wayback machine

I stumbled across Dave Sim talking to me, via Bissette's blog, in this forum thingy. Here's a message I sent back to Dave. It's full of "comics history and stuff" so I guess it's good material for this here blog.

Hi Dave

Hope you don't mind me addressing you through Al (and Al thanks for being a conduit) but I am too lazy to go address-searching! I stumbled into your comments to me in the latest "Creators Rights" jabber - which is kind of a fluke. What made you think I was in the room? Are you psychic?

This is a bit off-topic, but just curious. Here's what you wrote:

"Hey MARK MARTIN! Hey, how are you doing? Still got my Lillian Spencer Drake Catalogue. "Rectangles! Women Love Them!" Easily in the top five sight gags of all time.

I was on a panel with Jim Woodring in New York back in November. Got him to autograph my Frank first printing from 1994. He didn’t exactly strike me as thinking of himself in the "where he is today" terms you seem to mean. To be honest, I don’t think any of us ever get to that point. The wolf is always at the door. Some of us just have thicker doors than others. But it doesn’t matter how thick the door is you’re always aware that some wolf has managed to get through one just as thick.

I can’t think of a better guy to have a hair-brained scheme in the works than Mark "20 Nude Dancers 20" Martin, though. Good luck with Runaway."

Hey DAVE SIM! I'm fine. Hang onto your LSD Catalog, it is worth $35 on eBay now!

You seem to be addressing a specific comment I made about "where Jim Woodring is today". But I don't know which one, or where it's from. Hmmm - I think he is pretty well established in any event. Of course the wolf is potentially at Stephen King's door. But I think he'll be okay.

Thanks on the Runaway wishes. Have you told your local comics store to order it? Have YOU, Al Nickerson or anybody else in the universe who may be reading this???

One day I hope to write my comments on the whole "Rights" thing, past and present. And Tundra, and all that stuff from that era. Maybe soon, now that you have engaged me. I've always got something else more pressing, but now that I am blogging and trying to stay daily with it (just one of my hare-brained Runaway promo schemes!) it could make good fodder for that.

I'll go ahead and just barely get started here, and leave you with a good ol' cliff-hanger:

My whole view of the Creators' Rights summit was tainted from the very beginning. I thought the whole pow-wow was going to be a bunch of small press creators getting together to form a strength-in-numbers publishing co-op. And I was very enthusiastic about that. But when everybody started yapping about all this idealistic Creators' Rights crap, and then it went on and on and on, and I realized that is ALL we were going to talk about, it was all I could do to keep my mouth shut and be polite.

I'm not dissing the whole Creators' Rights thing NOW, it was just incredibly disappointing to me at the time. A Creators' Bill of Rights was not going to help me sell books in the short run. I don't know where the communication breakdown occurred. I do not archive every single scrap of paper in my life like some CRAZY VERMONTERS that we know.

So, before I have to run off to a press check, let me just ask you, Steve, Scott, anybody else who was there: Did you come into that summit knowing and planning for it to be a "Creators Rights" summit? Or is that just what evolved out of the whole thing? Just curious. Hell, I still don't even know THAT, that's how out of the loop I stay. If it was PLANNED TO BE a Creators' Rights summit, and if I had realized that at the time, I may have been more focused on the task at hand.

More later... hopefully soon...


SRBissette said...

Hey, Mark --

My memory is that Dave et al convened the summit to go over and refine the document Dave et al had prepared in prior meetings (which I had been involved in). As Dave has detailed on Al Nickeron's site, he, too, entered with specific questions/intent -- and was as surprised as the rest of us when Scott McCloud rolled out his proposed "Bill of Rights" -- as I remember, only Larry Marder really had a clue that was coming. I believe both Scott and Larry have confirmed that since, and Dave has eluded to it, too.

I wish you'd spoken up! Much as I was and am glad the Creator Bill of Rights emerged from that, what YOU were seeking (and, it turned out, what Dave was seeking -- not the same thing, and from what Dave has written, an aspect of the Bill satisfied him to some extent) was and is worthwhile and in need of just that kind of group powwow.

[Tell you what -- how about you and I brainstorm, using RUNAWAY as the catalyst (how do we sell your book), and go from there? I'm a shameless huckster, and eager to help.]

BTW, Dave doesn't 'do' email. He's offline, so Al is your conduit, period. Make sure Al knows about your blog/post, and he'll get it to Dave.

Secondly, I'm glad you've finally articulated your core disappointment with the summit and Bill. It all makes sense now, and as I say, I wish you'd have spoken up. I suspect others there would have been aligned with you there, and thus the summit might have accomplished much, much more -- yielding the CBR and perhaps something more pragmatic in terms of market terms for self-publishers and self-motivated cartoonists/creators engaged with self-promotion and working WITH the market, such as it was (and is).

Hugs and kisses,

Crazy Vermonter with Scraps of Paper

Al Nickerson said...

Hi Mark,

I’m glad to see you joining in on the new creator’s right discussions. When I first started up these new talks, I tried to contract as many folks from the 1988 summit as I could. Steve Bissette, Scott McCloud, Dave Sim, and Rick Veitch quickly joined in. Some of the other guys I couldn’t get a hold of, while others didn’t want to take part in the new talks. Please keep speaking up as often as possible.

I did snail-mail your letter off to Dave. I’ll also post your letter amongst the others at the site…


I don’t know if many people believe that the 1988 summit was a success or not. I wasn’t there. However, I continue to believe that The Creator’s Bill of Rights that you guys put together is still important (hence, why I wanted to get these stalks started again after all theses years).

There are some that ignore The Bill and there are others that would just want it to go away.

I’ll continue to do what I can to make sure that the topic of creator’s rights doesn’t just fade away.

Al Nickerson

SRBissette said...

One thing, Mark -- Re: "I thought the whole pow-wow was going to be a bunch of small press creators getting together to form a strength-in-numbers publishing co-op. And I was very enthusiastic about that."

I for one never had that notion, either, any more than I knew Scott was going to unveil the proposed CBR. I'm curious, do you recall where you got that idea from? I recall the entire Mirage crew there (or damn near); was that the perception/expectation that, for you, emerged from Mirage? I know at that time you still lived in Alabama, far away from Northampton -- but you made the trip up, didn't you? And you were working with Mirage on your historic TMNT issues -- I don't want to presume anything, though. Just hoping you can recall and articulate where your expectations for the summit stemmed from. Thanks!

SRBissette said...

Mark -- If you have the time, check out Dave Sim's earliest letters on Al's site. Dave details the "Manifesto" that was the original intended center of discussion at the summit. You decide whether that was utilitarian enough to have been of use, or just more too-abstract webspinning to have been of much interest had that been the topic of the day.

In any case, Scott stole the Manifesto's thunder, the CBR had its day in the sun, and you (and how many others?) festered without raising voices that day to say, "OK, fine, but what about -- ??," steering us all to more immediately productive & pragmatic ends.