Saturday, 12 August 2017

A Glamourpuss Fan Writes & (Again) Dave Sim Interrupts

 A (very occasional) word from Dave Sim now that he's working full-time on

Dear Mr. S(l)im,

I must apologize for my tardiness in writing to you. When glamourpuss was coming out, I was writing regularly; afterwards around the New Year; last year, it was the Chinese New Year; this year, well, I could say the solstice but it's a little late for that. Unless there's some Canadian holiday I don't know about around this time, I'll just call it my Solstice greeting.

Actually, you were writing six days before Canada's 150th Birthday. 500,000 people were supposed to descend on the nation's capital and 25,000 actually did. Couldn't have put it better myself.

The last time I wrote, I had no idea of your mystery wrist ailment, otherwise I wouldn't have sent you that tiny notebook from Florence. If you couldn't do anything with it, I hope you were able to find it a good home. Maybe your friend Sand(w)eep could us it.

Oddly enough, it's still sitting comfortably on my office desk about two feet away from where I am right now. If I'm not mistaken, it's been there pretty much since it arrived. Thanks again!

Given your vastly superior health system…

Vastly superior to what? Havana? Sorry, go ahead.

…I'm sure you've investigated all sorts of remedies.

Mm. No. My view of the Canadian Health Care System is that it's mostly "three million hypochondriacs can't be wrong" (U.S. equivalent: "thirty million hypochondriacs can't be wrong"). That is, 10% of any human population is going to be made up of hypochondriacs who spend their lives getting overmedicated by Big Pharma and mutilated by surgeons. I tried physiotherapy for a while and I tried getting an MRI (in the U.S.) and I tried a cortisone shot. That's as "hypochondriac" as I go, I'm afraid. I wear a wrist-brace to keep the wrist stable. I have to occasionally draw word balloons when mocking up CEREBUS IN HELL? strips. Last week in particular because it's the SIN CITY parody so it's mostly white backgrounds so all the word balloons needed to be drawn. Out of a week's worth of strips, there were one or two word balloons that had a wobble to them, but most of them were passable. Which is the reverse of the situation, say, eight months ago. I infer from that that keeping the wrist stable is what's needed.

It does sound like something to be cured by acupuncture, but maybe you've tried that to no effect.

They HAD acupuncture at the physiotherapy place I went to, but no one suggested it for me. I think they could tell by looking at me that I wasn't an "acupuncture-friendly" sort of individual.

Maybe your wrist is like an ant, meaning that ants seem to have a certain built-in energy limit like a battery; once the battery runs out they're done. Maybe the battery in your wrist just ran out.

Maybe. Or maybe the wrist just needs to be stabilized in a wrist brace until whatever-it-is sorts itself out.

More plausibly though, there's some curse attached to Alex Raymond and, by investigating his death, you dug in too far, like in a horror novel (or Tales from the Crypt) and some ghost socked it to you where you hurt the most.

It doesn't hurt -- it's just "glitchy". I can do x number of lines using my fingers and thumb as I always did and then it's as if the wrist wants to draw instead and it overrides the fingers and thumb. Which makes me go, "What is up with my wrist?" and causes me to lose all line control. The only drawing I did in the last two-and-a-half years was a sketch of the back steps Mark S. is going to be building on the Off-White House. Fewer glitches, but still glitches.

It also doesn't hurt me not to draw. You mean "emotionally" right? No, I did a lot more drawing than most guys. I have no complaints.

There is a persuasive argument that I've "dug in too far" with the Alex Raymond research and that's what the wrist is "about".

It did stop publication of your researches…

Delayed it, actually. Possibly until after my own death. And forced me to be WAY more exact in what I have to say. I think I have a much clearer idea of WHY Alex Raymond died. And a much clearer idea of how to explain it without boring the pants off of everyone. Hundreds and hundreds of pages of my RIP KIRBY Commentaries now exist that will probably be cut down to a few dozen captions over a dozen or so pages of THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND. If you want to read the actual research/speculations, here they are. If you just want to read SDOAR here IT is.

Very suspicious, very Lovecraftian. Maybe you could have an Elder Sign tattooed on your wrist.

On the contrary, being on the monotheistic side of Reality probably saved my life. I'm hardly about to "switch teams" at this point!

I've quite enjoyed your Cerebus in Hell? quintology, although I was immensely disappointed that you had no guest appearances by any of the glamourpuss cast. Maybe you'll have them appear in your forthcoming Batvark series.

Actually, there's only one issue of Batvark. "Aardvark-Vanaheim! Your #1 publisher! All we publish are #1's".

Maybe you can have a Cosplay Lass backup story in one of those books, or Zootanapuss or, even better, have Bunny X show up. I think Bunny X would be a great villain for the Batvark, on the level of Mr. Mind and his Monster Society of Evil against Captain Marvel. You just need to attach a little radio around his neck, or better maybe some antennae on top of his ears.

Her neck and her ears, don't you mean? I appreciate your remembering the League of Extraordinary Hosebags. I had to pause for a minute to remember who Bunny X was.

Like the Big Two, don't you need to have the glamourpuss cast show up, in one panel even, in order to reset the copyright clock?

I think the names and descriptions of the LEHB are a sufficient defence against anyone misappropriating them for any purpose even in our morally-degraded society. Anyone willing to sink that low is more than welcome to his -- or her -- ill-gotten gains as far as I'm concerned.

Much the same could be said with Wolverroach -- another fantastic villain for the Batvark. Also you are missing out on special lines and increased prices in the Overstreet Price Guide: "First appearance of Cosplay Lass in a CEREBUS comic", "First Modern Age Appearance of Wolverroach" (as opposed to Bronze or Copper) or even "Bunny X revealed as Cirinist god(dess) of Cerebus-Earth", "Red Sonja revealed as Feline Woman" in Batvarkverse…now that I'm thinking about it, Aardvark-Vanaheim needs to jump on the EVENT bandwagon, where glamourpuss and her crew fight Batvark and his Justice League (What would be a good name for the Batvark League? JLA -- Just Lager and Ale?).

The Aardvarkian League of Justice. Which was mentioned for the first time in the CEREBUS IN HELL? promo strip for Chuck Rozanski's Mile High Comics. And, yes, I did have to look that up.

Oh, boy! The ideas are flowin' -- you need to Photoshop a Deadroach into your upcoming comics. Or maybe Harley Roach (in drag? Or his daughter?), although the latter may be hard to Photoshop. Sand(w)eep maybe should develop something for that.

An immunity, maybe?

[Legal notice: All of these ideas contained herein have no copyright and are free to use by Mr. S(l)im and Aardvark-Vanaheim and related associates without any compensation, material or otherwise. The author of this letter makes no claim etc. etc. I tried to be legalese there!]

[Your secret is safe with me, Tom!]

Anyway, I should let you get back to your computer or what-not, and your Canadian saneland as opposed to the Realityshow-Twitter-verse the USA has fallen into. (Thanks, Anti-Monitor!). I hope your ailment is healed. You must really must feel cursed.

Blessed. Everyone in North America is blessed. We're the "furthest folks from the door" here in "Hell's antechamber".

Here in Nebraska, the world kind of leaves us alone and passes us by, although if there's a nuclear war, we're the state that'll be struck first, given the military base here (Stratcom, which is, like numero uno on the target list). Thanks to our "isolation" though, there are no decent back-issues of comics that show up in the sole (decent) store here in town, unless one, of course, is into Dells or Westerns which I am not, although a Howdy Doody #1 would be nice. All of the old Marvels or ECs or Fawcetts (non-Western ones) must have just been flown over on their way to California. Old decent DCs are just hard to come by, period, anywhere. My alternative theory is that those comics did make it here, but were all burned during the Wertham-frenzy of the 1950s. THAT's the kind of state Nebraska is. Sigh.

Please find enclosed clippings I thought you'd find interesting, perhaps inspiring. Best wishes, and best of luck and success for the rest of the year!

Tom K.
Founder and President of The Cosplay Lass/Bunny X/Zootanapuss Fan Clubs
(Registered Trademark Patent Pending)

[Tom sent tear-sheets from the April 2017 OTAKU USA magazine
with a review by Che Gilson of "TODAY'S CERBERUS" a new manga comic.
Tom writes at the top "Clever concept appropriation? Lawsuit!" ]

"Chaki Mikado was bitten by a three-headed dog as a child and that incident has shadowed his whole life."

Dave: a) it should be a radioactive three-headed dog and b) why didn't I think of that? D'OH!

"Even as a teenager years later he just can't seem to enjoy anything and doesn't take much interest in life or friendship. Then one day, twist: his father mails him a package from Greece and out pops Kuro, a cute girl who looks like a cheap knock-off of Hatsune Miku, right down to the headphones (though the headphones have a clever explanation). Kuro informs him she is his guard dog and will stick within a two-meter radius of the hapless Mikado protecting him from harm!"

Dave: Judging by the size of Kuro's "headphones" a two-meter radius seems optimistic to me.

"Turns out that the dog who bit Mikado was Cerberus, guardian of the underworld (who else would it be?)…"

Dave: Ms. or Mr. Gilson has a point. There are a limited number of three-headed-dog "usual suspects".

" …and it took part of his soul. Kuro wants to make it up to him, but she's not alone. Extra twist: it turns out the mythical three-headed dog is the combined form of three girls, Kuro, Roze and Shirogane! They share the same body and can be changed by 'pushing a button,' aka pulling their tails."

Tom: Cerebus was an hermaphrodite -- two vs. three girls -- coincidence or theft?

Dave: I couldn't say. But that "pushing a button aka pulling their tails" bit suggests that Ato samurai has his or her finger on a public pulse I could only dream about in 1977. Or 2017 for that matter.

"TODAY'S CERBERUS is a harem manga with a clever twist. Cleverer than most, anyway."

Tom: Wasn't CEREBUS a harem comic?

Dave: My age 21- to age 40-self certainly wished that it was.

"Kuro instantly moves in with Mikado [because of course] and whacky supernatural hijinks ensue [because of course] . Each of the three girls who make up Cerberus -- Roze, Kuro and Shirogane -- is different. Kuro is effervescent and eager to please, Roze is quiet, loyal, and possibly deeply in love, and tough tsundere Shirogane doesn't get what the other two see in Mikado. (There really isn't much to see, honestly. Mikado is the average luckless manga boy generic enough to have come from a character generator.)"


"But, back to Cerberus, remember those headphones? Well the three Cerberuses use them to talk to each other while one of them is in 'control'".

Dave: Oh, wait. Kuro actually DOES have headphones! Your honour, I withdraw those suggestive quotation marks I used earlier.

"In a cute touch there are even scenes of Roze and Shirogane talking to each other inside Cerberus's soul, which looks a little like a Victorian parlour. Due to Kuro's dog-like attributes, Mikado starts to treat her like one, tossing her bones in the hope she'll run after them, calling her 'mine' and patting her on the head. This combination comes off as creepy and possessive, implying Kuro is more pet than person. The heavy fan service reinforces the sexism."

Tom: We need more fan service in A-V books.

Dave: Heavy fan service that gets you a "13+" rating in Japan will get you a five-to-ten-year stretch in North America, I reckon.

"Yet somehow, even while falling into the worst pits of harem manga, the story has a certain charm. The art is appealing even if the character designs are boring! and the humour decent, with some amusing sitcom-style double entendres. TODAY'S CERBERUS isn't going to blow your mind but it's a cute book with cute characters."[underlining by Tom]

Tom: Exactly like CHURCH & STATE!

Dave: But with more "pushing the button/pulling their tails" and treating girls like dogs! The kind of manga girls like!!

[Tom also sent comments on Brittany Vincent's review (RECOMMENDED.) of MY GIRLFRIEND IS A T-REX. But, discretion being the better part of valour, we'll leave that one for Bissette to deal with if he so chooses.]

[And belated -- and on-going -- thanks to Tom K and the taxpayers of the United States of America for providing Canada with ALL of its military security. We couldn't come anywhere close to defending this "Retarded Northern Giant" since World War II without your nearly unimaginable generosity!)


Tony Dunlop said...

"Aardvark-Vanaheim! Your #1 publisher! All we publish are #1's".

Yep; hasn't published any #2 since the Cerebexegesis bit in Latter Days.

I'll be here all week, folks; try the braised lamb.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

"... We're going to take a short break, but we'll be right back with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme."

-- Damian