Monday, 14 November 2016

The Cerebus-Ending Crisis: Can We Keep Going? - Part 2

A Portfolio of 10 Signed & Numbered Prints with Exclusive Commentary by Dave Sim
Raising Funds For The Restoration & Preservation Of The World's Longest Graphic Novel 



In answer to our Kickstarter Survey Question "Do you have any suggestions for future Cerebus Kickstarter campaigns?" Greg G of Los Angeles, California wrote:
I have two: 1) for the portfolios, for God's sake let Dave choose the ten pages he most wants to talk about for each book, rather than going with the ten earliest. Ten earliest makes zero sense.

It doesn't make a difference, Greg, is what I'm saying: I can look at ANY part of MELMOTH... or WOMEN... or RICK'S STORY... or any of the 6,000 pages and that's what I'm going to think. And ALL I'm going to think. And all I HAVE thought since 2003 when I finished it. To reiterate from yesterday:

"This is really sad: that something as sincerely intended and the product of a lot of metaphorical blood and literal sweat (though, admittedly, no tears) like CEREBUS is viewed this way. But this is the way it's viewed. As an object suitable only for the malice and knee-jerk dismissal which is so characteristic of feminism."

As I recently said to a neighbour when she found out I was "famous" -- or, as she put it (from her intonation): Famous -- "I'm not famous, I'm notorious." "Monstrous" would come nearer the mark, but I'll let "notorious" understate the case.

I keep going as long as there are enough people to keep the CEREBUS intellectual property alive. I do so because I have a sense of obligation both to the Literary and Artistic thing that I intended to create...

[that I, as objectively as I can view it, think I DID create -- and that I infer from your kind comment about CEREBUS being literature that YOU think I did create -- and that I think would be ACKNOWLEDGED as what I DID create -- in any society other than one such as we inhabit: overwhelmed and consumed by malice for anything that isn't feminism]

…and to the handful of people -- 200 or so -- who don't, unquestioningly, share in the otherwise universally-malicious feminist viewpoint.

In that regard, my commenting on the FIRST ten pages of each of the trade paperbacks, to me, makes perfect sense:

"I might as well do this in as orderly and 'logic-of-the-next-step' a manner as possible since I have absolutely no connection, personally, to the material itself at this point."

The completed CEREBUS is, for me, a 6,000-page, 26-year, on-going nightmare. With these CEREBUS ARCHIVE Portfolios, I now have the necessity of re-experiencing each part of that nightmare and dredging up all of the bad memories associated with each year between 1977 and 2004 -- by examining the artwork that I produced then -- and saying "Okay, here's what I was thinking. Here's what I was attempting to do. Here's where it fits. Here is my best recollection associated with this material and the creation of it".

It was extremely difficult, arduous but gratifying work to put the whole thing together and, since 1994, extremely difficult, arduous work to keep the whole operation from being completely torn apart. I DO remember creating CEREBUS and, as long as it's possible to do so, I'll commit those memories to paper for those interested and willing to finance my doing so.

I'm glad that you're one of those people, Greg.

I just want you to know that this isn't, for me, a day at the beach! :)

Tomorrow: Greg's second suggestion!




Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Poor Dave. He's all butthurt that his comic book isn't taken seriously as Literature, when most of it came out before any comics were taken seriously as Literature, and he illogically blames feminism. Now comics are taken seriously as Literature, and Dave's comic isn't among them. A conspiracy of feminists may not be the only explanation.

Dave is the kind of theist who thinks that atheists go, "There is a god, in whom I do not believe." Likewise, he cannot believe that there is anyone who would not think that Cerebus is a towering work of genius. He believes that feminists go, "Cerebus is a towering work of genius, which fact must never be admitted." Most of Dave's "arguments" are like that: if you already agree with him, the truth of the conclusion is obvious; if you don't, there's not even an argument there.

Having failed in his lifetime to achieve the acclaim that is his rightful due, Dave has pinned his hopes on posterity. (As Woody Allen said, "The trouble with posterity is it's too late for an I-told-you-so.") I do think that Cerebus will be rediscovered -- but it will never be a widely-popular work and won't join the Literary Canon. Comics historians will find much of interest in Cerebus and the physical Cerebus Archive. And cartoonists of course will learn from Dave 'n' Ger's mastery of the medium. It's too bad that Cerebus has been an ongoing nightmare for Dave, but I think those two groups will thank him for the effort.

-- Damian

Michael said...

The decision to choose the 10 earliest pages rather than using a curated approach of selecting pages is one of the reasons I have chosen not to purchase any of the portfolios.


Paul Slade said...

Dave said: "The completed CEREBUS is, for me, a 6,000-page, 26-year, on-going nightmare. With these CEREBUS ARCHIVE Portfolios, I now have the necessity of re-experiencing each part of that nightmare and dredging up all of the bad memories associated with each year between 1977 and 2004."

Some good memories as well though surely, Dave?

You and Ger certainly looked like you were having fun in all those photographs from five star hotel suites in exotic locations round the world. Not only that, but your editorials and letters page comments from the book's original monthly issues suggest you rightly took a lot of pleasure and satisfaction from producing Cerebus at the time. There's no reason the commentaries should focus on bad memories alone, is there?

trail of bread said...

Problem with first 10 pages is that for the later books it is just half of issue 1 - for the early books it was scattered and that was more interesting.

I've been with Cerebus since issue 60 or so, so it's not easy to say this but Dave - stop. Spend your remaining money on your health and retirement. Or (ideally) finish all the remastering work and then stop. But you have done your work on this, and endlessly explained, detailed and discussed. You deserve to have some peace (if that is your wish). If the art does not stand for itself now, it never will.

Personally I think the art and the "earlier, funny stuff" will last. Maybe even the times are more in tune with Dave Sim's world view and people will like the "politics". But don't throw all your savings at it.

Sandeep Atwal said...

lol...poor Damian, it must be SO aggravating that Cerebus is recognized as one of the most important achievements in the history of the medium by so many people (it's right on this site, Damian! when he wishes everyone had the same low opinion of Dave and Cerebus that he does. (Of course, some do. They're wrong.) Let's all pretend Dave's anti-feminism has nothing to do with how Cerebus is perceived...yeah, right! It's going to be difficult for most people to recognize what it takes to create something like Cerebus. Only a very, very, very small group of people can realistically conceive of what that level of work truly entails. Most people don't have a clue what it means to work that hard for that long.

Dave Sim said...

Damian - Unlike Woody Allen, I've never really been an "I told you so" kind of guy. "I told you so" is usually implied by the situation. If what I said supports "I told you so" then there's really no need for an "I told you so". It's self-evident.

There are certainly a few people who have said "Dave was talking about all this twenty years ago". Whether you agree with what I was saying or disagree with what I was saying, a lot more people are talking about it now than were talking about it then. At the very least, I think that needs to be described as "foresighted".

I don't think feminists actually think about anything that isn't feminism, let alone even contemplating attributes or non-attributes of anything that isn't feminism. If it isn't feminism and you're a feminist, you shun it and you know it isn't feminism because feminists tell you that it isn't.

I think you go back and forth between considering CEREBUS Literature and considering it Not Literature. Leaning in the former direction if feminism isn't under discussion and leaning in the latter direction if feminism is under discussion. Which seems inconsistent to me (to say the least).

Dave Sim said...

Michael - Hope you change your mind, but it sure doesn't sound like it. :)

Dave Sim said...

Paul Slade - The actual process of doing a 6,000-page comic book was interesting AT THE TIME.

It isn't a particularly pleasant experience going back to 1990 or 1984 or 1979 or any of those years. As Sandeep says, if he had to re-read everything he wrote in university in the IMPRINT student newspaper AND get it "restored" AND comment on it AND pay 10's of thousands of dollars to get it restored, he'd probably blow his brains out. :)

Picture examining in minute detail anything that you were doing thirty years ago and having to find a way to communicate your exact experience and thought processes to 21st century people. I understand that the core audience wants that. I want that -- or wanted that -- with things that I was interested in. If BWS ever decided to do a page-by-page, panel-by-panel memoir of RED NAILS, I'm first in line. Won't even ask how much. Just bill me.

But, I know that would be a nightmare for him just from what little I know of what was going on in his life at the time.

If he owned RED NAILS and if RED NAILS had been made possible by direct fan support, I think the case could be made that he owed it to me and to everyone who treasures it to examine it exhaustively while a) he's still alive and b) is able to do so. Fortunately (?) for him, he doesn't. The REH Estate and Marvel own it.

Dave Sim said...

Paul Slade II - Anything having to do with Gerhard is completely tainted by "how it ended up" and where it stands. Which, in retrospect, was unavoidable. I'm sure he's the same way. Hearing the name "Dave Sim" probably doesn't exactly light up his life.

But, same category: I have to talk about it in the frame of reference that it has from the time. "This is what happened to the best of my recollection. This is how I thought at the time." I'm not exactly bathed in glory in retrospect of the time spent at the Gainesville Hilton which I wrote about in CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER FOUR. Or of how I spent my time generally. But that's what the core audience wants to know about: what do you remember about this?

But that's the obligation to the core audience and to the material. a) While you're alive and b) while you're able to do so.

It would have been a lot more helpful researching F. Scott Fitzgerald if he had written his best recollections of what are regarded as his peak years instead of writing "The Crack-Up" as an example.

Dave Sim said...

trail of bread - I really don't plan on throwing ALL of my savings at it. It's like being on a pontoon-equipped plane that flies for a while and then dips below the water and then flies for a while. Same category: you owe it to the core audience and the material to keep going. It's not a "CAN'T keep going" thing. Not yet. And it has far more to do with the core audience: you happen to exist in a time period where a lot of the weight of whether CEREBUS keeps going rests on you.

Peace, I don't really believe in. I believe in excellence. Doing the best job you can of whatever it is that you're supposed to be doing (or which you infer you're supposed to be doing). I've never experienced peace -- except in a momentary sense -- and I don't really expect to. I sure don't linger in it when I do. There's too much that needs to be done. Much of which, unfortunately (for me), only I can do.

Dave Sim said...

Sandeep - Yeah, there's only one of them. :)

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it.

Cerdic Grimbly said...

I find what Dave has written here so incredibly poignant and sad that I am really and genuinely (this sentence excepted) at a loss for words...

KevinR said...

I can't say that a long-form version of Dave's "feminists must still hate me" is doing much for me backing this KS. I've backed the first five, but maybe it is time to walk away.

The recent (and coming four years of) "discourse" in the States long ago filled my tolerance for all extremists (of any stripe) who prefer ranting to communicating, and this is getting to sound like the exaggerated paranoia of both ends of American idiocy.

Barry Deutsch said...

I'm not all that interested in Dave's thoughts on feminism, either (sorry Dave!).

But I think Cerebus is a brilliant comic that should be kept in print. That's the main reason I'm buying the portfolios when I can afford them.

And yes, the every-single-page-in-order format strikes me as less interesting than a more curated portfolio. And yes, I enjoy reading Dave discuss page layouts and pen nibs and drawing technique, and don't enjoy reading about what he thinks about feminism.

But the pages chosen and the essays aren't the main point for me, although I do enjoy them. My primary interest is in supporting the project of keeping Cerebus in print.

Sandeep Atwal said...

I guarantee that if Dave picked the ten "best" pages from each volume, people would be asking for them in chronological order...

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Dave: My view of Cerebus is consistent: I like the good parts, and I don't like the bad parts. I'll quote Allan Rubinstein again: "Cerebus contains some of the all-time best and some of the all-time worst comics I’ve ever read." Myself, I've use the term "flawed masterpiece"; it is a masterpiece, but the flaws within it prevent it from being top-shelf. Of course Cerebus is Literature -- it's just not first-rate literature.

Sandeep: Thank you for your thoughts. You can be sure that, as ever, I will give them all the consideration they deserve.

-- Damian