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The Creator's Bill of Rights:
A Letter from Dave Sim 15

Below is Dave Sim's letter to Mark Martin. -Al Nickerson

21 January 06

Dear Al:

Thanks for forwarding Markís letter.


Nice to hear from you. Um. Iíd be glad to take a look at Runaway if you want to send me the work in progress or wait until itís done and youíve actually got it slated somewhere in Previews. I try to avoid doing too many recommendations or you end up sounding like the Neil Gaiman character Eddie Campbell did in King Bacchus, but I would definitely go out on a limb and say Iím looking forward to New Mark Martin Material.

On the subject of the Creatorís Summit in NoHo back in 1988, I had set the whole thing in motion as a result of Diamondís threat not to carry the Puma Blues as a reaction to my selling High Society direct to the audience (a lengthy and interesting story in itself, but kind of beside the point when compared with what we eventually came up with, in my view). You can read all about it in the archived material on Alís website. Scott showed up with the Creatorís Bill of Rights in its raw form and since one of the rights was the right to choose our means of distribution I was happy to step back and see what Scott had to say and was willing to go along with most of it even though it had very little application to me or Ger or Cerebus. In retrospect I think I shouldíve stuck with what I was doing which was building a structural model of the direct market and its overlapping jurisdictions so thatís what Iíve been moving back towards here. Live and learn.

I wanted to avoid anything collectivist if possible, including forming a co-op distribution company or doing co-op printing, but I wish you had spoken up and said what it is that you THOUGHT you were there for. Iím sure at the very least it would have made for a lively discussion. The danger I see with co-op anything is that youíre only as strong as your weakest link. Some guy stiffs the printer or doesnít do what he said he was going to do or files for bankruptcy and that reflects badly on everyone and can cost everyone money if you have co-op liability as well. If you could find enough RELIABLE guys and a printer that was small enough to be interested in a co-op arrangement (I donít think Quebecor/Ronalds would cut you any earth-shattering deals for indy-comic-sized circulation figures but Preney Print & Litho might if they can manage a successful relaunch in 2006) it would certainly be a worthwhile experiment particularly if you could attract someone like the revived Mirage Studios or SLG or someone to anchor a co-op deal. Chuck Rozanski at Mile High Comics mentioned to me that he was thinking along he lines of being a small press facilitator now that Diamond has set their $1500 thresholds. He thinks we need the competition which I would tend to agree with. This would probably be a good spot to initiate the discussion, in my view. I think one of the big problems with the field is that everyone tends to walk on eggshells so as not to hurt anyoneís feelings when I think the better and more fruitful solution is for everyone to stop being so damned sensitive to unintended slights and to realize that everyone is just discussing problems of mutual interest and (potentially, anyway) mutual benefit. That requires blunt opinions and just laying it on the line.

And Ė speaking of laying it on the line -- I canít think of anyone better positioned than yourself to actually discuss where and how you think Tundra went wrong and what you would have done differently if you had been calling the shots. If Iím not mistaken you were there pretty much in the thick of things right from the beginning.

Attached (below) photo which originally appeared in the back of CEREBUS 116 coverage of the Summit: left to right Richard Pini, Ken Mitchroney, Rick Veitch and Mark Martin of the Mighty Pumpkin Empire.

Next: A Letter (or two) from Dave Sim 16 Dave Sim addresses Rick Veitch and Steve Bissette's exchange on their comic, 1963 and Mike Kitchen's view on Dave's "Creative Manifesto 2".

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