(from a reply to J. Hagey in Aardvark Comments, Cerebus #192, March 1995)
...You can mention the names that you have as 'inspirations' for my work. This is an error of scholarship - the assumption that others' ideas are the building blocks from which a creative work is constructed. Scholars are always stopped dead in their tracks by the denial of influence. How can such a thing be? The ideas presented have so much in common with the influence, it simply isn't POSSIBLE that there is no direct cause and effect. I am put in mind of Larry Marder as a fan-boy tad, much enamoured and well read on the subject of the Hopi Indians - a Hopi fanatic - who saw whole pieces of the big Hopi cloth writ large - nay, gargantuan - in Kirby's Fourth World series. When the opportunity presented itself at a comic-book convention to inquire about this, Kirby proved to be completely unwitting of anything having to do with the Hopi Indians. Fortunately Larry was and is a creative individual, so the answer didn't bring any ersatz-scholar castle crashing to ruins, but instead fed his reverance, delight and satisfaction with the Funny Way These Things Are (you see? Not being scholars, we have no words for this. It just Is).
Out of your list, I have read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Curiosity finally overcame me - so many earnest individuals had insisted that I must be a major Rand fan (MUST be). When I assured them that this was not the case, to a one they were insistent that I MUST read Rand's work. If my castle was not built on their foundation, at least a kind of after-the-fact, closing-the-barn-door cause and effect could be hoped for.
Your world and my world are diametrically opposed. You don't accept this. Well and good. I am documenting the Funny Way These Things Are. I find many of my same views and the views which are in opposition to them. If I had a nickel for every classical theme, universal myth, philosophy and icon which has been hitched to Cerebus in the minds of its readers, I would have many, many nickels.
I have yet to read anything about Ayn Rand and The Fountainhead that has anything to do with the book I read. I have only infrequently read anything about myself or Cerebus that has anything to do with the work I am writing. Scholarship about creativity is important only to scholars. Analysis is important only to analysts. Criticism is important only to critics. You attempt to label and classify that which is important because it cannot be successfully labeled and cannot successfully be classified...