Monday 31 May 2021

For the FIRST TIME EVER(!): Why an Aardvark? Part 5, "The Final Chapter"

Hi, Everybody!

And now,


Well, Mags can't find the issue part five is in because it never was written or published. 

But Dave sent it to me and now I can give it to all of you...


Having re-read all of Why an Aardvark?, I realized much, if not all of it, was reworked into The Many Origins of Cerebus

And (apparently, I don't have more than two issues of the series) in Cerebus Archive:
Dave & Deni: "Hi, Are You Harry?"
Dave & Deni: First Date
Dave & Deni: Parental Approval
The Cartoon Mascot Logo That Started It All!
(Thanks Tim!)

Anyway, there ya go Margaret...

And Dave's most likely calling on Thursday, so get your questions in for Please Hold For Dave Sim 6/2021 to

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

Up to 35% off site-wide:
Ends today, May 31
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!

Next Time: Why a Vanaheim?

Sunday 30 May 2021

Cerebus Around the World and Web #82 by Oliver Simonsen

Oliver Simonsen:

New interview with "Strange Death of Alex Raymond" artist Carson Grubaugh

New episode of Sean Michael Robinson and Carson Grubaugh youtube series "Living the Line"

Philip R. Frey shares "Strange Death of Alex Raymond" (more info in the links)

Last couple of days of "Cerebus in hell?" kickstarter - an enormous success . All sold out except the cards

Review of "Cerebus in hell?": "Even in cut n' paste, Dave Sim's still got it.Quite the giggle."

Latest "Cerebus in hell?" spotlighted - one of the best selling issues in the series

A "Cerebus in hell?" celebratory summary?

Robert shows that "Cerebus fashion" is always in fashion - plus there is a sale!\

Cerebus and Spawn

Cerebus/Spawn Remastered spotlighted: "...this new version is more spectacular."

Ardian Syaf draws Cerebus and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Joshua Even
Fernando Peniche draws Cerebus and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Joshua Even

Chris Campana draws Cerebus and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Joshua Even
Francesco Lacerva draws Cerebus and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Joshua Even
Sam Lotfi draws Cerebus and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Joshua Even
Adam Archer in progress drawing of Cerebus and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Joshua Even
Jose Fernandez in progress drawing of Cerebus and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Joshua Even
Roger Cruz in progress drawing of Cerebus and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Joshua Even

Cerebus, Krazy Kat and Desire from Sandman

Cerebus recommended

Cerebus is grand in Portugal

Cerebus is brilliant and Dave is best letterer ever

Gerhard best environment artist

Andy Hirsch's Cerebus, Elfquest, Usagi and Grendel jam piece

Strange Adventures highlights Cerebus Jam

Super powered time travel to buy original Cerebus art

Rhiannon brought a recreation of local history from a local Blyth artist.
The art was originally graffiti by John Watson which she always passed on her way to school until the council painted over it
This commissioned piece now sits happily on the wall of her staircase

For some more on the Cerebus graffiti

Steven Keds Reyes shares his Cerebus graffiti

Escape Pod Comics comic store owner Menachem Luchins shares rap about Cerebus. Lyrics T. white, beats DJ Eggshell

The Tick guy is all in for Cerebus week (every week is Cerebus week)

Read Cerebus #11

Reading Cerebus #34

Just finished Cerebus High Society: "...a gigantic leap forward..."

Episode of youtube series ""Collectors Treasures" looks at Cerebus issue guest starring Flaming Carrot

Animation Production company owner shares some of his favorite Cerebus pages (click link for more)

Russian greeting from Dave Sim the Tolstoy of comics

Margaret Liss asks if anybody knows if this preliminary art by Dave Sim was ever used and if so where?

A Cerebus and Elquest 1 pager

Dave Sim is given props

Cerebus updated

Cerebus not Cerberus

Matt E Starr to frame his first original sketch which he got when 13 circa late 1981 early ‘82 when Canadian comic artist and HERO Dave Sim visited Dreamland Comics in Calgary where I was working my first job

Dave draws Elrod Bunny

The Cerebus Effect

Cerebus cover by Barry Windsor-Smith shared

Cerebus is the comic equivalent of Citizen Kane

Thanks Oliver!

And Dave's most likely calling on Thursday, so get your questions in for Please Hold For Dave Sim 6/2021 to

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

Up to 35% off site-wide:
May 29 – 31
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!

Next Time: The grand finale of Why An Aardvark?

Saturday 29 May 2021


Hi, Everybody!

Why an Aardvark? part 1

part four

If it seems, to the gossip-starved reader, that I have scrupulously avoided “juicy human details” in the first three parts of this memoir, let me hasten to assert that that was very much my intention. It would be self-indulgent to an unconscionable degree for me to roast my ex-wife on a literary spit month after month with “my side of the story.” For those eager to devour a carefully crafted “she said, I said” autobiographical fiction (as I have asserted elsewhere, I believe all autobiography is fiction), I can dispense with the human side of the Dave-and-Deni Story —or my side of it, a least — in a paragraph or two:

While I had made great progress in formulating the structure and direction of my career by the time I was twenty, of women, of relationships, I knew nothing. I was a complete and utter babe in the woods. I hadn’t the slightest inkling that serious damage effected through acts of bad faith could not be undone. Damage to the foundation of a relationship is permanent, and one soldiers on with raw wounds which heal improperly and continue to fester beneath the pink of psychic or emotional scar tissue. By the time the nearly seven years of our relationship had run their course, the tissue of our marriage was composed almost exclusively of our accumulated scars. What sense of loss there was at the end (and there was a sense of loss) was overshadowed by the bright potential of starting clean on a new page. The dissolution of the marriage, like the end of the professional relationship (which limped on for a number of months after the personal separation), was without acrimony, regret, or bitterness.

(I will add, parenthetically, before moving onto the larger points I wish to make, that it came as another great surprise, in my education about women, relationships, and their respective natures, that there is no such thing as “starting clean on a new page.” I had eleven years of hard lessons on this very subject before I was able to begin a new page with a nature more or less cleansed of the psychic grime I had carried with me to that point.)

It is important to remember that Dave and Deni’s relationship began as a professional one. Through the immediate origin of Dave as Publishing Expert and Cerebus the Fanzine Consultant/Deni as Aspiring Publisher, through the period of Dave, Commercial Artist/Deni, Commercial Artist’s Agent occurring simultaneously with Dave, Cerebus Artist and Writer/Deni, Cerebus Publisher, and the beginning of the end with Dave, Cerebus Artist and Writer/Deni, Comics Publisher, the balance of power. in the professional relationship shifted with each new incarnation. In discussing boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives, one inches cautiously onto the thin ice of using phrases like “balance of power” — one reason that this piece required a three-part preamble. 

Let’s return to the John-and-Yoko, Barry-and-Linda, Dave-and-Deni declension introduced in the last installment. At the point when Linda was correcting my misapprehension that her relationship with Barry at the time of Gorblimey Press was one of neatly separated responsibilities — Barry the creative half, Linda the business half — what was at issue was very much the balance of power involved. What other reason would there be for Linda to make so much of an issue of my erroneous impression? While there is much that is romantic, much that would be a source of pride in being She Who Takes Care of the Big Bad World While the Creative Titan Labours at His Easel — and to the unpracticed eye and the unthinking mind only a difference in shading between that and She Who Takes Care of the Details While the Creative Titan Both Labours at His Easel and Plots the Course and Shape and Content of the Business Implications of His Creativity — Linda recognized that the two occupied opposing ends of a spectrum: as different as white and black, red and blue. In carelessly amplifying her role in the Gorblimey Press experiment, I was diminishing Barry’s. The note struck resonated loudly, for to be honest— particularly at the time of the conversation — Aardvark-Vanaheim more or less mirrored the actuality of Gorblimey Press. I was troubled by the disparity between the reality of Aardvark-Vanaheim and my portrayal of it, and I remember fumbling for any sort of lucid reply. I might even have said something along the lines of: “Oh, sure. That’s the way we do it, too. Deni’s more of a helper than a partner.”

At the time, I rationalized to myself that, while it was true that I was the one setting the overall course for Aardvark-Vanaheim as the business vehicle for the Cerebus comic book, this was already changing. Having set in motion a “showcase” section in the back of the book called “Unique Stories,” an attempt was being made to restore the initial balance which existed in the professional relationship — Dave the Creator and Deni the Publisher. There was, after all, a world of difference between doing the business chores on your husband’s comic book and being a publisher. Now that my course was set—I had my own comic book to write and draw for twenty-six years — no larger fulfillment was imaginable in my case. Deni and I would, together, turn - back the calendar five years and work to achieve Deni’s seminal dream. Any lucid examination of the situation would have revealed the inherent flaw. Deni had originally intended to publish a forum for her own and others’ creativity in prose and pictures, with fantasy and science fiction as theme. We were “through the looking-glass” and into the uncharted waters of the comic-book direct market, where the balance of power still favoured me and not her. I was the one who sifted through the potential “other books” for Aardvark-Vanaheim to publish and set them in motion. In the case of Bill Loebs and Bob Burden, I was fulfilling my fannish desire (in Bill’s case fired by my enthusiasm for his story “Abortion” in Nucleus and in Bob’s by the Flaming Carrot’s Visions appearances) to provide a secure “nest” for their creativity. I made almost all of the decisions (I did make all the major decisions) and left Deni to implement them. We were very much in a no-man’s- land between Barry-and-Linda and John-and-Yoko. What potential lost! Had we shared a clear-eyed assessment of our situation, had Deni said, “Look, I want to do the digest magazine that started this whole thing. I want you to go back to the original arrangement — design, a few illustrations, and a bit of advice here and there. But I want to be the one in charge. I want to call it Cerebus because I came up with the name. We can afford to pay fanzine rates for the contributors, the printing bill, and not have to worry if it turns a profit right away or loses money for a year or two,” that would have been very Barry-and-Linda. Instead, like Charles Foster Kane building Susan her opera house, I was determined to be an Earth-Pygmalion and to mold and shape and sell to the world My Fair Deni as the Publisher of the World’s Greatest Cartoonists (with apologies to Fantagraphics). If this seems overly dramatic, it must be remembered that my perception of my life and career at the time — was grandiose to a very nearly pathological extent I never doubted for a moment that the comic-book field was the place to be in the late seventies and early eighties. My view of comic books as a medium of limitless potential and my determination to be a significant presence in the field as it began to fulfill that potential were central to my thinking.


The ice gets very thin at this point in the description as it did then in our professional relationship. For here we swerve over into John-and-Yoko territory. I was very much a child of my time and had the unshakable faith that what was going on in the comic-book field in the late 1970s was at least as significant, at least as incendiary, as what was going on in rock ‘n’ roll in the mid-1950s. In retrospect, my choice to take what was significant, what was incendiary (self-publishing), and to transmogrify it into something pedestrian and commonplace (just -another comic-book company publishing creator-owned titles) can be attributed almost entirely to the John-and-Yoko Syndrome. As can be seen in my first Comics Journal interview (more pernicious still — Dave and Deni’s Comics Journal interview), I took great pains to disseminate the view that we were equal partners of equal importance. It wasn’t enough that you liked John Lennon’s comic book, you had to see Yoko through his eyes, share his admiration of her. The parallels are obvious. The resources upon which we drew were the Cerebus profits (read: Beatle money); the 1982 U.S. Tour wasn’t the Cerebus tour or the Dave Sim Tour — it was the Dave & Deni Tour. The very foundation of self-publishing that made it so revolutionary — that the comic-book creator was the dominant, significant, and irreplaceable element and that comic-book business people were secondary, insignificant, and interchangeable — was undone at every turn in the interests of being the comic-book John and Yoko. The balance of power in the professional relationship shifted dramatically in Deni’s direction. Where once the fulcrum had slid delicately (and sometimes not so delicately) between us along the straight line which connected Point Deni and Point Dave, it was now replaced by a wheel-like configuration. Deni the Publisher was the hub, and Dave and Cerebus became one of many spokes. That configuration — a natural perception in a capitalist society — was in turn at odds with the actual wheel: the Cerebus profits at the hub and all spokes issuing from it. The tug of war between perception-as-reality and the reality-not-readily perceived put us at odds. Like a complete novice I had stepped into a trap. Aardvark-Vanaheim was now indistinguishable from Eclipse Publishing, for all intents and purposes. A comic-book company was a comic book company was a comic book company.

Crack! Crack!

At this point the ice is too thin to venture across in the current political climate, so my route, of necessity, becomes circuitous. In our case, the resolution — dissolution — became inevitable. Deni rankled at her dependence on me and Cerebus. I rankled at the mushrooming size of the operation, which depended on an ever-expanding line of books to stay ahead of the cash-flow problem.

The real crunch time came when I heard — indirectly from an unimpeachable source — that Deni had begun to form her own publishing imprint and was making overtures to several cartoonists to be published by her. The publishing imprint was to be her ace in the hole if we were unable to agree on any additional title she was interested in publishing. Already we had been offered two projects within a few weeks of each other — one of which she wanted Aardvark-Vanaheim to publish (normalman) and the other that I thought we should publish (Megaton Man).

The writing was very much on the wall. Something had to give.

Next: Final Chapter 

Margaret adds on her site: (CFG notes: I'm searching for the issue this is in, as it isn't in Guys where the rest of these where. If you know what issue, please let me know so I can scan it in. Thanks!)

I know Margaret, and come Monday, you will too...

And Dave's most likely calling on Thursday, so get your questions in for Please Hold For Dave Sim 6/2021 to

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

Up to 35% off site-wide:
May 29 – 31
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!

Next Time: Oliver. Simonsen, not Klozoff...

Friday 28 May 2021

CRISIS IN INFINITE QUARANTINE No. 1 (Dave's Weekly Update #392)

Hi, Everybody!

As you all know, there's a new Cerebus in Hell? #1, and when that happens, Dave's Weekly Update is the promo video:

And yes, this WAS a free digital comic last year, but:
The Coronavirus issues have been proofread and some errors have been corrected. There are some captions and border notes that have been changed or eliminated when they mentioned upcoming CIH? issues that have since been published. All the inside front covers have been changed for the print versions. The covers have several changes as well. It will be a familiar, yet different experience if you downloaded the originals and then buy the hard copies. Crisis In Infinite Quarantine actually has a bonus strip on the inside back cover that was left unfinished until now.

The most significant changes are to December's Coronavirus Book. It is made up of the daily strips that ran on AMOC except for the Pappy Cerebus/Rapist Virgin Gag strips as well as the Giant Pussy King strips which will both show up in another form in 2022. The ending has been altered from what ran on AMOC as well.
That's per David Birdsong. Good man that Birdsong, I think I'll increase his paid time off...
And a new Swords of Cerebus in Hell? volume too:

If everybody who backed the Strange Death of Alex Raymond Kickstarter could get their surveys in that'd make me a VERY happy Matt:
Hello everyone,

Just a quick update to let you know that we've confirmed our printer, the great Marquis of Ontario, Canada. They do stellar work — those of you who have seen the recent Church and State II or Jaka's Story restorations will know just how good!

We'll be printing on Rolland Enviro Satin, the same paper as those books, but at a higher weight-- 80 lb as opposed to the 60lb used on the Cerebus volumes. Rolland Enviro Satin is in my opinion the best uncoated paper in North America for line art—super smooth for a minimal amount of dot gain, great feel/tactile response.

This heavier weight paper provides less show-through from the previous pages, and gives the whole thing a substantial heft, more gravity, if you will.

We'll be delivering files to their prepress staff on Tuesday, which means we are in need of those last 70 or so outstanding surveys!

I'm going to put together the Kickstarter thank-you page first thing Monday, so unfortunately, anyone who doesn't get their surveys in by Monday morning will have missed the boat on getting their name into the thank-you page for the book.

So please, pretty please, get those surveys in to us today, tomorrow, or Sunday :)

And thank you again for your support!
Otherwise, I'm telling Sean and Carson to just use joke names like "Seymour Butz" "Dick Hurtz" "I.C. Wiener" "Drew P. Wiener" "I.M.A. Wiener" "Amanda Hugginkiss" "Al Coholic" "Homer Sexual" "Oliver Klozoff" "I.P. Freely" "Jacques Strap" "Mike Rotch" "Huge Ass" "Bea O'Problem" "Ivana Tinkle" "Anita Bath" "Maya Buttreeks" "Eura Snotball" "Haywood U. Cuddleme" "Ollie Tabooger" "Ahmed Adoudi" "Maya Normousbutt" "Olaf Maifrend-Sergei" "Yuri Nator" "Lee Keybum" "Tess T. Culls" "Ivana Likyu" "Pierre Pants" "Ima Buttface" "Moe Ron"

And the Waverly Press got notice that the Regency Editions aren't shipping until June 9th. THEN they got confirmation that the books have already shipped to them. Should be at TWP headquarters within a week. As soon as I hear anything different, I'll let you know.

And Dave's most likely calling on Thursday, so get your questions in to

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

Up to 35% off site-wide:
May 27 – 31
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!

Next Time: Why An Aardvark? No, seriously, why?

Thursday 27 May 2021

Yes, It's Another Page from Cerebus #240

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.

Last week we saw a page from Dave Sim’s twenty ninth notebook that turned out to be page 5 from Cerebus #240. Today we see another page from the same notebook:

Notebook #29, page 12

It turns out to be page 12 from Cerebus #240:

Going Home page 178

Out of all the pages in this notebook that are nearly complete pages, this one appears to have the most differences. The basic layout is very similar from notebook to finished page. But for example, the second row of panels, the first panel, had just Cerebus in it. All of the dialogue is the same. Cerebus is even scratching his. . .back. But in the finished page, Jaka is there looking at an earring she picked out.

Even in the next panel, Jaka goes from a face palm reaction to a sideways eye glance. And in the dialogue along the bottom of the page, Dave adds in the earrings. 

Plus those backgrounds by Gerhard really tie the page together.

Wednesday 26 May 2021

Baby Yoda Cerebus #1 on sale TODAY!

Benjamin Hobbs:

A big Thank You to everyone who has backed the SWORDS OF CEREBUS IN HELL? HARDCOVER Kickstarter campaign! The Hardcovers for this campaign are SOLD OUT! The campaign still runs for another week, so if you missed the Hardcovers, but still want the cards, you can back them HERE.

On sale this week at you LCS: BABY YODA CEREBUS #1!

Now available to order from Diamond CRISIS IN INFINITE QUARANTINE and SWORDS OF CEREBUS IN HELL? Volume 5!

Next Week: Next Wednesday is the last day of the SWORDS OF CIH? Hardcover campaign! Make sure to back the cards if you want them!

Tuesday 25 May 2021


Hi, Everybody!

Where I stole this from.

part three

In examining my first draught of ”Mr. and Mrs. Aardvark Vanaheim” (the more avid reader will recall that I said that the original piece had “gone off in too many directions at once”), it sees clear that I was labouring under the same schism which existed in my life at the time — the war between my “comic-book life” and my “real life.” It is significant that the former has always been more real to me than the latter. Viewed accurately, my comic-book life predates my real life by many years. My encyclopedic knowledge of comic-book history (in its seminal aspect concerned with the first appearances of various characters, later with the careers, styles, and development of writers and artists I admired) occupied a disproportionately large percentage of my memory and thought processes. These elements which make up a “real life” (as in “get a life”) —job, girlfriend, friendships — existed in the outer fringes of the theoretical. At the age of twenty — getting my first apartment, meeting Deni, holding down a part-time job at Now & Then Books, moving into a new apartment with Deni, entertaining her brother and sister and friends on a regular basis — real life became an accompaniment to my comic- book existence (albeit a minor key in the larger musical work). Comic books still dominated. My first apartment was all drawing board and art supplies, promotional brochures for my studio which I had christened COMlCgraphics, tear sheets and news clippings filling the corkboard wall which separated the single living room/bedroom from the kitchenette, the limited drawer and cupboard space occupied by comic books and reference books; clothes I had owned since high school were an afterthought jammed into leftover corners and secondary spaces.

In a short space of time Deni was pressed into service as an agent for my commercial art skills, her brother collaborated with me on a handful of comic-book stories, our apartment was the studio and Aardvark-Vanaheim fanzine-publishing office. In retrospect it was the stuff of situation comedies — relatively normal French-Canadian family runs afoul of obsessive comic-book person, his-world divided into That Which Will Advance the Career and Everything Else. The square peg met the round hole and began chiseling right angles into the curvilinear symmetry in the name of the Higher Calling.

It is recognized that those human elements — the situation-comedy episodes which tended to degenerate into minor tragedies mid arguments, numbing in their relentless. . . relentlessness? — are doubtless of interest to the general readership: First Love Gone Awry, Portrait of the Artist as Young Suitor, etc., etc. It is one of the false directions referred to in the admission of the first failure. It was a story, but it was not the story which concerned me.

The reader had been left with the dawning of my insight that Gene Day’s career (my primary template at the time) had jumped the rails of real progress in my view) and left casting about for my own natural “next step.” Gene’s rationale for his career course — his obligations as husband and homeowner informing the largest part of his motivation — fueled the first insight that “real life” and “comic-book life” might exist in diametric opposition to each other. The Big House on First Street with its Big Mortgage took center stage in my mentor’s life. Divided into two dwellings -- one for his studio and residence, the other rented out — his goal was to unite the two. The many rooms would reflect his varied interests — a Second World War diorama, a studio to practice guitar, a library to house his enormous comic-book, magazine, and sci-fi collection, a House of Shadows publishing office, his studio. The steady paycheck from Marvel became the means to achieve the end — keep Marvel happy and the cash flow could be maintained; a maintained cash flow made the Castle Day a genuine possibility.

The discerning reader will recognize a large measure of Viktor Davis’ genesis in the above — in this case the marital residence itself serving as a creative void to devour his energies and idealism. Unfortunate, because Gene’s marriage (on the Viktor Davis scale) was good one. Gale was always understanding and indulgent of the time and energy required for his artistic priorities. . .and contributed equally to their shared life.

As the young Dave Sim of twenty-odd (some very odd) summers surveyed his own circumstance, the Big House on First Street became a thing to avoid. He had no intention of becoming a slave to the large expenditure, making career choices on the basis of “real-world” givens and requirements. As he eyed his lifemate (measuring her against Gale’s contribution to Gene’s career), he could congratulate himself that he, too, had chosen wisely. He intended to conquer the world, to become indescribably wealthy and equally famous, and made no secret of that ambition with his wife-to-be. For her part, had it not been an article of faith with Deni from a very early age that she would someday (as she considered her future) be the Woman Behind the Great Man? How suited they were to each other! Two halves of an equation, each biding their time until the opposite number could be located and Real Life (as opposed to “real life”) could begin in earnest. If her premonition had fallen more along musical lines, if the “other half’ she anticipated was perceived to be more on the order of a George Harrison or a Stephen Stills, her flexibility in giving her ardent young comic-book suitor the benefit of the doubt (she asserted that he had “George Harrison's eyes” — fortuitous happenstance to be sure!) spoke to his belief that rock ‘n’ roll had had its day, and the wisest and most alert of the late-Twentieth-Century Muses and Significant Others were placing their bets on those Young Lions of Sequential Art as the brightest of the bright, young men.

Does my pen drip irony here? Not at all, not at all, dear reader I enunciate my misapprehension of the time. There is no difficulty in perceiving the flaw in retrospect, touching as it does on the hidden realities which constitute love and marriage at odds with creative ambition. Not for small reason did a significant part of my ex-wife’s interview in The Comics Journal on the subject of the notorious issue 186 center on my assertions regarding John Lennon. She opined that I had switched philosophies in midstream — denouncing the ex-Beatle icon for wasting much of the last years of his creative life holed up in the Dakota, smoking pot, compulsively channel-surfing, baking bread, and minding the kid.

We were all, you see, John and Yoko back then.

One of Lennon’s spiritual offspring had been inspired — as a likewise halfhearted inmate of an archetypal English art school of the time —to abandon the safety and insular security of his circumstance and (in answering the clarion call of his creativity) to set his course for North America and the selfsame metropolis where the Beatles had debarked a handful of years before. Though the Marvel offices of the day were a far cry from the Ed Sullivan theater and penciling assignments on moribund titles like X-Men. (deader than a doornail at the time) a more flaccid pass at the brass ring even than singing background vocals on a Tony Sheridan single, still the metaphor sustains itself. Barry Smith (pre-Windsor) constituted the whole of the 1960s comic-book British Invasion. Beatles, Stones, Animals, Dave Clark Five et al. rolled into one (as Stan Lee, christened him) Bashful Brit.

Meeting Barry Smith for the fist time in 1973 when he was riding the wave of success that his work on Conan had conferred upon him— no, more accurately, cresting upon the tsunami of his “Red Nails” adaptation which hurled him, in one go, from the ranks of the relentlessly progressing talent into the Pantheon of the Indisputably Great — I met his “Yoko” as well: colourist and Gorblimey Press business manager, Linda Lessman. 

In my casting about for a more solid, more viable template for my efforts, this seemed ideal. For had Barry Smith not transcended the cul-de-sac of the career of the Marvel freelancer? Did he not represent the Next Best Step for the Gene Days of the comic-book world? If it was true that he was fully engaged in the making of pictures which became prints and so - outside of the comic-book field (except for the promised Robin Hood graphic novel inching, one supposed, towards completion), still the structure was sound. John and Yoko, Barry and Linda, Dave and Deni.

Life is nothing without its intrinsic ironies. On the only occasion when the paths of Barry-and-Linda and Dave-and-Deni crossed (a convention in Albany in 1980 or ’81), I remember being sought out by Linda, who had just finished a conversation with Deni in which the Aardvark-Vanaheim publisher and minority shareholder (49% to my 51%) had laid bare the entirety of her spouse’s cherished template – giving credit where it was due at the least, but more likely surrendering to excess and paying homage to Linda as the Spiritual Role Model of her professional existence.

The distortion was too great for someone of Linda’s intrinsic honesty to accommodate or dismiss offhandedly. So there I was, being read chapter and verse on the reality of the situation. She was not Barry’s business manager – “helper” struck closer to the mark. She did the bookkeeping, the banking, wrapped and mailed packages, kept track of invoices. I understood. It was impossible not to, since it was important to Linda that the truth be known. It would be clear in later years that I had been guilty of a fundamental distortion at a critical juncture. At the time, however, Mr. and Mrs. Aardvark-Vanaheim were embarked upon a course which compound the misapprehension – seeking out other talents whose work we would publish, or, more accurately – the amendment is critical to the point of my thesis – talents whose work Deni would publish. It is too oblique to assert that – as a spiritual grandson of John Lennon – I had decided that my Yoko would have less in common with Lennon’s first wife Cynthia than with Beatle manager and guru Brian Epstein?

Revelation awaited even as I – we – pursued a course doomed to failure. While we didn’t have the monetary resources necessary to attract the brighter lights of the comic-book field after the fashion of the failed Apple Corp. experiment (it would be left to Kevin Eastman and his Turtle Millions to reinforce the lesson with Tundra Publishing), still it had the excruciating lure of the logic of the next step.

The lessons I would learn would come hard and fast, fast and hard. Even as the Dakota Acolytes began leaking word of what had actually gone on — Lennon channel-surfing as Yoko, in Studio One, spent endless hours on the phone "making all her nowhere plans for nobody" — the irony was compounded and compounded again.

With the publication of Neil the Horse number one, the seeds of destruction had been sown, fertilized, and watered.

It is left to left to the next installment to describe how this particular garden grew.

Next: Business versus Creativity

Sean Robinson is your Huckleberry:
Hello everyone,

Please allow Carson, Dave, and myself to thank you one more time for contributing to such a fantastic campaign. We're over the moon with the response to the book, and are quickly moving forward with the next steps.

In the meanwhile:

Digital Stretch Goal ... Almost?

We got so close to our digital stretch goal of $58,000, and even closer when we add up all the post-campaign emails asking for a few more items to add, so we're going to honor that goal. Which means everyone who pledged to the campaign will receive a digital download of the Preliminary Strange Death. In addition, everyone who pledged for a book tier will also receive a digital download of the finished book. We hope you enjoy!

Secondly, and most importantly from a time perspective: You should now have your rewards surveys in your email inbox! This is a quick questionnaire we put together to gather the data we need for campaign fulfillment. It's important you fill this out as soon as you can! Fortunately, about 2/3s of your have already taken care of it. If we can get 100 percent of responses by the end of the week, that would be tremendous. Among other things, this enables us to set our print runs for the supplementary books correctly, and not be short on any of the items you've ordered.

Thank you again!
So, GIT YER SURVEYS IN!!!! (Please.)

And ALL the Hardcover Swords of Cerebus in Hell? are gone. Yay Hobbs!

AND, Friend to the Blog: Steve Peters has a new Kickstarter. There's no real Cerebus/Dave Sim connection, But it's got Art by me. So back it. I insist.
Some select images from our "Viruses of Trek" and "Sin Kevitch" stories drawn by our mighty guest artists!
For "Sin Kevitch", Steve drew a number of versions and got friends to draw some as well. Guest participants in the challenge were James Windsor-Smith, Lee Thacker, David Branstetter, Michael Anthony Carroll, Anthony Casperite, Matt Dow, and Corey Bechelli. Steve did drawings in the styles of other artists like Michael Golden, Shannon Wheeler, Brian Payne, Dave Sim, Jim Woodring, and Moebius.
Well hump-a-duck, I guess there is a Dave Sim connection. Groovy. Buy two.

Next Time: Hobbs

Monday 24 May 2021

Nobody here but us Aardvarks...

Hi, Everybody!

Carson and Sean's Kickstarter for The Strange Death of Alex Raymond ended on Saturday. Get yer DAMN surveys in so I can get my DAMN books and Rip Cerebus strip. DAMNIT! (And thanks to the other 641 people who joined me in raising $57,555 for Carson's dog (Come on Sean, you KNOW you can't say "no" to that face...). But seriously get yer dang surveys in people...)

SPEAKING of The Strange Death of Alex Raymond, Diamond order cutoff for this title is May 28th.

AND Speaking of Diamond Final Order Cut-offs, UNETHICAL SPIDER-VARK#1 #1 (DIA MAY211064) and SWORDS OF CEREBUS IN HELL? #4 (DIA MAY 211065) get theirs on Thursday, the 27th. You should have ordered it already, but just in case you didn't, DO IT!

(I jokingly asked Sean what his next project was, and he seriously answered me. More details as I'm allowed to talk about them.)

And Speaking of Cerebus in Hell? there's a new one:

And yes, this WAS a free digital comic last year, but it got edited down to size, so buy a copy and see what got "cut"...

And a new Swords of Cerebus in Hell? volume too:

SPEAKING of Swords of Cerebus in Hell?, Ben Hobbs' Kickstarter is still going strong. (I had joked about him adding more stretch goals, but nobody noticed. I feel unseen...)

As Oliver noted, Cerebus is getting translated into Russian. Mikhail Bocharov is the guy:

And Mikhail sent me:
Hello again!

I already wrote to you,
I $#!* you not, he titled his first email "From Russia With Love". Sometimes this AMOC gig is pretty sweet...

(So nobody @#%& it up by making stupid "What a counrty!" Yakov Smirnoff jokes... 'kay?)
my name is Mikhail, I am from Russia and I have recently been the official translator of the Cerebus comic strip into Russian.

I never thought it would turn out that way, but it's a great honor to work on such a legendary comic. Reading your amazing blog, I realize how much I don't know yet! Thank you for your posts, for a long time I have not read any blog until two o'clock in the morning, interfering with my wife's sleep.

I have a problem of a technical and simultaneous aesthetic nature. When I make comic in Russian, I attach original covers, but, unfortunately, not all of them are in good quality. Some I manage to "fix". Perhaps you can help me by knowing people who have a good quality digital copy or an original comic book whose covers can be scanned?

I attach the covers of the first two issues of the Russian digital edition! The cover of the second issue was found online and slightly remastered. If you are interested, I can exclusively show you the entire first issue in Russian (but you are unlikely to understand much, our language is merciless).

Thanks again for your creativity, it is very inspiring and helpful.--
Всего доброго!
Mikhail Bocharov
And these images:

(I feel like this is a "Sean problem"...)

Speaking of Faxes from Dave:

AND Speaking of Cerebus foreign translations, (also as Oliver said,) I got some of my copies of SUPERHELDEN the anthology that reprinted Cerebus:

Mostly for Margaret, who lists these things, Cerebus appears in issues 10-17.
#10 reprints half of Cerebus issue #1:
Detail from #10's cover
#11 reprints the second half of issue #1:
I asked Sean if this was a counterfeit, he didn't tell me.

#12 reprints Cerebus #2 in it's entirety:
Cover detail from #12

SUPERHELDEN #13 reprints Cerebus #3.

SUPERHELDEN #14 reprints Cerebus #4:
And he makes the full cover

I haven't gotten SUPERHELDEN #15, yet but it reprints Cerebus #5.

SUPERHELDEN #16 reprints Cerebus #6:
This is the only issue I have that has a cornerbox.

 And I don't have #17 yet, so I only ASSUME it reprints Cerebus #7.

And all my research says that #17 was the last issue of the series.

The editorial on the inside front cover to SUPERHELDEN #10 (painstakingly typed out and translated via Google. (You're welcome)):
A series that I had my eye on for a while, and so I wanted to see in Superhelden, is Cerebus. I started reading Cerebus (only) around # 230 (May 1998), But despite discovering this independent comic so late, I was immediately sold on the adventures of the aardvark, for those who have no idea what I'm talking about : Cerebus is Dave Sim's 6,600-page story about the Aardvark Cerebus.

And that is also the biggest disadvantage of Cerebus, because how are you going to place such a mega-epic in Superhelden? It's actually an "impossible" job, translating and publishing this huge story. Dave Sim himself once indicated that he really does not like a translated version of his comic. But when I was surfing the net the other day, I saw that there were translated versions (Italian, French and Spanish) of the second (High Society) book and third book (Church & State Book 1) of Cerebus, so the high time for a Dutch version as well.

Getting in touch with Dave Sim alone isn't really easy. In fact, it is almost impossible to get in touch with the man behind the aardvark.

So I first contacted Gerhard, that was a lot easier. Gerhard has contributed to Dave Sim's enormous oeuvre since High Society. I was hoping he turned out to be the right person to approach so I could get in touch with Dave Sim through him. Gerhard was quick to respond, agreeing that getting in touch with Sim is indeed an almost impossible thing. He does not answer his phone, does not have an e-mail address and if you write it, he only answers (possibly) back if you first sign a petition of this petition, Gerhard indicated, that is also the reason that Sim and Gerhard have not been in contact with each other for years. Gerhard does not want to sign this petition.

Despite Gerhard's warning, I first tried to contact Sim by phone (reasonably stubborn). I received his voice mail, in which he indicated that he did not answer the phone, but was eavesdropping on the messages. So I left a message about my plans for his (super) hero, but Sim didn't call back (of course). So there was really only one thing to end that was signing the petition that I (also) think that Dave Sim is not a misogynist. So I signed the petition and the number that I got as a result had to be used in my correspondence to Mr. Sim, so that he could actually verify that I also think that Dave Sim is not a misogynist. You know, it might be the most bizarre way I've ever had to get in touch with someone, but I've done that very well. Read for yourself.

Eelco Koper
PS. Of course I don't sign such a petition for just any comic.
Feel free to check my work:

Next Time: Why An Aardvark? part 3...