In his latest weekly video, Cerebus creator Dave Sim reveals that an anonymous donor has agreed to leave a bequest of $500,000 to The Cerebus Trust Fund. So it turns out someone really likes Cerebus! And Sim need no longer worry about money for getting his comic The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond published, and now he has seed money to get those deluxe (think Absolute) editions of the Cerebus epic into print. Right?
Well, not so fast. I actually started watching the above video, and it turns out the Cerebus Trust Fund is dedicated to keeping Cerebus alive after Sim’s death, yes, but the money will also be used to fund turning Sim’s home into a museum of sorts where “future Cerebus fans will be able to visit the house and gain admission to the house if they can hire their own security guard locally to make sure they don’t steal anything, break anything or not leave anything where they found it.”
A Cerebus Museum, sounds like a good cause. But as Sim goes on to explain, the need for the museum and the trust and all is because so many people think he’s a misogynist, and he’s politically out of favor now. But:
“Although I’m a social pariah now, and Cerebus is discredited, and not mentioned in polite comics society I don’t think that’s sustainable in the long term.”
Sim goes on to say that it will take a while for his views to be acceptable again.
“How long does it take to get out of the cesspool political situation we live in, I couldn’t begin to guess. 50 years after I’m dead, 100 years after I’m dead….Hopefully there’s enough money to sustain the house and its contents into the 22nd century….One little corner of the world that isn’t going to be eradicated by these people.”
Now who are “these people”?
Cirinists, almost certainly.
If you’re coming in late, Cerebus is a 300 issue epic that’s one of the greatest comics ever made. It’s also, from about the halfway point on, a bit of a trudge through all kinds of religious and philosophical diatribes.What Sim is talking specifically about the reaction to issue #186 of Cerebus where he wrote a very long essay about how men are lights and women are voids, and marriage is a very bad thing for men:
If you merge with that sensibility, you will share in its sickness….No matter what you pour into it, it remains empty; no matter how much you reassure it, it remains afraid; no matter how much of yourself you permit it to devour, it remains hungry. If you look at her and see anything besides emptiness, fear and emotional hunger, you are looking at the parts of yourself that have been consumed to that point.
Some people took issue with these statements, and the part of the Cerebus epic itself that played out his thoughts on this, and a debate has raged ever since over whether or not Sim is a misogynist or not. (If not overtly misogynist, he’s definitely an anti-feminist, and that’s just as problematic these days.) About six years ago he instituted a petition for people to sign saying that “Dave Sim is not a misogynist”–only people who sign the petition are allowed to work with him. The middle third of the above video mentions how few people in the comics industry have signed the petition, and Sim seems somewhat bitter about this.
The rest of the video covers some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles licensing in the Czech Republic, early days with Kevin Eastman, Viacom and whether Sim needs to give her permission to reprint TMNT #8, for which he did the cover.
This is the first Moment of Cerebus video I’ve watched, so I have no idea if thy always go this far into the weeds…but knowing Dave a bit, I’m guessing probably, since he is extremely detail oriented.
Considering that this bequest—whether the $500,000 is US or Canadian isn’t stated— was made specifically to keep the Cerebus worldview alive, it will be interesting to see if the great social forces of today ever discover Cerebus and Sim and kick it around like a goat’s head in a game of buzkashi. I’ve always been a little surprised that more MRA types haven’t discovered Cerebus but…maybe Sim is too smart to get sucked into that particularly game. And I mean that as a compliment.
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Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.