Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Cerebus-Ending Crisis: Can We Keep Going? - Part 6

A Portfolio of 10 Signed & Numbered Prints with Exclusive Commentary by Dave Sim
Raising Funds For The Restoration & Preservation Of The World's Longest Graphic Novel 



That all having been said:

There is no tangible, material reward for the 26 years that I put in on CEREBUS. Mostly because I'm definitely not a tangible, material-reward kind of guy:

I've been spending a lot of time sleeping lately which is something that happens this time every year: just before the clocks are turned back. It results from my choosing to adhere to Muslim prayer times (three of them, anyway: pre-dawn, sunset and night prayer) AND try to have a regular year-round routine/rut. Basically sleep for a few hours, wake up, perform my ritual ablutions, pray, eat breakfast and then go back to bed for a few hours. Short answer: This time of year, it doesn't work. I'm trying to go back to sleep at 7:30 in the morning, which means I sleep until 9:30 and wake up exhausted, still needing two hours sleep: which takes me pretty much up to my noon prayer time. Which I stumble through and then want another couple of hours sleep which takes me up to my 3 pm prayer time. For a period of three weeks or so, my internal sleep rhythms are seriously "off" as a result and I switch over, internally, to sleeping pretty close to 24/7. As soon as the clocks go back by an hour the condition is alleviated. Even by the Winter Solstice, the "time nutcracker" isn't as bad as it is here in the last week in October and first week in November.

[I read somewhere that this was the idea behind George W. Bush getting Congress to enact legislation to move Daylight Savings Time ahead by a couple of weeks sometime after 9/11: someone told him that it would really "EFF UP" the Muslims in North America with their prayer times. Not sure if that's true but, if it was: GOOD CALL, Mr. President!!] :)

[I remember looking at my mother lying in her hospital bed in 2003 and thinking, "That looks so nice. Just... LIE THERE... all day." And I remember telling a neighbour of mine about that when I was visiting her mother (a fellow monotheist: RARE in this neighbourhood) in the hospital and then adding, "And then when I was in hospital for my emergency bowel surgery..." and she interrupted and said, "It wasn't as nice as it looked." And I had to laugh and say, "No, it WAS. It was EXACTLY as nice as I thought it would be." Infinitely preferable to getting up and doing anything. I mean, I'm not a feminist and I'm not a materialist. I don't drink or do drugs or have sex or smoke or party or socialize or watch TV or movies or read books for entertainment or listen to music. I can't draw any more. It took a good ten years for me to DISCONNECT from everything I had stuck myself to in our society. We have a very STICKY flypaper-kind-of-society. I mean, from what I can see, Netflix alone...]

[...So, it stands to reason that my concept of a rewarding life is lying in bed 24/7 listening to my recording of the Qur'an in the original Arabic, recited by Sheikh Al-Minshawi. Sometimes sleeping, sometimes just lying there with my eyes closed. Reciting my prayer in my head. I'd be very happy to do that for the rest of my life, just setting the alarm for my prayer times and eating twice a day.]

[Punchline: knowing that, it's very difficult, particularly at this time of year, for me to justify doing anything else. WHY am I forcing myself to get up and do CEREBUS and CEREBUS IN HELL? and STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND stuff? Why not just disconnect completely, do "bare bones" maintenance, use up the last of my RRSPs and the entire line of credit on my life insurance, then cash in the life insurance itself, then sell the artwork through Heritage Auctions, then sell the Off-White House and then just become homeless at 95 or whatever age I would be by then.]

[Or trust that, by being as close to zero-maintenance as modern man can make himself, I can just be tucked into a corner somewhere in some retirement home with my English (J.M. Rodwell's translation) Qur'an, my 1611 King James Bible, my Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Christian Gospels and my above-mentioned Arabic recording of the Qur'an and some ear buds so the sound doesn't bother anyone.]

[Wake me up when it looks like I'm dying so I don't, you know, sleep through it!]

Tomorrow: Okay, so why NOT do that?




Anonymous said...

A couple questions about the notebooks. Are they all named Albatross and then a number (or a pun based on a number)? Or just the first two (too)?

Also, is there a back cover to the third notebook? The first two pdfs from the last kickstarter have front and back but the third has only a front. The fourth has plain cardboard as the first and last page. Are these the covers of the fourth notebook?

-Benjamin Hobbs

Jeff Seiler said...

Being retired, it was early last year when I noticed that my internal sleep clock has switched over to allowing me a maximum amount of straight-through sleep of six hours, including bathroom breaks (for which I only half wake up, unless the cat gets up, too, and starts walking under my feet, in which case I'm on full alert. Don't wanna trip on the cat and fall and break what's left of my right hip. ... Maybe I should get one of those "I've fallen and can't get up, because of the f*#$+×g cat" buttons. But, I digress.)

Doesn't matter what time I go to bed, day or night, whether it's a regular go-to-bed time or not; six hours, max.

But, over the past few months, I've been taking daily naps of an hour or two. Doesn't matter what I'm doing--reading, watching tv, proofreading, whatever--when it's time for a nap, my brain tells my body (or vice versa), and I put down the book or shut off the tv and stretch out in the recliner until I wake up again.

And, you're right, Dave.

It feels really, really good. Better than chatting with friends on the phone, better than that rush I get when I finish proofing the last page of a phonebook, better than fine dining...better than sex. Aah, oblivion.

Margaret said...

Benjamin - I can answer this one for Dave. While there were 36 notebooks for Cerebus that I scanned in, only 4 had Albatross on the cover: Albatross One (issues 20 - 28), Albatross Too (issues 28 - 37), Albatross Four (issues 41 to 44) and Albatross Five (issues 45 to 49).

No notebook had Albatross Three on the cover. I think it was meant to be the one for issues #37 to 40, but it didn't say it. You can read my AMoC blog entry on Albatross Three and the other Albatross notebooks in Notebook 2a, aka Albatross Three. If you look at the other notebook entries you'll be able to find some on the other Albatross named notebooks.

Unless you meant to ask if Dave called the notebooks Albatross without writing it down on the cover of the notebooks. . .in which case, I can't answer that question.

Margaret said...

Edit to my comment above: the notebook for issues 59 to 70 was labeled Albatross Encore (Une Fois) so that makes 5 notebooks with Albatross written on the cover. . .

Travis Pelkie said...

It is hibernation season.

I find that days off from work, I'll sleep for a long time, then some times be up for a few hours, then fall back asleep for several hours, then up a few, sleep more....

It's weird!

Anonymous said...

Thanks! That's helpful. Since you scanned the notebooks you might know if there is a back cover scan or the third notebook. There wasn't one on the PDF with the Kickstarter. Also, the fourth notebook just included what appears to be the inside of the notebooks covers, not the exteriors (Therefore the fourth on the PDF doesn't have the Albatross label.) Do you happen to have scans of the front and back cover? And if so would you mind emailing them to me? (I'm printing out copies and want the covers to be the notebook copies.)

Dave, only five notebooks have the Albatross label, are the others also named Albatross...or something else?

-Benjamin Hobbs

Jimmy Gownley said...

I've flipped back and forth about posting about this because I'm certain it will be dismissed, but what the fuck...

Wanting to sleep 24/7, removing yourself from society, the inability to take pleasure in things you once enjoyed (One of the greatest writers alive not reading for pleasure??) are all symptoms of clinical depression. Which I have lived through and with for years. One of the lifelines during my earliest bout with it was Cerebus, which is why I wanted to just go ahead and say something here.

I know, I know... I'm a feminist or whatever.

Anyway, Dave or anyone else who struggles with it can feel free to write to me through my website. ameliarules (dot) com

Michael A Battaglia said...


I'm pretty darn sure that Dave's situation isn't a result of "clinical depression". I think it's a result of him not chasing after material rewards. If you're going to make an entirely unhelpful observation about his situation, I think "he made his own bed" would suffice.

Your original impulse to not post this bit of ridiculousness was the correct one, but your effort to mask the results as an altruistic extension of your 'wonderful hand' undermines whatever sense of nobleness you were going for in prefacing said impulse.

Jimmy Gownley said...

yeah... somehow I'm still okay with it.

Dave Sim said...

It really has more to do with the prayer times, although, yes, Jimmy, I have considered the possibility of clinical depression. Except I think I would have to be at least somewhat unhappy for that to be the case.

It's almost impossible to explain the experience of Muslim prayer times to people who haven't experienced them on an on-going basis. Overall, you're moving through time because you're praying at the same every day whereas our Reality is based on the clock. When you move the clock back one hour, you tell yourself that you're getting up at the same time, but you aren't. You're getting up an hour later. Whereas I'm praying at the same time I did the day before except the clock says that it's one hour earlier.

It's a lot like GROUNDHOG DAY in that you experience Reality differently from everyone around you. This time of year, the last prayer is at 6:15 pm or so. In the middle of summer, it's 10:30 or so. So, I go downtown to get something to eat after my last prayer time and, week by week, I'm walking through a different time period. X restaurant is open when I go downtown and then X restaurant is closing and then X restaurant is long closed. To me, it's the same time "after my last prayer" but to everyone else, it's a different time.

Trying to have a fixed schedule in that context, you do hit a wall, particularly in October/November.

Jeff - Yes, I have the same experience with an afternoon nap, but only at specific times of the year when there's a long stretch between the afternoon and sunset prayer. THIS time of year, I just feel as if I'm praying every 15 minutes (noon, 3 pm, 5pm, 6pm). But, then I get to eat at 6:30 pm. "This isn't FASTING! I just ate 12 hours ago!"

Dave Sim said...

Benjamin - I think I lost the urge to number the Notebooks and name them Albatross Something along about the time I mislaid one and had to buy another one until it turned up. "I'm just making this REALLY complicated for any obsessive CEREBUS fan who studies these things."

And I was always pretty sure SOMEone would be that obsessive.

Same as I keep making a mental note to tell Margaret: the lipstick print on the front of one of them is Kallin the stewardess. I had the notebook with me when I was seeing her off at the Valhalla Inn airporter. "Here. Something to remember me by."

Also when I broke up with Judith in March of 1992, unbeknownst to me, she wrote a bunch of little notes scattering through the blank pages at the back: "I'm probably missing you right now". That kind of thing.

Michael A Battaglia said...

@Jimmy Gownley said: "yeah... somehow I'm still okay with it."

I'm sure you know what an LLC is. Use the terms that govern said entity as an analogy to help you understand: Dave the man is fine (he's one of the most sane human beings that I'm aware of on earth, frankly), it's the longevity of Aardvark Vanaheim that is in question. To that end, consider that you might be projecting your own struggles with mental illness onto someone that you don't understand. To me, that's the best case scenario here--that you made an honest mistake. As a prolific cartoonist you might think you have insights into the man, but please note that 'being a cartoonist' doesn't seem to dissuade 99% of the comic book industry from calling Dave insane.

Jimmy Gownley said...

Michael: No one is calling anyone insane here. Just relax, man.

Dave: I imagine that those strict prayer times would mess with anyone's circadian rhythm! Especially in Canada in Winter!

Just a note on the "unhappy" thing. That's what stopped me from getting any kind of medical attention for decades. What the hell did I have to be "Unhappy" about? It's that stupid word "depression" which is pretty much irrelevant when it comes to the "Clinical" type. "Situational depression," I think, is more about unhappiness. "My dad died, therefore I don't want to get out of bed." Clinical depression is; "Everything seems relatively fine... and I still don't want to get out of bed."

Obviously, I hope good ol' Michael A Battaglia is right, and I'm just projecting. Regardless, I think you know, that the only reason I would post anything about this is because of my deep admiration for your work. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Cerebus is the best comic ever, and if it weren't for the work of you and Ger in the 80's, I have no idea where I would be today.

Michael A Battaglia said...

@ Jimmy -- It seems I misread your initial post as glib and not heartfelt. To that I say: my bad. I agree wholeheartedly that Cerebus is the best comic ever--to say the least (the last third is so brilliant that the only critical response I can muster is to have my jaw hanging open in awe). It's a seminal literary achievement that's on par with the work of a very small handful of human beings (most of them long dead).

Jimmy Gownley said...

No worries at all, Michael. Tone is nearly impossible to convey on the internet. Which is a huge problem in general!

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Jimmy: Indeed. Michael: Good to have you back.

-- Damian

Margaret said...

Benjamin - I didn't get the notebooks with the kickstarter, so I don't know which one is being referenced as the 3rd notebook. Does your 3rd notebook have a blue cover, no text, Hilroy 80 pages? If so, there is a back cover.

The notebook that you say has what appears to only have the inside of the covers - on one of those, is there a guy's name at the top and a hotel name at the bottom? Are the two issue numbers on the first page issue 49 and 50? I'm trying to figure out if it is what I have as notebook #3. If it is, there was no front cover. Just a back cover - which I scanned the inside and outside.

Once we figure out which notebooks are missing the info - or if it doesn't exist and wasn't scanned in - I have no problem putting it up on the site for people to download, as long as that is okay with Dave.

Anonymous said...

Dave, thanks for the clarification about the Albatross titles.

Margaret, the 3rd note book is the one you describe. (80 pages, blue Hilroy) The PDF didn't have a the back cover. It would be great if you could post it! (Dave, is this ok with you?)

The other notebook is the one with 49/50. Thanks for clarifying the lack of cover. I've been wondering about it for awhile.

Benjamin Hobbs

Dave Sim said...

Jimmy and Michael - I didn't take any offence at what Jimmy was saying. I really think psychiatry is WAY overrated. If it works for you -- and it seems to work for Jimmy -- then that's all that really matters.

But, speaking personally, I do think that psychiatry is an example of the feminizing of society. The more feminized your society gets, the more you're going to treat everything as a "Syndrome" or a psychiatric condition that can easily be treated with medication and therapy. The autism numbers going off the charts seem to me an example of that: no there isn't a sudden flood of autism in our society, you're just calling a lot of basic "lack of discipline" problems autism because you don't want to face that children need discipline. The fact that the psychiatric "bible" is mushrooming in size seems to me to point in the same direction.

My own case, I think, is far more a matter of "I'm over HERE" coupled with "Society is over THERE."

In order to communicate where WE are as a CEREBUS Community, I have to explain both of those as thoroughly as I can. Which is why I decided to write this series of posts.

I'm not looking for advice or guidance on how to move myself "over THERE". I used to be "over THERE" and I think "over HERE" is, objectively, a much better choice. But, in order for WE to understand US, I have to explain ME to Y'ALL! :)

Jimmy Gownley said...

Now I'm really worried. You just said "y'all" ;)

Jeff Seiler said...

No, no, no, Dave! You meant to say "I have to explain ME to ALL Y'ALL!". ;)

Dave Sim said...

Jimmy & Jeff - And, in a Comic Art Metaphysics sense, ALL ALL Y'ALL! Way Clear Up To Over Yonder!