Saturday, October 21, 2006

Dave Sim's blogandmail #40 (October 21st, 2006)



BLOG &………


Wow. THAT's what you picture the Blog & Mail jingle SOUNDING like?

YI! And that's been going through your head non-stop for the last two days? That's so IRRITATING and PERNICIOUS. I was only KIDDING. I didn't really mean for you to make up your own annoying jingle. It was a joke, son. WITTICISM, that is. Maybe, you should you know, order a few trade paperbacks from (see? No jingle. All better) to help take your mind off the…uh…(you know what).

Okay, seeing if I can avoid irritating anyone else today, I've got a letter here from a Hollywood writer that I have absolutely no permission to print, so I'm just going to delete his name and the name of the show he's working on in production and present it without comment. Needless to say, it was a real day-brightener.

Dear Mr. Sim:

This letter is an attempt to right a wrong. I've been a fan of yours since about issue 120*

*Issue 120!

Richard Harris: Merlin! Isn't that…isn't that…the…the first appearance of…of Oscar Wilde in Cerebus?

Merlin: Why, yes…I believe it is.

Reprinted in the Jaka's Story trade paperback



specify "Jaka's Story S&N" when ordering

(regular edition always available; Diamond item # STAR00359)

RICHARD HARRIS: and…some of them…DO sparkle…

Runnnn, boy….RUNNNNNN BOY. Oh, RUN, my boy

The BLOG & MAIL SINCERELY apologizes for that unforgivable example of early onset a BLOG & MAIL SENILITY FLASHBACK and now returns you to today's Letter from Hollywood :

And believe it or not, I was with you all of the way until 300. During that time, your comic book and your writing (both in the comic and in your essays and responses in Aardvark Comment) have been a great solace to me in times of turmoil, entertaining in times of joy, and a steadfast companion through all the times in between. Through professional strife, break-ups, and day-to-day mundane troubles, one thing was always constant: Dave would make the trains run on time, and Cerebus would astound me.

Alan Moore's assertion that 186 was "as close to a mystical experience as I've known in print" (I'm paraphrasing here, not having the comic and responses in front of me) was pretty close to the way I felt. In fact, Going Home alone had me floating along, marvelling at serendipitous occurrences in both the story and my own life. It opened my eyes like Paul and Damascus; I most likely would be (VERY unhappily) married right now (perhaps twice!), if not for the influence of your work.

I feel somewhat guilty, and definitely remiss, that I have no written before now, if nothing else to throw my hat in among Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. I know you've mentioned being abandoned by the "comics community" during the wake of 186 (I love how it's become a sort of "9/11" for the community—as if somehow 186 "changed everything forever" and they'll never fully psychically recover—maybe they won't!). I've been meaning to write to the Journal, Aardvark Comment, etc. but I never felt the need to speak up to the comics community, much like a high school kid who's just "doing his thing" doesn't feel the need to address whispering girls at their lockers.

"And the women come and go, [merely] talking of Michelangelo." I like to add the merely. It's all they can do, talk.

Here's the thing, Mr. Sim. I voted with my dollar. Every month. I'd head up to the counter at various shops, and endure the withering stare when there was a female ringing me up (surprisingly often), and think, "That's one for Dave." It's really all I could do; besides writing (as I am now, too little, too late) to just put a simple fist in the air and say, "I'm on this guy's side. I'm still buying his book. F—k you."

As a guy who grew up playing sports, reading comics, playing music, hanging with all types of social groups, I've never been afraid of being ostracized. So I have to say, when I think of guys like [passage deleted] or any of them giving you a hard time (all ancient history, I know; I have no illusions that you still care about any of this minutiae), I think of the scene in Good Will Hunting where Matt Damon's character intellectually castrates the Harvard student, and then offers to physically destroy him "if we still gotta problem." (Great scene, by the way, Dave; don't know if you've seen it, or if you're still sworn off technology in general.)

[paragraph deleted]

Regardless of this, I still apologize for never writing and adding my voice to yours in any way. I think you could've used to support (despite your courage) and hopefully my faithful patronage assuages some of the wrong.

How are you, Mr. Sim? We're not friends, but after many years of reading Cerebus I hold a vague insane notion that I know you. You've been channelling your story for about a third of my life, and I've been one of many proud witnesses to it. We are different politically, but I'm not intolerant of what I perceive to be your beliefs, and not unreceptive. We do agree on almost every aspect of gender relations, as we do with most thinking males.

I'm currently a screenwriter in that Sodom by the Sea, Los Angeles, originally from Minneapolis. I once was lucky enough to get a sketch from you at a Radisson near the architectural abortion that is the Mall of America (one of the hotel employees brought over a giant bowl of potato salad: "Potato salad for Most Holy!" Remember? Probably not). You were being very cool to everyone. Some of your fans scared me a little, but who am I to judge, being in the same line for the same reasons [passage deleted].

I'm still trying to sell my first screenplay. During that time, I work on production on the television show [deleted]. I used to draw all the time, and now rarely do (an art school victim—"they" made me hate art—I have to get it back). I have many times started "page one, panel one" and never made it past page one. I suspect it's much like what I tell my friends regarding learning guitar: "Make it past practicing the first six months, and you'll have a joyous hobby for life. If you don't you'll never pick it up again."

I'm not Joe Matt—this year I have written a screenplay, a spec television episode, and two pilots; I'm hoping to have two more screenplays done by the end of the year. Discipline is a day-to-day struggle, as you know more than almost anyone, so I won't make excuses. But I'm getting there, day by day, God willing.

Oddly, I feel as if I'm in LA at the right time—I have nothing, therefore nothing to lose. I can't drink like I used to. At age 35, it takes me 2 days to get clear of hangover after I'm over-served. I've never done many drugs, besides the occasional puff on a "one-y" and mushrooms once, so I'm not afraid I'm going down the "Hollywood coke cliché" path. All I want to do is work and make a living.

I know you would probably disagree, but I still think there's brilliant work still being done in this town. Almost all of it is shit, but some great things do manage to slip through the cracks. I would list some things that blow me away, but like I said, I believe you're still eschewing technology.

I start out writing to compliment you, and I end up talking about myself. Suffice to say, Mr. Sim, I admire you a great deal, not just for what you've accomplished with Cerebus, but for the way you've lived your life: fearlessly uncompromised, honest, true and dignified.

For some reason, I'd like this to be a perfect letter—well-written, thought provoking, interesting enough for you to actually respond. But I think you've earned your retirement, and I'm going to let the letter be, sending it "as is" for fear of the same frozen "perfectionism" that keeps me from beginning "page one, panel."

Well, hey, thanks. I sincerely mean that and I hope the fact that I haven't used your name or the show that you're working on offsets the fact that I'm running your letter here without permission. I deleted some references to individuals on "the other team" not out of cowardice, but in the hopes that some members on the "other team" might actually read what you have to say without just taking the first "ballistic off-ramp" that presents itself (which is always a good way of avoiding what is being discussed).

No, I remember the signing at the Radisson in Minneapolis VERY well. '92 Tour. Dreamhaven was the sponsoring store. The Mall of America, as I recall, was under construction and if I'm not mistaken there was a job fair of some kind at the hotel for mass hiring purposes. It was interesting listening to all of the locals waiting in line discussing all the ins and outs of the debate as to whether it was a good thing for the local economy or a bad thing. One way or the other they were very fatalistic about it. It's going to open and we'll just have to see then what it does (and who it does it to). I'm pretty sure I have a photo of me dishing up the potato salad—which one of the readers in the line had ordered from room service—for the folks waiting in line. It was really good potato salad, as I recall.

They just closed the last Cineplex still operating in downtown Kitchener about a month back—the King's College four-theatre set-up which was really the only one within plausible walking distance, so that's pretty much it for me and movies. I was still going on binges up to that point where I would see a film every Friday night for a few weeks and it was strictly based on what was on the King's College menu. I saw X-Men 3 for that reason, but not Superman Returns (Frederick Street Mall). What would usually break my "streak" would be a week where I didn't want to see any of the four films and I would end up seeing the one I thought would be the "least uninteresting" and then get disgusted with myself because it would end up being even worse than I was dreading it being and then I wouldn't see another film for eight months or a year. I don't doubt for a moment that there's a lot of good stuff being done in Hollywood. But there are a lot more films coming out than I would ever have made time to see even when there was a Cineplex within walking distance and as it is I'm usually working from early in the morning `til late at night. As I told Sandeep the other week—when the heck did I find time to watch television and videotapes and things like that? I have to make a mental note a week ahead of time to cut my toenails practically.

Anyway, I do appreciate your letter a great deal and I hope you don't mind my printing it here with a few diplomatic excisions. I think there is at least a measure of progress being made with a small handful of feminists coming to understand that they're exactly like the extremist Muslims in that they simply won't abide any viewpoint but their own being expressed and that suppressing contrary viewpoints by means of character assassination and ostracism is fundamentally wrong and contrary to the spirit of freedom and democracy. Maybe some day that small handful of feminists will become a majority of feminists and I won't have to delete someone's name and occupation to keep him from being subjected to ostracism and vilification just for saying that he agrees with me. We can only hope, eh?

The BLOG & MAIL would, again, like to sincerely agoplogize for the Nesility Bashflack Earililier and promises that if all the 17 Jaka's Story 17signed and numbered first printings are sold by the time this is posted that the BLOG & MAIL will personally send a copy of issue 120 to anyone ordering a regular edition of Jaka's Story

If you wish to contact Dave Sim, you can mail a letter (he does NOT receive emails) to:

Aardvark Vanaheim, Inc
P.O. Box 1674
Station C
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 4R2

Looking for a place to purchase Cerebus phonebooks? You can do so online through Win-Mill Productions -- producers of Following Cerebus. Convenient payment with PayPal:

Win-Mill Productions

Or, you can check out Mars Import:

Mars Import

Or ask your local retailer to order them for you through Diamond Comics distributors.