Monday 13 March 2017

Swords Of Cerebus Vol 2: The Morning After

Published between 1981 and 1984, Dave's six Swords of Cerebus volumes were his first attempt to collect the book in a more permanent form. He gave each story included in these volumes a prose introduction, explaining where the book stood when he’d been working on that particular issue and how he was thinking of its prospects at the time. This is the last of Dave's six intros from Swords volume 2. Also check out the full 'Swords Of Cerebus' Introductions Index.

Joe Rubinstein was a relatively little-known figure in comics when Swords 2 had its first publication in June 1981. That began to change the following year, when he inked both The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe and a high-profile Claremont/Miller Wolverine series. He's since worked on dozens of other Marvel books – plus a fair few DC ones - and won a Joe Sinnot Hall of Fame award in 2016.

As you'll see, Dave here discusses an epic drinking session he enjoyed with a couple of other comics pros at a 1980 convention in Rochester, NY. He'll return to this episode in one of his intros for Swords volume 6, throwing in an additional fact which gives the story a slightly darker tinge. We'll be getting to that intro sometime in June, so stay tuned. 

"That was the first time I noticed the weird things you do to get rid of a hangover," says Dave.

Next week: A (very) short vacation.


Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or is one of the best and worst things about Dave the way he simultaneously gives you too much and too little information, while addressing a larger issue?

People at Continuity Comics are damaged. The person who damaged them is not named. How, exactly, they were damaged is left to our imagination. And this is from the period when Dave was naming names - not in this essay, but you know what I mean - from the comics eras we all love. If there was a reason to specify a writer, an inker or an editor, he did so.

I know we're in the 21st Century and nobody knows who those old comics guys are anymore, but there's a part of me that wishes Dave would just write a tell-all book about the comics industry and people he's known since the 1970s. The "Cerebus" stuff is important too, but what the audience really craves is hearsay about Joe Rubenstein, and the others.

Better yet, Dave and Colleen Doran collaborate on a graphic novel about the sleazy underside of comics prior to the internet, naming every name they can remember. I'm sure that would sell at least a half-dozen copies.


Jeff Seiler said...

Too much and too little, Chris?


Heh, heh.

Try 10 years of back and forth letters, wherein we agreed, then agreed to disagree, then pretty much fought verbally (I still think I can take ya, Dave), and then just sorta knocked it off.

Still flares up from time to time.

Two Tauruses, butting heads.

But, there is, as my old buddy Matt said, *something* there.

Dave is reticent to admit it, but I think that I am the one person who is next to last on his list of people with whom he is interested in conversing.

I think that Tim W. would agree.

Any guesses on who rates the last spot?

Paul Slade said...

I've never met Joe Rubinstein, and for all I know he could be s strapping six-footer. I suspect not, though, because he seems the most likely candidate to be the the diminutive Marvel inker Dave referred to (but did not name) in an earlier introduction from Swords volume 2. Just my own speculation, you understand, and I apologise to Joe if I'm wrong.

Unknown said...

In terms of "is Joe Rubinstein a strapping six-footer" if you read more closely, you'll see that I "had to lower my gaze a few inches". He was quite short. I had forgotten that Gene Day introduced us. The "All-Father" was Neal Adams. He co-owned Continuity Associates with Dick Giordano at that time. I was being transparently apparent for humorous effect: at the TIME pretty much everyone would have known who I was talking about. Most of the better stories were told by people who had never set foot inside 9 E. 48th Street "third or fourth hand" as I indicate and I tend not to relay those stories (and, even at the time, tended not to relay those stories) for the very good reason that third and fourth hand stories tend not to have a grain of truth to them.

First-hand from Joe I remember him talking about the "Coke and a bag of chips girls": the comic-book field was so bereft of female fans as potential groupies that all there were were unattractive girls who could be had for a bag of chips and a Coke.

Joe was very much enamoured of Deni. Enamoured to the point that if it was the three of us at a table, you could count on the fact that Joe was groping her UNDER the table even while he was caressing her hand OVER the table.

They got married right around the time that CEREBUS No.300 came out.

I have no idea why I drank Rye and water in Rochester. That was my Dad's drink.

One of the guys in the story was Bruce Bergstrom, the Art Man who represented me at the time. The other guy was a dealer and I don't remember his name. He was the one with a .38 revolver in his coat pocket that he pulled out far enough for us to see it. At the time I thought, "Drinking and a gun is a very bad mixture".

I have no problem with tell-all books or tell-all accounts, but I think you need to stick to stories to which you were actually privy. And for anyone in comics -- or any creative field -- that makes for a much shorter book.

Unknown said...

I am, here on AMOC, telling most of the stories to which I was privy. I did a short interview with Conan Tobias about Arn Saba for QUILL & QUIRE. I think you owe that to posterity. "Here are the stories featuring Arn Saba to which I was privy." Whether he actually writes them down or they fit in the article is another question.

I just saw Rob Walton in Toronto and he has a number of stories of where he, cluelessly, stepped into a mess because he wasn't up to date on his gossip (not BEING a gossip), two of which featured me. He didn't realize that Diana Schutz and I had "gone out" and that it had ended badly and he was giving me a ride to a Paradise Comics con from the hotel. Diana and I had an unpleasant few seconds on the way into the hotel (she had been outside with a few other people). And while I was up in my room, Rob had asked if she wanted to ride over with us. And then was left wondering. "This is REALLY stilted conversation. WHAT is going on here?" And then found out later.

Same as when he was asking people to participate in LOW SOCIETY, the CEREBUS tribute comic. Evidently he phoned Jeff Smith. "They did that signing at the Silver Snail together!" No idea.

I suggested he write the stories down as ROB WALTON: MY TOTALLY CLUELESS LIFE IN COMICS.
WHAT happened? Dave and Jeff? Really?

Erick said...

I have a confession to make. That little pic of Deni on the publishers page sent my heart racing! I never met Deni, and I certainly would have never have 'macked' on someones else's wife. But I did envy you at the time. I am quite sure that you will not agree with this, but from my viewpoint the High Society and Church and State years were the absolute best. I realize that Deni was not there throughout C&S I and II, but whatever it was that fueled your creativity during those years, be it love or rage or something else entirely, The Work was magnificent. Now this will sound contradictory based upon what I just said about HS and C&S, but I think you still had reached your creative peak at that point. Nevertheless, perhaps because it was my first introduction to Cerebus and my viewpoint is biased, or I simply loved the Earth Pig born being so full of himself during that time, re-reading those books never cease to entertain me and remind me of how happy I was to go to the comic store every month to get the latest Cerebus.

Erick said...

I meant that you still had NOT reached your creative peak

Steve said...

If I remember correctly a set of negatives for "The Morning After" was sold on eBay a few years ago.

And no, I will NOT be sharing my Dave Sim stories, no matter how pervy they are.

Wait, no - no matter how privy I am.

Just sayin' -


Paul Slade said...

Dave said: "I have no problem with tell-all books or tell-all accounts, but I think you need to stick to stories to which you were actually privy. And for anyone in comics -- or any creative field -- that makes for a much shorter book."

Back in 2007, Bryan Talbot wrote a book called The Naked Artist: Comic Book Legends, which is full of stories about various comic professionals' misadventures at conventions round the world. They're a mixture of first-hand and second-hand stories, this latter category including Bryan's account of the dinner which led to Dave and Jeff Smith falling out.

Dave doesn't come out of this account very well, but that may be because Bryan's version of it relies on Jeff's description of the feud without any balancing perspective from Dave. That's certainly the way it reads, anyway.

Unknown said...

Paul - Yes, that's the book that I was thinking of. There were several stories in there that I said, "Mmm. That's not the way I heard it."

I'm not really worried because Jeff has told SO MANY different versions of our feud -- pretty much all of them in conversation with people (as opposed to in print) -- that, inevitably, Comic Book Posterity will catch up with him. If you keep changing your story, you're not telling people what happened, you're making stuff up so you sound like the hero. And once you do that, you start writing yourself as multiple kinds of hero. But actual heroes don't make stuff up.

Erick - Yes, I'm actually talking about that pretty extensively in the NOTES for CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER 7. I thought that CEREBUS just got better and better as it went along but I'm certainly aware that that isn't the consensus view of the book. It got technically better which often isn't the same thing. Doing really good individual comic books to the best of your ability (which is what I was still doing during HIGH SOCIETY) is very different from doing a good 6,000-page graphic novel.

I think that might be another "posterity" thing. People, when they're relatively young, don't like to see a favourite character getting old and failing at what he's trying to do (no matter how much he tries to "scale it down"). They want to remember when he really thought he could get all the gold in the world and that that would somehow improve things. The older a CEREBUS reader gets, I think, the more they'll see in the older Cerebus.

Unknown said...

A carefully nurtured resistance to gossip -- which is what I think was and is the case with Rob Walton -- is actually a very positive attribute. I got mixed up in the gossip thing because of READS -- it's very difficult to research mothers and daughters without gossiping: it's a core element of female reality and female communication -- prior to that I had been like Rob. You can see how that turned out: Jeff Smith peddling multiple versions of our feud, each one making me look worse and worse. Gossip turned out to be a major Pandora's Box in my life in that way.

Steve - I appreciate the thought but, at this point, I don't think too much more damage could be done to my reputation than has already been done. As long as people stick to telling Dave Sim stories to which they were actually privy and the Cerebus Archive and Correspondence are kept 100% public after my death, I have no problem with whatever negative consequences result.

Unknown said...

I should qualify that I UNDERSTAND why the situation with Jeff exploded the way it did. It was because of his love for Vijaya which, I'm pretty sure, supersedes everything else in his life by an astronomical margin. Vijaya took her appearance in 186 VERY badly and inferred that I insulted her. Which meant Jeff took it VERY badly and inferred that I had insulted her. Because Vijaya's reality is Jeff's reality. It didn't matter what I wrote, all that mattered was what Vijaya thought she read.

But Jeff didn't take it very badly UNTIL Vijaya took it VERY badly. And when I say "VERY badly" I mean "This person has to be destroyed" "VERY badly". Which is what happened.

I have never gotten an answer to "How did I insult Vijaya?" in 186. Vijaya felt insulted so that ended the discussion as far as Jeff -- and, in short order, the entire comic-book field -- was concerned.

As I say, I think posterity will favour my side of the discussion, but we'll have to get past the Feminist Theocracy before that happens. And, in my opinion, we are nowhere near to having that happen.

Jeff Seiler said...

Not to stir things up too much again, but I remember you writing, Dave, that Vijaya just sat there, silently smoking a cigarette, while you and Jeff were going at it. That image spoke volumes to me about the nature of (some) women.

Sean R said...

Steve--when did that happen? How in the world would production negatives for an Aardvark/Vanaheim book make it to Ebay? Any guess who, uh, owns them now?

Unknown said...

Jeff - Not to stir things up too much again but, yes, if you just compare what I ACTUALLY wrote with Jeff's later ACCOUNTS of what I wrote...

As I wrote in THE BONE COMMENTARIES, all I was saying was that Vijaya was inscrutable. Jeff was definitely flipping out but I couldn't read Vijaya at all. And I'm usually pretty good at reading people.

Steve and Sean R - I actually got duplicate negatives done of all the back-up stories in SWORDS and CEREBUS JAM and sent them to the collaborating artists. Everyone was moving around and wasn't at their previous location so I didn't want to have to be tracking people down to pay them if I used their work in a future collection. Or be accused of "ripping them off". Basically I said "Here are the negatives for the story we worked on: if you ever want to print it somewhere, go ahead."

i.e. Joint custody implies joint responsibility and what I've come to call "reciprocal jurisdiction". If you worked on it, you have the right to reproduce it. I have that arrangement with Todd on SPAWN 10 and (so far as I know -- I THINK Peter flagged it when he sold them TMNT) with Viacom on TURTLES 8. Royalties are optional. If I hadn't been "voted off the island" I think "reciprocal jurisdiction" answers a lot of questions in the field without having to pay a lot of lawyers a lot of money. But "Dave Sim Misogynist" in a Feminist Theocracy means nothing you suggest can be listened to.

Joe auctioned his negatives on eBay (hopefully, after getting them digitally scanned).

Fortunately, A-V has negatives for all of the back-up stories.

And, no, there's no plan to do a book. If it isn't exhaustive -- and it wouldn't be exhaustive (i.e. Margaret Liss exhaustive) -- then it has to be done over again at some point. The 16 volumes will have to be done -- or, rather, DONE -- first.