Sunday, 1 September 2013

Eight Days Of Dave - Day 1: Cosmix (again)

Hi Tim - I think what I'm going to do is just blather -- since this is our first time doing "after the issue" -- and leave it up to you if you want to run the whole thing all at once or dribble it out.  Issue 2 of The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond took about two and a half months.  I hope I get faster but I'm not counting on it.

Cosmix (Imagine #4, November 1978)
by Dave Sim
Read the full 4-page comic here.
Something I forgot to mention in my comments on "Cosmix": the "So what now?" question was posed to me after CEREBUS was done in what was (I hope) a not unkindly way -- but not a particularly kindly way -- by Denis Kitchen. Which seemed to have an element of Comic Art Metaphysics about it. I mean, if you just look at his name as "Deni's kitchen". I believe the Latin expression is "Nomen est omen" (or is it "Omen est nomen"?). It was something I was acutely aware of: no one was particularly happy that I finished CEREBUS and they were unhappy for a variety of reasons. But that was where I parted company with "Cosmix". I wasn't forlorn about it. I'm STILL not forlorn about it. I did a 6,000-page graphic novel and got it done right when I said I would a quarter of a century earlier. Very little that's good has happened since 2004 for me, but that just can't be taken away, no matter how much people want to take it away or ruin it or diminish it. And I think that was built in at the time I did "Cosmix": "You know this IS possible -- you could do a 6,000-page graphic novel, but you'll have to pay the price." Um. [laughs] OKAY! "No, you'll REALLY, really have to pay the price." Yeah, I know. You said that. Where do I sign? And that never changed from 1977 to today. And that really pisses people off. Price? What price? It didn't cost me anything that I valued as much as doing a 6,000 page graphic novel.

I'm not going to be muttering "Rosebud" on my deathbed I don't think.


Jim Sheridan said...

OK, I'll bite. Dave says that he knows that completing all 300 issues of "Cerebus," just as he said he would, finishing it on time as he promised in 1977, really pisses people off.

Who? Who are these anti-punctuality types, these anti-completionists? Oh, Dave!

Anonymous said...

I don't doubt that some people were unhappy that "Cerebus" was now over, and they wouldn't get to read any more adventures of the character (as Dave promised no sequels or prequels; I guess he could still do "Untold Tales Of" like the "Swords of Cerebus" backup stories, or did he rule that out too?).

Perhaps some people might have enjoyed a little schadenfreude if Dave's essays had alienated so much of his audience that sales declined to the point where he couldn't finish the series because he couldn't afford to do so financially.

It's always struck me as weird, Dave's insistence on trumpeting a "6,000-page graphic novel" -- as if works of art should be judged by the pound. If I set out to write out in longhand all the numbers from one to a million ("One, two, three ... nine hundred ninety nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine, one million!") and completed the task on schedule, people might speak of my doggedness, determination, and discipline, but I doubt anyone would claim that the content itself had any artistic merit. Engaging with the content of "Cerebus" (or even merely with its technical skill) is more respectful to the work, its author, its audience, and its medium than simply boasting of its length.

(It just occurred to me that I don't know the precise page count, if you include all 298 issues, the backup stories, the interpolations like "Silverspoon", etc. -- and now plus the two-page "surface of the Sun" spread. Anyone?)

-- Damian T. Lloyd, bmx

Jeff Seiler said...

As for me and mine, I wasn't pissed off by the end (or the ending) of Cerebus. I was, however, sad, for two reasons:

The horrible little bastard was dead.

And, there would be no more monthly issues to look forward to. Those monthlies were the best format to read them, paced just right (expect for the rare occasions when they fell behind and they weren't actually monthly). The monthlies always gave me something to look forward to, through good times and bad.