Saturday 31 December 2011

Please Consider Signing The Petition

As at 31st December 2011, 319 people have signed the petition confirming that they do not believe Dave Sim is a misogynist. Whether you agree or disagree with Dave Sim's wider views, please consider showing your support for one of the comics medium's most unique talents by signing the petition. Some of the people who already have are:

Stephen R Bissette (81):
Cartoonist, writer, fellow Spirit of Independence traveler, longtime CEREBUS reader, TABOO co-creator/co-creator/publisher/co-publisher who was originally bankrolled by Dave, and artist who owes a debt of thanks to Dave.

Michael Peterson (90):
Dave Sim has been an inspiration for over ten years of my life - and I most decidedly do not believe that he is a misogynist, an opinion I can hold after fully reading his essays and correspondence, and in contradiction to vague smear comments of all varieties.

Tyrone Biljan (91):
Dave has been and continues to be a great guy to me personally. He's never talked negatively about women in my presence.

Suley Fattah (100):
Dave has always been a gentleman whenever my wife and I met up with him.

Amanda Meadows (102):
Huge fan slash woman. If he feels this is necessary than so do I. 

Thadeus Zebroski (110):
I appreciate the medium of comic art and especially the work Dave Sim has done in Cerebus. While he has been critical of feminist ideas I don't believe Dave Sim is a misogynist.

Paul Weil (116):
Criticism does not denote fear or hatred...

John W. Hacker (119):
I've had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Sim several times over the years at different conventions. I found him to be a pleasant and intelligent fellow who was very interested in talking to the public about any number of subjects. Dave and I have vastly different views on politics, religion and several other subjects. While he does have very strong opinions about women and women's roles I'm convinced that the man is not a misogynist.

Gary Spencer Millidge (122):
Writer/artist, Strangehaven
I think if Dave Sim was a misogynist then he wouldn't have any trouble admitting it. So I don't believe he is. I even looked up what it meant.

Mel Smith (132):
I don't believe Dave Sim is a misogynist " in fact just the opposite. I believe Dave Sim has stood for nothing more than pure fucking artistic genius since day one in 1977! I have seen Dave fight for many, many, many people in and out of the comics family and to think some turds would treat a man of his grace this way makes me sick. I am proud to call Dave Sim my friend, mentor, and idol without whom I would never had published Gumby Comics or any other projects for that matter. Respectfully - Mel Smith

Dave Fisher (135):
I met Dave several years ago, and actually did some work for him before reading even a single page of Cerebus (he says sheepishly). His reputation preceded him of course, but IMO is ridiculously exaggerated. Dave is a thoroughly decent, stand-up human being. I have since read some Cerebus, but more than anything my opinion has been formulated by several challenging & stimulating sit-down conversations with Dave at his home. If I believed that Dave was truly a misogynist, I would find him loathesome and not waste my time, any more than he wants to waste his time and energy engaging disagreeable narrow-minded people who despise him. Sim has some very, very strong opinions, and I don't agree with all of them, but I do believe my own world view is better informed and sharpened for having his challenging thoughts and opinions expressed to me without apology or fear. Do I believe Dave has strong opinions against feminism Absolutely! Do I believe he hates women No, I honestly don't believe that to be true.

Stephen L Holland (168):
Owner, Page 45 comics shop, Nottingham, UK, I do not believe that Dave Sim is a misogynist and I have nothing but contempt for those ignorant and illiterate few who have caused such a disproportionate stirr/tsunami amounting to character assassination over the last fifteen years.

James Owen (170):
Colleague and Friend. Dave and I disagree about many things, but I do not believe he is a misogynist. I realized that the reasons I have not signed the petition to this point have more to do with my differences with others on the periphery than they have to do with Dave. And were I to be asked in person what he asked for in his letter, as his colleague, I would not decline to support him. If it was presented to me at face value that he needed the support of his friends, I would not decline to have his back. Because whether or not Dave is still my friend, I am still his.

Logan DeAngelis (224):
President of, a long time Cerebus reader, and admirer of Dave and his works.

Brian K. Smith (229):
Comics fan and self publisher of small-press comics. To see one of our mediums greatest geniuses treated so disrespectfully, and to have one of comics greatest achievements swept under the rug is embarrassing. I've always loved comics since I was a kid because of the no-rules freedom of expression they offer. Too bad so many don't see it that way. Fuck them, I still do.

James Loh (230):
As a kid growing up reading comic books, Cerebus showed me what the medium was capable of, and as I've grown older, how few creators, at least in the mainstream, rise to the challenge. I do not believe that Dave Sim is a misogynist/hates women, and I find no evidence of this in any of his writings. People have inaccurately described a very talented man clearly and concisely laying out his opinions as being hateful, when I would argue that Sim's opinions have been expressed without any malice, or emotive statements. You may disagree with him, you may STRONGLY disagree with him, but to respond with such anger as to label a man a misogynist is discrimination in itself; to hate a person for their difference of opinion. 

John Garvin (276):
Labels like this, whether applied to Dave Sim or anyone else, are politically-correct bullshit attempts to censor freedom of thought, let alone freedom of speech. Cerebus, probably more than any other comic, has had the greatest impact on me as a creator and artist, and Sim should not be marginalized just because his views on gender, cosmology or ??? piss off the intelligentsia who are currently in vogue. Shame on everyone who wants to ignore 300 issues of complex storytelling because they deem the author "unclean."

Bill Willingham (282):
Writer of Fables and other books and stories.

Terry Phelps (288):
Dave Sim is not a misoginist, he's just made an in-depth and fascinatingly idiosyncratic stand on the issue of the dark side of feminism. Let us remember that feminism is a political movement. It is not "women", and it is not a vunerable victim to be protected from "brutish men". As a man who came of age during the birth of 70's femisim, Sim's courageous and heartfelt position is a unique testament to the social effects of a widespread and oft-irrational social movement that sought to disenfranchise talented young men like himself. Those who criticise Sim ought to do a self-check. You can go to one "women's studies' lecture and call yourself a feminist. Cheap entry. What Sim has done - whether you subscribe to every detail in Sim's worldview or not - is to compose a highly detailed and thought-through philosophical response to an overwhelmingly more powerful political movement than his lone voice. Regarding such a unique viewpoint, one is hardly going to agree with every aspect. But this effort will rank as one of the first sustained, complex responses in the postfeminist world to the unaknowledged evils of the feminist socio-political machine. I can't pretend to understand or agree with Sim's religious views. But I'm sure his social commentary will inform generations to come.

Kevin Eastman (294):
Co-creator Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
A proud friend and a huge fan!


David Marsh said...

Great selection of comments about a great cartoonist. It makes me think I should revise my comments on the petition.

David Marsh

Anonymous said...

Ok, let's start off by stating that I am not meaning to be glib. [Seriously, anti-glibometers, please.]

But: is there a petition for those of us who really don't care one way or the other?

My logic (it sounds so logical inside my head, let’s hope it makes sense on the page):

1 - I haven't met Dave (well, he signed a book for me once nearly 30 years ago, and another time a couple years back). But I certainly don't know him. I’ve read all of Cerebus (much of it several times), and a good chunk of his lettercols/essays. Still: I don’t know the man.

Does he present challenging ideas? Yes. Interesting perspective? Yes. But not enough for me to judge his person. His morals and beliefs.

I enjoy his fantastic work. I can separate the work from the person. If I didn’t do that – if I had to vet my entertainment past a moral/ethical checklist. Well, I don’t know. But I would have far less to enjoy in life.

2 – come to think of it, if I stopped interacting/being friends/being related/enjoying the company of people who I believe hold nasty or odd beliefs [again, not saying Dave does], I would not have many people in my life. My family is full of black sheep and odd ideas that set my hair on fire. So what? I love them just the same.

3 – And now I am thinking [tritely?] of the concepts of actions vs. words. And mens rea vs.... vs. the other one. Mens [action]. Even if – if – someone holds objectionable beliefs, as so many do (we all think this from our perspectives), what makes someone is how they behave.

And now the short, pithy rhetorical question has turned into a lengthy and boring post. I am now boring myself.


I don't know Dave. I don't know who he is, other than an amazing author and artist. Can’t I just love his work? Frankly, life is too short and the world too large for me to care beyond that. I hope that doesn’t sound harsh or dismissive – it’s not meant to be. Just realistic.

Can we have a petition for that?

Darren Witt

Anonymous said...

That WAS too longwinded. how about this summary of my above opinion:

Don't know, don't care. Love the man's work. Why would I assume anything about his character when I don't know him?


Stephen said...

I signed. I'm about Dave's age and read his stuff during much of the 70's and 80's (and irregularly since). I accept his point about the false dichotomy, and I know the difficulty in engaging in this discussion through this period, something he continued to do quite bravely and occasionally unwisely. I also think the demands of the release cycle led his to make comments that weren't fully developed, but I think this was a sign of his generosity of spirit.

In retrospect, I think many see that the rise of identity politics in this period, despite its many promises, hasn't done much for the improvement of human existence in general, but exploring these issues at the time won you no friends. And now this brand of identity politics is firmly tied to the war machine, as seen in the propaganda for positions on Algeria, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere...

Anyway, largely irrelevant - it's the art not the artist that matters. Biographical criticism is total pants (with apologies to Dave's much loved Oscar Wilde biographer/critic).

Dave, my fanboy question. What fell? Teacup, Tower, Empire or ...?

Slumbering Agartha said...

I just signed. I am so appalled that I somehow missed the boat on this all this time. I am so relieved to be able to add my voice, signature and support to Dave, even if only in the guise of an online petition. I hope more people will sign this, I will do my best to spread the word. I'm going to use my position as the owner of a copy shop to inform people in my community about this, to give them a chance to support this great artist who has been treated by some of his peers like people were treated during the McCarthy era. It's been a dark pock on the comic industry, and I'm glad this petition exists, so that the few of us who are willing to be reasonable might sound our approval of this great great artist loudly enough to drown out all the absurdity of those who have gone to lengths to attempt to attack and defame Dave's character, which, in my view, is a character backed by authenticity, class, humility, grace, courage and patience. Lots and lots of patience. God bless you Dave Sim.

Taylor Ramsy said...

Taylor Ramsey
sorry, but this will be another long winded post for this thread...
I signed. Up to this point I had not signed because I was unaware that the petition existed.
The above anonymous letter about not caring one way or the other is valid, but there is another point that should be brought to this… In the form letter, Dave states, that “no one stands up for him” when he is called a misogynist. This saddens me and makes me feel a bit bad for Dave. The opinion itself does not concern me. I don’t think Dave is a misogynist, but that is not the point to me. It was once upon a time when a citizen of freedom loving countries like the US or its plucky neighbor to the north, Canada, could voice an opinion—ANY OPINION—and be assured or nothing worse than a lively debate. Feminism is not the only “viewpoint” that has crushed this particular freedom, and I think anytime that someone’s point of view is crushed or dismissed without a fair hearing it is an evil. Our recent history is full of people that were crushed because of an opinion that was not supported and thus, shouted down by a vocal minority. Dave’s case, while very specific to this cause, is no less an evil.
Anyone that believes in free speech and the rights of people to be equal to those around them SHOULD feel the same way. Dave could have ventured any POV and I would still support his belief in what he says and his right to say it. I do not have to agree with him, and if I disagree strongly enough, I am free to be on the other side of what I hope would be a rocking argument. By signing the petition, I state that I agree with the petition’s statement and that I will stand up to defend it and Dave when he is called out. If Dave says something I disagree with in the future, I also believe that signing the petition allows me “in the room” to debate it with him.
Some have stated that Dave is just doing what the feminists are doing, in that he is only allowing like viewpoints into his world. I am not one of them. He could be fighting any obstructionist POV and I would stand with him. With his insistence that to be in any meaningful contact with him, you have to sign the petition, I feel that he is looking for people who also want to discuss it and other things from a reasonable starting point. To base any debate on reason and logic is the best place to start, and since so much of the argument in favor of feminism is based in emotion (it is as charged an issue as abortion rights is now or slavery was 150 years ago) that is a difficult debate to have.
I consider feminism to be a largely dead movement. Not that I am against anything in it personally, no reasoned person could be against real equality, but the feminist position as it had become was not about equality. Not really. It was about correction of a cultural wrong. It became, as so many movements do, about the personalities involved and the need for people to vent their frustrations at what they perceive to be an injustice. The injustice part I agree with, but the personalities and their need to crush any viewpoint that differs from their own even in the slightest is the evil here.
This is an issue that is far too easy to turn into an absolute “either-or” style argument. There are far too many subtleties to do that, and Dave should not be pushed to the side or demonized for having a position that does not really fit either of those two extremes. There is much in TANGENT I disagree with (as there is much I do agree with) , but the heart of the matter for me, is that the subject of it is no more or less valuable than any other, just because you agree or disagree with it, and Dave should be defended for standing up and putting forward his view.

DLeonard said...

I just signed, and the only reason I never signed before was because I didn't know the petition existed. Thanks to Steve Bissette for bringing this whole Fantagraphics Negotiation/funfest to my attention. This has been informative and instructive.

As I said in the comments of my signature, I firmly believe Dave has the right to express his ideas regarding gender and the success/failure of the feminist movement. Furthermore, I also firmly reject the notion that failing to support one side of an argument automatically places you in the most extreme reaches of the opposition. Not supporting the Right does not make you a Socialist. Not supporting the left does not make you a Fascist. Support of gay rights does not make you a pedophile, and not supporting feminism does not make you a misogynist.

I’ve read most of Dave’s writings on this subject – at least what appeared in the Cerebus monthly comic – and I did NOT find those writings to be incoherent rantings, nor did I perceive any real threat of violence against women. I think the furthest afield he got was with the “women leak” portions of Tangents, and that was pretty tame compared to some of the radical feminist writings of the time (remember the SCUM Manifesto? “All sex is rape?”) I don’t recall, for example, Dave advocating female genital mutilation, or even the wearing of burkhas (in spite of his acceptance of Islam).

One of the most ridiculous arguments I run across on the internet is that “politics don’t belong in comics.” This is just plain stupid. There’s no reason comics can’t be political: Captain America punching Hitler? Superman holding a flag with an eagle perched on his arm? Iron Man’s original origin? The O’Neill/Adams run on Green Lantern? All political statements. As an artist, Dave is simply doing what artists do – challenging societal norms, provoking thought and discussion, and asking uncomfortable questions.

My agreement – or ANY reader’s agreement – with those ideas is immaterial. Dave was, and is, well within his rights to express them. And his readers were, and are, well within their right to simply stop reading his books if they don’t like what he’s saying.

And, clearly, a lot of readers did.

This is fine.

Dave’s ideas might make him unpopular, but they don’t make Dave a misogynist.

R. Cole said...

Does anyone have any comments about "Restraint" in glamourpuss #21?

John Christian said...

I just signed the petition. Sorry I'm so late to the party, Dave. I have been largely "out of the loop" for the past few years, and just found out about the petition. I suspect that you have many more supporters, like myself that just haven't kept up with things lately. Don't lose faith, my friend!!

gsquared said...

I haven't signed the petition (and don't plan to) despite being a huge fan and longtime supporter of Dave and Cerebus. That longtime and passionate support has at times taken the form of a public defense of the work, nowhere more often than on the late, lamented Comics Journal message boards. It's puzzling to me why Dave is determined to remain disconnected from the internet, yet insistent (for over a decade) that he has no supporters in public opinion. The conversations are still out there in the Wayback Machine for anyone to see, and I didn't defend Dave and Cerebus as often as some, but I did my fair share.

I'm not easily offended, but it's hard not to take umbrage at Dave's seemingly perpetual moan of Poor Me, No One Will Stand Up for Cerebus. Excuse me? I've been with you since 1984, not only buying nearly anything you commit to paper, hanging original art in the walls of my home for friends and family to see, and wading into public debate - using my real name and location - as opportunity allows. Does that not count?

If his petition had read: "I defend Dave Sim's (or anyone's) right to critique feminism as a political / social / economic philosophy", I would have signed it years ago, as soon as it was put up! I'll say it right now for posterity, in all caps, on the public internet for all the world to see:

I DEFEND DAVE SIM'S RIGHT TO CRITIQUE FEMINISM AS A POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY. - signed, Greg Griffin, Los Angeles, California, August 2015.

Maybe some of the signers above have the benefit of spending enough time with Dave in person such that they can say they KNOW FOR A FACT he's not a misogynist. If you have, that's great (and I envy you). But I've only met him in person twice, way back when he used to do tours and signings, way before his views on feminism and religion were part of the story, and our interaction was entirely cursory. All I have to go on is his published work, which strays outside of a purely intellectual inquiry into feminism far enough, and often enough, to make the misogyny question stick to the wall.

I'm DEFINITELY NOT saying I think that Dave IS a misogynist, and I accept him at his word that his sole interest is in questioning the societal changes wrought by feminism. But I don't KNOW that he isn't. I'm missing two pieces of data: what is a misogynist (what constitutes a negative, discriminatory or objectifying view of women in general, and to what degree does one need to consistently hold it in order for the label to stick)? and how does Dave fit that definition in both his public and private, interior and exterior life? If anything, I'm impressed that he convinced the 670-odd fans to sign.

Most of the messages above are messages of support and love for Dave and Cerebus, and to that let me unreservedly add my name. But to publicly avow that someone you don't know and maybe have never even met does / does not hold a particular thinking pattern - bit silly, isn't it?

And who cares anyway? Is Dave the first author of some renown to face public criticism and censure? Have people stopped talking about or reading Celine, or Salman Rushdie, or Samuel Clemens?

By way of aside - my interest in Cerebus really picked up during "Church and State" and soared with the entire second half - well, up until "Chasing YHWH" anyway. I am not your typical "oh please, give us more Roach and Elrod" fan - the best stuff (IMO) was the material that cut against the grain.

I find the entire concept of a Public Loyalty Oath absurd and beneath Dave's stature as the pre-eminient cartoonist of his generation. Second to none. Cerebus will survive as literature based on its merit - same as every other book that's ever been written. Not because 670-odd people put their name on a petition to help make Dave, our beloved paragon of rational Male thought, "feel better".