Saturday, 9 June 2012

Colleen Doran

(from Colleen's blog at A Distant Soil, 7 June 2012)
Some cool projects you should check out... Dave Sim brings his groundbreaking comic Cerebus back to life with a new digital series packed with amazing extras. This is a very smart and successful Kickstarter campaign, already well past its goal. It doesn't need any more support from me, but that is not the point. Cerebus was the most important book of the self publishing movement, and Dave Sim is the single most important person in the history of the creator rights movement. Everybody else who contributed is much appreciated, but no one was a more outspoken - or original - advocate.

While Dave’s views on many important issues have changed over the years, and while Dave and I have had a parting of the ways over some of them, this in no way diminishes my great respect for his incredible accomplishments. Cerebus is an important work of outsider art.

There are longer comics, especially those from Japan. However, a self published, entirely creator-controlled work of this magnitude just doesn't exist anywhere else. I've never read all of Cerebus, and would often skip about looking for the funny parts. I always meant to read it, but never did. It's quite a commitment at 6,000 pages. But, I still remember the incredible experimental layouts.

I will also never forget the fact that Dave Sim was one of only a handful of creators who stood up publicly and spoke for me when I had a creator rights dispute with an early publisher [Wendy and Richard Pini's WaRP Graphics] of A Distant Soil, a company which wanted to own all rights to my work. Dave wrote essays about the exploitation of creators, and gave me a very well paying job on a Cerebus short story at a time I really needed it. It was an extremely generous page rate, far more than I deserved. 

Outside of Dave, the only other creators who made a public stand on my behalf were Jim Valentino, Mark Wheatley, and Mark Hempel. I wasn't famous in the 1980's, and without a name, you don't have a cause most people care about. There were a handful of people who treated me kindly behind the scenes (very notable among them, Marvel Comics VP Mike Hobson, Walt and Louise Simonson, and Archie Goodwin, as well as a few others,) but most of the industry threw me under a bus. It would be almost a decade before the rest of the Big Boy's Club decided I was worthy.

For all that, Dave, I thank you.

While many people have serious issues with Dave's personal beliefs and choose not to support his work, that is not something I care to discuss. I'm tired of people playing let's-you-and-him-fight. The industry is full of eccentric thinkers, and your choices in art and entertainment are entirely your own. Do as you will.

Colleen Doran is the writer/artist of the fantasy series A Distant Soil and illustrator of many fine comics and graphic novels. The two other "cool projects" Colleen mentioned in her original blog post were Marrowbones by Eric Orchard ("This is fantastic stuff. I can't rave with enough ravery.") and Pont-au-Change by Arlene Harris ("She is genuinely talented.").

Dave Sim's initial $6,000 Kickstarter goal to digitize Cerebus: High Society was just the start! The ultimate goal of the Cerebus Digital 6000 project is to digitize all 16 of the Cerebus 'phone' books and make them available online. The dream goal is to raise a total of $100,000 through the Kickstarter campaign. If this fund is met, the whole series is in the works! Please donate generously. Only 20 days left to go! 

No comments: