Friday, February 1, 2008

Glamourpuss

Glamourpuss, Dave Sim's new comic will arrive in comic stores this April. Dave Sim is of course the creator of Cerebus, a comic he self published for 26 years and ran 300 issues. Glamourpuss will certainly be one of the most talked about titles of 2008 and it looks and reads (from what I've seen so far) unlike anything else out here in comic book land. Basically Glamourpuss will be a slightly veiled satire of the fashion industry and a forum for Dave Sim to talk about photo realistic comic book artists like Stan Drake, Neal Adams, and Al Williamson. For a good little interview with Sim about Glamourpuss go to: www.ivc2.com/articles/home/11882.html.

I'm of two minds about the release of Glamourpuss. I was a long time fan of Cerebus until probably the last 100 issues. Until issue #186 of Cerebus, I always thought Cerebus and Dave Sim would be regarded as one of the greatest benchmarks in the comic book medium. Issue #186 of Cerebus contained an essay by Sim called "The Male Light and The Female Void" in which he expresses some of the most misogynistic thoughts that I have ever seen in print. Dave Sim is a highly intelligent person, but I think he lives in a too isolated, idealistic environment and just makes too many generalizations. Sim's essay angered a lot of his audience (which I believe was once one with a higher percentage of female readers than most comic books) and his female characters from then on in Cerebus took on the characteristics of how Sim viewed just about all women, whereas his female characters were once amongst the strongest portrayals in comics. Following Cerebus #186, Sim had several other essays within Cerebus in which he targets feminism as being the root of what is wrong with modern society.

A lot of his audience left Sim because of his views on women and I think a number of readers that still continued to buy Cerebus did so because they had done so for so long and they figured that they might as well stay with it until the end. People that were outraged with Sim after these essays generally just called him a loon and didn't offer counter-arguements as to why he was wrong. I don't agree with Sim's views, but at the same time I recognize that I'm not a good debater with the linear thinking necessary to refute his positions.

Dave Sim also read The Bible in preparation for the latter arcs of Cerebus (starting with Rick's Story) and upon finishing The Bible, Sim became a fundamentalist believer and I think that the last one humdered issues of Cerebus were basically his interpretations of The Bible. The last one hundered issues of Cerebus were very dense and I think that they were only of interest to those with familiarity with The Bible and believed what is contained within that book. Having sold the last one hundred issues of Cerebus at my store and talking with the people (guys) still buying it, they, like me were largely not reading the actual comic, rather they'd read parts of it and parts of Sim's essays in the back of the title to see what other topics Sim would pontificate upon. So sadly Cerebus didn't become the benchmark title that I originally thought history would bestow upon it, rather it is largely now regarded as a curious look into the mind of Dave Sim. For me, I think Cerebus #200 serves as a good ending to the epic saga of Cerebus and I wonder what the last one hundred issues of Cerebus would have been like if Sim hadn't become a scholar of The Bible.
So while I don't share Dave Sim's politics, views on women, or religious beliefs, I still consider him one of the greatest cartoonists of our time and I am looking forward to Glamourpuss. It'll be interesting to see if Sim is as overt with his views within Glamourpuss as he became with Cerebus. Sim has never been one to shy away from his positions (and they are very intelligent and present aspects that almost anyone could see why he argues as he does, if only they weren't marred by his generalizations) and I don't want him or expect him to shy away from doing so in Glamourpuss. I'm especially looking forward to Sim's musings on comic book photo realistic artists (and from what I've seen thus far, Sim's art is gorgeous).

Dave Sim has been logging on to a computer at a local comic store near where he lives in Canada (he doesn't have his own computer as he has called them typewriters with a televison screen) and joining the Comics Journal messageboards to promote and talk about Glamourpuss. Actually Sim is doing a huge amount of promotion for Glamourpuss and comic stores will be getting a preview copy February 13th (the book debuts in April) so that retailers can share it with customers and gage interest before ordering. Sim also plans to attend the Diamond Comics retailer summit in September and do a signing at my store and Cosmic Comics. Actually I just found out that he plans to do a signing at two Vegas stores from Sim talking about it in the Comics Journal messageboards (he called last Saturday while I was at ComicsFest). I'm more than happy to host a signing with Dave Sim because even though I have differences with him, I admire his dedication to his art/ craft and any creator that is as dedicated as he is to producing a quality work on a timely basis is someone I want to support (the question is will he still want to do a signing if he knew of my thoughts on his views - I'm thinking he'd probably want to do the signing even more because of that).

2 comments:

aaron s. said...

I've always wanted to read Cerebus, partly to get a look at Sims art, and partly just to see if his views are truly as out there as everyone says they are. I've never quite gotten around to checking the book out simply because it seems like such a giant chunk of work to read, and I don't really know where to start. Which is why I'm actually looking forward to Glamourpuss, as it gives me a chance to see for myself what Dave Sims can do without investing in a 300 issue (or however long Cerebus ran) epic.

Ralph Mathieu said...

Yes, reading Cerebus is a pretty massive undergoing (not to mention a good chunk of money). It's mostly really worth it, but there's not really a good single volume because it's all really one long story. Volume one, for instance, while funny and introduces a lot of key characters, is a little crude on the art front (but still good) and it's not really until the second volume (High Society) that Sim's art gets refined and his sharp political and religious satire take center stage (and does so almost until Rick's Story, which as I mentioned is when the new Sim alters Cerebus).

Hope to see you February 13th when I get my Glamourpuss preview copy at the store to show people!

Happy New Comics Wednesday 8/16/17 - Big Metal #1 release, Kirby 100th B-Day Celebration local artist opening tonight (with a HUGE Kirby cake), & Very Awesome Girls LV Book Drive / Bake Sale this Saturday edition!!

 I hope everyone has stayed off of the interwebs and not had this first issue spoiled! After these three photos showing some of the comics...