Friday, 10 February 2012

Now I’ll Ask You One... With Jimmy Gownley

Amelia Rules!, Cerebus Governs (Reconsiders?) (2011)
Art by Jimmy Gownley & Dave Sim
Between 14 March to 26 March 2011, Dave Sim entered into a 'Now I'll Ask You One' conversation with the writer/artist of Amelia Rules!, Jimmy Gownley. The complete conversation is available to read on Jimmy Gownley’s Facebook page (head down to the 14 March 2011 blog post... but you'll need to be a registered Facebook user to read it), or you can read the first 6 parts (up to 18 March) on Jimmy's web-blog (...guess he just forgot to post the rest of it there!). Here are some highlights from the conversation:

On Promoting Other Comics (15 March 2011):
Of all the comics that I’ve promoted over the years only a handful were successful. Just because I like it doesn't mean it will sell. Just because I don't think there’s a market for it doesn’t mean there isn't. At the time I would have given B. C. Boyer's Hilly Rose the edge over Bone by a wide margin.

On Cerebus Reaching #300 (16 March 2011):
The mental image I had was of walking along an elevated sidewalk for 26 years... My job was to keep from walking off the sidewalk and plunging to my death, so I was very aware of where the edge of the side walk was and who or what in my life (not naming any names) was trying to push me off the sidewalk. "Hmm. I'm not in the middle of the sidewalk anymore. I'm close to the edge. Why is that?" You develop a heightened sense of the internal (me and Cerebus) and the external (everyone else). And a very sharp awareness that no one perceives themselves as trying to push you off the sidewalk.

On Two Positive Aspects Of The Current Comics Environment (17 March 2011):
Web comics and print on demand... The low cost to actually build a website or get a computer geek friend to do it, the ability to publish 2 or 3 times a week (or, if you’re an over achiever like Danielle Corsetto [creator of Girls With Slingshots] FIVE days a week and sometimes on the weekends)... and Print On Demand lets you test a book for a low cost – print up a couple of hundred, get a table at a small press show and then, 9 times out of 10, die a slow death. But a slow death that's a learning experience.

On Not Archiving Cerebus TV Episodes On Youtube (18 March 2011):
...the Youtube model is pretty much universal - why don't you post all 63 episodes so people can download them like on Youtube? ...If you can download something any time, you take it for granted and your "default setting" is opting out. Who has the time to watch 36 hours of Cerebus TV? Therefore, I won’t watch any of it... The closer you are to broadcast and the further from universally available download the more visible you are. You can watch a Cerebus TV episode anytime in the release week and then you can't see it. You can only watch the new one.

On His Motivation For Glamourpuss (20 March 2011):
...the Alex Raymond/Stan Drake narrative was intended from the beginning. The idea was that I would teach myself the photorealism newspaper strip riffs over the course of the first year and, presumably, be good enough at them to do a creditable job when the time came sometime around the beginning of year three. I'm getting there, but I'm no where near being in those guys' leagues. You really need to do over 300 strips a year to start having really brilliant stuff coming out. My work is too laborious. And I'm 54. I’m at the end or close to the end of my career not at the peak. Whether or not I do another narrative depends on what I find when I research the other photorealists, but I don't imagine there are many - if any - September 6, 1956 stories [the day Alex Raymond died in a car crash].

On Promoting Self-Publishing (21 March 2011):
What I was hoping to accomplish with the Spirits [of Independence] stops was to prove that all cartoonists could self-publish... so, no, it wasn't successful since it showed that very few cartoonists could self-publish and - even worse - even fewer were interested in self-publishing. For most cartoonists it was a stepping stone to something else. Self-publishing wasn't a destination it was a departure lounge.

On Productivity (22 March 2011):
It's one of the reasons that I’m so drawn to Rip Kirby and The Heart Of Juiliet Jones and Al Williamson’s work on Secret Agent X-9. These guys were forced to be very productive just by virtue of what they were doing so there's this exponential improvement, a high water mark that they hit and then hold. I think Gerhard and I did that on Cerebus. For me, the book got better and better because we worked very hard and there was no let up. As I mentioned on one of the Cerebus TV episodes, Gerhard would get page 20 done and tell me. I'd put down what I was working on and go over and look at the finished issue for about 10 seconds and then say, "Okay, take it down." And he'd take it down and get it ready to ship to Preney. That was pretty much our monthly victory lap.

On Committing To 300 Issues Of Cerebus For 26 years (24 March 2011):
There's really nothing that remotely compares to it creatively. Most people will never experience that. I traded virtually everything else in my life for Cerebus and I definitely think I came out ahead on the deal. Well ahead. If no one else ever gets to experience it, well, you can't miss what you never had.

Other 'Now I'll Ask You One' Conversations:
Dave Sim & Steve Bissette
Dave Sim & The Kitchen Brothers

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