Monday, 17 September 2012

HARDtalk: The Virtual Tour #2

Welcome back to everyone joining us from Millar World after yesterday's HARDtalk Tour stop! We'll be back there again later in the Tour. Okay, the next question goes to Tim:

During the 26 years it took you to complete CEREBUS you have obviously changed/grown as a person (and, indeed, one of the fascinating aspects of CEREBUS was that it could accomodate these changes).  If it were possible, would you have any advice to give your younger self embarking on that 26-year marathon?  

No. First, because it's one of the inherent aspects of a 26-year-project that it becomes a lifelong learning and adaptive process. Second, I tried to chart, execute AND document my trajectory simultaneously so that others would be able to follow my lead, avoid pitfalls I hit, modify choices I made to suit themselves...

(Neil Gaiman has been pretty up front that he wouldn't have attempted the 2,000 page SANDMAN if he hadn't seen someone DO 2,000 pages.  Although he -- probably wisely -- chose not to go beyond 2,000 pages: I don't picture him lying awake at night and picturing my situation and going "All of that could have been mine if I had just done 4,000 more pages" :) (I digress)

...but I had no idea of the extent to which computers and the Internet were going to change everything.  All my cartography and maps and elevations and things were for a land that has vanished like so much pixie dust.  I doubt I could have finished the 300 issues if I knew or even suspected that that would be the case and that's the plain bad news I would have for my younger self:  completing 300 issues will be completely meaningless in the world where it happens, 2004.  Not just the REAL world. It'll be meaningless in the comic-book world.  You'll still have to wake up every day trying to figure out how to pay the bills.  At any age before -- roughly -- age 50, let's say, I would not have understood that the reward is in the relentless hard work itself.  Relentless and -- in any conventional measure -- completely unrewarding work.  Since age 50, I've come to understand VERY clearly that the faster your life goes by in a blur of hard, unrelenting, virtually insurmountable piles of work, the better a life you will have led.  If I had even IMAGINE that before the age of 50, I would have cracked like F. Scott Fitzgerald's proverbial dinner plate to even IMAGINE that MIGHT be true.

No, I firmly believe if you live your life correctly you learn each lesson as you're ready to learn it. God burdens no soul beyond its ability.
Okay, and now we're off to TERMINAL DRIFT and a question from Dusquene Whistler:

As someone who can absolutely demolish a corporate contract (FABLES), do you bang your head on the desk when you hear Alan Moore say he 'didn't really read' the WATCHMEN contract?

Thank you, Dusquene! Everyone head over to TERMINAL DRIFT (the second question in the comments field) for the answer, and hurry back tomorrow for our next questions here on A Moment Of Cerebus

Already signed up for the HARDtalk Virtual Tour are Bleeding Cool, Millar World, Terminal Drift, Canadian Comics Archive, The Comics Journal, The Beat and Mindless Ones. Add your question for Dave Sim at one of these fine websites before 10 October and if your question is chosen (they'll need to be tough, interesting questions!) you'll receive a personalised, autographed copy of a Cerebus back-issue, with a Cerebus head-sketch by Dave Sim!


Anonymous said...

"Relentless and -- in any conventional measure -- completely unrewarding work."

this makes me sad.

i don't know that it is reward, let alone conventional reward (i.e., $$?), but Cerebus has been extremely rewarding to me. i am extremely glad you produced Cerebus.

Thank you.

Darren Witt

Margaret said...

I second Darren's comment. I'm glad Dave (and Gerhard) did all that work, for it was very rewarding to me. Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention had you not blessed us with Cerebus, you would've both robbed the world of some of the best work ever produced in the medium AND the creators inspired by you to do the same.

Anonymous said...

OK... it's not really "Hard Talk" journalism when the questions to be answered are chosen by Dave Sim himself - and when polite responses to what he writes are deleted because they aren't wholly hagiographic.

It makes it look like those involved on this site are currying favor with Dave Sim, in order to be allowed the privilege to interact with him.

A Moment Of Cerebus said...

Hi ‘Anonymous’,

Er... no. You don’t get to post anonymous comments on this site making strange accusations and potentially libellous allegations. What made you think you could?

This is as good a time to tackle this issue as any, so for the record... I welcome interesting, well reasoned, rational debates in the comments section... and no, you don’t have to agree with everything Dave Sim says. I know I don’t (though I do find it interesting that people seem to think they know what I’m thinking).

For clarification, I’ve just posted a ‘comments policy’ on the ‘About’ page of this site. I didn’t think we’d need one, but there you go. The five or so comments I deleted in the 10 months running this site (all within the last two weeks strangely) met the criteria set out there.

Dave has indicated that he will try to answer every question put to him during the HARDtalk Tour... time allowing... and I’m sure he can handle whatever question you’d like to ask, so you’ve got no excuse really... or won’t the sponsoring sites allow you to post on to their sites either?


Anonymous said...

What strange accusations? As you know, Dave has indeed created his own religion - a synthesis of what he's chosen from elements of at least three monotheistic religions - and which he admits is so offbeat that he would be considered a heretic by any one of them. That's his own take.

Moreover, he isn't accountable to anyone else, as he has said - he does not attend any religious services and has no relationships in regards to religion with anyone else, which is again highly unusual.

Where is the sanity check?

One has to have sympathy with someone who feels so alienated from the comic book field that he has said he is considering "Doomsday Scenarios." That's pretty drastic and scary.

For anyone who knows Gerhard as well as others and what they went through, this is not a problem with those others, but a product of a very profound alienation on Dave's part, which makes it impossible to collaborate. How will Dave get a menial job that requires interaction with others and more to the point, a rather powerless one, when he is used to doing self-publishing where he isn't accountable to anyone else - arguably, the only sphere of work suited to someone of his personality?

That Dave is bitter is evident, because he is using this platform to talk about, again, how he has been ostracized and isn't politically correct. Doesn't anyone else see that this is largely Dave's own martyr complex and self-narrative - how else to explain the $64K Kickstarter Campaign success?

Again, the idea that God doesn't give anyone more they can bear could be true, but it doesn't mean that things don't happen in life that are more than any person can bear. Isn't it our responsibility that when we see people bearing more than they can withstand, to do all we can to be our brother's keeper?

Isn't that why the community has rallied 'round Sandeep Atwal after he was burned out of his home while scanning the Cerebus Digital Project and selling art online for commission - and from which, tellingly, he has now been withdrawn - right when one would think continued paid employment from Dave would have been the kindest act needed?

But what about when someone is so self-defeating that they have such a fatalistic approach to believe that nothing can be done, people get exactly what they deserve and that no one should pray to God for the well-being of another? Those are all ideas expressed by Dave - one might say they are articles of faith.

They DO represent a profound alienation from others. Dave is known for shunning former associates and is estranged from his own family. How can we help a person who has created an insular, self-referential and closed psychological world?

No matter how talented that person making these cries is, this is something one struggles with, how to help, how to be one's brother's keeper when that person's own empathy for others has been so circumscribed.

Again, a form of hagiography is not reality - and an understanding of reality is where helping others has to begin.

A Moment Of Cerebus said...

(Kickstarter Update #84, 10 Sept 2012)
"Everyone is asking how Sandeep is doing. I don't know. I don't want to bug him. I told him I would pay first and last month's rent for him if he found a place and I haven't heard from him, so I assume he hasn't found a place.That's the first thing, first and last month's rent and then what else does he need? What kind of life does he want to lead? I offered him all the Cerebus back issues I have in stock (he had #26 up) and he just laughed. Which I knew he would. NEW Sandeep. Very 21st century. I won't have scanning work for him for a while because I haven't figured out if I'm going to buy an 11 x 17 scanner and a negative scanner or lease them (in this day and age any electronics get outdated faster than my milk does, if you catch my drift) and I haven't had time to phone the leasing place because I'm still running ahead of several freight trains."

mateo said...

I don't know what NEW Sandeep means. But I clicked the comment form to say exactly what the first commenter did. How can you see the value in the relentless work and simultaneously consider it unrewarding?

Cerebus was completed, it exists in this world through your will and efforts. Every part of that book (and glamourpuss etc.) that you consider well done is the reward.

I find reading those books very rewarding. After I finally read The Last Day, I left a very complimentary thank you message at the AV message machine. I don't know if that got through, I guess. But I think those 300 issues are packed with great comics, all the way to the end.

Andrew Judge said...

Moment of Cerebus has become a "must read" site over the past few weeks. The discussion within the comments has been fascinating and I am genuinely interested in what other fans of Cerebus think of the evolving situation. Dave Sim is clearly a complex character and I read these forums with the full expectation of seeing opinions that I disagree with.

However, posting under "Anonymous" does not contribute anything meaningful to the debate. Threaded arguments become confusing when multiple writers use the "Anonymous" handle. I agree with the new policy to remove these comments if only to keep the debate on track. Please "Anonymous"; have the courage of your convictions and post under your own name so that I can follow your arguments, which are clearly well considered, over multiple posts.