As I originally formed this blog for the purpose of preserving certain ideas or articles, I haven't felt moved to reminisce about my history as a comics-fan or any of my experiences with comics-professionals. I don't expect I'll do much in future, though anything's possible.
During the 80s I wrote various reviews and essays for THE COMICS JOURNAL, which led me to review Dave Sim's CEREBUS in JOURNAL #67 (Oct 81) -- specifically, the first two issues of HIGH SOCIETY. I later met Dave himself at a handful of conventions and signings, and wrote occasional letters to the CEREBUS letters-page.
Fast-forward to the present: as of this month, Dave Sim (who now calls himself "the Pariah King of Comics" due in large part to his writings on feminist topics) feels so embattled that he has asked potential correspondents to sign a petition stating that they do not believe he is a "misogynist." If they sign, then Dave will correspond with them: if not, then not.
Much has been written about Dave Sim's state of mind when he made this demand, but I don't propose to discuss that here. My sole purpose here is to point out that this is not the first time Dave Sim has chosen to cut himself off from correspondence.
Without having issues of CEREBUS or actual correspondence to hand, I have to guess on dates, but there was a period-- I believe whenever Dave was working on the Hemingway section of CEREBUS-- when Dave had been engaging in regular correspondence but wrote at least three "regulars"-- one of whom was myself-- that he would have let all discussions hang fire for some undetermined period because of the intensity of the work he was doing.
This is, to be sure, a strong consideration that all artists have; the fact that time spent to any activity secondary to the art-- be it meeting fans, corresponding with fans, or anything similar-- is time taken away from the art.
And while many speculations have arisen as to Dave Sim's motives for demanding the petition-signing as a prerequisite for correspondence, one motive-- that of simple time-constraints-- has been omitted, though not by Dave. On 5-10-08, he wrote this to two of the participants of the Cerebus Yahoo group:
"The bottom line for me was: there just aren't enough hours in the day. I looked at the pile of 60 or 70 letters that had built up overthe last three months and I realized NONE of those people was willingto stand up and say they didn't think I was a misogynist. So why would I invest three or four days of work answering all of them?"
The full text of the message is here:
I am of course not claiming that this motive for the petition-- to reduce his backlog of correspondence-- is Dave's only one. I can't know that. I'm not even sure Dave, or anyone else in a similar position, can know that.
But I wanted to point out that it's not the first time he's taken an unusual route to reduce that backlog. For that matter, even the Hemingway-era retreat was not the first: there's a period in the 80s where Dave simply stopped writing answers to letters in his own lettercol, and pretty much left the fans to talk amongst themselves.
And that, aside from all other motives, is why I would say that Dave is constitutionally--
Foreign to correspondence.