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#460552 - 03/13/01 09:39 PM Re: Sim vs. Smith!
Joe Zabel Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 2546
Loc: Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
Fascinating.

A couple of things strike me as very odd about this. One is that Sim waited so long to bring this up. The insulting interview was about three years ago, right? If somebody really angered you with an insult, who's gonna sit on it for that long? What's the big deal, he could have shot off a letter to the comics journal and called Smith on it right then and there. This business of going on a sabbatical and then returning to enact revenge for a long-ago wrong sounds like the plot of The Count of Monte Cristo!

And isn't it just a tad contradictory for Sim to say he wants to settle this matter privately, when he's making the statement in a 2-page editorial in the back of his comic book? That seems pretty public to me!

I haven't read the Smith interview, so I'm not in a position to judge, but I have a little trouble sympathizing with him on this. I admire the guy a lot, and I think he's done some great things for this industry; but if he really did brag about an incident where he physically intimidated somebody, then he was setting a very poor example for his many young fans.
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#460553 - 03/13/01 10:09 PM Re: Sim vs. Smith!
Andrew Debly Offline
Member

Registered: 12/15/98
Posts: 244
Loc: Calgary, AB Canada
This is so incredibly bizarre.

Kim is either pulling an early April Fool's joke on everybody or he misread Sim's more-often-than-not convoluted text pieces.

Or...

his interpretation of Sim's text is accurate. If that's the case then Sim has seriously lost control of his emotions and should seek some professional help.

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#460554 - 03/13/01 10:31 PM Re: Sim vs. Smith!
Reggie Mantle Offline
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Registered: 06/22/00
Posts: 280
Loc: Riverdale, USA
Tim Truman could kick BOTH their asses.

'Nuff said.

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#460555 - 03/14/01 10:29 PM Re: Sim vs. Smith!
ChrisW Online   content
Member

Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 10034
Loc: Lincoln, Nebraska USA
I had intended to skip this issue of Cerebus (so there's stuff to look forward to in the tpb) but I found this thread, so I bought the issue to see what you all were talking about. I don't see the problem. If Sim is telling the truth, Smith publicly lied, and Sim is publicly offering to settle it in private. He could have called Smith up and discussed it there, and we'd hear no more of it, but this way seems to make a certain point, given the direction of the current Cerebus/Hemingway storyline.
As it is, a thread like this just seems an excuse to (in Sim's words) "talk about me behind my back and to exert any and all efforts to destroy my reputation and credibility through gossip, innuendo and outright lies". And the thread on TCJ.com especially so. Jeff Smith said what he did in a public forum where Sim was likely to see it. Not so much here on the net.
Kim, is there some ulterior motive in posting threads to let us know what a bad person Sim is on two websites? Because you find Sim's pathology interesting, you decide to try and gather a circus atmosphere to attack him? I see.
I will be interested to hear how Smith responds, but this looks like it has the potential to get a bunch of people worked up over something that isn't any of their [our] business. Will the media be jumping in?
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#460556 - 03/14/01 11:22 PM Re: Sim vs. Smith!
RANDY Offline
Member

Registered: 05/12/00
Posts: 2343
Loc: U.S.A.
Today I was eating lunch with buddy who's somewhat of a comics fan and one of the things that was brought up was this SIM/SMITH thing thats going on. As I was driving back to work a particularly silly but nevertheless appaling scenario came to mind. What if Sim and Smith met somewhere to have it out and in the midst of the conflict they wound up choking each other to death? After all these years we still wouldn't know how either BONE or CEREBUS turned out.

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#460557 - 03/15/01 05:05 AM Re: Sim vs. Smith!
Matthewwave Offline
Member

Registered: 06/04/00
Posts: 4993
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Oh, shit. Yeah, I oopsed that one.

You tellin' me Sim wants to beat up the cartoonist who draws that cute little Bone fella?

THAT BASTARD. Even my GRANDMOTHER hates him, now.

Now I'm even MORE not interested in reading his comic book!!!

Ironically, I was recently lent the first Bone volume and I plan on reading it really soon. My first exposure to the feature...

Matthew

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#460558 - 03/15/01 11:29 AM Re: Sim vs. Smith!
gene phillips Offline
Member

Registered: 09/30/99
Posts: 5910
Loc: Houston, TX
Over on the TCJ board Kim Thompson asked (perhaps rhetorically), "Anyone get the sense that Sim has been reading too much Hemingway?" (or words to that effect).

If one were asking why Sim's going into these micro-minutiae-filled investigations of all the awful things Ernest H. did or said in the course of his life, I would agree (tho in that case he's researching H. to better destroy him, sort of like Gary Groth reading Image Comics to annihilate the Image guys.)

But, applying the question to the "Sim vs. Smith" controversy, my answer would be, "No, he's read too much Norman Mailer." Last time I looked Mailer, unlike Hemingway, was still enshrined in Sim's Hall of Manhood, possibly in part for how N.M. was famed for getting into brawls, even with other literary figures. Possibly D.S. is imitating one of his idols here, with Jeff Smith standing in for-- who was the guy N.M. duked it out with? Capote? Vidal? (Sorry, too lazy to look it up.)

That said, though the challenge reads a bit goofy, it is a reaction to something Jeff Smith put into print (though I haven't read the Smith quote in context), and so I can understand Sim making the challenge just as publicly. I don't think it sounds much like a publicity stunt given that he's not talking about a public exhibition. And unlike some others I can totally see Sim, obsessed with crafting his work above all else, putting aside a grudge for three years (yes, exactly like the Count of Monte Cristo-- forget which board that was on) for the sake of his work.

Perhaps a more involving topic might be: does what Sim evokes-- the sort of "suh-you-have-besmirched-my-escutcheon" code of personal honor-- have any relevance today, or not?

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#460559 - 03/15/01 02:00 PM Re: Sim vs. Smith!
Joe Zabel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 2546
Loc: Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
Gene-- I have difficulty putting your question in a historical context-- I have no idea whether a particular code of honor is more or less relevant today than it was a century ago. What does relevance have to do with it anyway? If it's foolish today, it was probably foolish a century ago, whether society saw it that way or not.

To me, honor is a matter of personal integrity; dignity and pride have nothing to do with it. The reason that courage is honorable is that the honorable person must be able to put fear aside; they must be willing to risk their physical safety in order do what is right and necessary.

Having the courage to run into a burning building to rescue somebody is honorable. Having the courage to get into a fistfight is not necessarily so, but I think that sometimes it is.

After all, it isn't enough to have courage. Others must have the sense that you can be relied upon-- otherwise, you may not be given the opportunity to act honorably.

The fistfight is an important coming-of-age ritual in our society because other means of proving our courage to others aren't generally available. A man who demonstrates to himself and others that he can stand up to a bully proves that he is ready to leave the bosom of the family and begin a family of his own (Of course there's more to it than that, but we don't seem to attach ritual signifigance to being able to hold down a job or hold up our end of a conversation.)

But an adult is presumed to have passed the stage of having to prove their courage. If they still need to do so, it suggests that their emotional development has been hampered.

Adult fistfighting is also, in my view, DIS-honorable because the person is putting their vain sense of dignity above the best interests of the community. We may enjoy reading about 'gentlemen' who fought duels on questions of honor; but the widows they left behind, sometimes with no means of support or protection, did not find the practice very amusing at all.

We live in a relatively safe society, in which it is not often necessary to exercise raw courage against physical danger. But it is still necessary for everyone to fulfill their responsibilities to others. The honorable people, in my view, are the ones who are capable of putting aside petty differences in order to work together to make a better world. For those who cannot, I wish them well in their desperate efforts to hold together whatever flimsy scraps of pride and dignity they possess.
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#460560 - 03/15/01 02:11 PM Re: Sim vs. Smith!
Jim Hanley Offline
Member

Registered: 06/19/99
Posts: 1313
Loc: NYC
Joe:

Statements like that have no place around here. Take them outside.

"We sell hard liquor to men who want to get drunk, fast. Abd we don't need any characters to give the joint atmosphere."

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"I love him like a brother. David Greenglas." -- Woody Allen - Crimes & Misdemeanors

[Edited because I wanted to.]

[This message has been edited by Jim Hanley (edited 03-15-2001).]
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#460561 - 03/15/01 03:54 PM Re: Sim vs. Smith!
Kim Thompson Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/29/05
Posts: 0
Quote:
Originally posted by ChrisW:
Kim, is there some ulterior motive in posting threads to let us know what a bad person Sim is on two websites? Because you find Sim's pathology interesting, you decide to try and gather a circus atmosphere to attack him?


No. It's called DISCUSSION, and, in fact, more than one person is defending, to one or another degree, Sim. (So there is no agreement on whether or not, in fact, Sim is a "bad person," and thank you for boiling the issue down to kindergarten level. Next you'll be saying Sim's problem with women is that they have "cooties.") The fact that there are diverging opinions on what Sim has contributed to making a public feud means that this discussion is worthwhile.

Quote:
I will be interested to hear how Smith responds, but this looks like it has the potential to get a bunch of people worked up over something that isn't any of their [our] business. Will the media be jumping in?


I'm not sure what that last question exactly means ("the media"? "jumping in"?), but yes, it's possible that someone on, say, THE COMICS JOURNAL, will see fit to report that one highly esteemed cartoonist has challenged another to a fistfight. You think that if Normal Mailer called out Gore Vidal the NEW YORK TIMES wouldn't make a note of it?

If it wasn't our business, Sim shouldn't have broadcast it in comic, now should he? The fact is that the reason Sim did that is because he wants to publicly shame Smith, and thus we are all implicated. For me to say, equally publicly, that Smith has NO OBLIGATION WHATSOEVER to step into the ring with Sim and that this in no way diminishes his "honour" is a continuation of the VERY PUBLIC dialogue that Sim has expressly made so. For me to say, also, that based on what I know of Sim's and Smith's personalities, that I find Smith's version of the story more believable than Sim's, is equally legitimate in this context.

I've spoken to Jeff Smith, who (a) is bemused, (b) 100% stands by his original statements in THE COMICS JOURNAL, (c) responded privately to Sim about a week ago, and (d) has no further comment.

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