Saturday 8 August 2020

Please Hold For Dave Sim August 2020

Hi, Everybody!

So Dave called on Thursday. We talked for like thirty-one seconds under two hours.

And I recorded it all on my fancy podcasting app.

Which apparently doesn't actually record audio when I'm on the phone...

So, all I got are two clips that are barely three minutes long. (I have two fifty-five minute clips that have no audio.)

So I faxed up to Dave and let him know I fucked up Big Time (I also included this cartoon:)
Well, champ that he is, Dave sent me a ten page fax with what we talked about. Which is why Dave Sim is now and will always be:
And his I'm actually gonna print out and send him. (You'll figure out why shortly.)

And now, Please Hold For Dave Sim August 2020:

Here's the audio. The first part is talking about Batvark:PENIS and the "Censored-for-Grandma" variant Batvark:XXXXX, and which is more rare. Also, Dave mentions Benjamin Hobbs ultra-rare, limited to two hundred copies, "Virgin" edition (where there's no text on the cover,). (Surprise Ben! This might be the official announcement...) And in the second part Dave and I start to wrap it up, and Dave praises my abilities as a Cerebus Scholar Squirrel (oh if only he'd known how badly I was about to fuck everything up...)

Okay, so the normal procedure is I fax up a list of questions, and Dave reads them aloud as he answers them. So from that fax:
Steve Peters: Just wanted to let Dave know Patty Breen (Kiss and Tell) passed away. K&T was previewed in Cerebus #199 I believe, and Dave did another preview one or two issues later when she and her artist went their separate ways [Actually, it was all the same preview in #199. -Matt], with the Solomonic solution of publishing two previews in one issue, a K&T story with the new artist and a preview of the original artist's new project. Incidentally, I did a lot of ghost work on K&T#3 when she parted ways with her second artist. She wanted me to become the next artist, but that was when Everwinds and Awakening Comics were coming out simultaneously, so I had to decline.

I was devastated to hear of her passing from Jamal Igle's Facebook page. It actually happened on Christmas day, but he had only just found out about it. I've copied and pasted the text from her memorial page below.

---Steve Peters
Patricia A. Mahlon (Breen)

Patricia A. Mahlon left this world Christmas morning 2019.

Patty was many things in her life; comic book writer, film historian, web designer, digital media director, internet marketing master, political activist and double lung transplant recipient. She held a Bachelor’s degree in Communications with an Art minor from West Chester University and earned numerous certificates, most notably in the area of medical genomics.

She was the best friend and most wonderful, loving wife to her husband Arthur L. Mahlon, and the only child and devoted daughter to her parents, James and Helene Breen. A Philadelphia native, she grew up in Newtown, attended college in West Chester, moved to the Pottstown area, married the love of her life and finally landed in Mt. Penn outside of Reading.

Patty loved music, film, performance, and art -- both high and low. She traveled the world with her husband in search of truth, beauty, and magical immersive experiences. All of which she managed to find more often than not. Most of all, she loved to share the things she loved with others. A generous and supportive friend to those who earned it, she strove to always be there for those she cared about no matter what challenges she personally faced.

Patty had Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, a genetic condition that slowly affected her overall health and, eventually, ruined her lungs. After a number of years on oxygen, she received a double lung transplant in June 2016. Patty was ever-appreciative of the opportunity that had been given to her by her organ donor’s family and wanted nothing more than to honor the donor who had given her a second chance at life. She fought hard after the transplant and had three and a half active and rewarding years before a sudden, unexpected event took her away. She was 47 years old.

A private memorial gathering is being planned for sometime in March.
And Dave:
I looked it up. I got it wrong. Davy Jones was supposed to perform at Marcia's Prom. I found a video:
(It's the "Pop Up Brady" version of the episode. That's the only way I could find the whole episode.)

The Desi Arnaz Jr. episode premise is that Marcia's diary gets accidentally given to charity, and she's devastated that someone might read it and find out she wants to become Mrs. Desi Arnaz Jr.

So, not EXACTLY like the scenario in Patty's story, which I have a copy of:

Weirdly, when I opened it up, it was signed. I don't remember if I got it signed, or if it was signed when I got it...

Okay, talk about your Comic Art Metaphysics: I was born in June 1979, Patty invites Starbuck to her party, and Dave was committed for his LSD freakout.

The Gift of Life Family House in Philadelphia, the Gift of Life TransplantFoundation or the Wikimedia Foundation.

Next up was Steve Swenson:
So, question for Dave: have you made an appointment to see an optometrist / ophthalmologist yet?
Okay, before I do as instructed, let me clarify. This is the VERY stripped down version of what we talked about. Dave and I both were our usual urbane and witty selves. There were laughs and Dave made his point, and I agreed up to a point, and talked about MY last two eye doctor visits. 

The second to last one, the doctor told me he had a good news/bad news for me. The good news is that my far vision (which sucks) is going to get better, the bad news was that my near vision was going to get worse. The last visit, the doctor told me I needed bifocals. So I have bifocals now.

Anyway, the story Dave wants me to insert:

Over twenty years ago, when I was still High School age, I was visiting my Dad, and he got off of work and he, my brother, and I went to the grocery store to get dinner. My Dad was an electrician working for a contractor, so he's covered in drywall dust, wearing bib overalls. My dad has a big bushy beard, he looks...well the way a family friend described him was "an Amish farmer on acid." My Dad had decided that he needed reading glasses, because close up work was getting hard to see. So we're standing by the rack of glasses, and my Dad's trying on different pairs of reading glasses, but he doesn't know if they're working, because he's not looking at the right distance, so he gets my brother to give him a copy of Time magazine, and he's standing there doing a self eye exam, "better like this, or better like this?" and I'm an embarrassed teenager so I walk away, and I come back a few minutes later, and my Dad's still looking at the Time and trying pair after pair of reading glasses, and my brother is standing next to him laughing his ass off. To give you an idea, here's my Dad from eight or so years ago:
That's my Dad on the left, the kid is wearing her "glamour baby" bib.

So, I suggested to Dave that maybe he might want to try a pair of dollar store readers.

You can see his view above.

Jeff Seiler:
My question/s for Dave: 1) what algorithm did you utilize to determine that I misremember 98% of our phone conversations? I mean, my math says it's 83%.
2) If there were one character in "Cerebus" that you could or would want to "flesh out" more, which would it be? For example, you wrapped up Posey's unfortunate life pretty well, but there were others (like, of course, Sir Gerrick) that were just sort of left hanging. So...?
My ACTUAL point, was that Cerebus WASN'T Thimble Theatre. There wasn't really an opportunity for a Popeye to show up.

Dave countered that Mick and Keef were exactly like that, and it was all he could do to get them back out of the book.

But, again, much more urbane and witty than that.

Where are the Swords of Cerebus in Hell?

I said in the fax: Since it’s an anonymous question, I know there’s not gonna be a real answer, so I think the answer is “Over thar!”

Dave chuckled at that one.
Dave and I also talked about The Amicable Spider-Vark. The entire print run was mis-assembled, and the cover was stapled on inside out, so the Batvark:PENIS promo on the inside back cover is on the cover. Dave is buying the entire misprinted run (hopefully at cost from the printer), and he's going to Auction off a copy here on AMOC.

See, Dave signs five copies of every CiH? issue to Sandeep Atwal. When he was signing one of the misprint Spider-Varks, his silver sharpie was running out. So, the copy up for auction, is signed by Dave five times, and numbered 1 of 5 to Sandeep. Photos, when I get them.
Lee Bentley:
Would you ask Dave, please: Who was the Emperor God of the Shen and whatever happened to them?

Hey Margaret! Anything about the Shen in the notebooks?
Dion Turner:
G’day Matt - Question for Dave.
I’ve heard IDW have planned a collected volume of Steve Ditko’s ‘Mr. A.’, soon to be released (but ya’know... 2020 and all, who can say?!?).
From what I read on a Bleeding Cool article this is being pushed by Ditko’s brother who I guess has inherited the work.
This is a tempting book! A character that he spent 50 years revisiting with a philosophy that was personal to him.
But - as per the attached note he was against the work being collected.
This is becoming a moral conundrum (I’m sure Mr. A would disagree). What are your thoughts on this? Is it a collected volume you’d be interested in and does Ditko’s position on the works being collected change your view on whether you would get it?
Dave wants me to start with my take. 

He asked me what I thought when we were talking, and I wasn't really prepared for that. I'm not sure I am now.

My take is that history is full of examples of authors who wanted their works destroyed, if we listened to them,then we won't know those works as well. Margaret Mitchell was one of my examples. 

I also sent up this article from Bleeding Cool (Dave has notes):

From the article:

It's not an easy matter to decide. There are several examples from history where similar instructions by important artists and writers were also willfully ignored — or obeyed. Franz Kafka burned several of his manuscripts during his lifetime and instructed his friend Max Brod to destroy the remainder upon his death. Brod disobeyed his friend's wishes, feeling that Kafka's work should be shared with the world. At the other end of the spectrum, Terry Pratchett left instructions that the remainder of his work at the time of his death, which was contained on a hard drive, should be crushed with a steam roller and irrevocably destroyed. These wishes were carried out in 2017.

Many creators, like Kafka, may feel that a portion of their work is flawed or inadequate and best left to the crumbling newsprint of history, but it's arguable that readers are the far better judge of such things.
However, one can make a pretty good case that artistic intent mattered to Steve Ditko more than it has to just about any other creator… ever? I've always found the act of artistic will it must have taken to detach himself from an entire world of fans, readers, casual filmgoers, consumers, tv viewers, and news media who would have (and did, from afar) adored him for co-creating one of the most popular and successful characters ever in Spider-Man to be damn near beyond human comprehension. I understand the intent, I think. But to actually walk that walk for decades? It seems… superhuman.

Mark Ditko: When we went to the studio, to clean out his effects and things we couldn't open the door initially because of the fan mail that was blocking the door that had… for probably about two months or a month and a half he hadn't been there. He was in his apartment not in the studio. He was in and out of the hospital a bit.

So in his studio when we went there, there's a mail slot. And it was full to the mail slot packed full of things. There were hundreds of letters just in that couple months time span and I eventually want to get around writing everyone back.

Some of those letters I opened and read them and they were from the director of Doctor Strange, to little kids, you know five year old kids or something. But there was things that he had regular correspondence with, and people who were brand new.

So he was profuse communicator. But his media was letters, he loved the letters.

Has anybody in here ever written to him or gotten letters back? You know, that's what would have happened, if you wrote him he would've wrote you back. That's that's the way he rolled.

So anyway in answer the question you know when I was reading that letters page I was like wow this is really you know enlightening. But sometimes you don't get what was written to him, and then you kind of get this dialogue. Well, I have all that dialogue.

A lot of it's family stuff. It's not a whole lot of his involvement with Marvel or DC. It's sort of the human side of him and the philosophical side. I mean, to me he was he was my 21st century guru of sorts. So that potential is not off the table.


Okay, that's the whole thing I got. You guys missed out on a lot of laughs and fun. 

As I sent up to Dave after I discovered my fuck up:
Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.

Normally, Jesse Lee Herndon types out a transcript of these things, but since this one was all transcript, he has to make a video of it. (I mean it's only fair...)

Cerebus in Hell?:
The Daily CiH? strips have ended. (I think you probably noticed...)
For Order:Vault of Cerebus! And The "Censored for Grandma" variant: Batvark XXXXX
Signed copies of Vark Wars: Walt's Empire Strikes Back (Signed by Dave, Signed by Dave and me, Signed by me after I scribble out Dave's name, Signed by my kids, Signed by my mailman, Signed by random strangers I meet on the way to the Post Office, Signed by "Jorge Luiz", Signed by You (if you get it in the mail and have a pen handy...), Signed by random Customs Agents (if you're a foreigner), Signed by Benjamin Hobbs (if you mail it and twenty bucks to him), Signed by David Birdsong (if you mail it to HIM along with twenty-FIVE bucks), Signed by Sean Robinson (if you mail it to him along with however much he's charging, I haven't asked...), Signed by Mark Hamill! (if you kidnap him. (Don't kidnap him...)), Pretty much available Signed only...)
In stores now: Attractive Cousins
And maybe by the end of the month: The Amicable Spider-Vark (if they can get them remade in time...)

And there's a Kickstarter for Dave and Carson Grubaugh's You Don't Know Jack. The Newest Update:
Hello everyone,

We hope you all had a great week!

Writing to you all with some news this Saturday morning. While Carson spent the week driving cross-country to his new home in Alabama, I was communicating with him about the various tasks that need to be done on You Don't Know Jack! and Six Macro Cons to get them ready for print.

One of the first things on our list was to finish up the cover for the book. And here it is, in all of its Otter-pop-colored glory!
When we were setting up this Kickstarter campaign, we were squeezed trying to prepare everything, including the final graphics. And in that rush we defaulted to an earlier cover for the book, with some slightly different earlier elements. Here is the actual finalized cover, after its IDW-ectomy. (One of the main goals of the last-minute revisions were to remove mentions of IDW, the publisher with whom Dave was planning to place You Don't Know Jack! at the time of its writing).

Those of you who have seen the earlier version of the cover will recognize the improvements here, including Dave's hand-lettered "BOOOOOOOO!", small hand-lettered emphasis marks (by me, directed by and imitating Dave), and generally better balance and breathing room for the text.

Although both Carson and I had already worked with Dave at the time YDKJ was written, none of us anticipated the actual process we'd be going through, which evolved over the course of the book, and has since then become the normal process for working on Cerebus in Hell? That is, Dave would fax (yes, fax!) either layouts or scripts to Carson, Carson would make a mockup of the page, I would do the "finished" lettering, and then it would go back to Dave in print form for evaluation or adjustments. Wash, rinse, and repeat for as many times as necessary. Some of those changes would be subtle, but for me, always a learning experience, getting to peek inside Dave's visual skills and processes. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say I learned more about digital lettering doing this 48-page book than any other single experience, despite having hand-lettered hundreds of pages before this, and digitally-lettered hundreds of pages after.

Alright, that's it for me this morning! We will be back soon with an update with some big news, so pleased stay tuned as we round the final corner and head towards that big finish!
If you missed the Waverly Press Kickstarter for the Remastered Cerebus #1, limited overflow of the rewards are available at

Cerebus masks and whatnots with all the money going to Dave.

Until the end of the month, there's also "Cerebus in Hell? 4 Sell". With all the profits going to Aardvark-Vanaheim.

Next Time: Oliver and the internet


Steve said...

Dave, I'm fine with agreeing to disagree, and I'm well aware of the anecdotal evidence for eyesight improving.

But, facts, damned things that they are, are also at play here.
The eye is NOT a muscle, it is (more properly, they are) an organ. There are six muscles which attach to the OUTSIDE of the eye, to the 'white' of the eye.
These six muscles provide the movement of the eye - they have essentially NO effectual work in the specific action of focusing.

Focusing occurs via the cornea and the lens of the eye. This lens is supported by tiny strands called zonules or the suspensory ligaments. Imagine a trampoline: the trampoline is the lens, the springs around the periphery are the zonules.

As those zonules contract or release our focal distance changes. As we age, those zonules continue to work fine - but as I stated previously, the lens itself stiffens and becomes less responsive, less flexible, resulting in a loss of range of focal distances.

I'm not presenting this information to 'argue you into a corner', but rather to hopefully expand and refine your understanding of what you are experiencing.

Dave, you wrote a guide to self-publishing. You had experience, expertise in that field, and a desire to share it, to the benefit of other creators.

Similarly for me: I have some experience in the field of ophthalmic surgery. I dearly hope, one professional to another, you will consider what I've said, to your benefit.

Because, all aggravations be damned, you are important to me.


Jeff said...

My question for Dave for next month: So, not to be petty (I hope), Dave, but Matt gets away with "we're such good friends" in his 3 minutes of audio on Saturday (August 8th), yet last month, I got a phone message from you in which you told me (at length), among several other things, that "[I] really need to knock it off with the 'friends' thing. I don't have friends." And, some more things along the same theme. And, of course, the thank you for you-know-what.

So, you know, it really doesn't bother me, but ... different standards? Expediency? Moral inequity?

Just curious.

Glen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glen said...


It's beyond pointless to argue with Dave about science or medicine. He could have had surgery in Canada (for free) for his wrist but he chose not to believing crowdsourcing a diagnosis on a Cerebus website would be more helpful.
I've worn glasses all my life. I can't read or drive without them. There's no amount of eye exercise I could do that would improve my vision.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

As Glen said, you can't argue about science with Dave. He has never understood it, and his mind is hermetically sealed by now. His mental decline seems to have accelerated in the past year. Look at some of his factual errors in this post alone. The eye is a muscle? Oh! Ha ha hah!

Steve Ditko was "evil and universally hated? No he wasn't. He was revered for his classic work, and regarded as a bit of a nutbar for his cultish devotion to the ludicrous non-philosophy of romance novelist Ayn Rand. But reviled? No.

That's like Dave's zombie lie that he's the Pariah King and nobody defended him when he came out as misogynist. But he wasn't drummed out of comics; he left. The record shows that everybody defended him; everyone said, "It's his comic; he can write whatever he wants." What they didn't do was agree with him, and that to Dave is just intolerable. And he didn't even have Ditko's courage to just keep putting out his comics; Dave continues to this day to whine about non-existent conspiracies against him.

The comic-book field is controlled by progressives? There was a time when gadfly Dave never got tired of pointing out (correctly, then and now) that Marvel and DC do things for only one reason: money. That's a conservative virtue, not a progressive virtue.

Cerebus is a balanced, coherent whole? Ha ha! That's the funniest thing in this post. Look at his reply to Lee B.; it confirms what I've said before -- that you can't understand Cerebus by just reading Cerebus; you need to read the interviews and "Aardvark Comment" and extra-textual stuff where Dave explains stuff that just isn't in the book.

Poor Dave. It's hard being surrounded by enemies, especially when you make them up out of your head.

-- Damian

whc03grady said...

Why aren’t you all giving Dave a hard time about eyes? If anything, you should be paying a attention to him...he’s got eyes all figured out. Just read his amazingly lucid and insightful thoughts on the topic:

“Which brings us to our eyes, which I see as the the first part of the enactment that our physical forms represent as you move "south" from The Brain As Model.

Our eyes are YHWH 0 and YHWH 1 on approach to each other with impact imminent. There is concurrence here. Both men and women have two eyes each. We agree that this is how it began.

Of course, ours eyes are looking the wrong way -- not at each other. Mostly (I suspect) because the idea of impacting with another body at 5 km per second is very different from the sugar-coated version with which (I suspect) the model was conceived: one "planet/eye" would merge painlessly with an analogue "planet-eye" (The Brain Model) and fuse with some…convolutions. Better not to look directly at what you're actually about to do.

So, in a sense our eyes' inability to see each other constitutes an indictment -- carved in stone -- of the enactment, itself, per se. The sentience behind the Great Impactor Event was, literally, "looking the other way" in order to avoid seeing the Great Impactor Event for what it was: inherently violent and destructive. Again, I don't think this sentience was God.”

Tony Dunlop said...

Mitch, where is that quote from? Or is it your own rather spot-on parody?

Anonymous said...

Health care in Canada is not free! We are taxed at an ungodly high rate to pay for that "free" health care. Surgery? Don't make me laugh. Dave would be long dead before he could get on the schedule even if he could at his age. I am constantly amazed at how little our neighbors to the south don't realize how good you have it, but Americans are among the most ungrateful human beings alive. You have a better standard of living and more bounty than any other country EVER. You also have the most powerful military in world history that protects that treasure. The fact that you are not conquerors is quite nice, but I might trade that a little if you would shut your reactionary mouths for one second and compare how good you have it against the rest of the world. It breaks my heart to see you give it all away because of a misguided guilt trip you are on right now. Americans used to have the biggest balls in the world and didn't care when someone tried to make you ashamed of it. Grow a pair and get over yourself.

An Angry Canadian

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Let us say that "AAC" is not entirely cognizant of the facts. Canada spends less per capita than USAnia on health care for comparable results.

-- Damian

Anonymous said...

I guess that's why Dave went to the US for an MRI on his wrist? I have a friend with a dystonia in her hand and she has been waiting for an MRI for months with no idea when she will ever get it. Don't put yourself out there as the spokesman for all Canadians, Damian. You only think you know everything.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

That is not what I did, Anon @ 16:51. It is perfectly possible to criticize me without lying.

-- D.

Tony again said...

"We are not conquerors?" So much for Anonymous Canadian's credibility...

also; you have taxes; we have insurance premiums. I bet ours are higher...

Anonymous said...

The health care system in America needs serious reform; when people are afraid to call an ambulance because of the cost something is seriously wrong; that's not even touching Rx companies bribing doctors to prescribe their medicines. State fun health care doesn't sound good either though, there must be some balance between the two, between the potential high taxes and the current high premiums. The anecdotes I've gotten from Canadians are a mix of liking and disliking it.

Damian--my understanding is you're ignoring the shift towards Dave after 186, it's not like he withdrew from conventions in a pique but as a reaction to personal hypocrisy, slagging him behind his back, polite to his face. How people reacted to Dave and 186 is something I understand, it's not a mystery; but to be two-faced towards him is something else. I wonder if Dave thought the comic book scene was truly open to controversial ideas when he wrote that text piece?

As for progressives control/Dc and Marvel and money---I agree about profit being the rule but it seems like the past several years have been the exception to that, the current comics feel like the temporary triumph of progressive politics over profit, see Marvel (of Dc's I don't recall) Snowflake and Safespace comic as one example. Or America Chavez. Or the Female Thor. Just another phase like grim-n-gritty but there's plenty of evidence out there for it in the mainstream.

Jeff----try not to let it get to you man. Shouldn't whatever connection to Dave you have be enough? Does it really matter if he lets 'Manly Matt Dow' call him a friend or mention friendship or whatever was said (I didn't watch the clip). It's not a good look, it makes the whole thing feel like jr. high girls gossip. Well, that's my opinion. No offense intended. You're no doubt one of Dave's biggest supporters, friend or no and have had a connection that's beyond casual reader for many years, isn't that enough?

Matt---thanks for keepin' this place going, I don't know how you do it; that's some Cerebious dedication.


A Fake Name

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Actually, AFN, it's exactly like "he withdrew from conventions in a pique". He continued to receive invitations for years after Cerebus ended; maybe he still does, but he demands star treatment his star doesn't warrant.

And you make my point exactly with "just another phase like grim-'n'-gritty": any trend they can jump on and make money from.

Wow, Jeff S. knows Dave Sim personally? Why hasn't Jeff mentioned this before?

-- D.

Anonymous said...

Damian said: "...The comic-book field is controlled by progressives? There was a time when gadfly Dave never got tired of pointing out (correctly, then and now) that Marvel and DC do things for only one reason: money..."

----I thought the ? was both rhetorical and sarcastic. Later you say:

"..."just another phase like grim-'n'-gritty": any trend they can jump on and make money from..."

----My point was it's an exception in that they're putting progressive politics over money, temporary trend like grim and gritty. I think they'd like to make money on it but the cancellation of America Chavez, Snowflake etc. doesn't seem to be profitable.

Damian also wrote: "Actually, AFN, it's exactly like "he withdrew from conventions in a pique". He continued to receive invitations for years after Cerebus ended; maybe he still does, but he demands star treatment his star doesn't warrant..."

---I don't think wanting to differentiate between those who say what they really believe and those who pretend to like him is retreating in a pique. I remember in real time Gail Simone being friendly to Dave on his internet "tour" and then slagging him to others later on. I don't recall if that was before the non-misogynist list or after but my understanding is things like that had him withdraw.

As for demanding star treatment, I never got that impression. He seems like the exact opposite of a comics primadonna.


Anonymous said...

Damian declared: "Cerebus is a balanced, coherent whole? Ha ha! That's the funniest thing in this post. Look at his reply to Lee B.; it confirms what I've said before -- that you can't understand Cerebus by just reading Cerebus;...."

---You really think you can't understand Cerebus just by reading it? What?! Of course you can. You may not glean every intended meaning Dave put into it but that's true for many creative works; but that doesn't mean you don't understand it. As for a balanced whole? A criticism I've seen leveled at the book is that Dave shouldn't have crammed everything into Cerebus, that his other interests, Wilde, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, God, the Torah should've been granted their own respective works.

But I think it's great he did put that all in there, whether or not it succeeded I respect the ambition and discipline, let alone the artistry. Balanced? I think a first read through can leave some potentially disappointed; the fantasy story abruptly ending with the introduction of Dave might turn them off. Let alone the many pages dedicated to the interpretation of the Torah and the Yoowhoo stuff. But when looking at the entirety of Cerebus one can see it for what is is, a wildly ambitious, more successful than not comic book novel that didn't just settle for an easy fantasy storyline but changed and grew as its creator did, in real time. That it holds up as a finished work, that the fantasy storyline from 1-200 is seen as just part of this work and not ultimately the point, is a benefit.

There's plenty of other comics (let alone novels, films etc.) that stick to one story and bring it to a good conclusion. Would The Lord of The Rings had been improved if after returning to the Shire Samwise discovered Hemingway? No.

But Cerebus is the exception and does something most other works don't, tackling the largest issues of humanity, from politics, religion, love, creativity, feminism, death, and literature before finally finding belief in God all in one work while pushing forward stylistically, and constantly experimenting. It's good there's a work that does this, throwing everything and the kitchen sink; should all creative works be this ambitious, and sprawling in subject? Of course not but it's darn good this one is.

So I think Cerebus is balanced; it's just that it may not seem that way while going through it, however when reflecting on the work one can see what it's really doing, presenting its creator's views and understanding of Truth as best he can, instead of adhering to the fantasy story that it starts out with.

Again, that this may disappoint some makes sense; but for me, it's one of the selling points; shouldn't 6,000 pages be wildly ambitious?


A Fake Name

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, Damian, why do pick on Jeff?

A Fake Name

Jeff said...

Damian picks on me because he gets off on trying to push people's buttons and occasionally I bite, which makes him a little bit wet. Hell, I'll bet that when we *really* go at it, he actually squirts while his pudenda are quivering.

I am not upset about Dave not objecting to Matt calling him a really good friend, I'm objecting to him taking the tone with me that he did after everything that I have done for him over the past 16 years and all of the generosity that he has shown me in the same time period. And, I didn't even tell you guys the half of that phone call.

Sometimes, with Dave, sometimes...I feel like I been tied, like I been tied, to the whippin' post, as the song goes. Except, of course, Dave isn't a female.

And--my uninformed opinion here--if Dave does act as if he is demanding star treatment, I think that it's because it's the best way for him to say no to the invites. He's had his comic-book-rock-star days (a long time ago) and clearly doesn't need or want them today. Don't forget, a year or so ago he went downtown and stumbled upon the Kitchener Comic convention and walked around mostly anonymously until one guy approached him as he was leaving. And he signed a few autographs for the guy. Not exactly a CBRS approach to things.

My (limited) experience is that, the older these Comic-Book-Rock-Star guys get, the less attention they seek or need. The first and only time I met Neal Adams was a few years ago here in Minneapolis. After I paid for his signature on the cover of the Neal Adams issue of Following Cerebus, we got to chatting.

After a bit, I asked him if I could pull up a chair, and he affirmed that I could, and we sat there behind his table chatting about the interview/vacation to Niagara Falls that he did with his family and Dave, for a good half-hour, or more. Super nice, humble guy. I like to think that he was glad I didn't ask him a thing about working on Supes or Bats or GL, etc. *And*, I got a coupla inside stories about the production of that interview with Dave in FC (#6, I think).

My point is that if you're not all fan-boyish and don't bum rush these guys, you can have a great experience.

And, yes, Damian, you can even be able to say that you know or knew them, personally.

Jeff said...

A Fake? Thanks.

Brian West said...

Now I wish “A Fake Name” didn’t have a fake name. Well reasoned arguments, there sir/ma’am/you.

Maybe Dave at the end of the day is siding on the stance “My body, my choice” as far as his eyesight goes?

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

I think AFN again demonstrates my point. Marvel tried some "progresive" comics 'cause they thought there was money there, and pulled the plug as soon as they realized there wasn't.

Brian W.: Of course Dave can do what he wants about his failing eyesight. Nobody has said otherwise; your comment is a pure red herring. Dave is factually wrong that the eye is a muscle, and that's what everyone who has objected has objected to.

-- Damian

Anonymous said...


--My understanding is you disbelieved that progressives could be controlling Marvel and Dc over profits. My point is for a time (and that may still be going on, I dip in and out of what's going on in mainstream comics) progressives called the shots even over profits. You later seem to acknowledge this which makes my point and contradicts what you said before.

---Jeff, thanks for the explanation; I hope you find whatever you're lucky for regarding Dave.

---Thanks for the compliment Brian West.


A Fake Name

Brian West said...

You're welcome, A Fake Name.

Damian: No, my previous comment was not a pure red herring, but in fact an opinion about what Dave could be thinking about the free advice that has been offered here so far about his eyesight, which, I might add, was the original topic of discussion in the comments.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

AFN: No, my point is that at no point did progressives control Marvel and / or DC over profits. It looks to me the same as it ever was: Marvel charged after a buck, chasing a trend, and abandoned the effort as soon as the money wasn't there. Nothing you've said contradicts that assessment, apart from your mere assertion.

Brian W.: And whoosh! go the goalposts! You really need to work on your reading comprehension, son. Nobody, not even Steve, told Dave what he should do. Dave was not offered advice; he was offered corrections to his factually wrong statements.

-- Damian

Jeff said...

AFN? I don't know who you are, but I suspect that you are a comics insider. I write honestly, and sometimes, fervently, here because i enjoy our correspondence (as Dave has advised me and I know) and Dave's work is waaaaay more than worthy of acknowledgment.

He is singular, a unique person.

I am NOT his friend. He doesn't *have* friends. Just ask him.

But, I know him as an acquaintance, well enough, to know that (even with people he has known for a very long time), he's a handful.

Whether he's showing you his house or just sitting on a chair on his back porch, or going to City Council meetings, he's always a handful.

It's because he always speaks the truth. One thing that I've learned over the years, from Dave, and a select few others, is that:

If you speak truth to power or, even to those who think or wish that they had power ...

Well, then, ... good luck on yer.

Dave has exaggerated the ostracism directed to him over the years, but that doesn't mean it's not true.

When you wish to speak up against the powers that be, do so, loudly, firmly, and with staunch resolution.

Otherwise, you will lose to the powers that be.

Sim spoke, out loud to the powers-that-be for 26 years, even though they nearly all turned against him at the end.

Dave held firm, made some money from those guys, and then did things *his* way.

He is my parnished steel sword example.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Jeff S.: True, Dave has been speaking loudly and firmly. Whether he's been speaking truth is (shall we say) more debatable.

-- D.

Brian West said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian West said...

Damian: Incorrect.

Here’s how Steve ended his comment, the first one of this thread: “Dave, you wrote a guide to self-publishing. You had experience, expertise in that field, and a desire to share it, to the benefit of other creators.

Similarly for me: I have some experience in the field of ophthalmic surgery. I dearly hope, one professional to another, you will consider what I've said, to your benefit.”

Steve is welcome to correct me here, but the way I comprehend his statement to read it sure does sound like some advice to Dave; sounds
less like Debate Club than a doctor’s unsolicited recommendation that an dear acquaintance should go to a specialist and receive medical attention.

Anonymous said...


---We disagree. When you say: " point is that at no point did progressives control Marvel and / or DC over profits. It looks to me the same as it ever was: Marvel charged after a buck, chasing a trend..." I see it as the progressives having control. (They still may like I said, I follow the mainstream comics world sporadically.) What you call a trend I see as putting progressive politics over storytelling. Not chasing a trend but trying to start one. I consider this a phase like "grim-n-gritty" that will eventually end/may already be on its way out.


----I understand. Like I said before, whatever explanation Dave gives to your question, I hope it works for you and that you continue to have an overall positive experience interacting with him.


A Fake Name

Brian West said...

A Fake Name, just out curiosity, when you said progressive politics as a phase may be on the way out were you thinking of recent developments, like DC Comics restructuring, while offering that opinion?

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Brian W.: I didn't get that at all. I think you are listening faster than Steve is talking.

AFN: The evidence is not on your side there. What progressives had control? Joe Queseda? Dan Buckley? Ike Perlmutter?! Issues of representation and etc. predate Marvel's venture. Can you point me to any evidence outside your own feelings?

-- Damian

Brian West said...

Damian: That’s fine that you didn’t get that. You are still incorrect.

Steve did offer advice. Yes, at first he disproved Dave’s claim that the eye was a muscle, but then kindly recommended - one expert to another - that Dave should reconsider his stance and get some medical attention.

Compare that with the following, in which you fail to take into account his recommendation in an attempt to make a point.

“Brian W.: And whoosh! go the goalposts! You really need to work on your reading comprehension, son. Nobody, not even Steve, told Dave what he should do. Dave was not offered advice; he was offered corrections to his factually wrong statements.”

Anonymous said...

Damian, you've already acknowledged my point here: "...And you make my point exactly with "just another phase like grim-'n'-gritty": any trend they can jump on and make money from...."

---Before, you scoffed at that even being a reality: "...The comic-book field is controlled by progressives? There was a time when gadfly Dave never got tired of pointing out (correctly, ..."

How is Dave a gadfly by the way? And you still haven't answered my question, why do you pick up on Jeff?

Brian---I heard about the Dc thing with everyone else presumably but it wasn't what I was referring to; just that these things usually go in cycles.


A Fake Name

Anonymous said...

Brian W.: You don't have to lie to criticize me. Steve stated his intentions himself: "to hopefully expand and refine your understanding of what you are experiencing." Steve absolutely did not advise that Dave get medical attention; you're making that up out of your head. Perhaps we can agree to drop this particular debate, as the only one who can really settle it is Steve.

AFN: Re: your first paragraph: howja figger? I maintained that Marvel's "progressive" comics were every bit as much a trend they can jump on for money as their "grim 'n' gritty" comics. You maintained that the progressive trend was them trying to create or lead a trend. In my favour, I offer Marvel's 80-year history of money-grubbing management, from Martin Goodman to Ike Perlmutter. In your favour, you really really feel that you're correct. It seems that we have a difference of opinion. Yes, I do scoff at the idea that the comic field is controlled by progressives.

It is most uncivil of you to invite me to slag a third party on someone else's blog. I'll slag Jeff S. when he's a doofus again, not to satisfy your morbid curiosity.

-- Signed, Anonymous

Brian West said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian West said...

A Fake Name: Thank you for your response and your time.

Damian/Anon @1935: I made nothing “up”. You simply are caught in your own web of self aggrandizement and obfuscation. I quoted Steve’s comment in which he ends, asking Dave to reconsider his stance. I quoted you, saying that “nobody” offered Dave advice. I guess you are choosing to ignore Steve’s ending, a warm entreaty if I may say so, for Dave to seek attention.

So, let’s say, I warrant you that the ending is not prima facie a recommendation. But you just now conceded that such a possibility exists by virtue of your request that I drop the subject until Steve “settles” the debate.

But I won’t drop it because I am willing to admit if I am error here, Damian. If Steve says I am waay off target here in my analysis I will kindly accept that error and apologize to him.

Still, I have to ask if you are willing to do the same? Or would you rather keep on arguing with me as a pretense, in order to divert attention away from the fact that you’re losing ground to “A Fake Name”?

Anonymous said...

Did Damian suddenly turn into Anonymous? That's some superpower.

You misunderstand me, I'm not asking you to slag on anyone. How you got there from anything I wrote I just don't know. My question, is why do you pick on Jeff? It is not, please pick on Jeff. You seem to go out of your way to pick on him and I'm wondering why. It's a simple question. If you don't want to answer it don't answer it but don't say I've invited you to slag on a third party. I did not.

If this is suddenly some new personage and not Damian, well...what I wrote above still applies to Mr. Lloyd and not to Anonymous.

---Regarding prorgressivism (sp? is that a word?) Damian came across that he didn't believe they could have control of the comic industry. My opinion is they have. You're saying it's a trend. I'm saying for a time (that may still be happening, who knows) progressive thought trumped making money.

Here, just a sample, look at the comics drawings; these are as subtle as Jack Chick tracts and wouldn't have slipped by editorial.


A Fake Name

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Brian W.: And whoosh! go the goalposts again! The issue was not whether or not Steve offered Dave advice; the issue was that Steve recommended that Dave see an eye doctor. You changed your argument when it became insupportable, and pretended that's what you meant all along. That is intellectually dishonest.

You said above that Steve "recommended [...] that Dave should reconsider his stance and get some medical attention." He did no such thing. You made that up out of your head. If you'd stopped before your final clause, you might have had a point, but you're in such a rush to prove that you're right and I'm wrong that you let your mouth run ahead of your brain.

Or you might not have had a point. Steve said, "I dearly hope, one professional to another, you will consider what I've said, to your benefit." One might legitimately infer that Steve was saying that Dave should reconsider his (Dave's) false belief that the eye is a muscle. Indeed, the entire thrust of Steve's comment is correcting Dave's factually false statement that the eye is a muscle.

I suggest that this is the more likely interpretation, in light of Steve saying, "I'm not presenting this information to 'argue you into a corner', but rather to hopefully expand and refine your understanding of what you are experiencing." That statement is clearly not offering medical advice; it is correcting a false statement.

The one point I concede is that there is some ambiguity in Steve's hope that Dave "will consider what I've said, to your benefit." Would it be to Dave's benefit to see an eye doctor? Possibly -- but Steve does not say that Dave should see an eye doctor; that's your inference. Would it be to Dave's benefit to stop believing that false things are true? Unquestionably, and that's my inference -- based on the fact that the entire thrust of Steve's comment is correcting Dave's incorrect statement.

I might even go so far as to suggest that Steve is deliberately declining to offer advice to Dave, knowing that telling a famously prickly individual, "You're wrong and you should see a doctor," would not be received well. Do you wish to claim that deliberately declining to offer advice constitutes offering advice?

Only Steve can say definitively what he meant. If he wishes, he can clarify. If he says I am wrong, I will admit that I was wrong. If he says that you are wrong, you ... well, what I expect is that you will change your argument again and claim you were right all along.

AFN: Yes, I know that's your opinion. You said it; whose else would it be? But of course, your opinion is evidence of nothing about anything one way or the other. An opinion is not the end of a discussion; it's the beginning. Why do you hold that opinion? Because, as a Social Injustice Defender, you hate the Social Justice Warriors and this belief comports with your prejudices? 'Cause I ain't seein' any other reasons here. As I said in a previous thread, "Believing something very strongly doesn't make it true."

There is an Anonymous commenter on here sometimes, but that is not me. I don't know who it is -- though I agree with some of their statements. Even years ago, before I used my GMail account to comment here, I signed my name to my comments. My comment at 19:35 is clearly me; I just posted it anonymously to tweak Brian W., who stated in a previous thread that he evaluates an argument not on its merits but on who says it.

-- D.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, I got kicked out of the Flat Earth Group for asking if this six foot social distancing pushed anyone over the edge yet.

Jeff said...

Good one, Birdy! Made me lol. 😝

Anonymous said...


--- I explained my take on progressives and the comics industry; you disagree and round and round it's gone. You ask: "...Why do you hold that opinion? Because, as a Social Injustice Defender, you hate the Social Justice Warriors and this belief comports with your prejudices? ..."

---I've seen, read issues of comics where progressive/left leaning points trumped story telling, see my above response to anonymous who by the by, does a good Damian. Please refrain from calling me a "Social Injustice Defender" thank you. And to answer the second part of your query, no I do not hate Social Justice Warriors, nor have prejudices based around them. Best I think to keep to what I've written and not erroneously extrapolate.

---What I share here is no different than what I'd say to someone in person despite my appellation. I try my best to be polite, civil and I enjoy the exchange of ideas. And now before I go and presume to how and why you think and behave as you do, could you answer why you pick on Jeff. I guess for that matter, why "tweak" Brian? It just seems childish.

Well, there ya go.


A Fake Name

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

AFN: You said, "I explained my take on progressives and the comics industry". No, you didn't. You've stated your opinion, repeatedly, but advanced no arguments or evidence in to support it.

"I've seen, read issues of comics where progressive / left-leaning points trumped story-telling," is a different point from your original "Progressives control the industry." You guys just can't keep your goalposts steady, can you? Again you cite no evidence for your opinion. If you suggest a couple of examples, I'll check out those issues. I suspect that we might have a different interpretation of the artistic merit of particular comics. Or we might not.

Ugo Strange's blog-post that you link to is mildly interesting, but doesn't attempt to address who controls the comic-book industry. I note that Ugo claims, "People of Color have always been in comic books," but the oldest black character on his list first appeared in 1966. So sure, people of colour have been there since the beginning -- as long as we ignore the entire first third of the history of the medium. Not quite the slam-dunk you or the author seem to think.

Cerebus scholar-squirrels take note: David B., Jeff S., and I agree on something! That was a solid gag. "Over the edge" -- heh heh.

-- D.

Anonymous said...

(Oops, sorry! In fairness to Ugo Strange, interested parties might start with this article:

-- D.

Brian West said...

Damian, look up "connotation" and "denotation" for me.

Yes, in the strict literal sense I might be incorrect with regard to your argument about the word "advice." Still, I stand by my primary claim that you were incorrect in stating that "nobody" was offering Dave advice. Steve was in my judgment. Notice, there's no adjective to modify your term, "advice" in the statement I copy and pasted before. You could have meant medical advice, you could have meant friendly advice. I didn't know. But you don't take the time to clarify that statement until only later on in the thread. Your rush to try to get a rise out of me overrode your good sense to write a thoughtful response. "Fake Name" is onto your game in that regard.

Nevertheless, thanks for conceding to some of what I have said, by the way.

A Fake Name: It's cool. I don't really take Damian too seriously. He's just virtual signaling.

I think he secretly admires Dave a great deal, more than he lets on. But because Dave espouses a worldview which is at odds with his own he finds it hard to reconcile that admiration with his disdain for Dave's opinions. So he comes over here to let off that steam, belittling those whom he believes find Dave's opinions to be more agreeable to their own thinking. It's his way of visiting the site but remaining "respectable."

Still, Damian is a better "heel" than the people who I normally see comment negatively about Dave and his work elsewhere. At least he has reasons and an conscience behind his arguments. I appreciate that sophistication, if not the sarcasm contained therein.

Birdsong: I think I pushed Damian over the edge with the "My body, my choice" comment.

Anonymous said...

Before I forget, yeah, Birdsong, that over the edge joke is golden.

All right.


---I guess it was too much to expect you to answer a direct question about Jeff. Hey! I'll just go back to this one: Why did you call Dave a gadfly?

---Damian said: "Not quite the slam-dunk you or the author seem to think...." I said look at the comic drawings; it was a page with many examples of what I called less than subtle progressive "storytelling." I should have stressed, I'm linking to this specifically for the drawings not the text. Seemed like I'd found a good grouping in one spot.

---Here's what I originally wrote: "I agree about profit being the rule but it seems like the past several years have been the exception to that, the current comics feel like the temporary triumph of progressive politics over profit, see Marvel (of Dc's I don't recall) Snowflake and Safespace comic as one example. Or America Chavez. Or the Female Thor. Just another phase like grim-n-gritty but there's plenty of evidence out there for it in the mainstream...."

Watching this video may interest you; it's a review of a comic starring the superhero America Chavez (sp?). Editorial had to approve this crap, ergo an example of the triumph of progressivism over profits. Temporary, sure but there. And other examples are out there from the past several years. I don't presume to know what it's become and while there's debate over merit the entire comicsgate movement arose from the progressive dominance within Marvel comics.

America Chavez review:

---The creation of the characters Snowflake and Safespace are another example if you've not heard of them. And in addition to looking at the pictures, my point for this link is to actually read it. Again, something like this wouldn't happen without editorial approval.

---Brian, good point about Damian. It makes sense in lieu of him explaining himself or why he'll often hammer on the same points regarding Dave mixed in with Seiler bait.

---As for him playing the "heel" I still think it's childish but apparently he enjoys arguing, though he'll often ignore others points and try to get them to acknowledge his; the moving the goalposts comment feels like projection.

---Still, I think you're right and he does respect Dave and his work on some level. The whole thing strikes me as bizarre, especially the way he'll go at Jeff or "tweak" you but it's the internet; guess I should be glad any normal, polite, rational discussion takes place at all.


A Fake Name

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

So you guys are sticking with your post-goal-posts-moving arguments and pretending that's what you said all along? All righty.

-- D.

Jeff said...

Brian, I hope you see this. Long threads are often difficult to follow and it can sometimes take days to respond. The longest thread here at AMOC was 88 posts (IIRC), but that was mostly Damian and I going back and forth (IIRC).

Anway, your post about Dave's decision/s about eye surgery ("maybe it's just Dave saying 'my body, my choice'") was fucking hilarious. You nailed that joke, in a very subtle, sly way.

Way to go!

Jeff said...

BTW, has anyone else here suspected that A Fake Name might be one David Victor Sim?

He's been known to sneak around here from time to time.

Just sayin'.

Brian West said...

Hi, Jeff! Thank you for the compliment. Just now reading it.

I was being facetious somewhat in my statement.