Monday, 5 August 2013

The Corporate Pyramid

Editorial Cartoon in WAP! #6 (1988)
by Dave Sim

(from the Comics Forum interview, 1993)
...If you picture a multinational corporation as a pyramid, coming down there's a ragged bottom of middle-level bureaucrats, and dangling from the end of one of the strands is an editor. Down below him, trying to reach up, is the creator. An editor is paid a Manhattan salary. Those people leave tips in restaurants bigger than what creators work for. This is why the reward for one of the top creators is always to offer them an editorial position. They're struck dumb when they say to someone like Alan Moore, "We'd like to make you an editor, an overseer of a line of comic books," and the reply is "No, I just want to write them."

You have to understand that these people have no credibility. Neil Gaiman has no credibility. Frank Miller has no credibility. They are a profit center. They are a prestigious thing to have around... The company has to feel at every point that what they have given you is a magnanimous gesture on their part. They cannot have the tail wagging the dog. There's a reason why it's the Vertigo Tour and not the Neil Gaiman Tour. DC owns Vertigo, they don't own Neil. They've already been burned with Frank Miller and Alan Moore. They didn't own them but the made them into superstars and then had them walk away. They won't make the same mistake again. They know what they own, what they control, and what they don't. I'm not, and refuse to be, a lapdog begging for scraps. Whatever level you get to in the comic-book field, that's what you are. Once you sign the contract, you get what you get. It's the company that decides it. You don't, your agent doesn't, your lawyer doesn't, your publicist doesn't. You're talking Time Warner. You are a tiny speck in the middle of their magnifying glass and that's all you can be. If you see it any other way, you're kidding yourself...

On his My Rant Blog, Steve Bissette details the content and historical context of the 9 issues of WAP!, "the forgotten activist pro-zine", published between 1988-1989, which included contributions from Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Dave Sim and other comics creators.
WAP! (Words and Pictures), a newsletter for comics freelance artists and writers.”), arrived sometime in early 1988. - See more at:


Chad Parenteau said...

Um, didn't he say not to use any illustrations from his blog?

A Moment Of Cerebus said...

Hi Chad,
I wouldn't dream of upsetting Steve Bissette. The scan I used was taken from an old issue of The Comics Journal!

Eric Hoffman said...

This interview can be found in DAVE SIM: CONVERSATIONS, published by University of Mississippi Press, available now from and any fine brick and mortar! (Shameless plug!)