Monday 25 July 2011

A big Spread-5

Continuing a couple of thoughts following the 4-page Bacchus spread shown here on Friday 15th.

On the far left of the panorama is Dave Sim, under attack. Dave's name has come up a couple of times on the net over the last few weeks. The Comics Journal posted an excerpt of Tim Kreider's evaluation of Sim's complete Cerebus that appears in the huge issue #301
"Its parodies of characters, creators and trends in the world of comics circa 1980-2000 date badly, and were never even comprehensible, let alone of much interest, to anyone outside that marginal subculture."

I can't remember who started this thing among the self-publishing crowd of using each others' characters and personages with impunity. It could have been Rick Veitch, or James Owen. This is Owen using Frank Miller's Marv, and that looks like Jeff Smith's Big Red Dragon in the foreground.

James had also helped himself to Dave Sim's whole panel technique from around the time of Jaka's Story. And here is a character named Martin Humble, based on British comedy actor Marty Feldman.

Dave Sim pinched the Marty character for a role in Guys (1995-97), a book in which all of the supporting characters came from real life or other artists' comics.

Guys is not so much a narrative as a series of comings and goings in a tavern, where everybody drinks huge tankards of froth until somebody comes in and shows the barman how to pour the stuff properly. Here's Sim's version of Bacchus.

Even the screamin' habdabs make an appearance.

It turns out that Bacchus is actually 'wee Callum's granny', and Alec MacQuarry comes to take her home.

Through the whole of Guys Cerebus is wearing a bandage on his eye following the 'Injury to eye motif' incident at the end of the character's previous volume.

My King Bacchus (1995-96) also takes place entirely in a pub, though the coincidence is not something we gave much thought to at the time, since Dave and I had both done books set in, or mostly in, taverns before (Jaka's story, 1001 Nights of Bacchus). You will notice at the top of my post that my Dave Sim character is wearing the same bandage as Cerebus on his own eye. After suffering the attack that you see there, the next time we see him he is wearing the same bandage on his own somewhere else.



Anonymous Michael said...

Those not-exactly-cross-over appearances were fun to encounter in those days. Made it seem as if there was a level of camaraderie among creators, especially self-publishers, that one doesn't always associate with creators who aren't part of a team on the same book. Plus it was a great swipe at the whole "shared universe" approach that has been all the rage for 50-60 years.

25 July 2011 at 23:24:00 GMT-5  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

I am used to real people appearing in comics of course (Asterix being FULL of this still to these days) but character sharing is not something I have encountered much (outside tributes to a pecific artist).

26 July 2011 at 00:46:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Unknown said...

Comic Journal / Gary Groth never really liked Dave Sim. I really like Fantagraphic books, but I never totally understand how a publisher than runs a magazine can be really fair talking about the competition.

26 July 2011 at 19:15:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Matthijz said...

I used to like - and still like - these cross-overs. I've always wondered: How did Dave react to having his alter ego attacked? Did he even mention it?

20 August 2011 at 10:12:00 GMT-5  

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