Friday, 9 May 2014

Spirits Of Independence: Austin, Texas 1995

In 1994, I started a comics company with a friend called Maverick Studios. We put out a comic book called Words & Pictures, which lasted for two issues. Speaking for myself... Dave's Notes From The President on self-publishing (which were being showcased in each issue of Cerebus) really hit home, and demystified the process of getting into comics. It made me want to get out there and do something and become involved in comics.

Through the monthly Cerebus, I learned about the upcoming Spirits Of Independence World Tour that Dave was putting together. This was a tour where he would appear with other self-publishers, and help us all showcase our work. I'm not sure about the selection process, but we were chosen to be a part of the Austin Stop on 19 February 1995. I think my partner at the time had contacted either Dave or Martin Wagner, who was putting the show together as the local liason. 

Dave ran ads in Cerebus for all stops. He even put some of the comics that self-publishers were publishing on the cover of Cerebus. We were fortunate enough to have our comic Words & Pictures #1 showcased on the cover of Cerebus #190. I was able to get a copy of Cerebus #190 signed by all the folks on the cover: Dave, Gerhard, Martin Wagner, Terry Moore, John Picacio and myself. As far as I know, there are only like 4-5 copies of that issue that are signed by all of us... in existence. This is probably the most valuable comic in my collection.

When we got to the venue, we were surprised to see that Dave had set aside a space for us right next to his table. This was amazing, because of the traffic we would get. We were smack dab in between Dave's table and Rick Veitch's table. The show was awesome. There were a lot of people there. Dave commanded the most fans, and this was really awesome to witness first hand. He was really popular.

I wish I had been able to really talk more to Dave and Gerhard, but our interactions were limited. The show was pretty busy... and there wasn't much time to walk around because we were manning our table. I'll admit that I was a bit star-struck. I did enjoy some interaction with Dave and Gerhard, and found them to be very friendly, approachable, and really cool. 

I also got to talk a bit with Rick Veitch, and his son Ezra. Rick even asked us for some sketches that he later published in Rare Bit Fiends #10. Rick was very cool... super friendly and awesome to talk to. Also in attendance were such folks as Terry Moore, Larry Marder, Shannon Wheeler, Craig Miller, Martin Wagner and others.

Dave ran a short blurb on our second issue of Words & Pictures in Cerebus #193, and this was thrilling as well. I've written Dave a few letters since then, and saw I even made it into the first volume of Cerebus Letters. I haven't been able to buy the second volume of Cerebus Letters...  I desperately need a copy!

On top of being a really awesome creator (writer, illustrator, letterer), Dave Sim has shown nothing but generosity in his dealings with me. What he did for other self publishers with his tour is unheard of. He helped us immensely, and for that I'll always be grateful. I'd love to have a long talk with him sometime... I really admire him and his accomplishments.

1 comment:

Jeff Seiler said...

The SPirits of Independence tour stop in Kansas City, at the venerable Clint's Comics, was my first time to meet Dave. I was in full-on, geeked out fan-boy mode and kept pestering him that he REALLY should do a parody of Perot, who was in the process of ruining the upcoming national election. Dave was amazingly patient with me, considering what a pest I made of myself.

Never would have dreamed how things would shake out with him over the next 20 years or so.