Sunday, 29 March 2015

Reviewed: 'High Society' Digital Audio/Visual Experience

High Society: Digital Audio/Visual Experience
by Dave Sim, with George Peter Gatsis
(8 DVD Box Set, IDW, March 2015)
COMICS ONLINE:
(from a review by Mike Favila, 23 March 2015)
...While the first run of issues on Cerebus were a fun parody of the old Conan archetype, High Society is really where the storytelling develops. Everybody talks about how important Cerebus as a work of art is. While the longevity of Sim's independent run is part of why the legend exists, it's easy to forget that Cerebus is just an excellent read. Even without being told, you know this is art.

As soon as I start up the Cerebus: High Society Audio/Digital Experience, I'm immediately struck by Dave Sim's rendition of Cerebus. While this was not exactly the voice that I imagined, it soon grew on me. Maybe it was a matter of convenience, but it was very interesting that Dave Sim decided to do all the voices. I was a little worried that Cerebus: High Society Audio/Digital Experience was going to be a really lame motion comic, but it definitely gave a new angle to material I was already familiar with. Eventually, the listening experience felt more like reading with narration, which worked a lot better for me...

...As for the content itself, the video isn't always easy to read at times, but eventually I got used to just watching the art instead of trying to read along in pace. I thought it was cool that Sim did not start over or re-record whenever he maked a mistake during the reading. The editorial and reader comments complete the whole package. The editorials are read by the original publisher Deni, Dave Sims' girlfriend at the time. Her readings were a nice break from the narration.  I could have probably done without the comments and the letters page but kudos for the complete package. 

Overall, it provides a complete glimpse into what plotlines and details were interesting to Cerebus' readers at the time of publishing. The packaging for Cerebus: High Society Audio/Digital Experience is gorgeous, and comes in a gatefold folder, with 4 sturdy panels containing the 8 discs. With an MSRP of $40, the set is a pretty affordable package and totally worth it for any diehard.
 
Obviously, Cerebus: High Society Audio/Digital Experience is geared towards true fans. That being said, High Society is one of the more well-known arcs in Cerebus, so if anything would cross over, this would be the storyline to interpret first...

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Gerhard: Dino's Cafe

(Click image to enlarge)
GERHARD:
(from Gerz Blog, 18/27 March 2015)
This one is rather large at 20" x 30" and, if I don't screw it up, should be quite a show stopper. (For Cerebus fans, anyaway.)... This one turned out well. This is just a photo, I'll be getting it scanned soon. I will be making prints available and will announce sizes/pricing here soon.

Speaking of Cerebus fans, it's been really nice to see the outpouring of good wishes and prayers for Dave during his time in the hospital. I would like to add my own best wishes for his full and speedy recovery.

Glamourpuss: Sophie Ellis-Bexter

Glamourpuss #12 (March 2010)
by Dave Sim

DAVE SIM:
(from Glamourpuss #12, March 2010)
Not being a Brit, I had no idea who Sophie Ellis-Bexter is and, in fact, didn't see her name in the fine print when I selected this one, definitely for those eyes! Which brings up one of those built in peculiarities of doing glamourpuss in that it raises the question: do her eyes actually look like that? Welcome to the Age of Photoshop and tinted contact lenses. Combine that with the amazing innovations in lighting that fashion photographers are making use of (flattering geometric shapes created by reflectors and centered in the pupil: in this case a flattened rectangle surmounted by a corona/tiara shape) and it's hard to tell if it's Ms. Ellis-Bexter or sheer photoartistry giving me palpitations.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Weekly Update #75: Dave's Back!


In which Dave Sim discusses: his recovery after surgery, the first physio session for his right hand, and the new Off-White House logo. See below for bonus logo and photos!

The Off-White House Logo (Draft)

Back To Work: Dave Sim with Dave Fisher

Back To Work: Dave Sim with Sandeep Atwal

Cerebus The Barbarian

Cerebus The Barbarian (2006)
by Dave Sim
HERITAGE AUCTIONS:
Sold At Auction: $425 plus 19.5% Buyers Premium (August 2008)
The Earth-Pig rides supreme in this expressive illustration by his creator, Dave Sim. Rendered in ink and watercolor, the art has an image area measuring 8" x 12.5".

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Good and Bad of Comics in the Early 90s

MARGARET LISS:
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.

Dave Sim's notebook #17, which I covered once before (see "Po's Monologue About Bran"), covers the phonebook Flight and the time frame of late 1990 to late 1992. In the notebook along with the notes on Flight, is some talk on the comics industry. This will be a two part column, as there are at least 6 pages I want to show, but I'm on a self-imposed limit of three notebook pages per week maximum.

So let's get started.

Dave starts on page 18 with Jeff Smith's name and phone number at the top of the page. I've cropped it out just in case it is still Jeff's number. Dave then goes on to write down some things he considers 'bad' and 'good'.

"Good: EXPANSION creates choices, options, begging stores 1980 carried all DC, Marvel, ground level comics fanzines. there were fewer than a hundred different products INCLUDING all Marvel, DC Charlton."

BAD: Biggest problem in comics business is creators not producing their books on time.

Notebook #17, page 18
The next page is Dave writing some thoughts on the collectible market.

Notebook #17, page 19
Now that he has done some 'collectible' covers with a $15 price tag on them, I wonder how his thoughts on the matter have changed.

On the next page he talks about how it is good that comics can 'hide in plain sight' so that the comics market has "more room to maneuver than does the White House, Wall Street or City Hall."

Notebook #17, page 20
While the big two have made a lot of money with their superheroes in movies and their subsequent commercialization, the comics medium as a whole still lies on the outskirts of culture, a shell of its former self.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Silverfast Negatives


Sean Michael Robinson:

Greetings everyone,

Up until this week, all of the work on the Church & State I restoration project has been on the original art still in possession of the Cerebus archive-- a few hundred pages, all told. But the past two weeks we've started into the next stage of the work, namely, scanning and adjusting the several hundred pages represented by photographic elements.

These are at-size negatives, shot from the original artwork while the monthly books were being produced, and ganged up eight to a flat for use in creating the plates for printing the book. 

When I was contacting prepress professionals of my acquaintance at the start of this project, several people tried to warn me off from scanning the negatives at all. Too difficult, they told me, not worth the pain. One person actually suggested finding a facility that could make oversized Iris prints from the negs, and then scan those prints! 

Why are these materials such a pain?

Well, anyone who's ever tried to scan conventional film format negs or positives knows that shooting light through them with a scanner is simply not the same as shooting light through them on a projector for development. Trying to recreate a natural exposure level, having your light source so close to the carrier film. And unlike dark room projectors, most scanners don't have the same kind of physical separation between the light source and the "projected image."

Here's a scan of a Church & State neg on a conventional flatbed scanner.



Do you see the sort of "shadow" under the tone and near the border of the blacks? Here's a close-up.


Several months ago I was referring to this as a "negative shadow", but if you see it in reverse, how the negative actually appears, it might make a little more sense what's happening. I suppose it's more of a negative halo.




So what's happening here? 

This is one of the hazards of working with materials I'm not scanning myself-- I'm not totally sure what it is that causes the phenomenon. But my prior darkroom experience tells me that it's most likely this-- the scanner is picking up the halo of the light escaping through the edge of the emulsion. In other words, the light passing through the carrier (clear) portion of the negative is bleeding through the edge of the emulsion (black) portions of the negative, causing a halo around every element. 

As you might be able to imagine, this is a tremendous pain to deal with, and causes a lot of additional work and guesswork to make the image reproduce accurately. Want to shave off the halo with a curves adjustment? Careful you don't shear off any of your fine detail! Want to use sharpening to bring out a maximum amount of detail? Careful the sharpening doesn't grab the neg halo! Pain, pain, pain....

The solution?

Here's a scan of the same neg, using the Epson V700 and Silverfast, an amazing little piece of software from LaserSoft Imaging.


                              
        


So, where did that halo go?

It's hard to believe it, but the majority of the above difference is due solely to the software.

Simply put, Silverfast enables you to select the type of material you're trying to scan, and then applies a predetermined density curve at the point of capture, adjusting the exposure to adjust for the optical density of the film.

As I'm typing this, John is scanning negs using Silverfast and sending them via Google Drive to my desktop, while Dave Fisher and John's nephew Rolly cut new negs off of the flats and store them in folders for safe-keeping. It's an amazing mixture of high-tech and low-tech, of multiple generations, and an exciting time to be on a project like this.

So, TLDR-- I would never think of scanning a negative without Silverfast! Thank you, LaserSoft Imaging, for such an incredible product. We might have done it without you, but it would have been a heck of a lot more painful.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Dave Sim Recovery Update #3

On Monday, 16 March 2015 Dave Sim admitted himself into the Emergency Ward of Grand River Hospital in Kitchener having suffered from severe stomach pains during the weekend before. In a matter of days he underwent surgery to remove a section of twisted/blocked colon. Dave remained in hospital during that week while recovering from the proceedure. Now read on...

JEFF SEILER:
(via email)
Just got off the phone with Dave [Monday]. He is home and well. We talked for upwards of an hour.

The good news, well, beyond the above, is that his diet will change for the better, including broccoli, but the bad news is that the cork has not quite yet popped. He listed a bunch of foods he has been told to eat, all or most of which are supposed to be easy on his recuperating system, besides broccoli, and he said he will eat them.

We discussed various upcoming projects, and his changes to his work regimen, including some work he is thinking about handing off. I had trouble keeping up with all of the name dropping he kept doing. I know regular, or even casual conversants with Dave, know what I'm talking about, with the name dropping. He was in very good spirits, making jokes, none of which come back to me now, it being late. If I remember them, I'll post them.

As usual, I just listened, for the most part. I learned to do that, back in 2011, when we were sitting by the window in the Kitchener Courthouse Cafe. I was going on and on about something, and he said, "Jeff, SHUT UP!". I then immediately apologized, and then he proceeded to tell me the important information he wanted me to know, as his prayer time was coming up shortly. Tonight, I don't think his prayer time was approaching, but bedtime certainly was. Nevertheless, he stayed on the phone for a while longer and did not rush off, like he normally does.

To echo (I believe it was Eddie's sentiments), it was nice to have, for once in a long time (set aside the heavily-medicated versions) a nice, long, 90% "whatcha up to" chat and 10% "this is what we're going to try to do, business talk". So, business comes later.

Now, it's just nice that they're sending the old man home, in one piece.

I told him that he was my very most favorite person (and I meant that, all the naysayers and snarkers be damned), and he responded that I was (Ed: somewhere on his list).

After the love-fest, such as it was, Dave talked bidness for a while and we negotiated what my pennies could help with. The bottom line was that we will have to wait and see.

He also told me, when I asked about his wrist, that he is planning to set up time for seeing a physiotherapist the next time he goes back to the hospital for a followup visit. Dunno when that will be.

He has to pop that cork, first.

BTW, Eddie, Sandeep, Mike, Dave F., and several others, who all helped out in this Crisis On Southern Ontario World, were favorably mentioned. Or, favourabley mentioned. I dunno. You guys spell it.

Regardless of our border language wars, I think we can all rejoice that the one-and-only Dave Sim (not Sims) is (relatively) healthy.

Related Posts:
Dave Sim Checks Into Grand River Hospital (17 March)
Dave Sim Recovering After Surgery (18 March)
Dave Sim Recovery Update #2 (20 March)
Dave Sim Recovery Update #3 (24 March)

Tribute Art Round-Up #9

"Despite the bad week Dave has been having, so much positive energy
has come from those of us who love the man... here's to Dave!"




Jill Creations:
"Made mostly of soft fleece and is 13 inches high. My friend commissioned him from me =]"

 Miss Grim Gravy:
"A little something-something I painted. I bought Cerebus Vol. 1 the other day."

The Zoologist:
"Aardvarks. Just.... aardvarks. There are quite a few of them, aren't there?"
The Aardvark belongs to DePatie-Freleng Industries
Cyril Sneer belongs to the Canadian Broadcasting Company
Arthur the Aardvark belongs to Marc Brown and PBS
Cerebus the Aardvark belongs to Dave Sim

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Kickstarted: Cerebus Archive Number Three!


Congratulations to Dave Sim and John Funk on another successful Kickstarter campaign for Cerebus Archive Number Three. Due to Dave's recent surgery, understandably there was no 'Last 4 Hours' Q&A session, but why not revisit the Q&As from the previous Cerebus Archive fund raisers:

JOHN FUNK:
(from Kickstarter Update #11, 22 March 2015)
...On behalf of Dave Sim, I want to thank each and everyone of our faithful pledge partners (backers) for their strong financial support once again. It's particularly significant in that this campaign was only about one week old when word came out, first on the news of Dave's pain in his wrist and that he could not draw, write or type with it, and then on the emergency surgery he underwent last week.

A lessor group of pledge partners would have ran for the hills and bailed out where such news and risk to the fulfillment of the rewards was concerned. But not this group. Not you guys. Not Dave's "faithful 230", who backed this with all of their collective faith, to the tune of $39,633; this "faithful 230" stood up for Dave and offered their (your) support to the tune of $172 average per pledge partner, which compares with CANO at $119 and CANT at $166. So, thank you once again and know that both your support, both financial and well wishes for his health are very much felt and appreciated by Dave... Read the full update here...

Source: Kicktraq
(Click image to enlarge)


Saturday, 21 March 2015

CAN3 Kickstarter Ends Today!

Cerebus Archive Number Three
A Portfolio of 10 Limited Edition Signed Prints from 'Church & State I'
Add-On Extras: Bonus Prints, Head Sketches, Bookplates, Birthday Cards, Diamondback Decks and more!
Kickstarter Ends Today! Pledge Now!
10pm GMT - 6pm EDT - 3pm PDT

All 10 'First Release' Bonus Prints:

All 21 'Second Release' Bonus Prints:
Cerebus Archive Number Three

About The Kickstarter Bonus Prints:
The Bonus Prints are ONLY available as an "ADD-ON" to a portfolio pledge for an additional CAD $9 per bonus print. As the total pledge amount has now passed the $34,000 mark you may add 15 Bonus Prints to your Kickstarter Rewards. If total pledges exceed the total raised from the previous Kickstarter campaign (CAD $42,028) all 31 bonus prints will become available.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Dave Sim Recovery Update #2

Understandably there is no 'Weekly Update' from Dave Sim this week - in case you missed the news, he's been in hospital and undergone surgery. Instead, here's an update on his situation posted over at the Cerebus Archive Number Three Kickstarter site, by campaign coordinator Funkmaster John...

JOHN FUNK:
(from Kickstarter Update #10, 20 March 2015)
...I wanted to give you a brief report on my visit with Dave at the hospital yesterday [Thursday].

Dave is in great spirits and says he feels very good after the surgery. That twisted and blocked bowel must have been bothering him and causing more minor, less noticeable issues for a long time, he said, because he can really feel the improvement now. He was up on his feet the day after surgery and started walking (with his IV stand/cart) around the ring of his 6th floor ward. He said the nurses were calling out to him to 'slow down, take it easy', but he felt strong from all the walking and stair climbing he does (he climbs 10 flights of stairs daily, at our nearby city hall building). When the surgeon checked on him the next day, she tongue-in-cheek 'chided' him with  'you're wearing a groove in the floor' jest. So that's pretty good news. 

I really enjoyed spending 90% of the time just 'chewing the fat' as they say and only 10% on business. Normally, on those very rare occasions where we actually talk by telephone or in person, it's 90% business and 10% 'how are you doing?'. So that was really enjoyable for me and Dave seemed to respond in the same way.

He did want me to let everyone know that he really, really appreciates the support from everyone, whether it be in the form of well wishes, cards, faxes (no doubt his machine will be overflowing), phone calls, flowers and all of the funding, including this Kickstarter campaign. He says that his top priority is to "pass" the tests demonstrating "discharge" so that he can be discharged. But he figured that the doctor is going to be pretty careful before letting someone who lives by themselves go home to take care of themselves. So he admits that his number one (no, not a pun....well, ok, sort of....) priority will be to take care of his health and recover. I think that's a good plan... Read the full Update here...


UPDATE:

SEAN MICHAEL ROBINSON:
I just spoke to Dave on Friday, 6:00 PM Kitchener time, for about 45 minutes. He's in great spirits, and says he's never felt better in his entire life.

It seems like the operation has caused tremendous relief of both short-term and long-term (possibly life-long?) physical pains. Dave said the head surgeon (not the actual surgeon who did the operation) explained to him before they operated that his "Quasimodo gut" has most likely been "flopping" between unfavorable and more normal orientations. The times of the worst pain would be when it had been in the unfavorable position. The doctor explained that it would be a much simpler procedure to open it up and "flop" it back into a more normal orientation, but that it would more likely just flop back at a later date. Since Dave is otherwise in good physical condition, they both thought it would be better to excise that portion of the gut, an operation that would be much more difficult to do as Dave progresses in age.

Describing his gut, viewed for the first time via ultrasound: "If we were all walking around on the beach and we were transparent from the front, people would be walking up to me going, what IS that?"

Dave said it was "hard to describe" the sense of relief he's been having to people who have never experienced something like this before, just as it has always been hard before to describe the pain he's felt in his gut. "Before I was a monotheist, I thought I must have been stabbed to death in a past life. That's how bad it was."

Dave mentioned that he's not only felt a tremendous sense of relief, his mind has been working on a potential essay about all of the different ways in which his work suggests this ailment, including, as mentioned before, the "Trevor and the kitchen knife" incident with young Cerebus.

Speaking for myself, it's quite the relief to call someone who's just had incredibly difficult surgery the day before, and find them so full of life and energy, joking around, making plans, asking questions about the ongoing work.

We talked a little bit about his hand. Dave says he's "probably going to see a physiotherapist" when he gets out, and  he seemed really impressed with the hospital and the level of care. "They've really got this stuff figured out." He also mentioned that this is probably the only thing that could have stopped him from working for this long, and that for God, all things are easy. Including getting Dave Sim to stop working.

Related Posts:
Dave Sim Checks Into Grand River Hospital (17 March)
Dave Sim Recovering After Surgery (18 March)
Dave Sim Recovery Update #2 (20 March)
Dave Sim Recovery Update #3 (24 March)

He Doesn't Love You. He Just Wants All Your Money!

Cerebus Archive Number Three
A Portfolio of 10 Limited Edition Signed Prints from 'Church & State I'
Add-On Extras: Bonus Prints, Head Sketches, Bookplates, Birthday Cards, Diamondback Decks and more!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Kickstarter Bonus Prints #30 & 31 Revealed!

Bonus Print #30:
The Last Signing

Bonus Print #31:
Cerebus '93

All the 'First Release' Bonus Prints For Cerebus Archive Number Three are:

About The Kickstarter Bonus Prints:
The Bonus Prints are ONLY available as an "ADD-ON" to a portfolio pledge for an additional CAD $9 per bonus print. The above 'First Release' prints are now available as Kickstarter pledge rewards for Cerebus Archive Number Three together with the 'Second Release' bonus prints #1-21 from Cerebus Archive Number Two. Once the total pledge amount has passed the $34,000 mark, you may add 15 Bonus Prints from the First Release and/or Second Release BP lists. If total pledges exceed the total raised from the previous Kickstarter campaign (CAD $42,028) all 31 bonus prints will become available.

Fat Elvis Period

MARGARET LISS:
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.

I've covered Dave Sim's notebook #6 in this column once before ("Touch Not the Priestess", July 23, 2014). Notebook #6 covers issues #80 to 86 and the cover says 200 pages, but it only had 135 pages by the time I went to scan it, and only 118 pages were scanned as the rest were blank. It covers what some might call Dave & Gerhard's rock and roll lifestyle period. When Dave was getting offers from DC Comics for the rights to Cerebus, and Dave on page 114 covered what he would want from such a contract if it were to happen:

Notebook #6, page 114
It would've been interesting to see what Frank Miller and John Byrne would've done with the covers. The crossed out text after that? "If someone were to offer me a million dollars to urinate on a Cerebus comic". I wonder what the answer to that question would be - a million dollars is a lot of money.

Then on page 131 Dave writes something that perhaps ended up as a Note From the President? It is one that I can't remember. He discusses Gerhard's state of happiness and Dave's "manic-depressive hobbyist".

Notebook #6, page 131
That bit of writing on  page 131 is all we see of the Peter Pan Syndrome talk, as page 132 is blank, page 133 is some writing on an actress name Constance who "absorbed personalities like a sponge", page 134 just says "There is a difference between license and freedom but it is largely subjective."

Then on page 135 we get another instance of some writing that sounds like a Note From the President, but it isn't one that I'm familiar with. Dave talking about the two months he spent in Florida. He talks a bit about his normal workday back in Kitchener, which consisted of an hour of office work with Karen followed by going to the studio for five to six hours and doing two (!)  pages.

Notebook #6, page 135
And that is the last page of notebook #6.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Dave Sim Recovering After Surgery

DAVE FISHER:
(via email)
I visited Sim today [Wednesday]. The surgery seemed to be a success. He was on an epidural. He seemed in good spirits and humour. He came out of surgery with a dream hallucination about waking up in a hockey arena and being asked to carry a stack of Quebec Nordiques jerseys up stairs and saying he felt too weak to carry them. He'll have to elaborate more later. He hasn't eaten since Sunday and he's not sure how long his stay will be. I will report back when I know more. Enjoy the pics...


UPDATE:
Sandeep Atwal said...
I swung by Grand River Hospital to see Dave today [Wednesday], and he seems like he's doing very well. He was up and about and joking with the nurses. From what I could tell, he seemed quite healthy for someone who just underwent surgery. We chatted for a couple of hours and, again, as far as I could tell he's doing just fine. Even with an epidural he was just as sharp mentally as always and all that walking he does has meant that he's back on his feet with no problems the day after the operation. I offered to get him a book or something but he was fine just watching the goings on around him. For someone who spends most of his time alone, this was like a little adventure. (He's in a room with four other patients separated by curtains, which just inspired him to write a story called "Curtains" with word balloons coming from behind the screens.) If all continues to go well, he should be leaving on Friday at the earliest, no doubt back to an overflowing fax machine and lots of phone messages. It is, of course, nice to see the concern from so many people, I know Dave appreciates it. I'll probably swing by again tomorrow. I'll let you know how he's doing!


UPDATE 2:  
Sandeep Atwal said...
I saw Dave today [Thursday], he's doing very well. He won't be getting out tomorrow, but everything is going well. He's up and about and doing fine. They removed the epidural and convinced him to take two(!) Tylenols. Of course, because he's Dave Sim, we ended up talking about work and the future of how to run things at Aardvark-Vanaheim in light of recent events. (It's almost as though he's got something inside him that is just constantly saying, "Get back to WORK!!) Needless to say, Dave has LOTS of ideas! But he's probably going to just take a look at his own responsibilities to that which absolutely must be done by him and him alone and delegate a little bit more. Sounds like a good idea to me. So, things are looking good, I'll keep you posted.


Related Posts:
Dave Sim Checks Into Grand River Hospital (17 March)
Dave Sim Recovering After Surgery (18 March)
Dave Sim Recovery Update #2 (20 March)
Dave Sim Recovery Update #3 (24 March)

Get Well Soon


Sean Michael Robinson:

Greetings everyone,

There's been a lot happening on the restoration front, but that's naturally eclipsed by news of Dave's sickness, operation and recovery.

For me, these are the kinds of times that make the mundane feel a little silly. Realizing, for instance, that when Dave finally gets back to his work space, he'll find a two-page fax from me, nattering away about paper types and dot gain, written and sent while he was in immense pain.

Dave, I wish you the speediest and most thorough of recoveries. Take care of yourself, you hear? We're all rooting for you.

From the supporters of the Cerebus Restoration project, past and future.


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Dave Sim Checks Into Grand River Hospital

DAVE FISHER:
(via email, 17 March 2015)
Sim checked himself into Emergency at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener this afternoon [Monday 16th]. He'd been having severe, painful stomach cramps all weekend. He arrived about 2 pm. I checked in on him around 8 pm. He was dressed in a frock, laying on a bed, hooked up to a saline drip. I asked if he'd ever been in Emergency before. He said no, never. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he refused the painkillers they offered him. He was still in pain & discomfort. The hospital ran an MRI. He wasn't sure if they were sending him home tonight or whether surgery will be necessary. I'll know tomorrow. Send your prayers & good wishes his way.

Dave has a small stack of faxes and phone messages the past few days. He'll get to them momentarily.

UPDATE:
Dave Fisher just gave an update that Dave Sim is currently being prepped for surgery (12 noon, EDT) to clear a blockage. - John Funk

UPDATE TWO:
Troy Thompson, M.D. said...
Just got off the phone with Dave. I am a friend and plastic surgeon and I am also Board Certified in general surgery. He sounded like he was about to go back to surgery. He asked me to post medical information: He felt much better after a nasogastric tube was placed. This decompresses the stomach (and provides some symptomatic relief) but not the colon, which is where his obstruction is believed to be. The presumptive diagnosis is cecal volvulus, which is a twisting of the colon causing obstruction. I pointed out that the diagnosis will not be known until after surgery and pathologic examination of the colon. There are other more concerning causes of colonic obstruction. He was aware of this.

Interestingly, my wife Mia, also a friend of Dave's, had a cecal volvulus and right hemicolectomy around 2001 and talked to Dave during the same conversation, comparing notes on how the condition feels as well as the recovery. We had a lot of laughs and observed that God does have a sense of humor.

He also said he would like all his medical records and imaging released to me and would like me to advise his medical power of attorney "committee", if that becomes necessary (which I doubt). He also asked me to talk to his surgeon, if possible, postop.

Praying for Dave,
Mia Thompson
Troy Thompson, M.D.
UPDATE THREE:
Dave Fisher:
I visited Sim at the hospital today [Tuesday]. He's been removed from E.R. and in the main hospital prepped for surgery. It has been delayed a couple hours, so he's still waiting patiently. He's in good spirits, thanked his supporters for their kind wishes, and says he's feeling some temporary pain relief. They've got a tube hooked to his nose and they're pumping something yucky from his stomach. It was disgusting enough that Sim insisted I get a close-up of the draining tube. I'll report back when I know more.

UPDATE FOUR:

Jeff Seiler:

Just called the hospital. Dave is out of the recovery room and is "sleeping comfortably".

Having done that last year, I can assure everyone that it is VERY comfortable.

REALLY nice stay-cation.

I will call him tomorrow. The attendant said any time after 10 a.m., but I think mid to late afternoon would be better.


Related Posts:
Dave Sim Checks Into Grand River Hospital (17 March)
Dave Sim Recovering After Surgery (18 March)
Dave Sim Recovery Update #2 (20 March)
Dave Sim Recovery Update #3 (24 March)

Neil Gaiman: Starving Journalist

Savoy Hotel, 1986: Sim & Gaiman First Meeting
Backcover, Cerebus 146 (May 1991)
DAVE SIM:
(from The Long, Strange History of Phase II, 2004)
...I've gotten into trouble with journalists who have asked me about being interviewed by Neil because I always tell them, "It was pretty clear that he wasn't going to be a journalist, because the questions he asked were too good." I actually don't mean any offense against journalism in saying that -- journalism is what it is -- what I'm trying to indicate is that, from the questions Neil was asking, he was as much (if not more!) trying to figure out if writing comic books was something he would want to do for a living (maybe I'm not a starving journalist at all, maybe I'm a starving comic-book writer) as he was trying to figure out why I was writing them so that he could explain my reasoning to the readers of his magazine piece.
"I remember asking him what he'd do if there was something he wanted to write about, something he had to say that didn’t fit into Cerebus. "I’d use a big hammer," he grinned.  "I’d get it in somehow."
See, that's not a journalist question, that's a comic-book writer wannabe question.  What Neil was actually asking was, "I have a lot of ideas for different kinds of stories.  That's why I wouldn't want to do one story for twenty-six years.  Why doesn’t it bother you that you can't tell different stories because you're telling this one big one?"  It wasn't a "lock" that that was "where he was coming from" -- he could just have been an "extreme empathy journalist".  The "extreme empathy journalist" tries to imagine being you and then asks himself the most obvious question that comes to mind while he's play-acting being you (which is really kind of intrusive although the extent to which that's intrusive isn't apparent unless you've been on the receiving end of it, which I assume Neil himself has been many times by now and I assume he has found it as intrusive as I had). So, on the one hand, I was answering the "writer wannabe" question if that was what he turned out to be. (i.e. "The scope of a three-hundred issue story allows for a greater range of ideas than you're picturing, as a result, tangential but relevant stories can be made to fit in direct proportion to the extreme length") while also scaring the "extreme empathy journalist" if that was  what he turned out to be (i.e. "You don't strike me as someone who likes the idea of big hammers.") in the same way that a pitcher will intimidate a hitter who is "crowding the plate" by throwing a 95 mph fastball "inside" (it's euphemistically known in baseball as "chin music"). It seemed to have worked on both counts.  Sandman is the second-longest sustained narrative in human history and Neil developed a lot of interesting ideas in the seventy-five issue story that didn't, in any conventional literary sense, fit the core of the narrative -- Dream Of A Thousand Cats being a good example -- but which in no way diminished the core of the narrative (quite the contrary: many of the seemingly unrelated diversions are some of the Sandman narrative's greatest strengths) -- and as for scaring the "extreme empathy journalist," two pages later in 300 Reasons… Neil writes
Dave Sim is the conscience of comics. It's a lousy, thankless job, and if he wasn’t doing it we wouldn’t have to invent him.  We'd probably just be pleased he wasn't around to bug us. Remember: Jiminy Cricket was squished by a wooden hammer by the end of chapter four in the original Collodi novel of Pinocchio. Were there a wooden hammer large enough, and did he not live out in Kitchener, and were there no fear of societal retribution, Dave would probably have been squished long since.