Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Committing To 300 Issues

Cerebus #100 (July 1987), #200 (November 1995), #300 (March 2004)
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard
(from Feature #4, 1997)
What do I hope coming generations will take from my use of the freedom that I've had? I hope there will be a few individuals who will try to navigate a very large work, try and succeed. I hope we're coming out of the morbid societal mindset that I grew up in. "What if you get hit by a bus?" Certainly in 1977 it was considered ridiculous to plan your life around anything. We were all going to die in a nuclear war. The earth would be uninhabitable by 1990. Computers would eliminate print and "art programs" would provide all of our creative needs - just hit a button and create your own Rembrandt. AIDS would sweep the world and 90% of the world's population would be cadaverously strewn in the gutters of the cities. North America would be covered in ice or inundated with water. The ozone layer would be wiped out and we'd all die of radiation poisoning.

It was very peculiar, ridiculously optimistic for a twenty-one-year old to make pans for the rest of his life as if he was going to live to be forty-six or, even stranger, to imagine that the world he would inhabit at the age of forty-six would bear even a vague resemblance to the world he inhabited at the age of twenty-one.

Faint hope, but it would be nice to think that there would be a few twenty-one-year old artist-writers who would view the year 2030 in 2004 the way I viewed 2004 in 1977 - as being well within the confines of their normal life expectancy and worth considering on its own terms as a virtually guaranteed reality. Put it another way, how many times can Arthur C. Clarke be wrong before we can dismiss him as an unrealistic crank? How many years until the world's population really accepts that the world of Star Wars has about as much chance of coming into existence as Judy Garland's Oz does? It's an extension of my own optimism, certainly, to hope that even a few individuals would be able to differentiate between hallucination and reality, but the freedom is definitely there for the taking for anyone willing to try to perceive more accurately than conventional belief allows. There is no way for me to convey what the experience of working  on page 4,000 of a 6,000 page story is like - how worthwhile it is, how gratifying it is, what different layers of perception are implied. So, if it's going to happen again for someone, that someone is just going to have to have the same instinct that I had back in 1977; times a-wasting, the journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step, blah, blah, blah. But at least the possibility is within their grasp - as opposed to antigravity shoes or a hovercar or a condo on Mars which would all would have been widely-perceived as having a greater likelihood of existing than say, issue 225 of Cerebus.

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