Dave Sim receives a $500,000 bequest to turn his house into a museum

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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?

Anonymous Fan Bequeaths  500 000 to Cerebus Trust  Dave Sim s Weekly Update  93  July 31  2015    YouTube.jpeg

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.

If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, pick up a FREE digital copy of High Society, one of the oddest, funniest and most brilliant comics ever made.

Did I mention it’s FREE? You just have to tweet about it. A very good deal.

25 COMMENTS

  1. Sure, Dave’s views may be a big part of the problem, but I think the biggest reason Cerebus doesn’t get as talked about among the “great comics runs” is because its out of print, and can only be found in beat-up phone book copies on Amazon.

    American Flagg gets overlooked for much of the same reason. Hopefully Sim can strike a deal with IDW or some other publisher to get Church and State into the really handsome collection it deserves. It’s a towering achievement.

  2. Dave actually drew and lettered Cerebus throughout TMNT 8 (he was not involved in the cover). It’s actually pretty cool to see these characters drawn by their creators interacting seamlessly in the same panels.

    As for Cerebus being out of print, only the first two volumes were for a time (not any longer). Diamond should have them all available for order, with the first two being recently remastered (from original art, where possible) and looking better than they ever have.

  3. Kyle: AMERICAN FLAGG *is* in print, and has been since… ’08, I think?

    Jason: No, there was at least one point where either six or eight of the CEREBUS phonebooks were entirely unavailable from the marketplace. Checking Diamond right now CHURCH & STATE 1, READS and RICK’S STORY are all OOS.

    -B

  4. “How long does it take to get out of the cesspool political situation we live in..?”

    How long will it take to repeal women’s suffrage, Mr Sim? How about never, ever, not in a million years (thank God), which is fine with me.

    I don’t buy Dave Sim comics for the same reason I don’t watch Mel Gibson movies or vote (in the Hugos) for Theodore Beale-sponsored novels. Plurality in art and society are fine things, but I draw the line at funding (to borrow a phrase from Alan Moore) “bad craziness”.

  5. “It’s also, from about the halfway point on, a bit of a trudge through all kinds of religious and philosophical diatribes.”

    That’s a nice way to put it. “Unreadable” is the word I’d use.

    But then, Claremont’s X-Men also became unreadable after 10 years, so Sim isn’t the only talented creator to falter. He also isn’t the only one to subscribe to bizarre right-wing philosophies. (Hello, Steve Ditko and Frank Miller.)

  6. Sim is not a right wing extremist. He has his own belief system which isn’t easily categorized. I reject a lot of his thinking, but he came up with it on his own. He’s a true original.

  7. “A true original” he may be, Heidi (as in, probably a good thing there aren’t too many of those running around), but as I understand it, he fully represents the Canadian version of a Rupert Murdoch media devotee. I’ve read comments from Canadians that a lot of the BS he slings about the current state of world affairs are preoccupations lifted straight from Murdoch’s international lie factory. Not to say those are the only things he believes or thinks about (the religious tenets he preaches are a whole other ball of wax), but I don’t think it’s wrong to call him right wing while he’s calling everyone with a remotely liberal bent “Marxists”.

  8. Dave really is one of the most brilliant comic creators ever. Cerebus brought so much to comics and it still has so much hasn’t been utilized in other books. It’s an amazing achievement. THAT SAID, he’s a bit crazy. He was really, really influential to me, right around the time he went off the deep end. I remember Dave’s descent into wherever he is now, and thinking how I can see flaws of feminism, but there’s no way to be a part of society and follow that philosophy (I was about 15-16, so I was pretty impressionable, yet he still lost me). I remember how he called his ‘friends’ out, like Jeff Smith and said Jeff was ruled by his wife. Colleen Doran got similar treatment in the same issue. Dave gets cred for being an original, but man, he’s just an asshole who doesn’t know how the world works anymore. Tragic that his talent can’t be put to better use.

  9. “A true original”? Sim’s corpus is grand but it’s not unique: Herge worked on Tintin for 50 years, as did Schultz on Peanuts, while Osamu Akimoto’s ‘Kochikame’ has been running since 1976 and Takao Saito’s ‘Golgo 13’ longer still. None of them ever called for the repeal of the 19th Amendment, either — Herge actually grew *less* conservative as he aged.

    I tell you, Gerhard had absolutely the right idea, cutting ties and walking away from the crazy.

  10. Oliver come on…my “true original” is in reference to Sim’s style and subject matter not just his longevity.

    Creative genius is often married to mental struggle — from quirkiness to insanity. It’s how things are.

  11. Also, I can’t speak to “Kochikame”, but the other three works mentioned certainly don’t have the scope of “Cerebus” being one long 30-year story. Comparing “Cerebus” to “Peanuts” (?!?!?!) means you don’t have the *slightest* idea of what Sim was trying to do!

    (Whether or not you think he did it well)

    -B

  12. Re: The availability of Cerebus. As far as I know, all of the books are currently in print and can be ordered from Diamond. (Rick’s Story *might* be out of print.) Personally, I think it’s a question of comic book stores having enough interest from customers to bother keeping the phone books in stock. Without the weekly comic on the shelves, Cerebus sort of lacks a presence in the market, as such. I’m trying to help Dave correct that by establishing a more formal online presence for Cerebus via twitter, facebook, youtube, tumblr, et al. and helping make sure there are PDFs available, etc…

    As I’m sure you can all imagine, keeping sixteen books in print when it’s a one-man operation can be quite challenging, especially with the transformation to desktop publishing that occurred during the run of Cerebus. Throw in the digital remastering of all 6,000 pages and it’s now Considerably Even More Of A Challenge. However, the first two books have now been reprinted (the second of which, High Society, received a delightful review from the AV Club: http://www.avclub.com/article/lovers-only-and-cash-carrie-tell-quality-teen-stor-219644) and the third book should be out this fall along with a Cerebus Covers Collection from IDW: http://www.idwpublishing.com/product/cerebus-cover-gallery/

    Work on the rest of the series progresses and, hopefully, as the books are remastered and re-released, the work will receive a new audience. It’s been eleven years since Cerebus has been on the comic book shelves. I think a lot of younger fans have only heard of it (or never heard of it). Maybe people will still think it’s ‘irredeemable’. Or maybe people won’t see his worldview as being so simplistic that it can be easily dismissed by calling it misogyny. Maybe people will see events like the witch hunt against British biochemist Tim Hunt (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/07/22/sexist_scientist_tim_hunt_the_real_story_127491.html) in a different light and it will cause them to reconsider their position on some gender issues. I certainly don’t know, but I think it’s an excellent body of work that deserves a wider audience, warts and all, and am happy to be working with Dave on it. For those who care, I see him every week, and he’s doing very well. No, he’s not crazy. No, he doesn’t hate women. He works on ‘The Strange Death of Alex Raymond’ and Cerebus-related stuff and prays and fasts and reads the Bible and Koran and doesn’t smoke or do drugs or drink anymore and tries to be a good person. But he still can’t draw right now, as his hand is still messed up.

    For those who simply do not ever want to see or hear about Dave Sim or Cerebus ever again, I’m sure there’s a Chrome plug-in for that, but for those who are interested in examining a body of work about which Alan Moore once said, “is still to comic books what Hydrogen is to the Periodic Table” for themselves and making up their own minds about what it is, well there’s lots more coming! A lot more. Oh man, so much more. So much scanning to do in the future. So much Photoshop. I always say, he could have just done 200 issues, you know? That still would’ve been really awesome and everybody would’ve been super impressed. But oh no, he had to go and do 300. Big show off.

  13. Sandeep, you had me until you mentioned the whole Tim Hunt thing. What on earth does that have to with Dave Sim? Hot takes are often shit and things you read on the internet aren’t true.

    As I said I disagree a lot of the time with Dave but I wouldn’t want to keep Cerebus from future generations. People can make up their own minds.

    There is so much defensiveness in the Sim camp…I can see why avoiding social media is a good idea, because sometimes it’s like a 24/7 hazing ritual. No sensible comics historian would say that Cerebus isn’t an impressive and important body of work, and no sane person would say that’s its not controversial.

    Like I said, let new readers make up their own minds. That’s how history works.

  14. Sandeep, I can send you a screen shot if you like, but Diamond’s site says right now this minute that READS and GOING HOME (Not RICKS STORY, I can’t count to 13 correctly!) are OOP and that we can’t even place backorders for them if we want to.

    C&S v1 is OOS, but at least we’re able to place backorders on that volume.

    If he’s able to complete it, I think “Strange Death of Alex Raymond” might provoke a critical reassessment of Sim. I’ve read a big chunk of it and think it is superlative work. But as I’ve told Dave on multiple occasions, I think he himself is doing more keeping the “misogynist” thing going than anyone else. He appears to usually be the one to bring it up (and keep bringing it up again and again and again)

    -B

  15. Maybe Sim never fully recovered from his adventures in chemicals during the late ’70s.

    To quote a Comics Journal article by Tim Kreider:

    “Two years into the series, Sim took LSD for a week and a half, suffered what he described as a “nervous breakdown,” and had to be admitted to a hospital, where he was diagnosed as “borderline schizophrenic” (whatever that might mean as applied to someone coming down off several days of acid).”

    http://www.tcj.com/tcj-301-excerpt-from-irredeemable-dave-sims-cerebus-by-tim-kreider/

  16. I loved the “history of comic art” segments of GLAMOURPUSS. I have no idea if they will be in any way reworked or supplemented when republished as STRANGE DEATH, but I can’t imagine any hardcore comics-fan not giving it a fair try.

    I almost started to disagree with Brian H about whether Sim himself always brings up the anti-feminism thing. Then I remembered that one of the best things about STRANGE DEATH will be that one can read all that goodness without interacting with the not-goodness of Sim’s satires of fashion models, et al. Yes, he did himself no favors there…

  17. George,
    It’s pretty problematic to attempt analyzing an author’s foibles based on such fragmentary info. Dave’s not Sylvia Plath, you know. And if you’re going to blame his extreme philosophy on drugs, are you going to blame drugs for Dick Cheney and Donald Trump too? It’s too an easy an out, IMO.

  18. Heidi: “What on earth does that have to with Dave Sim?” Well, I think it’s got a lot to do with him. Frankly, that is the kind of thing Sim is talking about when he describes what he sees as the pernicious effects of feminism. (Also, stuff like this: http://www.theverge.com/2014/11/13/7213819/your-bowling-shirt-is-holding-back-progress. The guy helps land a spaceship on a comet and the only thing you can talk about is the “sexist” t-shirt his girlfriend made? Jesus wept. (Then again, so did the guy who landed the spaceship on a comet when he was forced to apologize.)) I think that’s basically the thrust of his “Fifteen Impossible Things” list: http://momentofcerebus.blogspot.ca/2011/11/fifteen-impossible-things-to-believe.html. Whatever you think of that list, I don’t think Tim Hunt’s experience is unrelated to the points he’s trying to make.

    While I am aware that not everything on the internet is true, I’m not sure which part of that story you believe is not true. If this quote is inaccurate (and I think this is the crux of the story) then I would like to know that:

    “It’s strange that such a chauvinist monster like me has been asked to speak to women scientists. Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them they cry. Perhaps we should make separate labs for boys and girls? Now seriously, I’m impressed by the economic development of Korea. And women scientists played, without doubt, an important role in it. Science needs women and you should do science despite all the obstacles, and despite monsters like me.”

    You also say: “No sensible comics historian would say that Cerebus isn’t an impressive and important body of work, and no sane person would say that’s its not controversial.”

    Well, I certainly agree with the second part, but regarding the first, I do have to make note of the fact that in The Comic Journal’s Top 100 Comics of the 20th Century, Cerebus *didn’t even make the list.* (Yummy Fur makes the list, but Cerebus doesn’t? Please.) So, obviously SOME comics historians don’t think it’s important.

    I think there’s some defensiveness in the Sim camp because he’s constantly under attack. As someone recently engaged on Sim’s behalf on social media, believe me, the slander has not let up one iota. Take a look on Twitter sometime if you want to see people (including other professionals like Gail Simone) talking shit about him. I’ve convinced Dave that it’s in his interest to get into it (or let me get into it on his behalf) just so it doesn’t go unaddressed. I mean, take a look at the comments on the AV Club review. There’s certainly some interesting, thoughtful commentary there (more than I expected, I have to admit), but liberally seasoned with the usual “crazy-town”, “psychotic” “self-pity” “grade-A asshole” “mentally ill” and the old standard “bat-shit crazy.” I mean, that’s just par for the course.

    Of course, I also come under attack from Cerebus fans when I bring up the misogyny charge, but to me, it’s the elephant in the room. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest when people disagree with Sim’s arguments. I sure don’t agree with all of them, but I’d rather it be civil rather than the typical, “He’s just an asshole.” type slander which I see on a regular basis.

    Brian: I see, thanks for the info. I wasn’t sure, I just wanted to make the point that Cerebus as a whole is not “out of print” and you don’t just have to go to get used, beat-up phone book copies on Amazon as Kyle noted.

    Anyway, thank you all for your comments, much appreciated, as is the civil nature of the discourse.

    P.S. Please forgive the lateness of my reply.

  19. Sandeep,

    I wrote my piece with honesty, and because I do believe Cerebus is great. I’m not the one who brought up “15 Impossible things” because when you do you open a whole can of worms that will eat right through flesh and do nothing but tarnish Dave Sm’s reputation as a creator….unless…his worldview IS tied up in his work? That is your Hobson’s choice.

    You give me a Tim Hunt and the rocket shirt guy (which I admit was just about the most annoying thing of the day n the internet) and I’ll give you Rosalind Franklin (http://drmirkin.com/histories-and-mysteries/rosalind-franklin-cheated-out-of-a-nobel-prize.html) and Lise Meitner so now who’s right? Does Tim Hunt outweigh Boko Haram? These weeds are not very useful to talking about comic books.

    Also, the TCJ 100 thing came out what…in the last century? Maybe a better point is that no one outside a few old pundits with AARP cards even refer to it any more. New readers are making a different canon. Those are the hearts and minds you need to appeal to and controversial statements about women voting and statements against feminism aren’t going to help much.

  20. Well, it’s certainly an interesting question: can one (and should one) separate the art from the artist? Can a work of art be fully appreciated without knowing anything about the artist? I don’t think there’s a cut-and-dried answer. I simply don’t want to brush anything under the carpet. Here it is, take it or leave it (as it were…) but I want to at least acknowledge it since, to me, it’s pretty clearly a big part of the mindset behind the work and was dwelt upon by the author at (admittedly, interminable) length. If you think that does tarnish Sim’s reputation, fine. If you think it doesn’t, fine. Either way, I just don’t want to pretend it’s not there.

    The closest example I can think of is Steve Ditko. You could talk about Ditko’s independent work and examine the linework and discuss the merits of self-publishing, but I think if you ignore the Objectivist nature of the work, that’s just sort of skirting around the issue. Now I really enjoy Ditko’s self-published work (A is A!), but am certainly not an Objectivist. However, I’m not going to ignore that aspect of his work because I think it might tarnish his rep. Whether it does or not is irrelevant, it’s ingrained in the work and should be laid out on the table for everyone to make up their own minds.

    Rosalind Franklin was a victim of sexism and didn’t receive the credit she was rightfully due in her lifetime. No argument here. But that was, what, last century? (Sorry, couldn’t resist!) I think the Tim Hunt case provides an excellent example of how far we’ve come….in the wrong direction.

    Whatever you or I may think about TCJ (Did you ever read Harvey Pekar’s takedown of R. Fiore? Savage. Absolutely savage. I couldn’t take TCJ seriously after I read it: http://www.tcj.com/blood-and-thunder-harvey-pekar-and-r-fiore/5/) I mean, come on. It is (was?) a highly influential journal in the comic book world and their list is still circulating. At any rate, their exclusion of Cerebus is an example of an attempt to ignore the work. I certainly hope a new canon is being formed by people themselves rather than a group of self-appointed experts, and if that’s the case, I think Cerebus will merit inclusion near or at the top.

    Still. Sim is Sim. I’m happy to help him regardless of what the general perception of him is because the work is so astonishing. Ultimately, I think it would be very easy to just skip the text parts of 186 and enjoy the rest of it. Still a good 5,990 pages there. Uh, except some of the Latter Days stuff, that’s kind of a slog.

    Anyway, as always, very nice talking to you. Here’s a funny comic:

    http://owlturd.com/post/127630366054/water-country-water-country-image-twitter

  21. Dave Sim is simple to me. He resents sharing. He is half (male) of a whole (human), and despises the effect that a shared world has on him–the ‘domestication,’ if you will, that comes with the full inclusion of both genders in all aspects of society. He yearns for the ‘good old days’ of male exclusivity, ‘of men, by men, for men.’ I totally ‘get’ that. It’s hard sometimes to constantly have to extend sympathy and compassion for everything, especially when you think some/much/all of it is unearned. Actually, it’s downright exhausting when you’re busting your own butt to get the success you have. Anyone who places in an Olympic race is going to look back, without sympathy, to those behind him/her. Only those in the back speak of privilege. That’s just reality. Sim seems to resent every effort by society to correct the injustices and inequalities of the past. Inclusion, to him, is destructive and unjust. Not a new argument. I was actually surprised how rational his argument actually was. Not accurate or fair, imo, (not all men are rational, not all women are emotional) but logical. To which the world says “so what.” Yes, it was better for men when men ruled unchallenged. But it’s time to let others participate for once. Dave is certain he knows how this will play out… the same kind of certainly that ‘conservatives’ have always had in the face of ‘liberal’ reform. If Dave studied all of modern history (past 500 years), instead of only that which supports his position, he’d know that these reforms usually work themselves out for the better.

  22. TCJ’s top 100 was nothing but their own love-list. I find it impossible for any one source to make a definitive ranking on any subjective scale. What does “top” mean? There’s no unbiased measuring stick here. If you like the comics they like, then you’ll like their list. If you don’t, well, what’s it matter?

    They love the Hernandez Bros., that’s all that list means.

  23. No one else has done what Dave Sim has done. Don’t compare him to any comic strip. Charles Shulz in no way had the same struggles as Sim. Shulz, once signed by a syndicate, had the full economic machinery behind him. He never had to worry about the business side of publication. Sim did EVERYTHING. Look at these publishing facts (and keep in mind all those publishers with big bank rolls and rollouts–such as Image, CrossGen, Dynamite, etc) …

    …very small publisher (basically one title)
    …no advertising budget to speak of
    …300 issues in a row
    …kept the same numbering for all 300! (no “new #1s”)
    …maintained a very regular publishing schedule
    …wrote, penciled, inked, lettered every single issue (with backgrounds by Gerhard)
    …did it all in B&W (in a ‘color’ medium)
    …survived the b&w indy crash
    …survived the 1994 industry crash

    and…he survived his own personal crises (several) and comments that could have easily cost him his career.

    What other creator can say this? How many other B&W comics can say this? What other small publisher can say this? I don’t see how any of this can be repeated. It deserves celebration, even if he is personally controversial.

  24. Great Humping Jove! There’s someone with money who’s as loony as anyone! $500K to make a museum of Sim’s house! Holy Crap!

    I think for a long time Sim has had a dream of being some kind of wacky prophet. Well, the got the “prophet” part wrong. Still…people will worship all kinds of insane cults. Why not a Cerebus/Sim cult? Cerebus is, after all, the most overrated smudge of pop culture of the comics era. A comic written by a fanboy geek for fanboy geeks. No one can read it and get any of the in-jokes or parody without a firm knowledge of superhero comic book trends of the times in which each issue was written. It was, and remains, a sad joke.

    It’s no wonder that I see Sim’s lingering fans only among Any Rand cultists and other neo-Fascists.

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