Saturday, 22 September 2012

Emotional Depth

Cerebus 265 (April 2001)
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard
(from Irredeemable: Dave Sim's Cerebus by Tim Krieder in The Comics Journal #301, February 2011)
...Cerebus is often a much better book than Dave Sim seems to realize, or intended it to be. As D. H. Lawrence wrote of Herman Melville: "The artist is so much greater then the man." It's been little remarked upon that a man who claims to disdain emotion, and affects a pious equanimity at having cut off all contact with his parents while his mother was in the hospital, shows us, at the climax of Going Home, his protagonist falling to his knees screaming, and rending his garments in shame at having abandoned his family in their hour of need. It's as if what Sim represses in his own conscious life is what infuses his work with its emotional depth - depths to which he himself is blind. Sim would doubtless deny any connection here, just as he argues that any perception of Jaka as a Strong Female Character is pure projection on the part of his readers. But leaving room for your readers' interpretations is what makes art resonate. If a violin were a solid piece of wood it would be silent: it's the empty space inside it that makes the music.

1 comment:

Tony Dunlop said...

This reminds me of songwriter Randy Newman, who famously claims to be immune to emotional effects in his life while being the author/composer of some of the most heart-rending songs of his generation.