Tuesday, 28 August 2012

HARDtalk: The Dave Sim Interview (23c)

Can we expect to see more Dave Sim collaborative work in future? 

So, the problem is, trying to describe what I'm doing and why I think it could help pretty much everyone.  Richard Starkings is an incredibly experimental guy but a very pragmatic one: I mean, he figured out how to do a title with pretty much a different creative team every issue.  I pointed out that he's got an enormous inventory of Elephantmen pages with a SICK amount of painted detail on them -- particularly in the early going.  Plenty of potential to "Ken Burns" the pages, just having to add in new characters, classic animation style.  It's YOUR world and it's just sitting there while you're getting guys to run ahead of the freight train to keep to a plausible schedule.  As if animated films were made the way Winsor McKay did it where you had to redraw the background every time.  

It really violates a core "work ethic" thing attached to comic books.  I understand that.  But it works.  Don't do a whole issue with it, but do five pages with it.  Do a page transition with it.  Do a pan shot with it.  If JUDENHASS had been a hit instead of "here and gone" it might've taken hold, I don't know.
Elephantmen #42 by Dave Sim (2012)
So, the answer to your question is: if you're talking about a Dave Sim collaboration, that's what we would be looking at.  I'm not going to pencil or ink 20 pages of foregrounds and backgrounds and work on a script.  All of my writing and drawing time is going into THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND.  20 pages would probably take up six months to a year of my life.  I can't afford to just throw that away at this point in my life (actually I never could, I just didn't figure that out until recently).  But, it's hard to communicate with people.  I am TALKING with someone I consider a VERY BIG NAME right now about a collaboration.  Going back to the Creators' Bill of Rights time -- and especially with Steve Bissette and Michael Zulli's experiences with Mirage and Tundra -- it became obvious that you needed to keep track right from the beginning of who contributed what because it gets lost in the fever of just throwing ideas around in a room.  So, that's been a hidden blessing of my not answering my phone, just recording messages and then listening to them.  The SOMEONE I'm "talking" to is leaving phone messages about this project he wants to work with me on.  And I'm -- with his permission -- recording the phone messages.  Then I record myself leaving him phone messages.  Right from the beginning.

I'm basically just giving him "Here's what I think is good, here's what I think you're forgetting that you have to move to the front burner, here's some ideas."  And now he's at the point of getting a full proposal down on paper and sending it to me.  Notes going back years, auto-bio stuff, but I'm definitely helping him shape it.  He's always been more of an artist than a writer. Shaping it might be all that I end up doing.  Or I might end up being a script doctor on it.  "Here's what you're trying to say, here it is with the fat cut off it, here's the point of it sharpened and here's where it hits the readers between the eyes on page 9".  The stuff I do in my sleep.  Put "Thanks to Dave Sim for his input" and call it a day.

And we'll/he'll probably do a Kickstarter campaign for it.  It seems sensible to me.  Plan a single issue and put the cover and sketches and prints and stuff up on Kickstarter.  If you take in $5K let's say, well, okay. That pays you to write and draw it and give it to all your pledge partners in digital form. No overhead.  Just 1's and 0's e-mailed to them.   The $5K pays for the writing and drawing.  Then you solicit for it.  You get orders for 2,000.  Uh, nope.  It doesn't have the "legs" to be an actual funnybook.  So sorry.  Can't say we didn't try.

I even wonder if you could keep it simpler than that.  "Dave Sim and Very Big Name" are talking about doing a comic book together.  Who's in?  Who's in for $20?  Who's in for $100?  Just theoretically, let's say "John Byrne and Brian Michael Bendis" or "Howard Chaykin and Mark Millar".  You don't have to invest six months of two lives, a whole man-year of work, waiting to find out if it has "legs" -- 30 days later you would know.  "Yeah, I'll draw a comic book for that.  Hell, I'll draw ten comics books for that."

Okay, Eric and Dominick again:

Cerebus and your work lately seem to be getting some more attention of late, as attested by the recent essay collection Cerebus the Barbarian Messiah and the forthcoming interview collection Dave Sim: Conversations. Is this part of an emerging recognition of your work?  Do you have any thoughts about the fact that academic presses are interested in Dave Sim?

Be here tomorrow Moment Of Cerebus fans. Same Moment Of Cerebus time, same Moment Of Cerebus channel!

2 comments:

j_ay said...

I continue to think Dave's idea of Kick Starter is, aside from being too heavily (in fantasies and hypotheticals, at least) relied on for his/the future, approached incorrectly:
People will want to see and know more about a project than just throwing money at Two Big Names Can Work Together But Only *YOU* Can Make It Happen.

I'd more than guess the successful Kick Starter projects are essentially projects that were going to happen anyway, meaning the "creator(s)" really want to do the project but needs helping moving it along.
Not some vague idea that, 'yeah, ok, the money came in so let's do it'.

The "Ken Burns" method would get boring, even if it's a few pages, *very* quickly. If it's not already.

DVS: "But, it's hard to communicate with people"
Well, I'm no fan of people, but "communicating" is a lot easier when you don't feel the need to record it all...too much of that and the next time you flush the toilet don't be surprised if blood starts pouring out.
[That there is a movie reference, folks, a movie that predates all the CGI bullshit most are so fond of]

Eddie said...

Dave and a Big Name collaboration? Sign me up! Heck, Dave and Small Name collaboration sign me up. Any speculations who it might be?

I think that's the great thing about kickstarter: A lot of people are out there looking for cool things to back regardless of what stage of development it's at, since you get a lot of goodies and rarities in the process. Of course, having someone attached to it with a proven track record doesn't exactly hurt, especially if that someone self-published 300 issues of a comic book book across 26 years