Friday, 9 June 2017

Dave Sim: Ambition, Self-Confidence & Determination

From "Dave Sim's Collected Letters 1990", a Cerebus Archive Kickstarter reward.


Jimmy Gownley said...

Oh My God! You turn your back one minute and look what happens! LOL!

So let's see... I was eighteen years old then. To say Dave was my idol is to understate the matter. The overriding memory was that I couldn't believe he took the time to write me. I think I sent letters and copies of second printings of the first issue of my high school comic book to about twenty comics professionals. Three wrote back: Dave, Dennis Kitchen, and the guys from Strawberry Jam comics. I never wrote to Charles Schulz, which is inconceivable to me now.

So, let me put on the old hindsight glasses and see how Dave's advice stacked up.

"There is no substitute of personal ambition, self-confidence, determination and self-sufficiency." Correct. Or, as I put it in my book about this time period The Dumbest Idea Ever, "Being too stupid to realize how dumb I am is my greatest strength."

"The price which is paid for "wider distribution" is almost universally a loss of control, stagnation and artistic oblivion." See, this is what I hate about Dave; he's always watering down his arguments. Say what you mean, man!

Joking obviously.

Anyway, definitely true at the time. But thanks to the work of people like Dave, the Hernandez Bros, etc. that is much less true these days.

The next part about the Turtles. True. And it was a lesson I learned with Amelia Rules!. If we hadn't put out all of those Amelia Rules! comics and trades first, Simon and Schuster would never have published the later books, and I'd still be working in local news. Also, if I never self-published, I wouldn't have been able to write The Dumbest Idea Ever at ALL!

The Last paragraph. Well, that's just Dave being generally encouraging. No amount of regularity was going to make Shades a success. The most it ever sold was 3,000 when it was relaunched by Caliber in 1996.

But what's kind of interesting is this: My best selling comic book is a story about me producing my worst selling comic book!

It totally blew my mind to see this on the site! Thanks.


Steve said...

And I believe Dave's comment on 'solidifying your initial success by becoming a comic book your fans and readers can count on' is in essence why so much of the readership was lost as Cerebus wound down.

What readers had come to count on was going away as Dave took the story where he wished.

Which is certainly his right, and his priority.

But readers aren't obligated to follow.


Sean R said...

How cool is that?!