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#600981 - 09/24/12 03:05 AM Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest
Charles Reece Offline
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#600983 - 09/24/12 03:14 AM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: Charles Reece]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Kim Thompson
Id be perfectly happy to repackage the CEREBUS material in a more bookstore-friendly format than those fucking phone books and give the material the new lease on life it (or at least the first two thirds of it) so richly deserves.

I'd disagree on the fraction, but agree with the overall gist of the statement.
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#600995 - 09/24/12 06:34 AM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: Allen Montgomery]
shjonescrk Offline
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Dave Sim comes across as a bit mad, doesn't he? Perhaps sitting at a drawing board all day long and not interacting with people that much does that to you.

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#601012 - 09/24/12 04:51 PM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Lawson Offline
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Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
I'd disagree on the fraction


What's your fraction?

I read through Volume 5, "Jaka's Story," which was very good. Then I dropped CEREBUS based on advice I received here and elsewhere.

Of the earlier volumes, I loved "High Society," thought "Cerebus" started slowly but gained momentum nicely, and eventually was disappointed with the two "Church & State" books, though they had their moments. The ending seemed particularly twee.

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#601013 - 09/24/12 09:30 PM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: Lawson]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
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High Society was the end of the good for me. So my fraction would be one-sixth.
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#601014 - 09/24/12 11:47 PM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Peter Urkowitz Offline
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I got some enjoyment out of every book, even the unreadable later ones that are half 8-point gibberish text. But I would say that for the average reader, Jaka's Story is a good stopping point. For the more impatient reader, just High Society is plenty.

Throughout the series, I enjoy the various celebrity cameos, especially the cameos of comic book creators. I enjoy when Sim and Gerhard do interesting panel arrangements and when they swing the "camera" around in 360-degree arcs for page after page, even when the action portrayed in those panels is kinda dull by some standards.

I love the issues where Cerebus is dreaming, or flying through space. I love the issue where gunpowder is invented and a cannon is fired off for the first time in history. I love the banter between characters.

Cerebus for me is like an old crotchety friend, who is fun to hang out with now and then. But I can't subject myself to its toxic world view too often, or it will make my life miserable. For the last hundred issues or so, I gave up reading the monthly issues, because once a month was too often. A TPB collection once every other year was just about right.

Given all that, its hard to recommend it to anyone in other than small doses.

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#601022 - 09/25/12 01:00 PM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: Peter Urkowitz]
Charles Reece Offline
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I got tired of the overwritten text parts, came back for the controversial Reads, then finally threw in the towel.

The back issue market really fell out for this series if ebay is anything to go by.
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#601027 - 09/26/12 12:43 AM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: Charles Reece]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
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What was that word that Sim made up during Jaka's Story and then did an indignant text piece when everybody pointed it out to him?
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#601029 - 09/26/12 03:36 AM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Charles Reece Offline
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Haven't heard of that.
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#601032 - 09/26/12 02:09 PM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: Charles Reece]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
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I reeeaaally don't want to read Cerebus again any time soon. Hopefully Peter will know.
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#601035 - 09/26/12 07:13 PM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Peter Urkowitz Offline
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I don't remember that, but lemme check. Be right back.

Well, in #131, at the end of a much longer Note From the President, there is this note:
Quote:

The Oscar character wishes to apologize for the incorrect usage of the word 'irregardless' in issue 128 and hastens to point out that the composition of the text pieces in Jaka's Story consists in the perfect use of an imperfect comic book writer (who shall remain nameless).


So maybe that's what we're talking about? I guess that could be construed as indignant, but it sounds more self-deprecating to me.

I hadn't re-read Jaka's Story in quite a while. Based on the quick skim I just did, it holds up pretty well.


Edited by Peter Urkowitz (09/26/12 07:14 PM)

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#601039 - 09/26/12 11:42 PM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: Peter Urkowitz]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
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I don't think that was it. I'll have to look it up.
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"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
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#601066 - 09/29/12 01:27 AM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: Allen Montgomery]
madget Offline
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I still think people who quit pre-"Guys" are missing out, although I understand it. Misogynistically-flavored as it may be, to me "Guys" is the point where Cerebus really regained cohesion and steam. I did lose patience somewhere in the latter half of the Latter Days, and never entirely finished the full run to the very end, but I really believe a lot of Sim's most accomplished work is in the post-Mothers & Daughters arc of Cerebus. As relates to the article cited, I'd probably vote for Form & Void myself over Going Home, but not because Hemingway is superior to Fitzgerald; simply because Sim's caricaturization of Hemingway is funnier and more incisive, and the art more unique and accomplished. The story darker, but less oblique.

If I had to choose favorites based on the "phone books," I'd say High Society, Guys, Rick's Story, Going Home, Form & Void, and maybe portions of Latter Days are the best. Church & State Part I, I'm fond of, and Jaka's Story is decent, if a little overrated. Melmoth isn't too bad either, and the first volume, Cerebus, a silly guilty pleasure. Most of Mothers & Daughters (Flight, Women, Reads) is pretty tedious and haphazard, if interesting (Minds is the best volume) -- but it all picks up again with Guys, shifting back to an earthier, more cohesive tone and narrative, and some truly brilliant lettering and nuanced characterization. Rick's Story trickles Sim's obsession with religion back into the mix, and has some truly hilarious and utterly unique bits in it. Save when he gets too text-heavy, the quality really doesn't lack from there forward. A lot of smart stuff going on. Hell, for Gerhard's backgrounds alone it's worthwhile.

K

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#601067 - 09/29/12 01:35 AM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: madget]
madget Offline
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I.e.:

Cerebus - 3.5 stars (the amateurish beginnings, but oddly engrossing if you stick with it a bit)

High Society - 5 stars (most accessible volume in terms of pure political satire)

Church & State I - 4 stars

Church & State II - 3 stars

Jaka's Story - 4 stars

Melmoth - 4 stars, but sort of a weird, un-Cerebusy tangent

Flight - 2.5 stars

Women - 2.5 stars

Reads - 3 stars (tedious, but as experimentation with form it's interesting; plus it contains the infamous issue #186)

Minds - 3.5 stars (swordfights in space + Gerhard backgrounds + confrontation between Cerebus and Dave Sim = something very unique)

Guys - 5 stars (I seem to be the rare fan that loved Guys)

Rick's Story - 4.5 stars (Sim's incendiary nuttiness breaks through the seams more here, but it's still fascinating and brilliant and a truly engrossing re-take on an old secondary character)

Going Home - 4 stars

Form & Void - 4.5 stars

Latter Days - varies - (lost steam somewhere late in this run, but the early issues are fucking great)

Last Day - haven't read yet

K

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#601069 - 09/29/12 02:07 AM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: madget]
Peter Urkowitz Offline
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Wow, madget, that's an amazing summary/review there. Well done!

I realized while going back over my Jaka's Story single issues that i hadn't read them in a while, whereas the later issues that I only have in phonebook form, those get pulled of the shelf and reread more often. It's just more of a chore to go hunting through longboxes and opening bags to read the single issues.

One big advantage to the single issues, I think, is that they do NOT have Sim's annotations. While I enjoy those kind of completist extras as much as anyone, Sim tends to go overboard. His obnoxious, paranoid self-absorption is on full display in the annotations. Especially in The Last Day, Sim spends a lot of time telling the story of how his parents hated him and he hated them back, and how the comics-reading public hates him and he hates them back. And then he describes little storytelling techniques that he was trying to pull off in certain panels, which would have been completely opaque and unnoticed otherwise. And the experience of reading would have been better without knowing that Sim tried and failed to convey those details. I could have filled in the context and meaning in my own mind just fine, in a way that I would not have found quite as offensive as the actual context and meaning that Sim supplies in his annotations.

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#601075 - 09/29/12 02:59 AM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Time Warp 1993 Online   content
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TCJ was a good magazine untill they decided mainstream artists don't matter. At least Tomorrows still does Mainstream artists.

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#601077 - 09/29/12 04:11 AM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: Time Warp 1993]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
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TCJ also decided that only some alt cartoonists mattered. I never heard shit in the news section of TCJ about the meltdown of Vortex. First I heard was on some ARPAnet message board Steven Grant saying that Bill Marks was trying to find Matt Howarth "a new publisher that wasn't Fantagraphics."
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If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
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#601166 - 10/04/12 12:41 AM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Charles Reece Offline
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I hope people are still reading the comments, it keeps getting funnier. What a loon.

Quote:
Im not, as an example, willing to be the concentration camp commandant who proves FBIs bona fides as a good Absolutist First Amendment publishing house. Im not marching through Skokie, Illinois to advance the cause of neo-Nazis and the ACLU and First Amendment Absolutists everywhere. Im a graphic novelist with well-considered opinions on a number of subjects which dissent from the popular consensus. Who, for his troubles, has been associated with the image of a concentration camp commandant.


manohman.
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#601185 - 10/04/12 06:05 PM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: Charles Reece]
shjonescrk Offline
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Just read Sim's essay "Tangents" - its completely batshit insane, laughable in the extreme. Sim is well-read but is an uneducated fool.

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#601186 - 10/05/12 01:15 AM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: shjonescrk]
Peter Urkowitz Offline
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Loc: Salem, MA, USA
Looks like they have ended the "negotiation" and locked down the thread now. About time. Dave Sim at his most trollish.

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#601187 - 10/05/12 02:53 PM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: Peter Urkowitz]
madget Offline
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Posts: 4870
It's really too bad. Fantagraphics could do a beautiful job with Cerebus hardcovers. I'd probably spring for those; my old phone books and comic issues are kinda scrubby these days.

K

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#601271 - 10/16/12 01:01 PM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: madget]
James Van Hise Offline
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Sim was supposedly resentful over the old (forgotten by most) concentration camp guard cartoon in TCJ. What Sim didn't mention (and has never confronted) is his treatment of William Messner-Loebs. Sim was the original publisher of Journey and charged Loebs fees such as a $400 a month "office fee" even though Loebs didn't live near Sim or use the office. When Loebs took Journey to Fantagraphics, Sim called Loebs and threatened him over the phone. TCJ reported all of this at the time. Loebs found the experience of working with Sim so unpleasant that he refuses to talk about it so as not to give Sim any excuse to ever contact him again.
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#601273 - 10/16/12 04:23 PM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: James Van Hise]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
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I remember Sim saying something about paying Loebs in advance for some work that Loebs never did. I had a strong suspicion he was lying, and this adds to that suspicion.
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"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

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#601275 - 10/16/12 11:52 PM Re: Dave Sim and Fantagraphics Lovefest [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Peter Urkowitz Offline
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Interesting story. I believe it, but it doesn't really match up with the stories of others who have done business with Sim, that I can recall. Most describe him as always living up to his agreements, whatever they were.

One could also say that Sim was never really comfortable publishing anyone else, and that most of the early growth of Aardvark-Vanaheim was instigated by his ex-wife Deni Loubert while she served as publisher. After they divorced, the other titles didn't last much longer. Journey was probably one of the longest-running.

I certainly wish that Messner-Loebs was still active in comics. I know he's faced a lot of hardships. I loved Journey.

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