Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

September 7, 2012

Go, Read: Dave Sim’s Editorial In The Final Glamourpuss

imageDave Sim's final editorial for his comics publication Glamourpuss has been re-run at the blog A Moment Of Cerebus. It's worth reading in full, I think. It's not easy reading. It's basically Sim's announcement that he's leaving the comics business, or that he's currently operating with the intention of doing so. The editorial suggests he's in the midst of a wind-down of what a departure entails: ending various on-line and comics projects, pushing the original art sales (since suspended) as a way to bridge to whatever comes next, putting the finishing touches on that fascinating Alex Raymond comic he's been doing. I'm sure a part of that is seeing to the Kickstarter-driven digital publication project regarding the book High Society, a project that recently hit a major stumbling block with the destruction of the negatives from which the scans were being made. I'm not certain that dooms the project because a lot depends on how the original crowd-funding effort and its incentives were structured, but it has to be pretty rough right now.

Sim's current situation may or may not be instructive in terms of something I think is going to be a huge issue moving ahead: the aging of the alternative and independent comics generation. It's my belief -- and smart people in comics totally disagree with me on this -- that there are going to be specific problems for the next generation of comics-makers getting older, issues that may not have been present for those that worked in mainstream comic books in the '40s, '50s and '60s. There are a lot of reasons, including a) the bulk of the first group of indy/alternative cartoonists moving into their late 50s and beyond right now may have made less money overall than many of the mainstream creators in those first two generations, b) the current creators are aligned with characters and concepts that may offer less in the way of nostalgic appeal than mainstream comic book characters do, c) we've moved into a hyper-competitive era that may be more hostile than ever to work that some cartoonists may be capable of doing. Leaving aside any sort of judgmental attitude towards any particular situation, and I think that's the only human thing to do, that a reliable money-earner and highly skilled cartoonist like Dave Sim may have been discombobulated by wider economic concerns and the specific ordering patterns of today's market is something of which everyone should take note.

Dave Sim's always been his own man, and I assume he'll stay that way. I wish him all the best in the weeks and months ahead. I do wonder if there aren't some options open to him that may not have been options that he might have pursued in the past. I know that there are people that would honorably and fairly publish that Raymond work -- one person told as me much directly -- and I suspect there are people that would do the same for at least big chunks of the Cerebus work if that were to be available: maybe higher quality reissues, maybe more digital archiving, maybe big art books derived from original art like all the kids enjoy now. I don't know. I know I would be interested in seeing such projects come out and I suspect there are at least a few others that agree with me. For now I'm going to bookmark the Dave Sim art site, which I don't think I know existed until I read that final issue editorial. I hope it comes back.
posted 1:45 am PST | Permalink

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