The Strange Future of ‘The Strange Death of Alex Raymond’

The Strange Future of ‘The Strange Death of Alex Raymond’

Ordinarily, I don’t really like to post large amounts of text written by other people, but I feel that it may be appropriate in this case. On Saturday/Sunday (depending on where you live) Eddie Khanna sent an unfortunate email/post to all Dave Sim Patreon supporters and ‘Strange Death of Alex Raymond’ (SDOAR) Fundraiser Edition buyers. As we previously reported, Khanna and Sim ran a short, direct-payment fundraiser to help print a limited number of copies of the first volume of the ‘Strange Death’, as well as various other promotional expenses. The email contained a (couple of) message(s) from Sim, stating (among other things) that the money raised was now gone and no one would be getting their copies of the book (at least not as it was originally planned). Additionally, Sim has decided to drop all further progress on the series and pass all resources onto Khanna. He has offered to provide refunds to those who really need them, on a first-come, first-served basis, when he actually has enough money to provide it (so likely in a few months?). Meanwhile, Eddie is still planning to fulfil orders of the fundraiser edition himself, out of his own pocket. I’ll let you read the whole thing below:

The Email…

SDOAR PATREON
SUPPORTERS and
F.E. BUYERS

10 June 20

Hi Folks!

I’m afraid I’ve had enough. THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND can’t be made to happen with 123 people. All the money you paid in is gone, as is the $9K I made selling SDOAR artwork through HA.com, the $16K that came in on CAN8 (I’m still paying off the $4.7K shipping bill) and what was left of the JAKA’S STORY REMASTERED money. I’m back to borrowing against my life insurance to pay bills. And, personally, making about $350 US a month.

It’s also taking all my time to keep up with CEREBUS IN HELL? — Watch for SWORDS OF CEREBUS IN HELL? coming later this year through Diamond — and my new (and presumably “from now on” lifelong) role as a 1980s Nostalgia Act in association with Waverly Press and, of course, the CEREBUS ARCHIVE Portfolios. Those I will continue to deliver on.

I’m sorry you all wasted your money on SDOAR. I can’t remember the last time I effed everyone over as I’m doing here. I don’t think I ever have.

If you can afford to just write off what you donated, I would appreciate it. If you need a refund, let me know through Eddie Khanna and, on a first-come, first-served basis, I’ll arrange to have someone in the U.S. send you a USD check for $50. Or an International Money Order. Or something. YOU tell ME. I can, of course, just send you a Canadian cheque if you’re a Canadian. Just let Eddie know which category you’re in and what you need and — a few months from now when (God willing) I actually get paid for HIGH SOCIETY and whenever (God willing) I get whatever I’m going to get on the CEREBUS No.1s  — I’Il pay you back. And I’ll let you know where you are on the first-come, first-served list and when you can expect to get paid back “going forward” in as close to Real Time as possible.

All the research materials for SDOAR exist and Eddie is my successor. They will be made available in a massive document dump to anyone who’s interested at some point. There just won’t ever be a Volume One, Two or Three per se. It WAS GOING TO BE a really interesting book and I enjoyed working on it. But, I have to face the fact that, at age 64, the only MARKETABLE comics cred I have are the first 5 issues of CEREBUS, TURTLES No.8 and SPAWN 10.

Which is what Dagon and I are working on. HOW do you keep selling CEREBUS No.1 since that’s all anyone in the comic-book field’s interested in? I guess we’II find out.


13 June 20

Hello, PATREON SDOAR SUPPORTERS and SDOAR FE PURCHASERS!

My plan had been to finish SDOAR VOL 1 and 2 and than take a break to promote them with the CALIFORNIA TEST MARKET EDITION and DEATH OF A COMICS SALESMAN sales trip, resuming work on VOL 3 (for which l’ve mocked up 20 or so pages) on my return to Canada.

It became apparent that this wasn’t going to work even before COVID 19 made international travel impossible.

Whatever the world is going to turn into or has turned into wasn’t going to include “meet and greet/press the flesh” promotions. And definitely not of non-CEREBUS work.

I’m the CEREBUS creator and that’s only thing at which l can make a living. Almost exclusively from my very earliest work (as evidenced by the $45,000 raised by the Waverly press CEREBUS #1 Kickstarter last month: further evidenced by the fact that only a third of that amount was raised by CAN8, my 1990’s work; further evidenced by the fact that a third of the CAN8 amount was raised by SDOAR FE, my 21st century work).

I hope to work in SDOAR VOLS. 3, 4 and 5 as a hobby but that seems really unlikely.

l’m 64 years old and will “die in harness” trying to eke out a living from

1) the nostalgic affection enjoyed by the 1970s and very early 1980s CEREBUS through Waverly Press

2) the patronage of DIAMOND COMIC DlSTRIBlUTORS who, very generously, continue to purchase profit-making quantities of CEREBUS VOLUME ONE and HIGH SOCIETY and break-even quantities of the other 14 volumes

3) SWORDS OF CEREBUS IN HELL? 4-issue reprint volumes beginning early next year.

l’ll also be doing a lot more posting to Matt Dow’s A MOMENT OF CEREBUS trying to hang onto the CEREBUS audience that still exists.

Thank you for your support over the years. l’m sorry to have disappointed you.
Dave Sim

PS: A major reason for selecting Eddie Khanna as my successor is that I knew that, after my death, he wouldn’t allow all of the work we’ve done on SDOAR to just disappear or fade away, As he indicates in his communications following this, the whole project has been like trying to swim the English Channel with anvils chained to our ankles. That isn’t going to change, l don’t think. But, I have every confidence that Eddie will keep alive the spirit or The Comic-Art Metaphysics Graphic Novel That Might Have Been by sharing that part of The Cerebus Archive with everyone interested until it’s time for his own successor as president of Aardvark-Vaneheim to take over.

13 Jun 2020

Hi everyone, Eddie here.

I will be attempting to fulfill the orders for SDOAR (FE) on my own without any further expenses being incurred by Dave or AV. His only contribution will still be the personalized hand-written message if requested and his signature. The name you specified will still appear printed on the page, along with the number I sent when verifying your mailing address.

If anyone (understandably) doesn’t want to commit to a limited edition graphic novel that will never be completed, from a publishing novice trying to get it printed, signed, and delivered (which, given how cursed this project seems, is more than likely to go sideways at some point thereby necessitating the need for a refund anyway), please let me know at
[email protected], and I’ll put you on the refund list.

I will be keeping you updated on the progress, so if at anytime before the book is shipped you want a refund, please let me know and I’ll add you to the refund list.

Anyone who asked for their CAN8s to be shipped with their copy of SDOAR (FE) will be sent their CAN8s from AV as soon as possible, after Diamond has paid for HIGH SOCIETY in August sometime.

Thank you to those of you who supported this project, especially for so long, and tried to help keep it going. I wish there were better news. But it seems these aren’t really the days of “better news.”


POST TO SDOAR PATREONS: THE END
Hi everyone, Eddie here

I wish there were better news, but Dave is now done with SDOAR, except for only autographing and where requested, personalizing the SDOAR (FE) copies of Volume 1.

Dave has requested that everyone stop donating to the Patreon by the end of June, since he’s officially suspended work on SDOAR. I’ll be unpublishing the creator page after that, so I can look at archiving and saving all the posts. He has said I’m free to post my research material and our correspondence about it to a Patreon of my own, but that the money should be going to me, not him. But if/when that happens most likely won’t be for a while, since my main priority is fulfilling the orders on SDOAR (FE) for everyone who purchased one and still wants one, and processing where to go from here with what I have. But I will be posting some more SDOAR material here until the end of the month.

SDOAR has been very challenging, intricate, intense, and rewarding, and one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life, just from the research and assistance side, so I can only imagine how much more so it’s been for Dave. Comic-Art Metaphysics works in strange ways, and this was definitely High-Level Comic-Art Metaphysics from the get-go. Unfortunately, one of the things you learn very quickly is that you don’t get to direct where it goes; IT directs YOU where to go (similar to becoming thoroughly engaged in a REALLY good comic book, where you’ve submitted yourself on multiple levels of immersion to what you’re reading, and let go of the steering wheel).

Again, I can’t help but say Thank You to all of you, who have been very loyal and supportive of this and Dave’s work (and Dave himself). Hopefully I will be able to fulfill the SDOAR Fundraiser Editions on my own, and send a copy to everyone who ordered one. It’s the least you deserve for all your support.

Sincerely
Eddie Khanna

Before anything else, I want to offer an apology. An apology to anyone who pledged to the campaign after discovering here. While I have absolutely no association to Dave Sim (he certainly doesn’t know who I am), or Aardvark-Vanaheim, I do feel obligated to the readers of Lonely Outlet. If you pledged and feel ripped-off, swindled or are otherwise left with a bad taste in your mouth because you listened to me, I would feel awful. In my original post I even stated: “[Sim has] always more than delivered when it comes to past fundraisers”. Clearly, this now seems rather misleading. I want you to feel safe in taking recommendations from the Outlet. If you are upset by the events that have transpired, please get in touch. I want to make things right – as best I can.

Moving forward, we will continue to post about crowd-funding campaigns which we find interesting, but we will certainly try to word things in a more objective way. I guess it’s one thing being incredibly subjective about things that we’ve actually tried and experienced ourselves – another on campaigns which always have the possibility of going belly-up.

The Future…

For those patrons who do not refund their pledge, a book will likely still come out in one form or another. Dave, Eddie and co. are now planning on sending digital copies of the book, as well as volume 2 and the volume 3 mock-ups, for all patrons[1]. As far as I know, Eddie is still planning on printing and shipping copies of the book at some point in the future. At the same time, SDOAR co-artist Carson Grubaugh will be attempting to publish through more traditional means (i.e. not crowd-funded. With an actual publisher). While he is personally unable (and shouldn’t be expected) to fulfil the book orders, he certainly wants it to be presented in a physical format. I think it is probably safe to say that the book will be made, at some point (but please, do not take my word for it – this is pure speculation) though who knows whe,n or in what form. Only time will tell.

Honestly, this feels a lot like Orson Welles’ ‘The Other Side of the Wind’.

If you are interested in reading more, there are a number of articles on the number one Dave Sim website: ‘A Moment of Cerebus’:

As always, we will try to keep you updated as the situation progresses. Thank you once again for tuning in!

Kind Regards,

Lorenzo
Lorenzo

[1] Dave Sim’s Patreon Page, Patrons and F.E. Backers will receive digital copies of SDOAR volumes 1, 2 and mock-ups of 3. https://www.patreon.com/join/DaveSim?redirect_uri=%2Fposts%2Fnote-from-dave-38285749

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