Did you ever have that moment when it seems like the world just took a sledgehammer to your head? You know, when all that seems right in the world is suddenly just turned upside down.
I think I did when I read Dave Sim’s blog post, The End?, where he provides us with what is essentially a suicide note for his career as one of the preeminent and influential comic artists of my generation. The irony for me being that the day I had a chance to read the post was September 10, World Suicide Prevention Day.
I have the somber experience of having known too many people that have either chosen to take their own life or who are perpetually mourning someone dear that made this fatal choice. Death is permanent and irreversible. Fortunately, walking away from a career is not.
As much as Dave seems to be struggling with the current economy, the state of the market and whatever creative demons he is encountering, it is impossible for Dave Sim to just disappear. He and his work, Cerebus, Judenhass, glamourpuss, zootanapuss and eventually The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond are now and will be permanent elements of our culture having played significant roles in the advancement of independent comic art and comic creator’s rights.
Regrettably, Dave is experiencing the plight of the artist, especially one that has experienced success and seen it wane. The artist and their work achieve immortality through their influence on culture and though the triumph of their success may perpetually be heralded, this fame is rarely translated into permanent riches. It is foolish for the artist to hold on to glory so tightly that it prevents them from living a normal and creative life.
Dave can hide all he wants. He can trash everything he owns, but his legacy will live forever in print and in the cultural impact he and his work have had on society.
Today there are more people creating comics and struggling to support themselves than ever before in history. This is in large part due to Dave Sim’s creation of an aardvark that proved that comics could be different, intelligent, and provocative. Dave along with a very few others jammed his foot in the door of the Direct Market opening a gateway for a flood of independent creators.
Partly due to Dave Sim, creating comics, though not necessarily succeeding financially with them, has become a passion and a way of life for countless creators. These artists have chosen to express themselves with comics because of creative liberations they experienced by pioneers like Dave.
I guess that is why The End? stopped me in my tracks. Because a man who had given so many comic creators hope and inspiration to make comics, just because they wanted to, is willing to bury his head and walk away because of money.
Dave, look at the people you have inspired. Those that hold two jobs and still come home at to make comics at night. Those who have lost relationships with loved ones over their preoccupation with words and pictures. Those that have made comics till they died, in poverty, just because they had to. They all wish they could have a splinter of the success that you have had and even if they never do they are still happy making comics because that is just what they want to do.
I don’t mean to burden Dave with any more pressure than he obviously is already. I am just offering him the opportunity to remember what it was like when he made comics just because he wanted to and how much joy it brought him to see his ideas come to life on paper. I want him to remember when comics made him happy rather than when they made him successful and to realize what he is really intending to walk away from.
More than anything, I want to thank him for his inspiration. If there were no Dave Sim, I can safely say Bill Cucinotta and I would have never co-founded Comico and surely wouldn’t be making comics today. Thank you, Dave, and I hope all works out well for you.
Making Comics Because We Want to,
Tags: Cerebus, comic creator rights, comico, comico the comic company, creator's rights, Dave Sim, Direct Market, glamourpuss, Independent Comics, Judenhass, The End?, The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond, World Suicide Prevention Day, zootanapuss