Thursday, 23 August 2012

HARDtalk: The Dave Sim Interview (22a)

Welcome to the Moment of Cerebus Holiday Editions done a) on the fly and b) way ahead of time so Tim can get a few days away. A question from Eric Hoffman (Cerebus the Barbarian Messiah; Dave Sim:Conversations) and Dominick Grace (Dave Sim:Conversations):

Since finishing Cerebus, you have done some work with other creators, even occasionally scripting for others (e.g. the issue of Gun Fu you co-wrote), something you'd done early on but, except for with Gerhard, rarely have done since that partnership formed.  How do you find it to have to script for another artist, or to accomodate your style to someone else's work?  

Not really difficult at all.  In fact, it's one of the things that I missed out on throughout my career -- being able to write something "to order", the bane of the average freelancer's existence: editorial revisions.  Something I would do on CEREBUS, extensively but internally.  As I continue to annotate my notebooks for HIGH SOCIETY AUDIO DIGITAL, it's amazing how BRUTAL an editor I was with myself the first five years or so.  Dropping large chunks of material because they slowed the story down or went too far from the main point.  Often losing some good sight gags and funny lines because I needed a quicker transition. Particularly around the late issue 30s -- I've just hit the point in the Notebooks at the end of Petuniacon where I realized that I was running out of pages on HIGH SOCIETY.  HOW CAN YOU RUN OUT OF PAGES ON A 500-PAGE STORY!!???
Gun Fu: Showgirls Are Forever (Image Comics, 2006)
Art by Dave Sim, Gerhard, Joey Manson & Howard Shum
In the case of Howard Shum's Gun Fu: Showgirls Are Forever and, more recently, Richard Starkings' Elephantmen, it's THEIR book so you basically take it as a given that whatever you are doing is a raw material, not a finished piece so I make sure they understand that at the outset.  Anything you don't want in there or anything you want to change, feel free.  For obvious reasons, a Dave Sim fan -- and they were both longtime Dave Sim fans -- are very hesitant to edit Dave Sim.  Until they're actually looking at it as a jigsaw puzzle piece they have to fit into their own cosmology.  There's no way another creator is going to make a perfect jigsaw puzzle piece for you.  It's YOUR jigsaw puzzle so it has to be your jigsaw puzzle piece.  Time to get the, you know, jigsaw out and trim some of the "Dave Sim" off of this thing so it fits!
Elephantmen: Ebony Dreams (Hero Comics 2012)
By Dave Sim with Richard Starkings
As happened with Rich, he tried to keep it my thing. I mean, there were immediate changes that he made in the script.  He's been writing Elephantmen for years so he knows an Elephantmen caption from an Elephantmen "space invader" and sent back his revisions.  And then probably held his breath waiting for me to go ballistic (people always confuse me with Cerebus). No reaction on my part apart from curiosity as to what it was that he was seeing -- which I'm not going to know.  Just glad that he was able to use the rest of it.

Tomorrow:  How much more of this can I take?  everyone wonders.  Quite a lot, as it turns out.

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