Friday 30 April 2021

THE UNETHICAL SPIDER VARK (Dave's Weekly Update #389​)

Hi, Everybody!

SDOAR The Strange Death of Alex Raymond (ORDER NOW!) 
SDOAR on Amazon! 
SDOAR on  Kickstarter
Follow Living the Line on the FaceItBooks. (All the cool kids are doing it...)

Heritage has some interesting "Dave Sim" bits (Page from issue 5, and two (count 'em) TWO! Beavers strips!)

Next Time: Fuckin' Spawn...fuckin' comments...fuckin' stupid blog... (Wait, did I say that out loud?)

Thursday 29 April 2021

Your opinion is valuable to us...

 Just an FYI: comments on A Moment of Cerebus are now 100% moderated, and will be until shit like this: "Pretty sure jews started every war. Send them jews to the desert!" stops.

(And if you're the genius who keeps posting this crap: KNOCK IT OFF ASSHOLE!)

Dave's To Do List

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 last saw a few pages from Dave Sim’s seventh notebook used in the production of Cerebus just this past January in Mind Game IV. It covers Cerebus #59 through 69 and some other things that were going on at the time. Like all these items shown on page 18.

Notebook #7, page 18

Up at the top we get a list of things that Dave must’ve had on his to-do list:

  • Record album cover
  • Portfolio Plates
  • Story with Ger
  • Petunia Artwork
  • Designs for Ger to do
    • Ad supplement 
    • Aardvark Update
  • Newsletter Cover (Petuniacon)
  • Notebooks section

That is quite the list. The record album cover has to be a reference to the unreleased Radio Show LP:

Cerebus: The Radio Show album art from the back cover of Cerebus the Newsletter #10

While the LP was never released, you can go to Jeff’s Cerebus The Aardvark website’s AV Room page, scroll down to see ‘Audio’ and viola, all the MP3s of the audio version of the first 6 issues.

Portfolio plates. . .is that the Animated Cerebus plates or the First Fifth plates? Well, since the Animated Cerebus portfolio came out in 1983 and was in notebook #4, this reference must be for the First Fifth portfolio.

The story with Ger has got to be a reference to the Epic story “His First Fifth” which was Gerhard’s first collaboration with Dave on a Cerebus story. 

Petunia artwork? Yes, Dave did the artwork not only for the PetuniaCon program booklet, but the badges, and other items. See this page on Brian’s old site (I don’t seem them on his Comic Art Fans site, which has mouth watering large amount of cool Cerebus, Dave Sim, and Gerhard work – take a look, but have a free hour ‘cause it’ll take you a while to get through all the goodies).

As for the newsletter cover (PetuniaCon)? There wasn’t a newsletter that had a specific cover for just PetuniaCon. . .the notebooks section goes along with the newsletter. Since AV was publishing the newsletter at this point, they printed  some notebook pages in them.

The bottom half of the page deals with Cerebus comic book stuff – well, other than that Cerebus The Newsletter inside front cover design – but I’m not sure what issue, or if it was used, as it isn’t ringing any bells. The lines:

“Cerebus doesn’t want to have a good time. Cerebus wants to stay here with you. . .” sounds like something he’d say to the Countess. However,  she didn’t appear in issues #59 through 69 which is what this notebook (supposedly) covers.  However, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve found items meant for other issues in a notebook labeled as something else.

If anyone knows where that dialogue is from, let us know in the comments.

Wednesday 28 April 2021

Cerebus the Duck... ON SALE NOW!

Benjamin Hobbs:

It's the last Wednesday of the month...time to hurry into your LCS and demand the most recent CIH? offering! This month it's Cerebus the Duck #1!


Available to order through Diamond now... The Unethical Spider-Vark #1 and Swords of Cerebus in Hell? Volume 4!

A book SOOO good, I wrote it twice.  Or Diamond made a mistake.  One or the other.

It Really IS Volume 4.  Ignore what the image says.

Next Week: The SOCIH? HC KS campaign better be up or very close to being up... I hear SWORDS Vol 1 HC is arriving any day now...

Tuesday 27 April 2021

The Making of a Bookplate

 Carson Grubaugh:

"Thank you," to the fans for keeping interest in this project alive through the ups and downs, and years of waiting. Even after five years of working on the book I am ultimately one of you, a massive fan of Dave's work, a ginormous fan of the glamourpuss material, someone who has been eagerly awaiting being able to own a copy of SDOAR since it was first announced. My involvement was always about helping make sure this amazing piece of comics history saw shelves, and...

The time is finally here! 

The Strange Death of Alex Raymond Kickstarter will go live at 1 pm EST on Weds April 28th!  

(Yes, the book is available through Diamond and Amazon, but you can also get it directly from Sean and I, thus cutting us in on a bigger slice of the profits, which will allow for a larger print-run.)

More important, for all of the hardcores, we are offering a Limited Edition of 301 copies (yes, Seiler, this is 100% for your sake; a legitimate #301 of  301! How is that for fan service?). 

The Limited Edition will include the hardcover SDOAR, plus a bookplate illustrated by myself, signed by both myself and Dave, as well as a special 80 page booklet that collects all of the collage mock-ups I received from Dave for v2 and v3, as well as all of the "technical notes" Dave sent along with those mock-ups to explain what I was looking at. 

The cover of the 80 page booklet, Dave's cover design for V2:



A sample page from the 80 page booklet, a page of mock-ups for V2:


Now, a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the bookplate!

My initial idea was to have something that picture me and Dave with word balloons we could sign our names in. Something humorous. The hope was to have Dave draw a portrait of me, with me drawing Dave and anything else that needed doing.

Dave declined to jam on the illustration so I set about designing it on my own. 

My poor memory told me there was a photo out there of Dave giving someone a noogie. I wanted to use that to make a drawing of Dave giving me a noogie while saying something playful. I was also hoping that if I wrote some piss-poor dialogue it would spark Dave's creativity and he would create some actually funny dialogue for the drawing.

Margaret Liss couldn't think of any photos of Dave giving a noogie, but did send me a set of Dave fighting Cerebus:

That last one looked pretty great, very dynamic, so I rolled with it and took a photo of myself that would lock in with Dave's pose.




















and mocked up an idea in Photoshop.

I was very happy with how "cool" and dynamic the image was but not so thrilled with how adversarial it looked, so I sent it to Dave to see if he would approve it as is or if he had any ideas for dialogue that could help lighten the mood.

Understandably Dave took it as a "dick" move on my part and rejected the idea, suggestion I focus instead on Raymond and Drake. 

Using some old practice drawings of Raymond and Drake I mocked up this image (with very bad types-manship. Doh!).

Dave requested that we lose the dedication, move the figures up, and throw in a '56 Corvette at the bottom.
Needing reference for the car I stumbled around the net and into an Episode of Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, in which he takes Jimmy Fallon on a ride in a 56' Corvette. What an amazing resource that episode is for '56 Corvette shots. Thank you, Jerry!
I settled on this screen capture.

And proceeded to produce this image.

Approval granted I went ahead and made my standard Photoshop tracing, deciding to use a different photo of Drake while I was at it. It just felt more "Drake."

That got printed out in pure cyan ink and the final inks were done directly over that print out.

There was one round of suggested changes made to the faces of Raymond and Drake in the Corvette that got us to the finished piece shown in the image above. 

No one will ever see the absolutely abysmal Raymond face that was there the first time around. Thank goodness for whiteout.

This bookplate will be signed by both myself and Dave, and will be affixed to the inside back cover of only 301 copies of SDOAR. These copies are available exclusively through the Kickstarter, so be ready to order yours on Wednesday, April 28th! 


Once again, thank you all so much for sticking by this project through the years. It is your enthusiasm that has pushed it forward to the forthcoming release to the general market. We thank you ahead of time for this last show of support!


Carson Grubaugh

Monday 26 April 2021

Crossing Overload

Huh? Ya see what I did there? Clever, right?


You people are no fun...

Hi, Everybody!

So, Saturday I posted an open letter from Bill Ritter about Spawn #10. And, because I was busy, I didn't really comment on it or nothing.

And now there's...FORTY-SEVEN COMMENTS!

Fuck a duck...

I'm not running all the comments and responding. (Despite the fact that I run a blog about Cerebus the Aardvark, I DO have a life...) 
So, first, the disclaimer:
As I said to Bill in an email:
I'm sorry that you had a bad experience with the Waverly Press, and on one hand wonder what I could do to try to improve it for you,

And on the other hand, "Not my tea party..."
Which is my "OFFICIAL" stance on all this:
#1: Not my tea party
I'm neither an employee of Aardvark-Vanaheim, or The Waverly Press. While I will gladly help promote any of their efforts, it's out of loyalty to Cerebus, and the creators of the series. But, I don't get paid. (Well, that's not technically true, The Waverly Press has sent me a giant pile of stuff for free, but it wasn't like I hounded them to get it. You guys hate me now, right?) So, their PR problems aren't necessarily MY problems.

So, let's get to it...
#2: It doesn't matter what I say, some people are STILL gonna be pissed off...
The central complaint appears to be that the Waverly Press are a bunch of "fly-by-night, money-grubbing, opportunists. Who are after every penny they can get, and will stop at nothing, NOTHING! in their quest to get it." (I'm paraphrasing...)

To which I answer: And? 

It's not like anybody's holding a gun to your head. You have the right to say "no." I mean, in the general sense, I see the validity of the complaint. The sale of items doesn't end with the Kickstarter, that's "annoying". But, also mildly necessary. Prices for printing depend on print run size. If after the KS ends, the print run is short a couple dozen books for the next tier of pricing, an Indiegogo can make up the slack. (Also why Cerebus Overload exists. If they can get a break by overprinting, why not sell the excess on a site for OVER what the KS backers paid?) Which means a *slightly* higher profit for A-V/TWP. Which is sort of the point of the whole campaign, nu? 

#3: How much?
Seiler said in the fucking (no swearing!) 47 comments:
To be more on point: So, there are or were 50 copies of the lenticular cover being sold (I actually thought it was a different cover version of which 100 copies fell off of the back of the truck, but whatever), at $395 each (!).

Even without S&H (and we all know that "handling" is corporate-speak for hidden revenues), that comes to just short of $20,000.

So, what percentage of that $20,000+ goes to Dave, what percentage goes to Todd, and what percentage goes to WP?

Show us the numbers, someone.
Which echoes something Steve said in the comments on a previous post:
Help me understand something here:

Dave refers to a revenue dry patch until mid June, but according to the Cerebusoverload page, sales on the following 5 releases --

Spawn Distressed cover set
Lenticular cover
Sketch book
Ashcan edition
Supplemental book

total by my calculations to $102,750.

Over $100K on those five ALONE.

So...why the revenue dust bowl?

Yeah, gotta pay printers, Dagon, this and that and the other. But there are 11 other various types of releases listed on JUST the Spawn 10 page alone...

So somebody out there help a body out here catch up to this here newfangled math 'cause this dog just don't hunt no more.

(Because I have some "insider" knowledge, I can kinda answer these...)
Short answer:


Yeah, Nunya gawdamn bidness!

Slightly less short answer:
"fuckin' *hic* vermin*hic*vermillion*hic*variant covers..."

Long answer:
Both comments do some "back of the envelope" math, and come up with big numbers that don't necessarily reflect reality.

Lemme drop some truth on ya.

The profits from all these campaigns gets split four ways, between:
The Waverly Press
The Internal Revenue Service
Their Canadian equivalent

And, that's AFTER paying the printer, shipping, shipping supplies (bags and boards and whatnot), somebody to pack it all, and none of that is free.

Taking the price from Cerebus Overload, multiplying it by what you assume is the print run, and then DEMANDING to know how much is going to Dave, because OBVIOUSLY he's getting screwed I have no words.

The 3D lenticular cover IS a mess. Not for being offered, but for how it is what it is. The Waverly Press planned to sell 250 copies. They ordered 250 copies. They paid to print 250 copies...

They got FIFTY sellable copies.

(Keep in mind, production costs for the whole campaign were ten GRAND over what they had budgeted. And the Waverly "ate" that so Dave could get the maximum amount they could give him.)

So, they should what, eat the 200 unsellable copies?


Using Jeff's math: $395 times 50 is $19,750. Divide that by 250 is $79. Does $79 sound reasonable for a 3D cover? It does to me. But with two hundred unsellable copies, if they sold the 50 at $79, that leaves $15,800 in lost costs. (And that's assuming NO profit. And again, wasn't the point of all this to make some money for Dave and A-V?) (I admit, $79 a copy is probably WITH a markup to make SOME money, but the point still stands.)

And, yes, adding a *ridiculously* overpriced cover at this stage is a dick move. BUT, they were planning and working on this cover for SIX MONTHS, so it's not a "get-rich-quick-scheme", more a "long-drawn-out-process".

Also Jeff? Ya ever hear the phrase: "a lady never tells, and a gentleman never asks."?

Now, to Steve's point: Dave talked about a revenue dry patch. Not because the Waverly Press isn't paying him, they are (actually, they did, remember that for a minute.). But, because DAVE doesn't want to get paid for the Regency Edition until AFTER it's in buyers hands, and the printer won't be shipping until the end of May. I don't know if that means he's sitting on the checks until then, or if he asked not to be paid until then...

Either way, it's not a Waverly problem, it's a Dave problem.

Steve's list was (with the numbers added):
Spawn Distressed cover set $395X100= $39,500

The other big complaint is the adding of additional covers after the KS ended. That is kinda jerky. But, again, not entirely on the heads of the Waverly Press. The "Distressed" covers were made by the CiH? team AFTER the campaign ended (unless I misread that...), and if you read the comments on that post, people ASKED for them. So, giving "the people" what they want is a sin? (And the $395 asking price was to cover the cost for printing them. Since 50% of the produced books were given to the CiH? team and Dave.) Again, I don't see anybody in a hostage situation.

Lenticular cover $395X50=$19,750

I just explained this. 

Sketch book $50X200= $10,000
Ashcan edition $75X300= $22,500
Supplemental book $40X300= $12,000
Add those three up and you get a BIG check.


Well, back in February, Dave told you where Aardvark-Vanaheim's cut of the Spawn #10 money is:
I did get paid for the Spawn 10 Kickstarter by Waverly Press, Aardvark-Vanaheim got paid. That is probably the largest amount of money that will ever come in, ever ever again, the same way that Spawn 10 back in 1993 was as good as things were gonna get with Cerebus, and Dave Sim and Aardvark-Vanaheim and everything was downhill from there to issue 300. I think we’re in the same situation here. Spawn 10 Kickstarter is probably the best possible result that we could get in terms of sales and response, getting people interested in Cerebus even tangentially, and everything’s downhill from here. So, I made the judgement call to say, okay, since this is the last big chunk of money that’s ever coming in, I’m gonna send most of it, not all of it, to Sean Robinson for the remastering. So, all of the remastering is paid for. Obviously, Sean’s not going to be able to do it overnight, but it’s one of those, I don’t have to just watch the money trickling away as it always does and going, okay, six months ago I had enough money to remaster six trade paperbacks, now I don’t, so I have no idea where the money’s going to come for these other trade paperbacks.
(Emphasis mine. Also: Thanks Jesse!)

So, it's not like the Waverly Press is leaving Dave in poverty. Dave got paid.

He just decided that since seeing all that money was a sight he'll probably never see again, he, wisely in my view, decided to go and take care of paying to summit Mt. Everest NOW, instead of hoping the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans are crazier than the Spawn ones...

#4: Why the Waverly Press won't be in the comments:
Brian West wants the Waverly to drop by and explain themselves (I'm paraphrasing...)

Well, Brian, how do you answer:
Hitler did nothing wrong, but Waverly Press sure did.
So, don't look for the Waverly to be sending somebody to answer anything...

#5: But Matt, tell us how you REALLY feel...
The Spawn #10 campaign had too many damn covers.

Let's pause, to see how that happened.

Way back when Dave and the Waverly Press started working together (I believe HE contacted THEM,) their first project was High Society: The Regency Edition. (Well, I think Dave suggested Swords of Cerebus at 40, but High Society was where the ball started rolling...)

And "Dat Guy" at The Waverly, had the idea for all sorts of add-ons and extras (I helped come up with some,) and ONE of those ideas was a replica of Cerebus #1, as an extra for the Regency Edition.

One thing lead to another, and the Remastered Cerebus #1 became the first A-V/TWP production.

And part of THAT campaign was three levels of covers. Standard. Gold. And Platinum. (And a fourth Promo cover added after the fact.)

So, with Spawn #10 (the BIGGEST payday that A-V/TWP would EVER see (Dave's words.),) the three tiers (Standard, Gold, Platinum) continued.

The problem?

Dave kept making more and more covers. (Seriously, he must have tried ten different Spawn and Cyan covers before he gave up. ONE of them ended up as the "Sketch" variant.)

Well, if you do four covers, at three levels, that's thirteen covers (with a promo cover.) 

And, personally, I think the Gold and Platinum covers on Spawn #10 aren't that great. Because the Standard covers are full color, the black and white Gold and Platinum covers don't "do it" for me. (Especially since the format changed from the Gold to the Platinum with the addition of the EC Parody elements. Which, with the addition of the Full Color EC Parodies, implies that there's a missing set of Platinum standard covers, and a missing set of Gold EC Parodies. But I digress...)

I've talked with "Dat Guy" from the Waverly, and he said going forward, they're gonna probably stick to comics and trading cards with no "frills" for future campaigns.

But if you're REALLY that pissed, They'll be more than happy to look over any feedback you want to send...

But basically, buy what you like, don't buy what you don't.

It's really that simple...

TOMORROW: Carson Grubaugh has a post with some exciting news! (Everybody still loves Carson, right?)

Sunday 25 April 2021

Cerebus Around the World and Web #77 by Oliver Simonsen

Oliver Simonsen:

Oscar statuette redesign.

"Forces of Geek" review of "Strange Death of Alex Raymond": "Wouldn’t be surprised if it picks up an Eisner nomination next year"
Also "Strange Death of Alex Raymond" Publisher "Living the Line" has a new Facebook banner

"Strange Death of Alex Raymond" kickstarter coming soon!
Diamond spotlights "Strange Death of Alex Raymond"

Scott Warren, who was in the midst of working on a Cerebus RPG, is in a bad way and his friend has set-up a GoFundMe to help out.

Cerebus and Lenny Henry

Cerebus #1 Gold Expanded Edition and Secret History spotlighted (click slideshow in link)

Cerebus Spawn #10 Kickstarter issues (click link for slideshow)

Upcoming "Cerebus in hell?" spotlighted by Bleeding Cool

"Cerebus in hell?" spotlighted by First Comics News

"Cerebus in hell?" spotlighted

Cerebus and Iron Man

Cerebus and Swoon (in Spanish)

Neil Gaiman the "Aardvark Lacrosse on Ice" sport fan

Gerhard finished his amazing Auction yesterday
I tend to wrap-up this column Saturday mornings so I don't actually know how it went yet so here's some cool Frankenstein coloring he did (more in the in the link)

Cerebus Melmoth

More than halfway through Cerebus

Cerebus 300 (in Russian)

Dave Sim art done in 1976 - a year before Cerebus. Don VanHorn owns the pieces and is inquiring where they might have been published
And a kinda nsfw one

Only bought Cerebus

What to do after Cerebus?

Cerebus and Swamp Thing

Cerebus and Greener Pastures

Cerebus and Shrek - the characters and story share many similarities. Shrek won Best Animated Feature Oscar and is now enjoying it's 20th anniversary...and though mainstream it still had a very bumpy ride. And one or two (if not more) of it's artists have worked on our efforts

In the spirit of Cerebus being "Godfather of Indie" howabout some indie comic animation green 420 news?
Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers has just finished a full season consisting of 8 episodes, but still doesn't have a Distributor/streaming service attached - not to worry there are heavy hitters involved so I'm sure we'll be seeing them soon
If they're smart they'll have our very own Theodore Trout help on season 2

Some might remember we are hoping to do BugHouse cartoon. I believe BugHouse creator Steve Lafler intimated that maybe having the bugs be done realistically in CGI would be cool? In any case here's some way cool new Concept Art in that regard by Brian Payne

BugHouse Graphic Novel reissue is now available again through
Diamond Previews catalog -- MAY211336 F BUGHOUSE GN BOOK 01(MR)
And get Steve Lafler's latest masterpiece

New Indie Comic Distributor making waves

Cerebus huge impact

Cerebus and Self Publishing Guide

Cerebus Syndrome part of the vernacular

Cerebus #6 review

A look at Cerebus #15

Cerebus issue 158 highlighted

Cerebus the video game

Cerebus unicorn

Classic hard rock band Cerebus reissue

Cerebus the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Action Figure

I just discovered "Aardvark Vanaheim April tag" is a thing (not including all the links)

Cerebus meta

Dave Sim quoted

Saw Cerebus graffiti while growing up
Thanks Oliver!

Next Time: More Spawn #10, I can feel it in my bones...

Saturday 24 April 2021

Let's talk Spawn #10...

Hi, Everybody!

Over on the FaceItBooks, Drew Morris shared:
"All 30 Spawn 10 covers + 1 supplemental + 1 original art Cerespawn Cerebus sketchbook. 8 of them are signed by Sim."

For the record, it's:
  • Original 1993 Spawn #10
  • A Cerebus #1 sketchbook with a Cerespawn sketch by Dave
  • Spawn #10 Blank Logo cover
  • Spawn #10 Deluxe Edition
  • Spawn #10 Standard cover A "Gah! Color!"
  • Spawn #10 Standard cover B "Gah! A Superhero Comic!"
  • Spawn #10 Standard cover C "Hands through the bars"
  • Spawn #10 Standard cover D "Hell Society"
  • Spawn #10 Ashcan
  • Spawn #10 Promotional Cover*
  • Spawn #10 GOLD cover A "Gah! Color!"
  • Spawn #10 GOLD cover B "Gah! A Superhero Comic!"
  • Spawn #10 GOLD cover C "Hands through the bars"
  • Spawn #10 GOLD cover D "Hell Society"
  • Spawn #10 3D Lenticular Cover
  • Spawn #10 Supplemental Book
  • Spawn #10 Classic cover A "The HAUNT of Spawn"
  • Spawn #10 Classic cover B "The FEAR of Spawn"
  • Spawn #10 Classic cover C "The VAULT of Spawn"
  • Spawn #10 Classic cover D "Weird Society"
  • Spawn #10 Halloween Edition (AP, not one of the 54 copies sold on 10/31/2020, but it's the same damn cover otherwise...)
  • Spawn #10 Grandma Edition
  • Spawn #10 Classic "distressed" cover A "The HAUNT of Spawn"
  • Spawn #10 Classic "distressed" cover B "The FEAR of Spawn"
  • Spawn #10 Classic "distressed" cover C "The VAULT of Spawn"
  • Spawn #10 Classic "distressed" cover D "Weird Society"
  • Spawn #10 Sketch cover
  • Spawn #10 Grandma Platinum cover
  • Spawn #10 Platinum cover A "The HAUNT of Spawn"
  • Spawn #10 Platinum cover B "The FEAR of Spawn"
  • Spawn #10 Platinum cover C "The VAULT of Spawn"
  • Spawn #10 Platinum cover D "Weird Society"
Thirty covers...

*Plus the "Proof" version of the Promotional cover:

I got #15

I really don't think these were publicly available. I think they were just sent to Dave and the rest of the "Cerebus team".

But I got one...

Anyway, with the two "different" Halloween Editions, that's thirty-two comics. Which is both Neat and Horrifying.

Friend to the Blog Bill Ritter (I recognize his name when I see it...) has some thoughts on that:
April 18, 2021
A few days ago I sent Dave Sim a fax regarding my unhappiness with Waverly Press. 

Yeah, he forwarded it to the Waverly Press, and copied it to me. There was some back and forth. I'll show you the "forth" in a minute... 

My closing stated: “I am in no way seeking any action on this. My intent in this letter is to mostly inform you that my previous enthusiastic participation in the Kickstarters will now be to avoid any that have Waverly Press participating. I realize in the grand scheme that my 1 or 2 thousand dollars from Cerebus 1 and Spawn 10 likely will not be noticed or missed; I do not have delusions my purchases command anything more than another number or a contributor name. However, in the event there has been a “there’s that Bill Ritter again…” awareness, I only mean to explain my absence in future Waverly Press endeavors and that this in no way is a diminishing of my appreciation of you.”

Dave called me, we chatted, he asked I send the fax to AMOC. Shortly after our talk, Waverly Press asked for backer’s input regarding their experience. I’ve decided not to provide the fax I sent because on reread it does not really explain why my experience with Waverly Press was not positive. Instead…here’s this.

I’ve backed a sufficient number of Kickstarter campaigns to be a “Super Backer”. The majority I’ve been delighted with the experience, a few I’ve been disappointed in the results or the campaign wound up being a fraud. My Kickstarter perspective is essentially: the creator establishes what the backer is backing and delivers on that without changing the terms of the agreement. As example…if there is a 10 copy limited edition of an item and that sells out the creator doesn’t add 10 more. If there are 15 tiers, the creator doesn’t add a 16th after the start of the campaign. The campaign is, for lack of a better description, a contract between parties: backers pick the contribution level; the backee delivers what the backers supported.

Where my unhappiness rests with Waverly are several items that are derived on the Kickstarter items but were neither included in or communicated during that same campaign. Particularly offensive is the 3D lenticular cover. Here’s why.

Had the 3D lenticular cover not been based on an existing Kickstarter cover I would not feel a betrayal of the Kickstarter campaign. As part of the Kickstarter, Waverly Press established a limited run of the Supplemental Book, presented that book as a Kickstarter add-on, and never provided communication that an alternative printing or version with same cover artwork would be available.

I would be less irate were the lenticular and distressed covers different and unrelated covers to the Kickstarter. That instead they featured new art, or were part of a new campaign, but ultimately were without any specific reference to the Spawn 10 KS. Waverly Press did not do that, and instead repurposed something that no backer was informed would be possible or to expect. At a personal level, I spent money in an effort to get every cover for Spawn 10 KS, and although technically I got every cover offered in that campaign, the additional covers made available taint the Spawn 10 campaign.

I appreciate others will find the above position absurd, or that cover artwork be damned it’s a different book, or that what might be in a Kickstarter stays in a Kickstarter but that’s non-binding for anything else imaginable. I respect these counterpoints.

However, my having spent time tracking via the Kickstarter and the IndieGoGo and the cerebusdownloads all the various versions of the covers available around during the campaign and buying into the tiers or add-ons to get a completed set, I now feel having purchased everything was under a false impression this was the complete Spawn 10 effort for this particular Kickstarter. The 3D (and distressed covers, to be honest) had never been communicated as future versions, and the appearance of these has left me with a significantly diminished experience with the Spawn 10 Kickstarter. Waverly Press disregarded backers’ perspectives and the agreement with the Spawn 10 Kickstarter.

As stated with Dave and earlier in this letter, I have neither an expectation for this to be “fixed” or to gain anything. I did get what I paid for on the Kickstarter, so I can mark that received. Nevertheless, I cannot shake that my Spawn 10 experience falls closer to a perception of a fraud than a positive experience. Fraud might be too strong, but in the minimum I have no trust for Waverly Press or their operating in a respectful manner to their backers.

For future campaigns, some suggestions:
The campaign is the source of truth. What is offered there is the sole source to get the items. If additional items are desired to resell, those are not the print runs or versions available to outside the campaign. Or, the Kickstarter campaign very clearly communicates what the overrun will be (e.g. we will print 50 additional copies to be sold via other means). Regardless, the terms the backers are buying into should be clearly articulated if the Kickstarter is claiming a limited “collector” aspect. If the campaign is not presenting as limited, then print whatever.

The campaign is unique. What is featured in the campaign needs to be special. If there is a KS and a general availability, the distinction between them needs to be stated and obvious. How Dave operated the Cerebus Archive KS and Diamond copies was a perfect example of making this distinction, both in communication and in execution.

Respect the backers and don’t “extend” the campaign to another source. The practice of Kickstarter ends and an IndieGoGo begins for another 3 weeks dilutes those aspects of the KS that were unique. Again, if the KS is presented as non-limited…run year-round campaigns; but if the campaign is a limited collectability, this practice is arguably misrepresentative and abusing the trusted relationship with the backers.

I cannot know (or appreciate) Waverly Press’ business strategy. I certainly do appreciate their efforts that do appear to support Dave, to get Cerebus into new readers and/or collectors, and to generate new interest. For that, good on them. As stated, I have no delusions my backing meant anything to the business strategy. But in the fool me once/fool me twice example, I’m inclined to avoid the potential of another disappointing experience from Waverly Press (regardless of how much my Cerebus passion might be).

Bill Ritter

And Bill also included his original fax to Dave:

Dave Sim
PO Box 1674 - Station C
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
N2G 4R2
Fax: 1-519-576-0955

Bill Ritter
Bill’s personal address was originally here; I’m not quite ready to share that with every AMOCian (sorry!)


Greetings and hello. Hoping you are well.

Since picking up Cerebus 26 off the stands at my Elmira, NY LCS I’ve had a steady consumption of as many things Dave Sim as I can get. Looking over at the shelf as I write this letter I see 5 different printings of Volume 1, and at least 2 of every subsequent “phone book” volume. I have 1 complete run of Cerebus and the reprints and a near complete 2nd run missing a handful of issues, as well as the Following Cerebus and the archives. I have each of the Kickstarter Archives and the Diamond versions. I have 2 copies of the audiobook and the cover treasury (I don’t know how I ended up with 2, actually…I digress). I began tracking down the various Dave Sim non-Cerebus works (like the IDW variant covers) in recent years. I have the various digital offering over the years from cerebusdownloads. The madness has gone so far as to my participating in Drew Ford’s Sam Glanzman Kickstarter for the Sim written story, only to lose all that money after Mr. Glanzman’s passing and Ford’s non-responses to provide an alternative option, and to commission a Neal Adams sketch as counterpoint to your sketch you commented being reminiscent of Adams’ style. Maybe a bit obsessive in some regards, but never any regrets or second thoughts.

With a bit of concern with doing so, I selected the Cerebus 1 and Spawn 10 “Dave Sim” sketch options – my appreciation of having a sketch conflicting with your wrist. Only your “dead hand” commentary compelled me to make the purchases. In my effort to collect, I carefully purchased into getting every cover version (to satisfy my completist streak). For both of these Kickstarters and related printings, I put forth a few thousand dollars.

This is where the letter turns from fan appreciation and enthusiastic Cerebus collector into disgruntled consumer. Had Waverly Press been forthright in their plans for all covers and versions of Spawn 10, and specifically regarding the post-Kickstarter 3-D lenticular version (and to some degree the distressed covers), I likely would have taken a different approach. I would not have sought out every version, the Indiegogo, the Halloween editions (and subsequent re-editions), the ashcan, and so on. I may have opted to not have the sketch or pursued some other tier. Waverly was not forthright, and I regret my Spawn 10 purchase more than appreciate.

I am in no way seeking any action on this. My intent in this letter is to mostly inform you that my previous enthusiastic participation in the Kickstarters will now be to avoid any that have Waverly Press participating. I realize in the grand scheme that my 1 or 2 thousand dollars from Cerebus 1 and Spawn 10 likely will not be noticed or missed; I do not have delusions my purchases command anything more than another number or a contributor name. However, in the event there has been a “there’s that Bill Ritter again…” awareness, I only mean to explain my absence in future Waverly Press endeavors and that this in no way is a diminishing of my appreciation of you.

I wish you well, and please know I hold much respect for you.

Wishing you the best, and regards,
And in the interest of full-ish disclosure, here is Dave's half of the conversation he had via fax with the fine folks at the Waverly Press about Bill's first fax. (I'm not including the Waverly Press half, since I don't have their explicit permission to run it, but I think you can infer what they said from Dave's responses:

The Waverly Press won't be around to defend themselves, but I'll try to get any comments/questions together, and send them along and communicate anything they have to say.

That text bit is from the WP back to Dave. Only included here for absolutely necessary context. 

Okay, I had more I wanted to say, but I got a thing, so this has to go up now.

So, either more from me on Monday, or in the comments.

The Strange Death of Alex Raymond (ORDER NOW!), on Amazon! And sign up to hear about the Kickstarter before I post about it? (Wait, what?) And follow Living the Line on the FaceItBooks. (All the cool kids are doing it...)
Get ready for the new remastered Form & Void printing by buying Hemingway in Comics:
Heritage has some interesting "Dave Sim" bits (Page from issue 5, and two (count 'em) TWO! Beavers strips!)
Up to 35% off site-wide:
April 24
Up to 30% off site-wide:
April 28 – 29
Tell your fans! Remind them that everything will be up to 35% off -- that means $13 tees, $20 phone cases, $30 hoodies, and way more!

And if you still have money left after all that, Friend to the Blog Scott Warren is in a bad way, and one of his friends has set up a GoFundMe to help him out. (If you didn't want me to let people know Scott, you shouldn't have friended Ron on the FaceItBooks...) (He WAS gonna work on a quikie Cerebus Role Playing Game, so if you give a lil' sumthin', he might make it and thank you in the credits... (Or not. I'm not his keeper. Just his internet-ey friend.).)

Next Time: Oliver.

Friday 23 April 2021

Permission not required, Ira Nayman (Dave's Weekly Update #388​)

Hi, Everybody!

You want A moment of Cerebus?

Well, buddy I got enough moments to fill a pocket watch!

1: Dave's Weekly Update:

2:Cerebus in Hell?:
I hope you ordered Strangers in Cerebus and Sword of Cerebus in Hell? Volume 3, because they have reached the FINAL ORDER CUTOFF!

2a: And now the new ones:
The Unethical Spider-Vark

3: Gerhard is having an art sale

4:SDOAR The Strange Death of Alex Raymond (ORDER NOW!) 
4a: SDOAR on Amazon! 
4b: And sign up to hear about the Kickstarter before I post about it? (Wait, what?)
4c: And follow Living the Line on the FaceItBooks. (All the cool kids are doing it...)

5: Form & Void. Get ready for the new remastered printing by buying Hemingway in Comics:

6: Heritage has some interesting "Dave Sim" bits (Page from issue 5, and two (count 'em) TWO! Beavers strips!)

7: The AMOC TeePublic Shoppe is on sale:
Up to 35% off site-wide:
April 22 – 24
Up to 30% off site-wide:
April 28 – 29
Tell your fans! Remind them that everything will be up to 35% off -- that means $13 tees, $20 phone cases, $30 hoodies, and way more!

8: And if you still have money left after all that, Friend to the Blog Scott Warren is in a bad way, and one of his friends has set up a GoFundMe to help him out. (If you didn't want me to let people know Scott, you shouldn't have friended Ron on the FaceItBooks...) (He WAS gonna work on a quikie Cerebus Role Playing Game, so if you give a lil' sumthin', he might make it and thank you in the credits... (Or not. I'm not his keeper. Just his internet-ey friend.).)

9-20something: I got more faxes from Dave than you can toss a baby at. Plus Original art process stuff. It's gonna be a good time...

Next Time: I skip 9-20something and answer an email from a disappointed fan...