Friday, 21 September 2012

The Fantagraphics Offer: Update #2

In the final issue of his self-published Glamourpuss, Dave Sim included an essay reflecting on the end of the series, and the possible end of his professional involvement with comics. The reaction online was widespread, and soon turned to a discussion of the future of Sim's earlier work, Cerebus. On a comments thread at TCJ.com, Fantagraphics co-publisher Kim Thompson expressed his potential interest in republishing some of Sim's Cerebus material. Sim, arguably the most iconic self-publisher in comics history, responded to that 'open offer' in a lengthy article at TCJ.com, and indicated his willingness to negotiate with Kim on a possible publishing deal for Cerebus, albeit in the public forum of the comments section at the TCJ.com website. Got all that? Now read on for a summary of yesterday's postings...

KIM THOMPSON:
...I am not offering to publish CEREBUS out of "sympathy," I am offering to publish CEREBUS because it was, on and off (mostly on) a great comic by one of the great contemporary cartoonists, which up until now it appeared we had zero chance of publishing (given Dave’s self-publisher stance) so it wasn’t even on the table. If publishing it has as a side benefit allowing a great cartoonist to continue working, as opposed to leaving the field, that would be a bonus.... Read the full post here.

DAVE SIM:
...FORM & VOID is all that's on the table right now.  I don't picture Fantagraphics publishing either a glamourpuss collection or THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND (two different things), nor do I picture doing three books a year (which would still take us up to 2017-2018 with the same inherent problems:  anyone signing a contract in 2007 on the assumption that 2012 would look pretty much the same as 2007 would have been in for an awful shock). I'm willing to stake what I consider one of my most literate books on the assumption that the print book trade isn't just absolutely dying, which as we both know isn't exactly a safe assumption these days, let alone in 2018 or 2029... Read the full post here.

KIM THOMPSON:
...Dave, unsurprisingly, I see a pretty wide abyss here between what you’re interested in and my idea. Yanking out and repackaging a single story from CEREBUS into a mass-market-friendly format makes no sense to me on any number of levels - not the least of which being that I expect you to be an enormous pain in the ass to work with (I say this amicably; I assume you feel the same way about us) and producing a single book as opposed to a series is not enough reward for the seven levels of hell we’ll drag one another through. However, I am going to sit down and re-read FORM AND VOID and try to wrap my head around this idea.

Just for clarity’s sake, my idea was to reprint the entire series in nicer-looking (no offense, but aside from the covers, which are lovely, the CEREBUS books' non-comics pages look like a small-town insurance company's in-house newsletter), more bookstore-friendly versions (chopping a few of the more unwieldy books in two or more pieces), explaining CEREBUS's world more fully for readers who stumble into the 7th volume, using back cover copy to "introduce" potential readers to the series, etc… Obviously neither of us would want to contract for the entire run right off the bat, so a contract for the first four or six books which could then be renewed or not as either side saw fit, but hopefully both sides would be pleased with the results and WANT to renew... Read the full post here.

Don't miss all the action, as it happens, at TCJ.com.

1 comment:

Cory Foster said...

I really dislike the idea of "chopping...books in two or more pieces." So we'll have Church and State I-IV? That seems much more unwieldy and uninviting than I-II...