Saturday, January 27, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #138 (January 27th, 2007)

Dave Sim's Collected Letters Volume 2 will be released in late spring/early summer 2007. Until Dave (who currently has the flu) is feeling better – and to whet your appetite for the book! -- The Blog & Mail will run two-page excerpts from the manuscript each day.

Today: Pages 42 & 43:

All that thought and effort and brain-power and that's what he has to show for it. "Dude. You're scaring me." Bill and Ted's Excellent Civilization.

I know what you mean that I go too easy on people most of the time, but you have to remember that I'm trying to make a larger point and attempt a societal course correction in trying to get people to be less afraid of ideas that aren't their own. I mean, "Dude. You're scaring me." really sums it up. That was the larger point I was trying to make in answering the two open letters in The Comics Journal {Original letters printed in TCJ #253, replies in #255 and 258}. I mean, obviously I wanted to get my ideas across but more than that I wanted to point out: "Look, see? I'm not angry. I'm not offended. These two guys are as far away from me on the opinion spectrum as they could possibly be and they are attempting to destroy my reputation and I've answered them far more politely than they've addressed me."

I have gone through Rubinstein's letter sentence-by-sentence and refuted his points. But I'm not unsympathetic. I can't even imagine what it would be like to read a story for TEN YEARS and have the writer abruptly move off of the spot that I thought he was on. The level of disappointment has to be immense. But I'm not going to help the situation by tearing the guy down personally. That would only make it worse. The same with writing the review in the recent issue of The Journal {"Sim Goes to Fantagraphics Land," renamed "Making Space for Comics in the Real World," Comics Journal #260 May/June 2004, pp. 20 — 21. Cartoonists were Peter Bagge, Jessica Abel and Gary Panter}.

There are larger issues here that a vendetta is just going to get in the way of. Here's my review of three Fantagraphics creators. See? I got my turn. They were on public display and I was in the audience. Here's my chance to tear each of them a new asshole. But, what's the point of that? At the very least what I think I'm gradually communicating is how intolerant and exclusionary liberalism became the moment it was taken over by feminism. The idea of trying to make abortion a closed issue. We settled that back in 1973. A societal issue that every society in the world is divided on 50-50 and you think it was decided for all time by the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade? No, no, no. The only way you can make that stick is through Stalinism, pure and simple. If an issue is a 50-50 split issue you are going to revisit it practically on a yearly basis whether you want to or not.

The fact that, as a society, we can't even bring ourselves to recognize that tangential truth, let alone the core argument, is really terrifically amusing. I mean, appalling, sure, but life is a process. How stupid do you want to look in twenty years' time? Treating abortion as a closed issue it's a lock. Really, really, REALLY stupid. "We'll elect Hitler, but then we'll control him" level of stupid. The sort of ranting that I see in the Internet print-outs that people send me. Wow. Better you than me. You actually submit yourself to this? It would be like going to an all-candidates meeting where anyone was allowed at any point to shout whatever they wanted from the floor and everyone did. To my way of thinking it would completely beggar any definition of communication or even the term "interesting". Bedlam isn't interesting to me, even conceptually.

Ah, well, it's gratifying to see Ronald Reagan finally getting his due, post-mortem. Same sort of deal. All through the `80s he was considered divisive, idiotic, a jerk, simple-minded, a throwback, etc. etc. But the hostages came back from Iran, the Berlin Wall did come down, the Soviet Union did collapse, and you'll have job getting any Americans anywhere to agree to higher taxes since the Reagan Revolution. Most of the time I'm just "reading into the record" now. The job I saw myself as having to do was between 1977 and 2004. Realistically, no one is going to even be able see what it looks like for another thirty years minimum, in the same way that you couldn't really see the Reagan Presidency from 1981 to 1989 until you got to 2004. You have to be far enough back so that there are other things on the screen to compare it to, like the Clinton years.

But, I have to say that this bunch that you sent was a pretty gratifying collection, two months before issue 300 came out. According to Craig Miller, he's got orders for 5700 copies of Following Cerebus No.1. That seems like good news to me.

My best guess on whether I will ever do any more creative work is "not likely." A lot depends on what happens on the feminism front. It's not because of the critics, per se, it's more a matter that it's really pointless to attempt to attract the attention of a roomful of kids all shaking tambourines and communicate something to them. I read a relatively conservative paper in Canadian terms (Pravda relative to the US). If people start surrendering their feminist delusions and start thinking, I'm pretty sure I'll have a front row seat. But, right now, it's as if you've leaned over and shouted in my ear, "JUST IGNORE THE TAMBOURINES, DAVE! TELL `EM A STORY!" It takes a long, long time to write and draw even the most basic of comic-book stories. Right now I'm happy to just leave it to the guys who are part of the Tambourine Concert — as you say, soft-core porno about strong independent women. I'm far more interested in having another month off like I had between December and January where I can just sit around and read books all day. I'm sure not even going to begin to consider writing or drawing anything until I've had a chance to get bored with retirement. The earliest I can see even getting back TO retirement would be 2006 or 2007. So the earliest I'd be sick of doing nothing all day would be 2009 or so. Those are my best guesses. And I really hate drawing. Hated every minute of the three days I've had to spend since December fulfilling commitments. So it seems unlikely that that would follow taking six months or year off. Say, that was fun. Now I really should do something I hate.


Anyway, on to your screenplay, Demon Joe....


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.