Sunday, 19 August 2012

HARDtalk: The Dave Sim Interview (20a)

I donated to the Cerebus Kickstarter fundraiser as I instantly understood the importance of creating a permanent digital archive of the Cerebus comics and related materials which will exist long after we are all dead and buried. Was this your motivation behind the Cerebus Digital 6000 project, or are you just looking to make a quick buck off the younger generation of comic readers?

Boy, Tim, you have a real knack for asking very complicated questions that look very simple on the surface of them. And I'm trying to be "Moment of Cerebus" concise here!  Let me answer it over a couple of MOC entries.

First, I was certainly self-conscious about trying Kickstarter.  It definitely didn't sound like something for guys in their late fifties.  There comes a time when you have to just let go.  But it had come up a few times in discussions of "where next?" You have to cross things off the list. Okay: that didn't work. Next?

And, of course, it did work -- phenomenally.  So then I had to reconfigure everything in my life around Kickstarter. $63,000 in 2012 is like $600,000 pre-September 2008.  WHY did that work?  And it seems obvious to me that the answer is that the ipad is a game-changer on a scale no one really thought it would be.  The idea of having HIGH SOCIETY in a high quality form on their ipads appealed to a lot of people. The people I know who are my age or twenty years younger than I am if they have an ipad they don't really use it.  They have a cellphone and they use that and have a computer and they use that.  They don't think in terms of something between a cellphone and a computer.  But people who are thirty or forty years younger than I am DO.  And they do in a BIG way.  It's a big part of their identity that they can have massive parts of their lives on these book-sized devices.
Cerebus #116 (November 1988)
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard
There's a Model Condo where they're planning to build them next to City Hall here in town. And I remember being struck by the size of the rooms.  They're tiny.  I mean, one of the big sight gags in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE when that came out was when we see Alex's apartment where he lives with his parents for the first time.  Tiny little rooms. Well, we're THERE.  Dystopia means you can't afford the space you could before and the more "dystopiac" a world you have, the tinier they get.  Again, post-September 2008.

The point is, the room to have a comic-book collection is an unimaginable luxury in 2012 for most people and certainly for most kids.  In my day, most parents had a basement and that was where the comic book collection went.  That's not nearly as common.  And comic books themselves have become unimaginably expensive relative to how much "walking around money" the average 18-25 year old has.  So, it's, I think, a matter of how much comic-book collecting you can do on your ipad.  A lot of people are having to downsize their lives and they have a LOT of books of all kinds. If the book is available in the public domain online, it's hard to justify spending money on storing it.  There's enormous resistance to that truth in people my age and twenty years younger than I am. But, for an 18 year old who has only known our dystopia-as-constituted, it's a no-brainer.  You pay to store things you actually need -- like clothes -- anything you can store online, you store online.
See all the 2010-2011 Cerebus Head-Sketches at Behind The Panels
Tomorrow I'll get to the "making a quick buck off the younger generation" part of the question. SAME Moment Of Cerebus Time. SAME Moment Of Cerebus Channel.


Tony Dunlop said...

The phrase "permanent digital archive" always makes me laugh. Data files are just as corruptible - it's inevitable - as paper is decomposable. Not to mention that our descendants a century or two hence, with the exception of perhaps some historians of technology, won't have the equipment to see what's on these zany toys anyway. Dave's reply is right on the money; it's about the here and now, nothing "permanent" about it.

j_ay said...

This has very little, if not nothing, to do with „storage“, it’s quite simply just the fad of the moment.
For some reason homo sapiens has (d)evolved to a point where many need some sort of Other Stimulation while doing things such as driving a car, crossing the street or even having a diner with their ‘loved ones’.

The i(diot)Pod/Phone/Pad (and their like-a-looks) will stick around, but it will become less popular once the zombies find (or rather are told about) the next thing that becomes trendy.