Saturday, 14 September 2013

Cerebus: In My Life - Scott Tipton

Scott Tipton is a New York Times best-selling author and comic-book historian with a wide variety of both graphic novel and prose works to his credit. Scott’s works include The Star Trek Vault, Build Your Own Enterprise, Comic Books 101, Klingons: Blood Will Tell, Illyria: Haunted, Astro Boy, Sonic the Hedgehog, Khan: Ruling in Hell, The New Crusaders, Star Trek/Doctor Who: Assimilation Squared, and Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time.
Doctor Who: Prisoners Of Time (IDW, 2013)
Art by Dave Sim

It was the summer after his first year at college. My brother came back home and handed me what looked like a phone book.

"Just read it. It’s great."

It was Dave Sim's High Society. And it was great.

At the time I first read it, I had only been a Marvel and DC kid, so Cerebus was a revelation. Long, complex stories that stretched out over years. Beautiful, expressive artwork that seemed to effortlessly mix cartooning and draftsmanship. And it was funny. Incredibly funny. And yet the book could turn on a dime and become some of the most tense, compelling comics I’d ever read.

As I made my way through High Society and both volumes of Church & State, it struck me what an amazing thing it was Sim was doing here, the kind of long-term storytelling that simply hadn’t been done before (and, I’d argue, hasn't really been done since).

Looking at my own comic-book work from the last few years on projects like Angel, Spike, Star Trek and Doctor Who, I can see Sim's influence here and there, whenever I have a character try to express skepticism through a sidelong glance, whenever I really get to sink my teeth into dialect, whenever I make use of repeated panels to telegraph a point or punctuate a gag with a weighty pause, whenever I ask the letterer to give me a small word in a huge balloon to accentuate its quietness. Simisms, I guess you’d call them. I hadn’t really realized how much I owed him when it came to my own work.

Which is why I’ve been so delighted this year to have Dave Sim creating beautiful variant covers for my 12-issue Doctor Who anniversary miniseries, Prisoners of Time. A comic book of mine, with a Dave Sim cover? Never even imagined it possible.

If I could tell that kid reading the High Society phone book for the first time, he'd never believe it.
Doctor Who: Prisoners Of Time (IDW, 2013)
Art by Dave Sim


Adam Ell said...

My first experience reading High Society involved my complaining "these pages are out of order!"

Kit said...

Are they still going with the Hurndall on that last one, not having him fix it to a Hartnell?