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Dave Sim

Dave Sim: Conversations

Eric Hoffman
Dominick Grace
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Dave Sim
    Book Description:

    In 1977, Dave Sim (b. 1956) began to self-publishCerebus, one of the earliest and most significant independent comics, which ran for 300 issues and ended, as Sim had planned from early on, in 2004. Over the run of the comic, Sim used it as a springboard to explore not only the potential of the comics medium but also many of the core assumptions of Western society. Through it he analyzed politics, the dynamics of love, religion, and, most controversially, the influence of feminism--which Sim believes has had a negative impact on society. Moreover, Sim inserted himself squarely into the comic asCerebus'screator, thereby inviting criticism not only of the creation, but also of the creator.

    What few interviews Sim gave often pushed the limits of what an interview might be in much the same way thatCerebuspushed the limits of what a comic might be. In interviews Sim is generous, expansive, provocative, and sometimes even antagonistic. Regardless of mood, he is always insightful and fascinating. His discursive style is not conducive to the sound bite or to easy summary. Many of these interviews have been out of print for years. And, while the interviews range from very general, career-spanning explorations of his complex work and ideas, to tightly focused discussions on specific details of Cerebus, all the interviews contained herein are engaging and revealing.

    eISBN: 978-1-62103-945-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-xx)
    EH and DG

    Dave Sim. Chances are, if you’re reading this book, that you probably know who Dave Sim is, and you probably have strong opinions about him and his work. For better or worse, Sim’s outspoken opinions concerning publishing, comics, artists’ rights, the relationship between the sexes, and religion, among other things, have caused various flare-ups of controversy. Only a true original, someone whose ideas provoke and inspire, draws the kind of praise and criticism commonly directed at Sim. Sim poured his creativity and ideology intoCerebus, his ground-breaking 300-issue comic-book magnum opus, ultimately producing some 6,000 pages in the series, most...

    (pp. xxi-2)
  5. A Talk with an Aardvark
    (pp. 3-8)
    MAGGIE THOMPSON and Aardvark

    The interview took place at the Chicago ComiCon on July 16, 1982. Dave was sitting in the artists’ room, working on an intricate sketch of Arnold the Isshurian, a character he’d created for an upcoming issue ofEpic Illustrated[“Arnold the Isshurian” is a parody of Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s portrayal of Conan the Barbarian in the eponymous John Milius film, done in the style of theMAD MagazineHarvey Kurtzman–Wally Wood “Superduperman” satire with a Winsor McKay–inspired framing device]. As he drew, an assembly of fans and I asked him questions, beginning with a discussion of how he created...

  6. Dave Sim and Gerhard
    (pp. 9-24)
    MARTIN SKIDMORE, Dave Sim and Gerhard

    Martin Skidmore: What sort of comics were you reading as a kid?

    Dave Sim: Superman comics.Superman,Lois Lane,Jimmy Olsen,World’s Finest, all the Mort Weisinger [famedSupermaneditor at DC Comics] stuff. I wouldn’t read Marvel comics ’cos Mort told me not to. I was under strict Mort Weisinger control. I wouldn’t even look at a Marvel comic. Literally. I had friends who were fans of Marvel and when I was ten, eleven years old, they were holding one up trying to get me to look at it, and I was turning my head because it was absolute...

  7. Cerebus: An Interview with Dave Sim
    (pp. 25-47)
    STEPHEN R. BISSETTE and Dave Sim

    Too often in the comic-book medium, artists and writers go from one project to another, leaving the reader with a feeling of disconnected continuity. Not so with Dave Sim, who has made a lifelong commitment to complete 300 issues detailing the life of his creationCerebus the Aardvark.

    Conceived in 1977, Cerebus is a clever animal surrounded by both humans and monsters in a world of swords and sorcery. The strip, which theVillage Voicehas called “the most ambitious project in the history of comics,” parodies politics, religion, films, literature, and even comic books with an acid-edged wit that...

  8. Original Sim: The Dave Sim Interview
    (pp. 48-59)
    JASON SACKS and Dave Sim

    The first issue ofCerebuscame out in December 1977. The artist, writer, and publisher of that comic was Dave Sim. As I write this, it’s February 1992.Cerebus154 is sitting on my kitchen table. The book is still penciled, written, and published by Sim, now with the assistance of Gerhard. Compare that record with the record ofSpectacular Spider-Man,which premiered around the same time but which has had literally hundreds of creators work on it, though still published by Marvel.

    In those 154 issues, Cerebus has been a barbarian, kitchen staff supervisor, Prime Minister, husband, Prime Minister...

  9. An Interview with Dave Sim and Gerhard
    (pp. 60-69)
    ADRIAN REYNOLDS, Dave Sim and Gerhard

    AR: What influences would you say have shapedCerebus?

    SIM: Oh, a lot of different things. A line in a book, a line in a song . . . it’s just an endless pick-and-choose process.

    AR: Any particular writers, film makers, or anything that have stayed with you?

    SIM: Oh yeah, I mean Jules Feiffer’s cartoon work.Little MurdersI still read quite often, and watch the film version . . . anything that’s got good structure to it. It doesn’t have to be particularly well thought of—if it’s appropriate to my creativity I know it right away. I...

  10. Sim Speaks
    (pp. 70-77)
    COMICS FORUM and Sim

    Dave Sim: It is very gratifying to see this many people here . . . I really don’t know what to say. It’s been an interesting experiment doing a comic book for sixteen years with another ten years to go. It started [in] December ’77 and the last issue ships in March of 2004. I got one of those little calendars that you can turn around and find out what date is what day in any given year. The last working day is Friday, February 29, 2004. It’s a leap year.

    Gerhard: We will be leaping.

    DS: Yes, we will...

  11. Dave Sim
    (pp. 78-147)
    TOM SPURGEON and Dave Sim

    Dave Sim is an inescapable presence in the comics field: his monthly comic,Cerebus, recently celebrated its 200th issue. The massive collections, or “phonebooks” as they’re known toCerebusfans, are steady sellers for both the reorder divisions of the major distributors and Aardvark-Vanaheim’s (Sim’s self-publishing company name) own mail order service. Sim is an outspoken critic of industry practices and a proponent of self-publishing—both in the pages of his comic and at industry events. He’s also a figure of controversy, both for the hard line he takes on industry issues and the content of his comics work.


  12. Whatever It Is, I’m Against It
    (pp. 148-168)

    Q: I want to talk about issue 186 for a while, but I want some background . . . When did you get your divorce?

    A: About ’83.

    Q: Now, wasn’t there also a screw-up inCerebus’s schedule around that time? Were the two things related?

    A: No, no. The schedule of the book got screwed up around ’84–’85. It was one of those things where there was enough money coming in from selling the trade paperbacks ofHigh Societydirectly that that was the first time that neither Ger nor I had a situation that we had to...

  13. Dave Sim: 20 Years of Cerebus
    (pp. 169-204)

    To markCerebus’s twentieth anniversary,Featureeditor and publisher Charles Brownstein contacted Sim to discuss the series and his relationship with it. Their interview, composed of two months’ worth of faxes, follows:

    FEATURE: It’s been well documented thatCerebusbegan as a parody comic and soon took its own form as a 300-issue “maxi-series.” What is it that sparked that transition? What is the trigger for this 300-issue epic?

    SIM: It really didn’t seem that “soon” to me. I did two years worth of bimonthly issues. Even twenty years later getting thirteen or fourteen bimonthly issues out on schedule compares...

  14. Dave Sim
    (pp. 205-215)
    TASHA ROBINSON and Dave Sim

    In December 1977, independent Canadian writer-artist Dave Sim launched his comic-book seriesCerebus. This month, he completed it with the death of his titular character, in the long-promised 300th and final issue. Over twenty-six years and fifteen hefty collected volumes, Cerebus, a foul-tempered anthropomorphic aardvark, has been a mercenary warrior, a politician, a religious leader and scholar, a revolutionary, a professional sports player, a bartender, and a comic-book fanboy, among many other roles. In telling his story, and laying out the larger social and political conflict that shaped his world, Sim has delved into broad satire, novelistic storytelling, and radical...

  15. A Selection from the Yahoo Q&A Sessions
    (pp. 216-235)

    Note from the Editors: Comprised of over 900 members at the time of this writing, theCerebus Yahoo Groupis an internet archive started by Mark Simpson in 1999. In March 2004, shortly after the publication ofCerebus’s final issue, its webmasters, Lenny Cooper, Margaret Liss, and Jeff Tundis, organized a somewhat informal Q&A session with Dave Sim. Encouraged by the response, Sim agreed to several more sessions, with each session focusing on one of the sixteenCerebusphonebooks. The sessions were completed in 2006. For reasons of space and concision, and as many of the questions are of a...

    (pp. 236-237)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 238-244)