Monday, April 30, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #231 (April 30th, 2007)

Alex Robinson, Alex Robinson

Does whatever a…


Let's see. What's a three-syllable word

Like "spider can" that rhymes with "Robinson"?


Matt Dow and I NEVER WILL BE!

Alex continues…

I was pleased to read that the second volume of Collected Letters will be coming out. I confess I enjoy reading your blog but don't really like reading large chunks of text on the monitor (especially white text on black background—and I told you I patented that black background idea, right?)

White text on a black background? The Blog & Mail? Really? Where are you reading it? I know Jeff has it posted in at least two different places. Maybe he can mention something here about a venue that's a little easier on the eyes.

(Already done. - Jeff)

… so I'm really hoping most of it will be reprinted into a proper book someday. I know you've got a backlog of potentially reprintable material, but I've learned to be patient.

Wow! A book? Of the Blog & Mail? This is, seriously, as close as I get to Truman Capote's observation about Jack Kerouac "That's not writing, that's just typing". I get myself hyped up on a small coffee and a chocolate donut and away I go. The way I look at it, it's just to keep Cerebus and me in the public eye for those people for whom there's just no such thing as too much television. People are getting it for free and I'm embarrassed to be charging them that most of the time. But, I'll keep my ears open and if enough people think it's a good idea, I can do it on the same basis as the Collected Letters volumes: just enough to meet the initial orders and then a box left over or something.

Anyway, I was very surprised to read that you'd excerpted portions of my last letter on your blog and admit that I was a little put off.


I had figured with the demise of Aardvark Comment, letters to you were pretty much letters to you, and I was worried that the section you quoted (about me feeling like a "star" at S.P.A.C.E.) made me look kind of jerky. There seemed to be no impact on my end, so I forgive you, Dave.

Much appreciated. It became pretty obvious in the first month or so that there was no way I would be able to maintain the Blog & Mail and maintain the level of correspondence I had been maintaining through 2004-06 so the two got melded together. Also, you're about the biggest name in comics who still writes to me, so it's nice to have a "dialogue" on various subjects—like WHY we even bother to write and draw comics that we aren't 100% enthusiastic about. Is it something about being writers as well as artists? It seems to me that when you're exclusively an artist, you're more inclined to just draw what you want to draw. When you're a writer and artist, you end up with the artist doing the writer's bidding a lot of the time. What really interests the writer doesn't a lot of times really interest the artist but the artist ends up having to draw it anyway. The Siu Ta strips ( that was me putting my foot down as an artist. THIS is what I want to draw.

Oh, and I did try to pick and choose in your letter those things that seemed pretty harmless as subjects and to leave alone anything that might get you in trouble with anyone (you did discuss another cartoonist and I left that part out, as an example). It would help if you could just mark anything you don't want me to run here or you'd rather I not run here.

Your comments on John Lennon and his humiliation in Manila were very interesting. I tend to see his abdicating power within the band (almost every A-side after 1967 or so was a Paul number, compared with the early years which were more John-heavy) in more personal terms—he was always looking for a mother substitute, especially after fame turned out to be the empty experience everyone who gets super-famous says it is.

I would agree with that. But I think a lot of that is the winnowing process of figuring out what love actually is, given that in our society love is seen as the universal panacea. If you're a rock star to whatever extent you've confused compliant sex with strangers—women eager to have sex with you because of what you do for a living—with love (which most of the male population does mentally), you're going to find out the difference pretty quickly and pretty emphatically. If that's what you thought was going to fill in the big blank inside of you, when it doesn't fill in the big blank inside of you then you have to go looking for something else and how many other things in that category are there? Heroin. Mother substitute. It took me years to figure out that the big blank wasn't actually a big blank it was just infantile desire and the way to fill it in was with Grow. Up. i.e. Stop focusing so much on "wanting" and focus instead on "choosing not to let myself have".

I think musicians also get trapped into "selling" themselves on their own love songs, a potent brand of self-hypnosis. Imagine the level of emotional masochism attached to writing a song about a girl who broke your heart and then having to perform it and relive it night after night after night in front of a crowd of people. Of course, the Beatles never had that performance problem after 1967.

One obligatory Cerebus item: I wanted to address the end of Reads, specifically the part where you tell Cerebus what could've/should've been, and how he screwed up his destiny and how echoes of that permeated his life. This is an odd question, but were you lying to him? Since you've stated a bunch of times in interviews that the big Cerebus picture didn't come until you'd been doing the book for awhile (with the Cockroach, I think?) there really was very little chance of him fulfilling his destiny because the events you describe—trading his helmet for the vest, losing his sword, destroying the Pigts' statue—occurred before you'd even worked it out. Did the fact that you came up with it later make it no less "true" or was "Dave" purposely misleading his miserable gray creation? "Dave" also claims that Cerebus could've gotten back on track somewhat with the appearance of the Thrunk, but I also suspect that is not really true.

As I reread the above, I'm not sure it makes sense but I can't think of another way to phrase it. If it doesn't make any sense, feel free to ignore it (I'm sure you're relieved to have my permission).

Tomorrow: IGNORING IT is not an option at the Blog & Mail because that would be…crass? That would be…?(what's one of Dave's favourite words?) Answer tomorrow!





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:

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