Friday, 15 April 2016

Jeff Seiler: Dave Sim & Me

Cerebus Readers In Crisis #1 (2006)
Art by Dave Sim
Eleven years ago, when Cerebus ended, Dave Sim decided to answer all of his back mail. A month or so later, he had his "Jeff Seiler Day" in which he answered multiple letters I had written over the previous year. After I received that letter, I decided to keep writing, and he kept his promise to answer every letter he received. Now, I have a foot-high stack of letters written and received over 10 years or so. I'll be running interesting excerpts from those letters each week.

Today’s entry is a letter that Dave hand-delivered to me at the 2006 Small Press and Alternative Comics Exposition, in Columbus, Ohio, dated 8 May, 2006. It returns to a discussion of Ger’s old friend Ernie, then moves on to a discussion of Dave’s contribution to the first issue of my comic magazine, Cerebus Readers In Crisis. Anyone interested in obtaining copies of CRIC #1, unsigned by Dave, may contact me at 'seilerjeff [at] hotmail [dot] com' for information.

Dear Jeff:
Actually, Ernie's enunciation was very good, which perhaps stemmed from the fact that he had a slight speech sibilance (like Sylvester the Cat) and he had probably had a certain amount of speech therapy to overcome it, so it was definitely "Whattayacall" and not "Whaddayacall" and definitely no "dese, dem and dose". When you have trouble with your "s's" you tend to make a point that you know how to get your "t's" right. Very normal masculine voice, quite deep and capable of going cold if the occasion called for it and he was drawing a line in the sand but never ranging into "sing-song" even when a (whattayacall) chick was around. A voice that has gone the way of the dodo for the most part.

Thanks for the flyers for the Robert E. Howard House and the documentary. [Ed: Some things given me by Ethan Nahte, who then worked at Titan Comics, in Dallas, who was very involved in the Robert E. Howard Days annual event in Cross Plains, Texas.] They've done quite a good job with the house and I have to send them something as a member in good standing.

As for "The Making Of Cerebus Readers in Crisis #1" [Ed: A companion document to CRIC #1 for which I solicited Dave's input] I'm always watching for an opportunity to do my photorealism style, so this seemed a natural since you obviously weren't going to take maybe for an answer. I intended to just have you looking aloft at the thought balloon, with the "Avoyd Fornication" brick [Ed: From a cover during the Latter Days run of the Cerebus monthlies] in it, but that was when I realized that the Angel Jeff and Devil Jeff would be a more interesting approach. Those things never come to you until you’re actually in the middle of drawing something. "No, wait. I’ve got it!" [Ed: The finished drawing was based on a photo that Ger took of me, staged by Dave, at a gathering at the Applebee’s restaurant in Olean, New York, when we were at the “Ye Bookes of Cerebus” exhibit at St. Bonaventure University. Dave set up the entire shot.] I was tempted to just send it to Larry [Hart] as is, knowing that you were both headed for trouble with the format and proportions but in those situations I always think of the times when someone might have helped me out and didn't and try to do the right thing. Then it was really a matter of looking at what Larry had (or, rather, didn’t have) for his cover along with his small sketch of the "EM" logo [Ed: EM stands for Effing Magnifier, which was my logo and stems from a long story involving Jeff Tundis, Matt Dow, and a girl from northwestern Ohio. You want the details, either call Tundis {Hi, Jeff!} or Matt {Hi, Matt!} or send me twenty bucks.] and thinking: you know, for the sake of twenty minutes work, it will at least give them a professional looking company logo and sometimes that's all it takes to make people slow down and take a second look at a Small Press Show. And, once I had the company logo done, I realized that I didn't know what you were calling the thing and I started thinking of what it could be, starting with "Lust Was On The Bar Menu". And then "Lust Was On The Bar Menu #1". But then I thought, "How many of the Yahoos are going to be in that situation?" [Ed: Here, Dave refers to the old Cerebus Yahoo chat group members.] There were probably a few but the title would probably exhaust itself pretty quickly. And that was when I thought of the more wide-ranging "Cerebus Reader in Crisis". That way, it could possibly serve as part confessional, since most crises seem to fall along conventional lines, and it always helps to find out that you're not the first person to pull some boneheaded stunt. So, at that point, it started to appeal to me as a kind of Yahoo Group-Therapy/Aversion-Therapy thing. I mean, it would start as a joke: "Cerebus Reader in Crisis" but, then, it might take on the shadings of a red-flag alert. If you're doing something and you suddenly picture the "Cerebus Reader in Crisis" logo, then it might be a good idea to just stop doing whatever it is before you start going down your own list of "Mistake #1", "Mistake #2", "Mistake #3". As your story indicates, there is usually ample warning that you’re doing the wrong thing and it really takes some kind of bullheadedness to get up to "Mistake #5" without turning back.

And, besides, I’m looking forward to seeing the seamy underside of various Yahoo lives, having lived my own life on public display for so many years.

See you Thursday or Friday.



Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

In Dave-World, all men have deep voices and firm handshakes, and punch people who call them cowards or homosexuals.

-- Damian

Tony Dunlop said...

Take your meds, Damian...

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Ooo, really got me writhing in the crushing grip of logic there, Tony. Oh well, at least Dave's own words support my claims.

-- Damian

Jeff Seiler said...

I am SOOO enjoying my vacay in Florida!

Blissfully unaware of the taunts, teases, and fihing hooks.

Damian who?

Bored much?

Jeff Seiler said...

Er..."fishing", that is.