Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Sandeep Atwal On The Beat

(from comments to Dave Sim Receives $500,000 Bequest at The Beat, 4 August 2015)
Re: The availability of Cerebus. As far as I know, all of the books are currently in print and can be ordered from Diamond. (Rick’s Story *might* be out of print.) Personally, I think it’s a question of comic book stores having enough interest from customers to bother keeping the phone books in stock. Without the weekly comic on the shelves, Cerebus sort of lacks a presence in the market, as such. I'm trying to help Dave correct that by establishing a more formal online presence for Cerebus via twitter, facebook, youtube, tumblr, et al. and helping make sure there are PDFs available, etc…

As I'm sure you can all imagine, keeping sixteen books in print when it's a one-man operation can be quite challenging, especially with the transformation to desktop publishing that occurred during the run of Cerebus. Throw in the digital remastering of all 6,000 pages and it's now Considerably Even More Of A Challenge. However, the first two books have now been reprinted (the second of which, High Society, received a delightful review from the AV Club and the third book should be out this fall along with a Cerebus Covers Collection from IDW.

Work on the rest of the series progresses and, hopefully, as the books are remastered and re-released, the work will receive a new audience. It's been eleven years since Cerebus has been on the comic book shelves. I think a lot of younger fans have only heard of it (or never heard of it). Maybe people will still think it’s 'irredeemable'. Or maybe people won't see his worldview as being so simplistic that it can be easily dismissed by calling it misogyny. Maybe people will see events like the witch hunt against British biochemist Tim Hunt in a different light and it will cause them to reconsider their position on some gender issues. I certainly don't know, but I think it’s an excellent body of work that deserves a wider audience, warts and all, and am happy to be working with Dave on it. For those who care, I see him every week, and he's doing very well. No, he's not crazy. No, he doesn’t hate women. He works on The Strange Death of Alex Raymond and Cerebus-related stuff and prays and fasts and reads the Bible and Koran and doesn’t smoke or do drugs or drink anymore and tries to be a good person. But he still can't draw right now, as his hand is still messed up.

For those who simply do not ever want to see or hear about Dave Sim or Cerebus ever again, I'm sure there’s a Chrome plug-in for that, but for those who are interested in examining a body of work about which Alan Moore once said, "is still to comic books what Hydrogen is to the Periodic Table" for themselves and making up their own minds about what it is, well there's lots more coming! A lot more. Oh man, so much more. So much scanning to do in the future. So much Photoshop. I always say, he could have just done 200 issues, you know? That still would've been really awesome and everybody would've been super impressed. But oh no, he had to go and do 300. Big show off.


Margaret said...

::slow clap::

Nicely stated Sandeep, nicely stated.

Michael said...

It's to bad the this whole idea that misogyny permits Daves's work is continued to be brought up, even when the article is by someone who appreciates the work and likes the person. I think Dave is partly to blame for keeping this thought in the forefront by continuing after all these years to have a petition and continuing to reference this accusation .

Even as a reader of Cerebus back in the day, I know more about this accusation from Daves continued reference to the petition than I do the original context join which the accusation was raised.

George Peter Gatsis said...

slower clamp... :)

CerebusTV said...

Someone emailed and said the Chrome plugin is not working, because they are still able to see Cerebus TV !?!

Must be it only works with Google sites! :-)

iestyn said...

I have to echo Michael's opinion, there seems to be a lot of passive aggressive defensiveness about an article positively reporting Dave's good fortune and naming the work as both still relevant and worthwhile seeking out.

I made similar, but much more longwinded comments in an earlier post's thread, but think they probably got lost.


iestyn said...

In fact, to make it easier - here they are again - apologies in advance...

As someone who has both not signed the petition and doesn't think Dave is a misogynist it might be worth giving my reasons.

Maybe something for Dave to think about...

First and foremost - I STRONGLY believe that the petition comes across as petty.

I even more strongly believe the whole thing is a straw man. That's my opinion and no one has to agree with it. However - the whole Dave Sim/Fantagraphics thread from 2012 showed that they would LOVE to publish Cerebus and gain it a wider audience. IDW are falling over themselves to publish Dave as well.

I also think that the petition actually lends credence both to those who believe and 'believe' Dave Sim to be a misogynist and/or generally a crank. (The distinction to me being those who come from a point of having read all the material and considered what was said, and those who have heard about Dave's comments as summaries from other people and are choosing to believe them rather than form their own opinion.)

iestyn said...

Part 2 - apparently I rambled on for too many words -

It's like Dave is hampering his own legacy and place in the world - (Apologies to Dave if that seems rude or crosses a line, but I do find myself looking and seeing someone who metaphorically is tying one hand behind his back and throwing away opportunities - maybe that's truly the message of the injury to your hand?)

I once read (can't remember where or who said it, sorry) that when we criticise others we are attacking what we hate most about ourselves. These people 'criticising' Dave- I feel - are trying to flex the muscles of their own weak self confidence and 'feel' like they are doing something.

But, I also feel like Dave is criticising the world for not agreeing with him and is withdrawing himself for that reason - but I know little of Dave the person to make that any more than a FEELING - in other words I don't think that or know that as a fact, but I get an emotional sense of someone disappointed turning away from the crowd that doesn't recognise his genius.

I withhold judgement of Dave Sim the person as a misoginist. Having never seen how he treats women, nor heard any stories of his having treated women badly or attacking them I strongly favour the opinion Dave is not a misogynist. I'd like him to know that.

On the other hand - I do disagree with how Dave has classified voids and feminised men - I think he's seeing an issue through sexist blinkers - although there are genuine truths there, they are not only applicable to women. I know I read one woman's response to Dave's opinion's where she stated that she took the words and THOUGHT about them and whether they applied to her as a person and made sure that she was avoiding making arguments for the sake of it. I know, personally, that there have been moments where Dave's description have made me see my behaviour for exactly what it was once I'd calmed down. I'm a man and I'm not feminised into a baby - my reaction is that 'classic' male reaction to difficult situations, 'tough it out or get angry'. In other words stupid and unthinking.

So, I feel like signing the petition would make Dave believe that I agree with his opinions - I don't. I think there are GENUINE insight there, but they are filtered through sexist opinions.

For example, I'm, going to say that ALL creative people will find those that want to suck the life and creativity out of them for the sake of feeling like they are creative themselves (maybe we also steel from others what we wish we had ourselves?) - that's not women that do that, that's men as well.

This has been very rambling, sorry - to be more succinct -

I won't sign the petition even though I believe Dave is not a misogynist because I believe the thing to be a straw man argument in the first place. I believe that maintaining it, reinforces the very thing it supposedly exists to deny. I believe it would make Dave consider me as someone who holds to his opinions when I don't.

Finally and most importantly to me - and probably me only - I personally don't have to agree with someone to admire them or their work. I hold strongly to the idea of agreeing to disagree being one of THE MOST important pillars of any society.

Sorry to have rambled on so. And congratulations to Dave on the donation from anonymous Mr J.

Iestyn Pettigrew

Sandeep Atwal said...

Just a quick note on the "Dave is partly to blame" theory. I understand what you're saying, but disagree. Take this Cerebus Trust announcement for example. It was largely met with contempt, scorn and derision all over the place. Just search twitter for 'Dave Sim' or 'Cerebus' and you'll see what I mean. Various sites and blogs that did post the announcement saw similar sentiments in their comments section. As someone who has to look for Dave Sim and Cerebus news on a regular basis, I would say that the general perception is that Dave hates women and is crazy. I talk to people who claim this almost every single day. Let alone the full-on shots like Tim Kreider's piece in TCJ (or those other pieces in TCJ). And this has been going on for TWENTY YEARS. So I really don't think Dave should take any blame for referencing these facts. As for the petition, I think it's a reaction to years of exactly the above. Okay, if I'm going to spend my time, effort and energy on this stuff, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask the person asking me for X, Y or Z to say whether or not they think I'm a misogynist. Because, you know, I don't want to spend any more time dealing with people who think I'm scum. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.

Eddie said...

Some of the comments I saw out there:
"kickstarter to give him enough money to bury himself in a frozen lake and never leave," "bury him alive in the house," "have fun turning into a hollowed out husk of a human being," "Dave sim is a scum bag and I will fight him the street," I hadn't heard of this guy until 5 mins ago but brief research concludes he is in fact a scumbag."

Anonymous said...

That's really weird that you guys found people saying horrible things on the Internet. i'm pretty sure this is the only time it's happened.

Jimmy Gownley

Eddie said...

Lol! Good point.
Mind you, it might be the only time it's happened in response to a fan leaving half a million dollars of their estate to help preserve an artistic legacy (not just Dave's but Ger's as well). Then again, maybe not.

"Oh they have the internet on computers now?" - Homer Simpson

Forgot to say: thanks for taking the time to clarify your position Iestyn. I didn't find it rambling at all and it does seem like you've put a lot of thought into it. Hey at least you're willing to state on a public forum that you don't think Dave is a mysoginst.

iestyn said...

To put some context to what Dave has received - very relevant context I'd say.

Consider what was done to various women during the whole Gamergate situation where their 'crime' was to point out that many computer games are sexist and demeaning of women. That included death threats, online stalking, actual stalking, SWAT teams being sent to their homes, denial of service, bank account and personal details being leaked to the whole of the internet.

(As an aside ---- This - for one - puts into serious question the idea that misogyny is despised in normal society. It also clearly shows why I think Dave is NOT a misogynist - I believe he would never behave in such a manner, he clearly does not HATE women as these individuals clearly do.

See here for details - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamergate_controversy

----- As a further aside - these are the kind of people Dave is being linked with whenever the Misogynist accusations are made. They are also the holders of the same mentality as those who launch personal attacks on Dave without knowing what they are talking about.)

This is the kind of behavior that's COMMON on the internet - aggressive attacking poses with death threats and anger in great abandon. For me, it's the kind of thing to IGNORE rather than validate. At least it should be kept in context with those other scenarios that I have noted where positive commentary has been made.

I guess what I would say, was that in the case of the Beat article there was little need to be defensive and in general life, there is little need to be defensive. People are different and will have different opinions to you. I just feel it is a shame to see Dave hiding out until the world agrees with his politics.

He could be out there seeing how many people still have respect for his work and there are many - see here for just another example -


I guess in the end, I'm trying to say that I feel Dave is missing out on experiencing a lot of positive consideration whilst believing people actively hate him.

iestyn pettigrew

iestyn said...

Hi Eddie

just seen your comment

I think there's clear evidence that Dave is not someone who actively hates women and would wish to harm or denigrate them.

That's my definition of Misogyny - and I find myself at odds with a lot of current usage for that word (as well as Misandry, and trans-misogyny) it seems to have been synonymous with sexism and the two are extremely different things.

I could write a VERY long and detailed piece about WHY it's VERY dangerous to devalue words to describe extremists, but that probably not for this forum...

Thank you for your response


Hunter said...

I hope they resolicit the cover collection. My (online) preorder was cancelled due to lateness!