Saturday, 25 June 2016

Jeff Seiler: Dave Sim & Me

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.

Today’s entry sort of sums up a period of a month or maybe six weeks in 2008, during which time Dave and I were conversing about the launch of glamourpuss, as well as his falling out with Jeff T., who was, at the time, running the pre-launch glamourpuss website. The falling out had to do with Dave also trying to launch what became the “I don’t believe Dave Sim is a misogynist” ipetition and Jeff T. wanting to set it up with qualifiers and Dave wanting it to be just the one declarative sentence, as well as Jeff T. not being willing to sign it without qualifiers in place. It was a pretty big contretemps at the time. So, to paraphrase one of Dave’s favorite authors, it was a most exciting time and a decidedly less exciting time. The date of this letter from Dave is 2 May, 2008, sent by fax:

Hi Jeff:

The URL for glamourpuss [Ed: the website] was registered by Julie E., so I’m sure she’ll let me know when it is up for renewal or will probably just renew it herself. The website was more of a promotion for the new title than an ongoing concern. I’ll talk to Sandeep about the correspondence [Ed: regarding the website which, IIRC, had solicited letters to the book, according to Jeff T., in handing it off], if there is any. [Sandeep] usually just e-mails back that this isn’t Dave Sim’s e-mail address and then mentions it to me if he thinks of it.

I’d just leave Jeff [Ed: T.] alone for a while until he cools off. He has the second batch of tracing-paper sketches [Ed: that Jeff T. was putting up for auction on Ebay on Dave’s behalf] but that’s no emergency either. If he hasn’t voluntarily done anything with them before the end of the summer, say, then you might send him an e-mail about sending them to whoever might be willing to handle posting them for an on-line [sic] auction and then mailing them out...and who was willing to get paid in tracing paper sketches.

#3 was great. [Ed: Here, Dave was referring to my question as to how did he like Cerebus Readers In Crisis #3, which I had published earlier in the year. I had been “freely admitting to boldly fishing for a compliment”.] I hope you’re able to keep going with it. If that’s too small a compliment, feel free to throw it back and keep fishing.

[Ed: At this point, a little backstory is necessary. At S.P.A.C.E. that year, when Dave and we Cerebites were gathered together on Saturday evening (as was our wont, annually), I had kidded Dave about his needing a proofreader. I “reminded” him in my letter of May 1st, that I got a kick out of his comeback, “And you’re just someone who wants to be a writer.” So, here’s how he ends his May 2nd letter by fax:]

What I actually said, as I recall, was “I write books and you wish you could.”



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