(from Suggested For Mature Readers, 30 November 2015)
..."I had arrived at my career end point," Dave wrote in the back of [Glamourpuss] #26. By then, the comic was down to 2,400 readers. I wasn't one; I'd bought the first five issues but, going to comic shops infrequently, missed a few and gave up. I thought maybe I'd get the collection when it came out, a method of reading comics pioneered by Aardvark-Vanaheim and Dave Sim. In my absence the comic had devolved from a professional presentation, with variant covers and all, to something more closely resembling the fanzine scene where Cerebus began. Back covers were ads for back issues or the Cerebus Archive which ran concurrently. The Notes From Glamourpuss in the frontispiece had been replaced first by random reminiscences from Russ Heath then by unreadable letters from the comic's only regular correspondent, Johnny McPhanbot. The Strange Death of Alex Raymond, known as SDOAR at this point, is gathering momentum but everything else has visibly run out of velocity, interest, steam. "It was very weird and doomed to failure from Day One... but it was a lot of fun while it lasted," is Dave's final line. There seems little conviction in it.
There's something simultaneously admirable and pitiable about Dave's decision, when faced with financial adversity, to do exactly the same thing he did 31 years earlier. Launching a bi-monthly comic he wrote and drew with no real idea what the content will be worked the first time, so why not again? And the same miracle, arguable pre-disposed because of his work ethic and talent, does happen again; he finds something to write about, and a flailing mess of a comic gets a focus. But Dave was lucky enough in the 70s to launch into a market receptive to his kind of work, and that took shape in some part around it. In the 00s the comics audience wasn’t receptive to a black-and-white comic with no idea what it was saying or where it was going and it wasn't receptive to a Dave Sim comic. The B&W independent comics hit comes via original graphic novels in bookshops, and everyone's had enough of Dave Sim's politics. He's not the pariah he insists he is. A Dave Sim project could sell. But his curved psychology means everything comes back to his refutations of feminism, and nobody except a small coterie of superfans finds anything worthwhile in them. Jack Chick in a world without Christians.
One of the elements in Dave Sim's famous revelation, the one where he decided to write and draw Cerebus for 26 years and 6,000 pages, was that he could put everything in there. He didn't have to write different stories, different characters, different worlds, because everything he wanted to say could go into this. Neil Gaiman, in a tribute to Cerebus, remembered when he interviewed Sim: "I remember asking him what he'd do if there was something he wanted to write about, something he had to say that didn’t fit into Cerebus. 'I'd use a big hammer,' he grinned. 'I'd get it in somehow.'" And he did, and he got everything in, unusual as it all turned out to be, and left himself without anything he wanted to write about. And that's Glamourpuss.
The above is a short excerpt from a longer review of Dave Sim's Glamourpuss. Full article here...