Saturday 2 February 2019

TL:DW, Please Hold For Dave Sim 11/17/2018: the Transcript

Hi, Everybody!

As we always start when these things are happening: Comiclink auctions, you got three more days.

For anyone who missed the Kickstarter for the Birthday card, there's a Indiegogo live.

You can get a digital copy of the remastered Volume 1 for $9.99, and join in the Great AMOC 2019 Re-Read.

And, now, as I gear up for the February Please Hold For Dave Sim, we have the return of the FIRST AMOC Special Friend Of The Day of 2019!

Jesse Lee Herndon!
Still, Suitable for framing...
You all remember how Jesse won such a Prestigious Award, right?

He transcribed Please Hold For Dave Sim 11/14/2018.

And here it is:

Please Hold For Dave Sim, 11/17/2018 recorded by Matt Dow. Transcribed by Jesse Lee Herndon, transcript reviewed and corrected by Dave Sim and Matt Dow.

Matt: Three.
Paula (Matt’s wife): Please Hold for Dave Sim!
Matt: Hi Dave!
Dave: Hi Matt! Uhh, okay, our subject today is Stan Lee. For the people listening to this, what I’m trying to do is save the wrist for Strange Death of Alex Raymond stuff, so ordinarily I would write my memories of Stan Lee, but I think it’s probably going to be better to try and do just an audio thing. So, the first memory that I have of Stan Lee was actually the first comic book convention that I went to, the Cosmicon in Toronto, in 1972. And he was a guest there. And was just like walking around, it was held at York University at Winter’s College. And I was 15 at the time. And, just went up to him and had a piece of paper with me and said, “Can I get your autograph”? And he said, “Sure!” And it’s like, handed him the piece of paper, and he was signing it. While he was signing it, I said, “I’m also going to be doing a fanzine.” This is when we were planning Now & Then Times #1. And would it be possible for me to do an interview with him. And he said, “Uhh, if you could write to me about that. Just use the Marvel Comics address.” And it’s like, I think he.. just by looking at me he could see that I looked like I’m going, “I think I’m being brushed off here.” And he said, “Just put Stan Lee Personal on it.” And, sure enough I wrote to him at Marvel Comics, saying that I met him at Cosmicon and would it be possible to do an interview. And got a letter back from his secretary saying, “Stan’s really busy right now, but he appreciates the offer. And, ya know, good luck with your fanzine kinda thing.” Which actually worked really well. I was brushed off, but getting brushed off after having sent a Stan Lee Personal letter to Stan Lee is definitely better than getting brushed off in person. So, that was one of those things-- I had no idea I was gonna be remotely famous (laughs) in my own life, but that was one of the ones that I adopted. Was, if somebody wants something from you and you’re probably not going to do it, ask them to write to you and put “Dave Sim Personal” on it. And that way there’s at least a sense that you made contact with this person.
Matt: ‘kay. I know I gave you an itinerary of what we were gonna talk about, but I have to put a little addendum on there cause Margaret Liss just posted on Facebook that Fred Patten died.
Dave: Fred Patten died?! Oh, jeeze.
Matt: Yeah. I saw it today and I’m like, aww, I’m gonna have… the bad part of the AMOC job of letting Dave know “Hey, somebody else went.”
Dave: Ohh…
Matt: I got an email to her, hopefully tomorrow for her column, which is, every Thursday, she’s gonna talk about Fred. Cause, what she did say on the Facebook, was that Fred was real gracious when he gave her and Jeff Tundis the Cerebus The Newsletter.
Dave: Yeah, I was wondering about that, I guess… how much contact was there?
Matt: That, I don’t know. But I can… I will email her saying, “Hey, we’re kinda wonderin’.”
Dave: Right.
Matt: I’m hopin’ that that’s what she does, cause we’ll get it out on AMOC a lot quicker than Saturday, which is the next day that I’ll probably be able to say somethin’, unless, I, ya know, butt in.
Dave: Well, I’m sorry to hear that. Yes. But, getting back to Stan Lee, the… that was also the convention which was the first time that I’d heard Stan Lee booed.
Matt: Oh, cause of, uhh, Kirby?
Dave: See? You knew exactly what it was going to be. It was, uhh… it took me by surprise. It wasn’t Stan Lee himself who got booed, it was the public address system when they were saying, “Stan Lee is going to be doing” such and such a thing, and such and such a panel, or whatever. And it was an interesting effect, because it was… nobody was really at the point of, I think, saying anything to Stan Lee to his face or booing him in person, but we were at the point of a public address announcement triggering boos from the really ardent Jack Kirby fans who if Jack Kirby isn’t drawing the Fantastic Four anymore, that’s got to be Stan Lee’s fault.
Matt: Which… there’s a case to be made for that argument, but yeah, no, I… I mean… Stan and Jack it’s a very weird… the same with Steve Ditko, where it’s a very weird thing of, unless you were there and unless you knew what was goin on, it’s all hearsay. Kinda like when you and Gerhard split up. There was a lot of hearsay about, oh it’s because of this, or it’s because of that. There’s two people that know. (laughs)
Dave: Right. And I don’t think that two people know. Everybody has their own version of reality.
Matt: Well that’s… I’m a big believer in that there’s three sides to every story; Your side, their side, and the truth.
Dave: Yeah, there was the observation in the paper, in the National Post obit for Stan Lee, talking about, “There were times when Jack Kirby made more money than I did, and there was times when I made more money than Jack Kirby did.” But, I don’t think he really understood how that sounded, how that sounded to the Fantastic Four fans, and how that sounded particularly to the Jack Kirby fans. Definitely, in Stan Lee’s defense, I think one of the things that gets lost in these discussions, is what an incredibly innovative thing it was that Stan Lee did to come up with the Marvel Method of doing comics. That’s one of those, you never know when you’re going to have a Scott Fitzgerald second act in public life and that’s definitely something Stan Lee got in 1961. And when it happens, it’s very easy to get snowed under by it. The fact that Marvel was suddenly that successful, virtually everything that they put out on the stands was selling and selling better, month after month, that hadn’t happened in the comic book field pretty much since the early 1950s, late 1940s, with the love comics. The fact that he came up with this method where you can actually write however many titles he was writing… I was sort of doing the inventory in my head. Okay, there was Spider-Man, there was the FF, there was Thor, there was the Hulk, then that became Tales to Astonish, ya know with…
Matt: Ant-Man.
Dave: …two stories with that one. Tales of Suspense with two stories in that one. How do you come up with a way so that you can write all of these titles and keep them consistent and at the same time not have the quality suffer? And not only not have the quality suffer, but to become this incredibly idiosyncratic, “this is the way you do comics that people like to read.” One of the things that I thought about is he would tend to overwrite on occasion, but not really that often. He was just developing a new way of doing comics. And the more word balloons that there were in the panel, stretching the boundary of… well, okay, they’re in midair, you wouldn’t have time to say three word balloons this length. There wasn’t anybody he was working with who would fault that or criticize that, particularly the inker. Because it’s like… the more word balloons are covering up, the less I have to ink here.
Matt: Right. That was, uhh… a couple of years back, when he was still living in Wisconsin, Jeff Seiler read a New Yorker article about, it was a profile of Neil Gaiman. And the writer was making it sound like, ya know, it was a Herculean task to write 75 issues of Sandman. And Jeff was sending the letter and taking him to task because, ya know, you did 300 issues. And he’s reading me the letter, and I’m like, “yeah, in the early 60s Stan Lee wrote 8 books a month.” This isn’t like, ya know, you want to play the who did what game we can, but, ya know… 75 issues over however many years is a monumental task. But there’s people who have done more, there’s people who have done less, there are people that have done better. And I was trying to say to Jeff, taking the writer to task is fine, but you’re taking the writer to task for a specific person as opposed to, well ya know, Stan used to. Which was what my point was.
Dave: Right, right. It’s the same as, that’s one of my other Stan Lee stories, was at one of the Diamond Trade Shows where I had a suite because I was trying to promote self-publishing, and it’s like, let’s have a place for the self-publishers to gather so that we can talk about self-publisher stuff, because what everybody else was doing doesn’t really apply to what we’re doing. And I heard the door open across the hall, obviously somebody getting room service, ya know, knock knock knock, and I went, “that’s a very familiar voice.” And jumped up and ran to the door and looked through the peephole and sure enough, I had the suite across the hall from Stan Lee.
Matt: (laughs)
Dave: And uhh… I was sort of pleased with that because I had harbor view at the Hyatt, or whatever it was, and Marvel had just sprung for city view for Stan.
Matt: (laughs)
Dave: And sat there, going, “should I go over and knock on the door?” It’s like, how do you introduce yourself as, “Hi, I’m the guy who broke your consecutive issue streak.”
Matt: (laughs)
Dave: And would he know, and would he even care?
Matt: That’s… I honestly couldn’t tell ya! That would be...
Dave: I sat there completely immobilized by it, going, “I would like to”, but first of all the guy just got room service (laughs), he’s just sitting down to eat, he’s not gonna want to hear from me now, let’s… how long does it take for Stan Lee to eat do you suppose?
Matt: (laughs) That’s… (laughs) there’s an episode of the Big Bang Theory, where the comic book store that all the guys go to has Stan coming for a signing because the owner’s cousin is Stan’s podiatrist.
Dave: (laughs)
Matt: And the one guy can’t go because he has to go to court because he was driving his neighbor to the hospital on his temp’s permit because he doesn’t have a license and she told him to drive through a red light, and he did, and cause he was driving, he got the ticket. And so he can’t go see Stan, and he’s all upset, so she gets the store owner to get Stan’s address, so they go to Stan’s house to ask Stan, ya know, can you sign a book, and of course Stan answers the door and goes, “who are you and why are you here?” (laughs)
Dave: Right.
Matt: Which, I mean, it’s written and played for laughs, but I betcha, you probably would’ve had the same reaction of, “um, who are you, why are you here, and I have cream cheese in my mouth”, so it doesn’t sound like Stan.
Dave: Right, right. That was what I was wondering about. And that ties in with what you’re talking about, which is, breaking Stan & Jack’s record, which Gerhard and I did at issue 167, most consecutive issues by a creative team. That’s one category, most consecutive issues written and drawn, which is why I’m in the Guiness Book of World Records. And all of this is pretty much beside the point in terms of who Stan Lee is and who Stan Lee was and the fact that… the same thing with Siegel and Shuster… we owe a lot to that guy because of exactly what he did, which was to micro-manage the writing on all of the Marvel titles. And, ya know, it wasn’t even just the superhero titles, people forget about Kid Colt: Outlaw!
Matt: Right.
Dave: Patsy & Hedy. Stan was writing all of those titles as well, at the same time, and… keeping all of this stuff straight in his head. I mean, for every example where Bruce Banner all of a sudden gets called Bob Banner for one issue, there wasn’t a lot of that. It was pretty consistent storytelling and how he ever kept all of that straight in his head, as these stories are coming in, ya know, as haphazard as the mail is. Cause that’s how it came in! Was in the mail, in a mailing tube, open the package, unroll the pages, they’re all in pencil with little notes scrawled all over them, and go, “Oh right, Iron Man. Okay. Here’s the supporting cast, what’s her name again? Where did I leave off whenever it was the last time that you saw the Iron Man pages?” Which may have been a month ago, or may have two weeks ago, or may have been three weeks ago, depending on how the mail’s moving.
Matt: I know Stan has said repeatedly the reason there’s so many alliterative names was cause he figured he could remember one of them, the other one would come to him. So that’s why it’s Reed Richards, and Sue Storm, and Peter Parker, and Bruce Banner, and Pepper Potts…
Dave: And he did that… however long that was before he started bringing in guys like Roy Thomas to alleviate the pressure. He did keep track of it all himself and did a thoroughly engaging job, not only of the actual comics but writing all the stuff in the back as well, like answering the letters pages, or doing the Merry Marvel Marching Society text pages and stuff like that. It was… you could only do that for so long while it’s getting bigger and bigger under you, and when you have to jump off, you’re gonna have to jump off. But, it wouldn’t have had nearly the momentum it did without Stan Lee.
Matt: Well, I know that… up until, I think it was 68, Marvel was limited by the distributor to 8 books. So that helped, but yeah, I mean, ya know, there’s the ten page Nick Fury story and what’s the name of that woman that he likes again?
Dave: Right.
Matt: And, ya know, and there’s Doctor Strange and he’s fighting that demon with the fiery head, is his name doorman? Yeah, his name’s doorman, right?
Dave: Yeah! Yeah, something like that. I have no idea how he would keep track of all of that at the time. It’s like, one of the big pluses for me is that it was just one title. All I had to do was to keep track of all of the Cerebus stuff, it wasn’t a matter of, “today I’m working on this and whatever comes in tomorrow that’s what I’m going to be working on.”
Matt: That’s uhh, I had the same with Race Car Comics 3, the one with the Mouse Skull Idol?
Dave: Right?
Matt: In the first page I say that it’s a ripoff of American Idol, which is a ripoff of the old Legion tryout issues. Well, somebody posted something about it online and they said that quote, and I’m like, “Oh that’s a really neat observation. Ya know, I mean, I never thought of that!” And I looked at the issue and I’m like, “Oh wait, I did think of that.” (laughs)
Dave: (laughs) You came up with that!
Matt: Yeah, it was, “I came up with that! And they’re ripping me off!” I’m like, “I was gonna have to rip this off. I’m ripping myself off.” (laughs)
Dave: Okay! Uhh, what… Uhh, I gotta run now, but I was going to suggest that you ask people when we do start doing a regular once a month “Please Hold for Dave Sim”, when do they …
Matt: Oops!
Dave: Like the last Friday in the month, the first Monday in the month? What… you want it to be a day that’s not accounted for on A Moment of Cerebus at this point.
Matt: Yeah, but if I have to, I can move… the only three days that are accounted for is Wednesday’s Ben Hobbs, Thursday is Margaret, and Friday is the Weekly Update. And Ben and Margaret, I’m sure, are flexible enough to jump to another day if everybody goes, “we want this every Tuesday, or Wednesday, or Thursday”, or whatever.
Dave: Right. Okay, well uhh same thing as uhh Jack Kirby did Jimmy Olsen for DC cause he didn’t want to knock anybody off of a book. It was, “you tell me whatever is your lowest selling title and that’s the one I’ll draw.” So, we’ll do the same thing here, try and pick an available day for our whatever… whatever Matt Dow thinks needs to be asked about this month, “Please Hold for Dave Sim”. And then everyone once in a while we’ll also be doing, unfortunately, the “I Remember Whoever It Was Who Just Died: Please Hold for Dave Sim”.
Matt: Okay. And, of course, if anybody wants to send something in of, “Hey! I really want Dave to answer this question about this”, we’ll totally ans… I will ask any question except for what the deal with Sir Gerrik is, we’ve already agreed, we’re never ever gonna talk about that.
Dave: Or “why an aardvark?” We’re all done with “why an aardvark?”
Matt: Yeah, we answered that one. It’s because it was the first animal in the alphabet.
Dave: Oh, the uhh you also have the asking about the hand/wrist which was a good prompt, so I’ve done a segment on that in the Weekly Update coming up Friday, the 16th.
Matt: Okay.
Dave: And it’s… this is how the hand/wrist has been for about the last eight months. So, if you can give that some sort of iconic status as a “How is Dave’s wrist?” I have promised to update that if it ever changes, but like I say, for the last eight months, and if anybody asked me how the wrist is doing, this is what the answer is.
Matt: Okay. Good! That’s anything that people want to know, ya know… [phone beeps] oops… You still there?
Dave: Yep!
Matt: Okay, I’m getting a phone call on the phone from Belgium Wisconsin and they’re gonna have to just wait and go to the voicemail.
Dave: Well, I’ve got a prayer time coming up.
Matt: Okay!
Dave: I’ve gotta run along anyway. Nice talking to you and all the best to Paula and Janice and Bullwinkle.
Matt: (laughs) Okay, I will pass that along.
Dave: Okay, take care, Matt.
Matt: You too, Dave! Bye.
Dave: Buh-bye.

Matt: Okay, people, so if anybody’s got a questions for Dave, leave them in the comments or email to and I will forward them to Dave and then I will hold for him!

Next Time: Sunday. You KNOW the drill...


Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

I think the most disturbing thing about this is that Matt watches and apparently enjoys The Big Bang Theory.

-- Damian

Jeff said...

Geez, Damian! Who doesn't? Except for contrarians? That was a fun talk to read, Matt. You're finding your stride with Dave. Which, I know from almost fifteen years of experience, can take a while. Keep up the good work.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Jeff, you've gotta be kidding! Sheldon's been acting out of character ever since he and Amy teamed up professionally, Penny's drinking problem is something she should be worried about, and Bernadette is often just plain mean. At least Raj realized his own desperation.

-- Damian

Jeff said...

Exactly. Funny! Characters evolve, which (in the right hands) can be humorous.

You know, like Cerebus?