Wednesday, 25 July 2012

HARDtalk: The Dave Sim Interview (3)

When we spoke on the phone the other day you came out as a royalist surprised that you could find no royalist sympathisers on this side of the pond. What I don't get is this: you were one of comics' most radical iconoclasts as well as innovator and your portrayal of Thatcher to me (possibly clouded by my own contempt for the poisonous cow) was as a repressive, suppressive, conniving bitch - especially when it came to art. She was the jailor to artists. We all thought you were a liberal-leftie after our own hearts. Obviously I understand from what you've written over the last fifteen years that this is no longer the case. But were we always wrong or are you just wrong now? ;)
Mrs Thatcher from Cerebus #134 (May 1990)
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard
Well, speaking of Uncle Alan, it was he who gave me the Mrs. Thatcher character back in those Ancient Days when he was still married to Aunt Phyllis and Other Aunt Debbie (has there ever been an example of a successful "The Couple Takes A Wife Or At Least Hooks Up With a Girlfriend"?  Deni and I tried it as well -- just bad news all the way around).  He used to do this immaculate parody of Mrs. Thatcher's intonation -- that she had a very :( voice she reserved for discussing the Unemployed or Trade Unions and a :) voice she reserved for discussing families and religious faith and so on.

I realized she was the Cirinist I had been looking for for the denouement of JAKA'S STORY.  See I thought Alan was wide of the mark (even though his impression was spot on) because he saw Mrs. Thatcher as a living caricature -- basically the same thing that he did with Rorschach in WATCHMEN, choosing to see Steve Ditko's THE QUESTION as a caricature and do his own version that way.  No, Mrs. Thatcher was a far more interesting character than that, and in the same way:  she saw very sharp demarcations between good and evil, as does Steve Ditko (as do I now -- not so much then: and at the time, I was just deferential to Alan.  He was THE Alan Moore and I was "merely Dave Sim".  And obviously since then he's become more "THE" and I've become more "merely").

Mrs Thatcher in Cerebus #135 (June 1990)
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard
I mean, in JAKA'S STORY she beats Jaka cold by reading to her from Pud's diary and quoting the tavern owner who said "they'd shoot me dead as a dog" if he employed a dancer.  The whole purpose of JAKA'S STORY was to set all of these characters in motion and have them...do what they were going to do.  Jaka can only do what Jaka does, Mrs. Thatcher can only do what Mrs. Thatcher does, Rick can only do what Rick does, Pud can only do what Pud does, Oscar can only do what Oscar does. It's a conflagration just waiting to happen.  Are they wrong?  And if they ARE wrong, HOW are they wrong?  You really can't fault Mrs. Thatcher's logic, even as you think that Jaka should be allowed to do whatever she wants.  Likewise, Rick's foremost ambition is to have a son.  WANTING to have a son, who can fault that?  At the same time, he's this hopeless little boy, the furthest thing from a provider.  They all do what they do and are who they are and There Are Consequences.

You can read JAKA'S STORY as a devout liberal-leftie, but you're going to miss most of the point of what I was saying and conclude "s--t happens".  Well, it didn't just "happen" -- everyone made it happen by making bad choices and pursuing them.

From a liberal-leftie perspective, obviously I'm wrong.  Just remember, wherever you live, if you're a liberal, you're surrounded by millions of conservatives and if you're a conservative, you're surrounded by millions of liberals.  Okay, let's take a question from Eric and Dominick and have that as our cliffhanger:

Most of CEREBUS remains in print in the phone books, but will there ever be a CEREBUS MISCELLANY volume, as has been suggested before, gathering up other uncollected materials?

Don't Miss All the Action Tomorrow... or the next day or the Day After That. Same Moment of Cerebus Time! Same Moment of Cerebus Channel!

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