Monday, October 01, 2007

Holy schlamoly

Now I'm kind of (read: really) glad I never bought nor read more than the first volume of Cerebus, as it seems Dave Sim is some kind of crazy asshole.


Blogger Jonathan said...

Some authors are SO good at covering up their politics, you wind up thinking they're much cooler than they actually are. Orson Scott Card comes off like an enlightened guy in his books...but is also a bit of a prick. You just can't tell from his fiction. I once read an article in Salon by a woman who interviewed Card. She had to come to terms with the fact that he was a sexist, a dogmatic weirdo and strangest of all (considering the content of his books) a balls-to-the-wall I-JUST-READ-LEVIATHAN-AND-LET-ME-TELL-YOU-ALL-ABOUT-IT militarist...but at the end of the article, she explains how she re-read ENDER'S GAME post-interview and, surprise, it was still this awesome, even-handed book. I can only imagine what it would be like to read Sim's series and gradually watch him morph it from epic into dickwadist rant. Or, for that matter, what it would be like to read Johnny Hart before his strip BC started getting all VEGGIE TALES.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Margaret said...

Having met Dave Sim in person many times, having dinner with him on several occasions I can say he is a true gentlemen to me when speaking with me. All of our correspondence has also been very civil, as we've exchange letters on too many times to track.

His opinions surely run contrary to the majority, and as a member of the "homosexualist-feminist" axis, his views run opposite of mine, but our disagreements are kept civil - with no asshole tendencies seen.

As to the crazy, we are all crazy in our own little ways. As my sister the doctor shrink says "we all have our issues."

4:05 PM  
Blogger Ed Howard said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Ed Howard said...

More importantly than what Margaret says, it's crucial to realize that, regardless of Sim's often strange political and religious opinions, the work in Cerebus itself is some of the best ever done in comics. Whether Sim is a totally great guy or a total asshole -- I've never met him -- his work is amazing. If you only read the first volume, you stopped short of High Society, one of the funniest books imaginable, and as the series went along, Sim's talents for storytelling and drawing only improved. There are stretches in Cerebus, even in the much-maligned second half, which are simply jaw-dropping in terms of what they do to the form and the wonderful artistry.

At this point, I agree with very little of Sim's current opinions and ideas, and often find his essays quite objectionable. There's all sorts of problems with his recent writings and worldview. Fortunately, this has done very little to change my opinion of the marvelous work he's done and the uncountable contributions to comics that he's made. Cerebus should absolutely be required reading for anyone with the least interest in comics as an art form.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Calista said...

Thanks for your comments, Jonathan, and newcomers Margaret and Ed. As far as the separation of author and creation, it's a hard call for me in this case.

There are some authors who publicly hold views I differ with whose work is sufficiently beautiful and whose views are presented in a careful, thoughtful frame -- in many of those cases I'm willing and able to put what I know about the author aside from what I love about his or her work.

However, it's harder for me when an author makes his eagerness to marginalize and degrade me personally as a woman so clear, in such simplistic and insulting terms. There's no excuse for him, and I'm so profoundly shocked by his prejudice and hatefulness that I think I will have a hard time setting his views to one side while I enjoy the rest of Cerebus -- regardless of how brilliant the comic is.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Margaret said...

Separating the author from his/her work can be difficult - with Cerebus you should be able to read at least the first 150 issues without getting any of Dave's view points coming into the work, and seeing some strong female characters like Astoria and Jaka.

His views slowly start to filter into the comic after that. Personally I love Guy's Story (just pure comedy gold) and Going Home (for his F. Scott Fitzgerald parody), which are post issue #150. The stopping point for everyone is different: some make it to the infamous #186 and quit, some make it all the way to issue #300. To each her own. But I suggest at least reading Jaka's Story, which mostly concentrates on Jaka Tavers and her life one the side of the mountain.

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, even after 150, what makes Cerebus a really and truly interesting comic is that Dave IS questioning some insanely big issues. ANd tackling more of them with some of the best writing and art it's been my pleasure to read.

Cerebus is unquestionably High Literature to me.

I recommend it more tha any other book I own.

5:02 PM  

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