5 reasons it is OK to like Dave Sim

Dave Sim is one of the most polarizing figures in the comic book industry today. His political and religious views have earned him a place out on the fringes of society and have driven him to withdraw from public life. Sim’s massive talent and contributions to the industry overall deserve wider recognition. So when I say “like Dave Sim”, ultimately I mean his amazing body of work. For those of you turned off by the man, here are five reasons to allow yourself an opportunity to discover (or rediscover) the life’s work of a master of the art form.

5. Melmoth

MelmothThe elephant in the room creatively speaking is Cerebus, Sim’s 6000 page narrative that ran from 1977 to 2004. Given there are 300 issues to choose from, is hard not to point to several sections of this amazing series but I have decided to highlight one of the better collections. Melmoth tells the story of Oscar, a supporting character seen in the previous book Jaka’s Story.

Based almost entirely on firsthand accounts of the last days of the great Oscar Wilde, this is a deeply emotional and harrowing story. The personal pain of the characters is almost too much to bear. Knowing that these events actually happened to real people makes this book stand out in a medium where the superficial and artificial are the norms. Cerebus himself is almost entirely absent, making this book a good place for the uninitiated, and the end of the book leads directly into the next collection drawing readers deeper into the world of Cerebus. Melmoth is the darkest of the books visually speaking and the sparse art leaves you feeling like you have visited something from a half-remembered dream. Normally the world of Cerebus is visually rich and complex, but here the heavy shadows and negative space cover this world like a shroud. Certainly not the funniest of the books (the first 100 issues or so are where you will find most of the humor) but to my mind, the most satisfying. The later books became somewhat bogged down in the controversy surrounding Dave’s beliefs, but the first 200 issues are a joy to read and Melmoth was a creative high point.

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While I quietly wait for a really good excuse to go on an interstate mayhem spree, I read comics and watch movies. While I do the "writing" here, my wife makes it readable.

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  1. Hadoken

    Dave Sim was one of the first cartoonists to publish his own work was he not? Very good choice of article Taylor, more posts like this here I vote!

    • Taylor Ramsey

      Thank you. Actually he was far from the first. He was however the first to do it successfully AND for so long. Another way of looking at it would be that he was one of the earliest of the blavk and white explosion, as there were a lot of indie title before this one.

  2. Jordan

    I had never heard of Dave Sim… I guess I have been living under a rock? XD

  3. Jeff Seiler

    This is very good, Taylor, and that’s coming from a first-generation fan. Sim and his work, including Gerhard’s state-of-the-art backgrounds, are very well-worth getting to know. But beware–that well is deep. Also, for a first-hand account of visiting Dave’s house/studio, see my post at the Cerebus Yahoo chat group, under “Files”.

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