lies. I would expect nothing les of the unfairer sex and their allies and I knew that was the inevitable result of declaring myself to be "not a feminist" in an almost wholly feminist environment.

But you are supposed to do it behind my back, Jeff. That is how the feminist game is played. "girl fighting", as it were. However. To lie, in a public forum, about having offered to give another man a "fat lip". That's something else again.]

I would assume from your choice of the phrase that you have had a certain amount of fight experience. Offering to give someone a "fat lip" implies a disproportionately larger amount of fight experience on the part of the "offerer" than on the part of the "offeree".

I have to say that in the short space of time that we knew each other, I never once thought of you as being a fighter but, presumably, I was wrong about that. Or maybe I wasn't.

Which brings us back to "I'd like to see him try":

I will fly to Columbus on any date that you would care to name and I will give you three three-minute "rounds" to try to give me a "fat lip". I'm in a the light heavyweight class – on any given day between five and ten pounds lighter than a heavyweight. I would assume you are somewhere in that vicinity as well. I have ten-ounce gloves. Opinion is divided as to which sort of glove dish out the greater punishment: sixteen-ounce (just because they’re heavier) or ten-ounce (because there’s less "cushion"). If your opinion is that ten-ounce gloves won't do the job for you ("fat lip-wise"), let me know which weight you prefer and I'll pick up a pair. Or if you want to go all the way up to twenty-four ounce gloves I'm more than amenable. Likewise with headgear. I'm comfortable fighting without it. If you prefer headgear, just let me know.

I'll let you pick the venue and the time keeper and the referee and I'm more than willing to listen to any requirements you might have that I haven't covered here.

Just in case some "bright lights" out there get the idea of turning this into a benefit for the CBLDF or some other charity at a convention, let me head you off at the pass right now:

Having had a year to try to figure out how to explain this to a largely feminist, largely feminized crowed I figure the best bet is a (may God forgive me) movie analogy:

Do you remember in the movie The Color of Money, the sequel – make that, the "sequel" – to The Hustler where the Tom Cruise character tells the Paul Newman character that he "threw" their big championship game, so he could "clean up" on side bets? And the Paul Newman character corners the Tom Cruise character and challenges him to a game, a for-real game? And he says to the Tom Cruise character, "Let's clean this up"?

That's what I’m doing here. You can't "clean up" a mess like this in a circus atmosphere.

Jeff, I am saying, flat out, that you have lied. In lying, you have made a mess – a non-masculine mess.

You have made a mess.


Let's you and me, man-to-man, clean up the mess that you have made.


Next: Seconds Out... Round 2

Friday 24 March 2017

Weekly Update #175: A Chris Woerner Top Ten & Starchy the DarkSpud

Cerebus In Hell? -- Week 39

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Thursday 23 March 2017

Wuffa Wuffa

A few years ago I scanned all of Dave Sim's notebooks. He had filled 36 notebooks during the years he created the monthly Cerebus series, covering issues #20 to 300, plus the other side items -- like the Epic stories, posters and prints, convention speeches etc. A total of 3,281 notebook pages detailing his creative process. I never really got the time to study the notebooks when I had them. Just did a quick look, scanned them in and sent them back to Dave as soon as possible. So this regular column is a chance for me to look through those scans and highlight some of the more interesting pages.

We've only looked at Albatross #4, Dave Sim's fourth notebook used during the production of Cerebus, once before back in August of 2016 in Albatross Four. Looking through it again, I saw a sketch for the cover to Cerebus #44 which wasn't shown in the Cerebus Cover Art Treasury book.

Cerebus #44, the Wuffa Wuffa issue, is when Cerebus, Astoria and the Roach head up to Northbell in the snow. So the cover that was used shows a bit of Cerebus in the snow:

Cerebus #44 cover
The  cover sketch on page 59 of Albatross Four shows the sled that they used to get to Northbell:

Albatross Four, page 59
The page also features some quotes, which appear to be from Lord Storm'send. The one that made me chuckle: "If'n I thought about Tarim as much Lord Julius thinks about money, I could be a high priest by now. . .".

Tuesday 21 March 2017

SDOAR: Kick Ass Princess

Well, that took a while! Anyway, here is the Kick-Ass Princesses spread. I was so excited to work on this page for many reasons, most of which I have detailed in past posts. Kind of sad to be done with it.

In his notes to me about this page Dave said:
"... as a comic-BOOK store manager Jack would probably have read or flipped through the COLLECTED FLASH GORDON but probably would never hear of RIP KIRBY. And, as a modern tattooed woman (make sure you keep those tats visible!) all she would have taken away from FLASH GORDON is "Kick-Ass Princesses"."
Dave has also jokingly mentioned making Jack a character feminists will love enough to demand a spin-off title.

I think the idea is pretty funny but was skeptical that any feminist would look at this illustration, see a girl lost in wistful fantasy, surrounded by sexy women in skimpy costumes, and not be offended. So, I tried a little social-media experiment.

This page was started the day after International Women's Day, and I had just figured out that people follow hashtags on Instagram, not just particular feeds. So, I decided to post image updates each day I worked on the page and to hashtag the posts with things like #girlsrule #girlpower #feminist #feminism as well as more descriptive things like #inking #comics #davesim #strangedeathofalexraymond. In the first post I made sure to say that in honor of International Women's Day the day before I had started the Bad-Ass Princesses (Forgot that Dave used "Kick-Ass Princesses." Whoops!) spread for The Strange Death of Alex Raymond. Every subsequent post I made sure to reference Bad-Ass Princesses and Strange Death of Alex Raymond.

No one has called me out for being a dude drawing sexy women, or balked at the idea that Dave Sim is involved with something about girl power. The posts received likes and follows from hardcore feminist feeds with names like girlpoweruniversity, nipplemagazine, sluttygingerbread, nyclitoris, thefutureoffeminine, wearethetulip, and a number of personal feeds with large amounts of feminist memes posted to them.

So, Dave, you are totally right, the ladies do love Kick-Ass Princesses and Jack. I think we should ditch SDOAR and start the Jack spin-off asap!

I think I am going to keep the experiment going with Kick-Ass-Comic-Shop-Manager Jack vs.The-Oppressive-Hand-Of-The-Patriarchy, since the last eight pages are pretty much my hand drawing Jack's face over and over. Maybe we can drum up some new readers?

Cerebus #11: "A Little Behind-The-Scenes Stuff"

So I finally purchased a copy of the Cerebus Cover Treasury. I'd provided IDW with two scans of cover prelim's I own, for #11 and #36, back when the book was in the planning stages, but I'd never heard whether the images would actually see print.

And now my wait is over: neither were used.

But it occurs to me that other AMOC regulars would like to especially see the #11 cover -- a hand-coloured example not unlike the #15 shown in the book. Dave doesn't mention it in his commentary but I seem to remember the #11 original art being sold on eBay and then he did the #11 re-creation shown and auctioned that on eBay not too long after... which didn't sell for nearly as much as the original.

(I paid much less than either the original or the recreation for the hand-coloured example.)

It was nice to have Dave's corrections (or whatever he called them) to the book posted on AMOC, and hopefully for other fans the #11 cover is a similar nice addition.