Sunday, 3 June 2012

A Brilliant Creator, But...

(from the article Readers Of The Last Aadrvark, The Village Voice, 23 March 2004)
Cerebus's dizzying whirl of high concepts, low humor, narrative gusto, and exquisite draftsmanship attracted critical praise and a devoted following almost from the start... But over the course of this story arc (Mothers & Daughters) - both in the book itself and in the book's editorial pages - Sim made it clear that he believes we live in a feminist totalitarian state. Readers left in droves. The last 2,000 pages have been driven by their creator's deeply personal preoccupations (Latter Days, the penultimate story line, devoted 144 pages to commentaries on the first 38 chapters of Genesis) and his religious faith (a homemade blend of fundamentalist Christianity, Islam, and Judaism).

...In an era when selling out is considered synonymous with success, Sim's resistance is bracing. But independence comes at a cost, and the price of Sim's is that his 26-year project, his life's work, is ending largely in silence. Tired of his grandstanding, most people long ago tuned him out. But for the scale of its ambition, the intricacy of its characters, the beauty of its artwork, and its commitment to mapping the at times objectionable mind of its creator without ever blinking or looking away, Cerebus remains a staggering declaration of independence.

(from an interview at The A.V. Club, 31 March 2004)
The plain fact of the matter is that I have always been pretty much ignored. My work, with rare, generally vague, single exceptions - a few paragraphs in Rolling Stone in the late '80s, a page in the Village Voice in the '80s, a page and a half in the Atlantic in the '80s, that kind of thing - has never been reviewed, either in the comic-book press or in the mainstream press. And what grudging, intermittent critical response I have gotten has always been qualified. Just in the last few years, I have somehow become generally acknowledged as a "brilliant creator" without ever once having my work itself discussed, as in: "Dave Sim is a brilliant creator, but..." followed by an extensive list of personal invective. Because my work discusses feminism and disapproves of feminism, it is important from the leftist standpoint to destroy Dave Sim as an individual and to ignore his work.


Mas said...

I hate the fact that people can't appreciate your work without throwing in a disclaimer. Like liking Cerebus means you agree with every single thing in the series (I don't btw, but that still doesn't mean it's not a gripping story that I enjoy). This is why characters have increasingly become so bland because writers (it seems) fear a backlash if people's common beliefs/views are challenged. A writer's voice is what gives a book it's flavor and if you water it down, distill it enough you get what passes for good in mainstream comics.

I actually love that you kept the characters all consistent throughout the series no matter what because it makes the story ring truer.

Also, I refuse to believe you are a misogynist. You write far too many believable female characters way too well for that to be true.

But that's just me.

Thanks for staying true to your principles and staying indy.

A Moment Of Cerebus said...

Thanks for that comment Mas. Well said.

You know, what I don't understand is that people take issue with Dave's view on feminism, yet the monthly Diamond Previews comics catalogue is filled with blatant sexist images of women. For some reason that's deemed okay... but what does that say about the views of those writers and artists? I don't know, it just seems like there's double standards at work...