Saturday, 9 April 2016

Jeff Seiler: Dave Sim & Me

JEFF SEILER:
Eleven years ago, when Cerebus ended, Dave Sim decided to answer all of his back mail. A month or so later, he had his "Jeff Seiler Day" in which he answered multiple letters I had written over the previous year. After I received that letter, I decided to keep writing, and he kept his promise to answer every letter he received. Now, I have a foot-high stack of letters written and received over 10 years or so. I'll be running interesting excerpts from those letters each week.

I have an envelope from Dave from March, 2006, but there is no letter inside of it. If I find it, I’ll post it later. Or, Dave could look it up in his archives and send it to Tim. Moving on, we go to 8 April, 2006. In it, Dave responds to my work on determining which issue of Cerebus are okay for all-ages consumption. I went through all of the monthlies I had and made a list of all of the issues which contained no swearing, no nudity, and no sexual acts or innuendo. If anyone wants to see that list, ask Dave. In this letter, he also addresses my request for a page of original art, back when I couldn’t afford one, as well as an article from the newspaper about undercover stings in bars and my going out to bars, something he had given up doing seven or eight years earlier, possibly around the time of his favorite bar, Peter’s Place, having burned to the ground, which story he related in a back-of-the-monthly-issue-essay entitled “Never Fall In Love With a Bar”:

Hey Jeff:

Just spoke to you yesterday, so this is going to be quick. Yes, it is a little worrisome, but going undercover in bars to prevent excessive drunkenness is very much in line with banning smoking in all public places. Yes, it’s a violation of free will and privacy but, yes, it will reduce smoking levels, which is an inherent good. Once you accept the preemptive strike as a legitimate overall national policy (which I agree with, within limits) it does tend to lead in these sorts of directions. Considering the trouble you’ve gotten into in bars, the fact that it’s keeping you home more would sort of prove the assertion. “Nothing good happens after ten o’clock at night, which is why it’s a good time to go to bed.”

Thanks for the list of OK For General Audiences issues. I’ve copied out the numbers and put them in with the freebie pile, so I’ll have them if I come up with a program which hinges on being able to circulate free issues in a general rather than targeted way. I have heard the argument that selling to mainstream bookstores is a rising tide that floats all boats. [Ed: The last sentence was in response to one of my early suggestions that he sell Cerebus volumes to places like Barnes & Noble, which was at the time just beginning to sell independent graphic novels.] I don’t know if it is generally subscribed to by comic book stores below the high end represented by Titan Comics. I’m going to err on the side of caution at least for the next while and particularly as regards the extra level of promotion represented by providing a mainstream store with sales tools I’m not providing to comic book stores.

If you just want to tell us what you were planning to spend on a page, we could pick one out that we think is in your price range. I mean, we aren’t going to go through all 3,900 pages, anguishing about it and pulling our hair out, but we would certainly attempt to be fair. Or, you can keep bidding on the pages that come up and hope that the prices are going to go down rather than up, overall. Your call.

Best,

Dave

2 comments:

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Conservatives are very concerned about sex being harmful to children (I notice Jeff doesn't mention violence -- or even extremely emotionally-upsetting scenes -- which one could also argue might be harmful to children). I always say it's the parents' responsibility to monitor what their children are reading, watching, and listening to -- and to place that in appropriate context. We should be less concerned with specific textual content, and more concerned with the maturity of the particular child.

-- Damian

Travis Pelkie said...

I hope the baby tossing issue made the cut for OK for General Audiences! Don't think there's any swearing, nudity, or sex or innuendo there!