Saturday, 5 April 2014

Cerebus: In My Life - Jeff Seiler

Cerebus # 44 (November 1982)
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard
(Click image to enlarge)
How did you discover Cerebus and how long did you read it for?

I first discovered Cerebus when I was a junior at Oral Roberts University and my good friend Paul Shaffer turned me onto it. It was during the Wolveroach run. Except for a brief time during the monthly run of Jaka's Story when I foolishly didn't "get" the text and image approach, I read it non-stop, one month at a time for the next twenty-two years, ending with #300. And then all of the Following Cerebus issues, all of the glamourpuss issues except the last one and the first six or seven issues of Cerebus Archive (until I got sick of that online company). Also, I was a big promoter of Judenhass and got to be the person in charge of exhibiting the original artwork from that for the first time, at SPACE in 2008. I have filled out my back issue collection except for five issues, three of which are the first three. So, I'm glad to know you're sending out copies of #1 to anyone who needs it and answers these questions. [ ! ~ Ed]

How has your own creativity/comics reading been influenced by Cerebus?

I'm not an artist, but I did print and publish Cerebus Readers In Crisis. As some people might not know, Dave did an inside page (inside back cover, a drawing of me) for #1 of CRIC and did the cover art for the next three issues, before CRIC kind of fell by the wayside after 2008. Sadly, all four issues are out of print (though I might consider reprinting in the not so distant future.) You could try your luck at the website for Lone Star Comics, as they were the single largest buyer of all four issues (in number of copies bought), but they charge outrageous prices for it. Additionally, letter writing back and forth with Dave has significantly increased my ability and desire to think critically about issues of the day, over the years.

What is your favourite scene/sequence from Cerebus?

My favorite scene is from Mrs. Tynsdale-Clyde's Tea when she uses her hands spread wide to indicate to her lady friends at the tea just how long Cerebus' "tail" is. My favorite issue was the wuffa-wuffa-wuffa issue.

Would you recommend other read Cerebus, and if so, why?

Would I recommend it? Does an Argentinian pope shit in the woods? Seriously, I have recommended it strenuously to every public or high school library I've ever been a regular at. The Hennepin County Library system, Minneapolis, is the first library or library system that I've ever seen to carry it, and they only have half the books. I also promote it vigorously at my various regular comic book stores. I know of only one comic book store that regularly has (or has had, when available) all 16 volumes on its graphic novel shelves -- Titan Comics in Dallas.


Oliver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oliver said...

Good ol' Seiler!! Great to see an interview with him here. "CRIC" which he published was wonderful! And he also does the voice for "Elrod the albino" in our animated Cerebus film:)

Eddie said...

Jeff was responsible for me getting a 'Cerebus Tree' on a post-it note as per Dave's offer to him in the back of Cerebus #234 back in 1998. Thank you Jeff!

Margaret said...

If you guys can find a copy of Cerebus Readers in Crisis, I suggest you pick it up. Usually an entertaining read. Issue #4 has a story by Steve Peters and another by Max Ink which are both great. A couple copies up on ebay for about $10 or so. Steve's story is up here: Steve's story.

Jeff Seiler said...

Eddie: You're more than welcome. That was my first experience with writing to and getting a response from Dave. My first letter printed in Aardvark Comment (of an eventual six). For the uninitiated (or those who forgot) in #234, Dave printed my request for a sketch of Prince Mick or Prince Keef for me to frame alongside my front row center ticket stub from a Stones concert (Steel Wheels tour, St. Louis). He responded by saying if I got 10 people to send me a sketch of Prince Mick or Keef, then he would do a post-it note sketch of a Cerebus Tree or Elrod Bunny to the first ten. I ultimately got around 25 sketches (still have them somewhere) and Dave sent post-it note sketches to ALL of them. Including one Elrod Bunny "to be donated to charity" for one of the guys. That was a really fun "event" and initiated a correspondence between Dave and me that has lasted now some 16 years (with a couple of notable six-month long interruptions).

Oliver: When am I going to get my SAG card? And when is the movie going to be submitted to Dave for his thumbs up or down? He wrote me a while back that he still thinks that it is about a 99% probability that he will go thumbs down, which I am sure you must be aware of.

Margaret: Thanks for the praise. And I whole-heartedly agree with you about Steve and Max's stories in CRIC #4. Max's one is the best submission out of all four issues by a country mile. He indicated to me some time ago that he was planning to reprint it in some publication of his. Don't know if he ever did, though. If any of you can find CRIC #4, you will NOT be disappointed.

Jeff Seiler said...

Oh, and I did get that Prince Mick sketch from Dave on Aardvark-Vanaheim letterhead. A few years later, at my first SPACE, Dave and Lenny Cooper had a very lengthy conversation about the Bible while Dave drew a Prince Keef sketch I requested because Billy Beach (who lives in Italy and who Dave stayed with for a week as a holiday following the end of Cerebus in 2004) had asked me to ask Dave for the sketch. The hair took forever, which is why Dave and Lenny had such a lengthy talk.

Oh, and I didn't actually PRINT Cerebus Readers in Crisis. I just took each issue's art to the printer. I just laid out, published and sometimes did a "story" for each issue.

Jeff Seiler said...

Oh, and the cover story (and art) from CRIC #3 is Billy Beach's account, in comic form, of Dave's week-long visit and stay at Billy's house, along with an account of their visit to the childhood home of Jesus, in Lorretto, Italy. Yep. Jesus' home is in Italy. You could, as Yogi Berra once said, look it up.

Oliver said...

@Jeff. Big news! In a way we've already beaten the 99% odds as we got a yes for funding from Silicon Valley film investors -providing Dave Sim officially sanctions the film of course. They know our very special terms like they can't own the "intellectual property" etc, which everybody told me couldn't be done in this industry -so that is pretty historical and never done before as far as i know, and a testament to them as well for being willing to think outside the box.
They've been following the Cerebus group and Moment of Cerebus and read up on Dave Sim for a time now -they know everything about his beliefs and his integrity.
Basically the impossible is happening! Film investors who trust the comicbook creator enough to let him have final say and forego owning the "intellectual property". Now there's a novel idea: trusting the comicbook creator!
So the fact that we got this far is already amazing and in a sense beating 99% odds -of course we'll see how the other 99% goes. I'm putting a "less rough cut" together as we speak.

Jeff Seiler said...

Well, Ollie, that IS good news! So that must mean I'll be getting some bucks for my voiceover, eh? And, I notice you still haven't answered my SAG card question. . .