Sunday, 30 July 2017

A Gen X Cerebus Fan Speaks! Dave Sim Interrupts!


 A (very occasional) word from Dave Sim now that he's working full-time on

Dear Mr. Sim,

I'm writing to offer a helpful and friendly correction to a mistake which I found on the first page in the third issue of CEREBUS IN HELL?. You assert, using Cerebus as your mouthpiece, that the youngest fan of your CEREBUS series must currently be in their forties.

The sentiment was Cerebus' alone. Cerebus is many things but a mouthpiece he is not.

Seeing as how I greatly enjoy CEREBUS and am, as of the writing of this letter, not three months past 28, I thought you might like to know of your egregious oversight, so that this sort of thing might not occur more than once.

My desire to know of my egregious oversights is, as all CEREBUS fans know, insatiable.

How did I come to love the earth-pig born, you may be wondering, now that you're, I assume, fully recovered from the shame of knowing you nearly alienated an entire post-Clinton fan (at the least singular) base?

I confess to liking the sound of "post-Clinton", though I think it unlikely. Go on.

Well, it's a strange tale and not one that would make a good story, I expect. I happened upon your series on Wikipedia, while reading about the Puma Blues and the distribution fracas that happened a few years before I was born. A link to High Society led me to a link to the series proper; led me to my local comic store, which led me to buying copies of the second and third phone books and a protracted quest for the first, which only recently came to a close.

Personally, I find any story where I earn some revenue, absolutely riveting.

While I was working towards finding the first volume of CEREBUS (being a natural perfectionist, I believe that not starting at the beginning is a mortal sin) I discovered your CEREBUS IN HELL? series and took it as something of a sign from Tarim and a random coincidence that could be retroactively construed as a useful signpost.

Luckily for you, the outcome was the purchase of more CEREBUS literaria and an obsession with the earth-pig which borders on the Chapmanesque.

So far as I'm concerned, as long as you keep investing in these random coincidences/useful signposts to my benefit, you are more than welcome to the minting of any Latin term that takes your fancy.

(Worry not, defenceless Canadian, this American considers violence spiritually sickening and, if we're being frank, the exact inverse of sexuality. I realize you may disagree, being an ascetic; then again, I suppose you've probably given up both, and so the issue is probably mute).

(The issue, unless speaking telepathically or, like ourselves, parenthetically, does, indeed, appear to be "mute").

Suffice to say, I love CEREBUS despite the fact that, as of now, I am only just past his first meeting with Jaka. "How can you this be?" you ask. "Are you sure you're not just another fickle American, flitting from one empty obsession to another, believing yourself a man of wealthful taste, when you're nothing more than a hedonistic little devil?"

To be quite clear, I would be delighted if every American citizen would buy three of the phone books, CEREBUS IN HELL? and then only read the latter and up to the first meeting with Jaka in the former. From what I understand, there are several generations of feminists who, in retrospect, wish they had done exactly that.

Well, I guess the best response to your (wholly imaginary) quiry is to say that I fell in love with the audacity of your opus and its inimitable flavor of sumptuous acerbity before I consumed the opus itself. You might say the wafting scent of the implaceable feast that is CEREBUS won me over to the feast itself.

Had I said that, I think I would have run quiry and implaceable past Jeff Seiler first. 

Or you might say that an unbalanced "fan" is writing to tell you how much he loves your life's work, despite not having read most of it. Not having met you I would never wish to be accused of the thought-crime of assuming anything about anyone. If you've been at all triggered by this letter, please write to me and say so, so that I may commit ritual seppuku with the sharpened olive branch of tolerance and diversity.

Not to worry, I'm of the "pre-trigger" generation (and "non-trigger" gender).

I guess if there's a point to this letter, it's to let you know that, even in these dark days of Twitter, Trump and text-messaging, your work touched another human's life before it was even properly experienced.

Maybe you'll more properly experience your thirties.

Hell, I've even taken Cerebus off the printed page and introduced him to my material world. Looking for a bit of motivation with my own creativity one day, I clipped out a Cerebus from the back of the second issue of CEREBUS IN HELL? and created a speech bubble for him reading "Where's Cerebus' masterpiece?" Hanging it at eye level on my bedroom door, it is now the last thing I see before I leave in the morning.

What Cerebus means to say (I'm sure) is "Where is the REST of Cerebus' masterpiece?" We're both VERY fond of our American-dollar revenues.

Well, there you have it, I hope I've brightened your Northern Day a bit and I hope you won't mind me saying that I think you deserve to be mentioned alongside Watterson, Kelly and Eisner. Having read your most recent excursion with Cerebus as I'm starting to read your very first issues from 1977 strikes me as poetic somehow and I felt compelled to mention this, though now I'm not quite sure why. I suppose that's poetry though: a lot of "Who knows?" (May I just say, as an aside, that I think "Years later, he died" might be one of the funniest openings ever).

Reading CEREBUS IN HELL? before reading Cerebus strikes me as very Shakespearean. [Dante and Virgil enter stage right] DANTE: Years later, he died.]

Thinking back to what I'm told the world was like 40 years ago, I wonder what you think's changed the most between CEREBUS #1 and CEREBUS IN HELL? or, more interestingly, what hasn't changed at all.

a) Computers and b) the urge on the part of most people to live inside their televisions. Two sides of the same coin.

If you started writing CEREBUS in 2017, what do you suppose you'd do differently, if anything? If you find the time to write back in between repositioning Dore's illustrations around Cerebus, I'd greatly enjoy hearing your thoughts on this matter. Would you have anything to say about Trump? ISIL? Gamergate? The Kardashians? Marvel Films? Image Comics? The role of mortality in social media's urging us towards documenting the material world in painstaking detail?

I'd probably do everything pretty much the same, except I'd start with "Years later he died" and throw in a few CEREBUS IN HELL? foreshadowing strips anytime the narrative started to get too tendentious.

Anyhow, I look forward to finishing CEREBUS by next March, at a rate of one issue per day. If the world is still habitable, I shall write to you and let you know if you still stand with the greats.

I'm breathless with anticipation.

Sincerely,

Peter F. S.

9 comments:

Travis Pelkie said...

Technically, Peter is one of those dang Millennials you hear about all the time any more. Gen Xers were born late '60s into the '70s, Millennials early '80s to mid-late '90s. Apparently, as someone born in '79, I fall right in the cusp of those two.

This is funny stuff, classic Dave sarcasm here. Thanks for sharing!

Jeff Seiler said...

Well, of course he meant "moot", "query" and (I think) "implacable". Although the latter word really doesn't seem to be the proper adjective for what he is attempting to say about the feast that is Cerebus. But I can't think of any word even close to "implaceable" or "implacable" that would fit there.

Thanks, Dave. You made my Sunday, following two major disappointments in the past two days.

Anonymous said...

"Implaceable" is probably meant to be "impeccable". But that's just my best guess. Could be wrong.

Benjamin Hobbs

Jeff Seiler said...

Ooh!!! Yes!!! Good on yer, Mr. Hobbs!!!

I bow to your superior knowledge of the mother tongue and offer to you the rights to proofreading Jaka's Story (the next one in the queue), unless you don't particularly want *that* headache...

Plus, I've already done it, back in the stone age of 2016, but probably not very well.

It was, so far, the most difficult, but (curiously) not the most time-consuming effort at trying to make Cerebus a little bit better, in my most inimitable(?) fashion.

Still, improve on me. These books will be around for a long time (God willing).

Carson Grubaugh said...

Yeah, 28 is SOLID millennial.

Erick said...

Um, I think I call B.S. on this. What "American" spells defenseless with a "c"?

Worry not, defenceless Canadian

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Why, it's almost like having "Aardvark Comment" back again.

-- Damian

Anthony Kuchar said...

I'm 24 so yeah.

Tony Dunlop said...

Dave: "I confess to liking the sound of "post-Clinton", though I think it unlikely."

NNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! "Joos mike i' go awhy" as Prince Keef said.