A Cerebus Mailing List "talk" with Dave Sim

First off, thanks to Lenny for getting these questions and answers all sorted out, thanks to Steve B for moderating the discussion on March 11, 2004 when Dave "showed up", thanks to Ger for giving Dave a list of other follow up comments and questions, and thanks to Dave for having the patience to deal with us all and answer all those questions.

1. In "Rick's Story," after Cerebus passes out, a transparent tentacled demon ascends to his quarters and forms into Cirin, who slices towards Cerebus' neck with a runed sword but the part that would have struck him appear to be intangible. Does this mean it is powerless against Cerebus? Or that the harm it does is hidden? What is the meaning of this and Cirin's other ghostly appearance in the bar?

DAVE: Well, yes, pretty much. It's not something that I decided at any great depth, whether Cirin is actually there or whether she is just manifesting herself to Cerebus in a dream, or whether Cerebus is just having an ordinary dream. But that's also my way of trying to be accurate in my own life. If I dream about a woman from my past, I have no idea if she's actually There or "there," manifesting herself to me, or if it's all my own mind's doing.

Rainmandu: Here's my take on issue 300, and a possible explanation for the Cirin "vision" in "Rick's Story." Cerebus broke his neck and died. He did this trying to chase after and kill Sheshep. If Cerebus hadn't signed that paper, he wouldn't have been allowed to see Sheshep, therefore, by signing the paper, Cerebus signed his own death warrant. In the Cirin "vision" in "Rick's Story," Cirin appears during the "union" of Rick and Joanne. She brings a sword down on Cerebus' neck. Cerebus died when his neck was broken, and it was Rick's "union" with Joanne that made the Joannists possible (through her inclusion in his book), thus Cerebus' decision to "hook up" Rick and Joanne was part one of Cerebus' two-part "unintentional suicide" (for lack of a better term). Kind of like what Morpheus did in "Sandman." Thoughts? Dave?

DAVE: Hey Rainmandu! I'm doing good I made it out of the Bolhafner part of this video game, and now I'm on to the next level. I'm afraid my brain isn't able to register that lengthy a question and be able to retain in long enough to answer it. As I told Steve and Lenny on the phone, if there's a question you really want answered and it's a little more complicated (as this one is), send it to me in a letter and I'll try to answer it as best I can. But, yes. In terms of what I see as the overall thrust of your letter, there is no question that Cerebus "did" Joanne to himself. Had he not tried to hustle the neighbour lady in his dream-come-true life, she would never ended up penetrating, as she did, into the very heart of his story.

Lenny: Was the runed sword in that dream was coincidental with the one in 299/300? Or were you trying to make a connection. Same question with respect to the dream slice to the neck, and Cerebus' broken neck. If it was intentional in 300 - was it intentional foreshadowing in Rick's Story?

DAVE: You guys are so lucky that Ger is here as support staff. I would be so lost. Anyway, he just said that when he put the rune markings on the dagger at the end of 299 (I had roughed in a short sword, but all of my short swords look like BWS short swords, aka Cerebus' old sword, so I thought, if I put it in, it's going to look like the old sword and everyone's going to be asking, How did he get his sword back. AAAAGH!) So, I just told Ger to put a different sword/dagger in. Whatever he wanted. He just tells me now that he thought that: it looks like Cirin's sword in the dream/fantasy sequence in RICK'S STORY. I had no idea. If you live long enough you will find out everything.

2. How did your religious awakening change the storyline? What would have been different had you stuck to your original plan as it existed directly prior to your newfound belief?

DAVE: Well, it definitely changed the emphasis. I started out wanting to make fun of the Bible, so the actual Bible content went from a humour motif (like Woody Allen) to being far more the point of what I was saying. It definitely moved everything else around it out of the way. It would've been a more "here's some things that I think would work in a society if we tried them" along the lines of the Total Dick Law. Guy's being a total dick, you just kill him. One of the ones I didn't get chance to use was the Wisest Man election in two stages. Stage one everyone votes for their wisest man they want to run everything. Steven Spielberg gets, like, a million votes. At the second stage, Steve Spielberg gives his votes to his wisest man. And you can't turn it down. You end up with the most votes, even if you're Wayne Gretzky and you're going "Are you people nuts? I'm a hockey player!" Too bad. You're the Prime Minister. I would've played off of Cerebus engineering a situation where he would get elected wisest man, or Konigsberg would and then Cerebus would have to deal with him. Things like that.

Griff: Comment: Dave, That's Brilliant Just wanted to let you know. That's interesting. How about in terms of "The Last Day"? Did you always intend form Cerebus to have a son with New Joanne, who had ambitions of godhood as the Sphinx, or did that part become clearer after you found your direction in scripture?

DAVE: Griff [re: follow-up to Q2] I had always intended—at least since issue 100—for Cerebus to have a son and for that son to have his DNA genetically manipulated into a sphinx. That was a nerve- wracking seventeen years, waiting to see if anyone else was going to figure out that these Egyptian sculptures weren't whimsical fantasies—that at some point in the unimaginably distant past when "Really Ancient" Egyptian society was at its peak, I assume that they "cracked the code" and began creating these monstrosities and calling them gods. Er. You did understand that that was what I was saying, right? And unless we turn away, we're right on course for going through it again.

3. What is meant by the container spell, and why is there a miniature Infinitie Serpent slithering around the Sancvarie as Rick recites it?

DAVE: Wow. As I said to you on the phone Steve, some questions can't be answered in this confined a format. We're twenty minutes in and I'm only on question #3. Let me put it this way, I got to that point in the story and the Infinitie Serpent slithered away and I suddenly thought. Hey,wait a minute. Where do you think YOU'RE going? That is, the Infinitie Serpent had actually incarnated in the story that Rick was telling. Rick put him there, but what was I, as the writer writing the writer going to do with him? To get any more elaborate, it's probably a FOLLOWING CEREBUS topic. I think FOLLOWING CEREBUS will probably evolve in the same kind of democratic fashion as this format you guys have put together: they'll deal with the subjects of the greatest interest. Like, "Something fell," which you said was high on the list of topics so Craig will be doing his essay on it much earlier than he intended (and is sweating bullets) and I'll write my side of it in "About Last Issue" in FC #2. Let Craig know what you're the most interested in and I'm sure that will figure in the "batting order" of subjects.

4. Why did F. Stop get a vision of Weisshaupt and the cannons while on the river with Cerebus & Jaka?

DAVE: I'm not sure I can explain that one too thoroughly in the limited space. That was partly Cerebus'' "magnifier effect" (whatever is going on Cerebus will magnify it) and the fact that F. Stop was playing a very manipulative game on a very elevated chessboard: essentially trying to drive a wedge between Jaka, Cerebus' girlfriend and Jaka, the consummate art patron so as to force her to choose to go with him. On that elevated level, he was committing a comparable act of violence to the one Weisshaupt attempted to commit against Cerebus. The very potent part inside of Cerebus was commenting on the action that F. Stop was attempting and telling itself, Cerebus (who was pretty much oblivious, as Cerebus always is) and F. Stop that it was going to end up the same way as the Weisshaupt situation. "You're trying to kill Cerebus the boyfriend, but it's going to rebound on you. You don't know who and what you're messing with. Very cute little blonde just went past with an old man trying to get friendly with her. Layers, layers,layers.

Lenny: Brilliant! and: so what breaks the magnification effect/process and brings them back to earth? Jaka's questioning FStop? Or does it really not stop until Jaka bursts into tears and runs away?

DAVE: e L nny [re: follow-up to Q4] Well, it really doesn't stop until Jaka goes and gets Cerebus when he's sulking at the front of the barge. That is, the wedge F. Stop was trying to drive between them was pretty effective with Cerebus' conscious mind—Cerebus overreacts to Jaka's wanting to be alone and Jaka has to dissemble and qualify it as "right now" when, clearly, she does want to be alone. Which is how she would see taking F. Stop up on his offer: she would be alone and an Artistic Muse. It's Jaka the girlfriend who adds "right now". F. Stop is shaken because he saw it as the two of them would be king and queen of the arts colony. So everyone at every level is going to be disappointed if his plan works. The ultimate conclusion is that F. Stop tried to tear Jaka and Cerebus apart and he ends up just tearing his shirt apart. He's the one who is going to be sticking with the barge. Jaka and Cerebus are leaving.

5. Were all the BRGWST the same thing/person? In particular, who or what was the BRGWST that spoke to Cerebus on the platform in "Talking with Tarim?")

DAVE: Yes, all BRGWST (never typed that before) are the same thing. For all I know they're all YHWH across the length and breadth and height of every reality of which we are aware. I would be surprised if the living thing in the earth invented the name YHWH.

Lenny: So in Talking With Tarim, YHWH decides to manifest as a glowing sphere who tells Cerebus he(she?) was a messiah and fills him in on the religious landscape of Estarcion? Or was she talking through that person? If so, who was he?

In issue 184 (READS) Dave/Viktor mentions that the darkness at the end of C&S = the Void = a female. The BRGWST = a male! How does that reconcile with the above answer??

Hello Dave: I've not yet got around to renewing my lapsed subscription (which I will be doing shortly), so I've missed the YHWH story arc, only learning about it from discussion on this group. So if I'm inaccurate or off-base here, please disregard. :-)

From what I understand, it sounds like the masculine/feminine duality of "God" and "YooWhoo" are very similar to the "Tarim/Terim" idea. Had this idea for the ending been planned years ago, or was it something you extrapolated after further studies of religious text, and came around back to as a more sincere belief? Did you ever abandon the idea that there were dual deities (or however one ought to phrase that), or were Tarim and Terim originally thought of as no more than a totally fictitious element that existed solely as a part of the Cerebus universe?

DAVE: Again, I can't emphasize too strongly that all of the BRGWST (and the distinction between Tarim and Terim) predated my reading of the Bible and, I suspect, were being used (that is, I was being used as well) to fish YHWH in. Tarim and Terim would have a lot of appeal for YHWH since their names would be a lot closer than God and YHWH, thus presenting the promise of an even narrower borderline between them. I wasn't consciously aware of any of this. But it seems to me that God was. I think YHWH incarnates in a number of ways, just as I depicted. 289/290, to me, is the Origin of YHWH.

6. Why/how was Astoria transported to the Lionof Serrea? What made her kill the Lion?

DAVE: Mm. I would have to reread that part. It was very much of a piece with the hall of mirrors effect of Cerebus and Astoria locked into their dichotomous relationship of Pontiff and Prisoner. The point I was making was that if the situation was immediately reversed she was going to condemn the Pontiff to death even though, in this incarnation she was definitely the prisoner. It was a sophomoric viewpoint that I had at the time. Would Jesus have killed Pilate if he had the chance? Would John the Baptist have killed Harrod if the roles were reversed. The answer is of course not. But at the time all I knew was that Jesus looked like the guy who played JFK in the "Missiles of October" and Pilate looked like David Bowie. Sounded like about an even match. The President of the United States versus Ziggy Stardust.

Lenny: Are there other sections you can recall of the earlier Cerebus work..say from High Society on that you now think of as merely sophmoric?

DAVE: Well, certainly, for me, there is the pre- Bible Cerebus (which I do see as sophomoric) and the post-Bible Cerebus (which I see as less sophomoric). The former consists of interesting ideas without belief. The latter consists of genuine belief. The difference is scripture. The former isn't based on anything more sophisticated than "Hey! I have a neat idea. What if…?" As I said to my ex-friend Joe White (I suspect that this is what broke up our friendship) "Philosophy without God is masturbation." I did some very interesting whacking off on paper up to 1996 but, looking back on it, that's all it was: whacking off.

7. Please explain how 1-150 is the "male cycle" and 151-300 is the "female cycle."

DAVE: Issue 1-150 strikes me as the `male cycle' because it's very `outward bound'—ejaculatory— which I think we can all agree is something of a male trait. The first half of the story is largely concerned with how uncontainable a force of nature Cerebus is—which ultimately gets contained by Jaka, by his feelings for Jaka, by Jaka's domestic situation. He's ultimately immobilized to the point of catatonia, a situation which has very little to do with him, personally. He's catatonic on Jaka's behalf. To me, a lunatic identification with your quarry. It's like the eighth Tarot card; Fate calming a Lion. A very female concept. What do you do with a lion? Calm him down. If you can manage it, get him into an apron and show him how you wash the dishes (See? You wash the delicate pieces first). The first 150 issues are a 3,000 page cum shot which ends with Cerebus virtually expired—not even within Jaka herself—but within his distorted picture of who and what Jaka is. Issues 151-300 strike me as the `femalecycle' because, as in our society, the takeover is complete. Fate calming a Lion has been institutionalized, carved in stone with all the unhappy consequences that implies. With the result that Cerebus' life is still trying to be ejaculatory but it's like badly timed after- spasms. John Lennon sang "Come Together" as if it was a good thing. Anytime I ended up "coming together", the vaginal clenching and my own spasms were a recipe for penile disaster. He literally loses his "right ear". There is nothing good to hear in a female dominated society. It's also a Van Gogh reference. It's a grisly, futile gesture made towards a completely unworthy object. He "shoots" past the Moon this time, but he has Cirin with him. Like going on a blind date with Nurse Ratchet in the back seat. He gets answers. Big answers, little answers, wide-ranging answers and personal answers. None of which do any male any good when they're in a female cycle both personally and in a societal sense. What part of hopeless don't you understand? He just couldn't, wouldn't break free. It's an individual choice. If you give them that kind of power over you, everything is a mess. Whether I gave him back his doll, gave him back Jaka or not, the problem was still the same; he was imprisoned by the idea of Jaka because he saw Jaka as an Idea . An Important Idea. If you fail a test it's that much more difficult to pass the next time around. He was so hopelessly ensnared within the misbegotten idea of what Jaka is that—even after Jaka has been dead for a century—a Jaka look-alike is his undoing.

8. There seems to be 63 years missing from the timeline, if Cerebus is indeed 300 years old on the last day. What happened to the missing years?

DAVE: There is a lot of variation in the timeline, actually. There are time-space distortions that I incorporated into the story to reflect what I assume would be the Physics attached to a magnifier like Cerebus doing a tour of the solar system in a matter of a few days to a month or so and then coming back home instantly. Like bringing the Flaming Carrot in on the trip to the Moon. I had to flag that one as High Fantasy which I didn't want to do for the second ascension. There's also the fact that the 6/66 Calendar didn't make sense. I assumed that the Legion of Substitute Wise Fellows were still trying to make it make sense and, generally, replacing the whole calendar on a weekly basis—probably just for Cerebus—and using another calendar entirely for the actual dating.

9. Please explain the use of the term "Go to Hell" as used by (a) Cerebus to Weisshaupt; (b) Astoria to the Lion of Serrea; and (c) Rick to Cerebus (AND Joanne).

DAVE: Well, obviously it works literally when Cerebus is in full magnifier mode and that power is transferable to others when they are actively trying to attach themselves to Cerebus (Astoria and Rick). As to whether it works literally and permanently, that's an open question.

10. If the F. Stop Kennedy monologue about singularity is the "core moment" of "Going Home," what are the core moments of each of the other books?


11. When Rick had his revelation, did God talk to him or was it Dave?

DAVE: It was Dave talking to him about God in such a way that he was free to read God into it. Possibly God was talking through Dave to Rick, but only God would know one way or the other.

12. Did Lord Julius molest young Jaka?

DAVE: Someone molested young Jaka (you guessed what the creatures in her fever dreams actually were). She's blocked out who, but Lord Julius would obviously be a suspect.

13. Why was Cerebus condemned after death to go into the Light at the end? Is it because he chose to go into the light with Jaka (before he realized what it was), because he signed the froufrou's proclamation, because he wasn't there when his father died, a compilation of bad choices he's made throughout his life, or some other reason entirely?

DAVE: Again, I'll leave it an open question as to whether Cerebus was condemned to go into the light or if he was needlessly freaking out. I don't know the answer. It's a question we're all going to face, presumably.

Elizabeth Bardawill : Why was Cerebus condemned after death to go into the Light at the end? Dave, I was a bit thrown by this as well. In terms of the interpretation of 'Light' VS 'Void' theme and the READS theme of how "Ideas leading one into the darkness" Not to mention COORS LIGHT. Am confused. Please enlighten.

DAVE: Elizabeth the Fellow Canadian: "Please enlighten?" nyuck nyuck nyuck. Good one. Remember that the male light and the female void and being led into the darkness all predated my reading of the Bible. What I suspect—and have no way of proving—is that I was being fed things to keep YHWH interested. My best guesses on all of these things is contained in 289/290 which only "came to me" after my submission to God's will. My first two tries in Church & State and Reads, if you examine them, are largely inversions of 289/290. And inversions are mother's milk to YHWH, I suspect. Wrong-headed perverse mother's milk.

14. Many readers perceive a difference between the character of Jaka in the first half of the book and the character of Jaka in "Going Home." Do you think the character changed, and if so why and how, and if not did you deliberately display her in a different way or do you see the perceived difference as largely the responsibility of the readers?

DAVE: I think I kept Jaka pretty consistent. In my experience women are like cats. When you don't want them you can't get rid of them and when you do want them it's like trying to pick up lint with a magnet. All that changed was that Cerebus switched from not really wanting Jaka to really, really wanting her (after issue 74- 75). As soon as you switch, they switch. Jaka is a self-absorbed aristocratic airhead. She always was.

15. The Three Wise Fellows refer to pillars of salt. Does this mean they're familiar with the Torah? What is the relationship of Torah to early Cerebism (before the Torah was brought to Cerebus)?

DAVE: The speculation is that Judaism was even more insular in Cerebus' lifetime than it was, for example, in the Dark Ages. My impression is that in a Diaspora situation, Judaism pretty much ceases to exist in a public way. It's the only way it can be effectively preserved. If it's too public it's going to get `cut' with impurities as happened when Greece was in full flower. The purest form of Judaism is always going to be the Judaism that's hidden away and accessible only to those regarded as the most devout Jews. The Jews of Cerebus' world recognized Rick as a prophet in the same way that the Jews of 7th century Arabia recognized Muhammad as a prophet. That was the reason that the Torah "surfaced".

16. Why did you decide to make Cerebus a Hermaphrodite? Follow-up: why, having chosen to do so, did you use the fact that he/she/it was a hermaphrodite so little?

DAVE: I'm not sure that I did decide to make Cerebus an hermaphrodite. It was only once I cracked the he/she/it "they" of Genesis that I figured that a lot of the early Cerebus was being written from God's side of the fence to suck in YHWH by making he/she/it think that this Dave Sim character was one of hers and that I was going to reveal a number of secrets he/she/it would find useful. I think I was being given knowledge that would, effectively, bait the trap and one of them was doing a he/she/it character which was a misspelled variation on Cerberus, the three- headed (that is, he/she/it) dog that guards Hades (i.e. the middle of the earth). I think a lot of our world functions in that way. We are unconscious vehicles for either and/or both teams. I didn't use the fact very much because it wasn't really of interest to me, except as a literary device, to have a character on the borderline between male and female in a huge story composed of a male cycle and a female cycle. But, I think that fact wa probably what interested YHWH the most—he/she/it kept waiting for me to tell him/her/it something interesting about him/her/itself.

Lenny: New Joanne looks like Jaka. Is this just a coincidence? Is it Yoohwoo working to get Cerebus? Why didn't Cerebus keep New Joanne's resemblance to and the existence of Jaka a secret?

DAVE: e L nny – I just had to type that once. As I said earlier, New Joanne was just the latest failure in Cerebus' repeated failure of the `Jaka Test'. Cerebus kept New Joanne's resemblance to Jaka a secret, largely because he knew there was something intrinsically shameful in falling in love with someone just because she looked like Jaka. Which there is—although he couldn't see that. It takes the fundamental stupidity of willfully not seeing Jaka as she is and kicks it up into a whole different quantum level of stupidity.

Jeff Tundis: I think it's safe to say Cerebus is in hell.

DAVE: Actually, that's an interesting speculation. What I tried to do (and this goes way, way back to when I first started thinking, right, now how do I end this thing. And what I came up with was, basically, what we know about the death experience from the near- death experience accounts that we have been given. Given: our life will flash before our eyes, we will all feel ourselves rise up out of our bodies, we will find ourselves drawn towards a bright light like a tunnel. And, at the end of the tunnel will be everyone we knew who died before we did. Well, the more I thought about that...particularly after coming to belief in God...the more I thought, "I'm really going to have to take a look at who's there." I mean, virtually everyone I know and did know is or was an atheist. So, unless they've set the bar so low that everyone gets in, there's a good chance that it is hell at the end of the tunnel of light. I'm going to be looking for my cousin Chris who is a minister. If Chris ain't there, I might just sit down and wait it out til Judgment Day.

17: A new question popped up about whether Cerebus is in heaven or hell (we've been discussing this for a while; most say hell, while others say you don't believe in hell per se, but he sure ain't in heaven, that it's not a punishment but just the natural consequence of his bad choices that he's going to end up crushed by the sun). I don't know anybody who thinks he's in heaven.

DAVE: I wouldn't be surprised if Cerebus is in heaven. He could just be freaking out for no reason. In a lot of ways I wish I had never gotten suspicious of "going into the light". Why can't I accept anything at face value? When Chester Brown phoned to congratulate me, he said there was another writer who had questioned the same thing: his viewpoint was that if you go into the light you just get reincarnated again. His suggestion was that you can break the cycle by not going into the light. I think Chet said he was a Buddhist.

Ray: The Pigt shaman who kills himself suffers a Death of the Soul that has cataclysmic repercussions. But Bran repeatedly kills himself and gets re-incarnated - how?

DAVE: Faith. The pigt shaman was essentially an "ancestor worshipper," which, to me, is probably the lowest grade of faith: that your dead relatives are efficacious in some way. Bran had faith in Cerebus and Cerebus, as a natural magnifier, magnified that faith at many levels within Bran Mak Mufin. He consciously lost faith when he killed himself, but his conscious faith was only one level and not as important a one as the other levels Cerebus had reached (with Bran's acquiescence). He literally had faith that wouldn't die.

Q: Did Michelle murder the Count?

DAVE: It wouldn't surprise me that Michelle murdered the Count, but it wasn't something I consciously decided either way.

Lenny: What's up with the ladder to nowhere in Last Day? What did it remind Cerebus of? Why was it there? Stairway to heaven? :^)

DAVE: The stairway that went into the wall seemed a good metaphorfor Cerebus' failure to ascend past the idea of Jaka. I also liked the idea that about once or twice a day he would think, Say I never have checked to see what's up those stairs. And then go and discover the wall all over again. Those who don't learn from the past, etc. etc.

Q: What happened to Cerebus' mom?

DAVE: Cerebus' mom died.

Q: Did Cerebus fail a TEST in the tent? Cerebus defies Ricke's Word by taking a tin of biscuits (and, arguably, by taking Jaka). Was this a test of Cerebus' faith? Were there repercussions for his failure?

DAVE: Cerebus failed tests all over the place through Going Home and Form & Void. It's sort of implied when you become ensnared as he was within the Idea of Jaka. It's the difference between accidentally sitting on a whoopee cushion and actually carrying a whoopee cushion around with you that you make sure is in place before you sit down anywhere. It goes beyond ludicrous, to me. -

Q: Who did Bran send a message to in Church and State not long before Thrunk shows up (issue 72) and why?

DAVE: Presumably to the Pigts and/or some group affiliated with them.

Ray Earles: Are the Africans in GOING HOME connected to the muslims Sheshep refers to in #299?

DAVE: Yes, they're all Muslims (that was an easy one).

V: For any who don't know where to look, what sections of the Koran have you referenced in the _Cerebus_ storyline proper?

DAVE: I don't think I referenced any sections of the Koran in the Cerebus storyline, although I certainly hope the sacred book informs the latter parts of the work.

/hal: Did you always know all along that #300 would include a fart joke?!

DAVE: Mm. Not all along. It wasn't really until I was doing the model sheets for Old Cerebus that I started really getting down to the details of his various infirmities. Once I came up with the "eating cheese to make himself constipated" riff, that implied the one-page sight gag of trying to break wind, the "Please, God, just one decent fart before Cerebus dies" and the "answered prayer".

Q. Was Cerebus's mother Jaka's nurse?

DAVE: No. Cerebus' mother wasn't Jaka's nurse. Interesting concept, though.

Will Dudzinski: Thanks a million for stopping by. I noticed that the first two issues of Latter Days had a distinctively different look when it came to the design of the pages. I would guess that this was because both issues were mostly self-contained stories. Could you explain how you go about making design decisions, and how those decisions correlate with the type of story you're telling?

DAVE: The decision-making on the Latter Days prologue had a lot to do with Cerebus fading in and out in his own mind. I tried to leave everything very open and a kind of dazzling white (which was fine by Ger: fewer backgrounds) to emphasize both the blanking in and blanking out and the fact that Cerebus was in love again—although we don't find that out until four hundred pages later when we see who he's telling the story to.

/hal: It's cool that Dave is here until 8:30, but that means I'll have to miss SURVIVOR! ;)

DAVE: HAHAHAHA! C'mon Hal. You might not SEE SURVIVOR, but no one with a brain could possibly MISS SURVIVOR!

Lenny:So, basically, Cerebus #300 is about as good as Emma Frost #9, but not quite as good as, say, Gotham Central #17? That's what I thought too. S. Yes. Because Gotham Central was *22* pages, it's obviously "meatier" than Cerebus 300! ;^)

DAVE: Well, all I can say is, when I read the front page story on the Arts & Life section of the NATIONAL POST with a big colour picture that Superman was going back to his home planet and would be riding a cool motorcycle, I thought, DAMN! Why didn't I think of that? If I'd've just had Cerebus go back to his home planet and ride a cool motorcycle as the ending of issue 300, I COULD'VE BEEN ON THE FRONT PAGE OF CANADA'S OTHER NATIONAL NEWSPAPER! Jeet Heer? BradMcKay? Sorry I let you guys down.

Alley Cat: Apologies if this was mentioned and I didn't see it. Will the live Q & A sessions be a regular or semi-regular event?

DAVE: Hey, alleycatoh (Stray Cats fan are we?). I can picture doing this again if I have Ger for tech support (he's also been proof-reading as I go). As I told him, I'm the guy who has learned how to play euchre (sp?), like eight times and I have to start over from the beginning each time. It's just not something my mind retains. We could try for second Thursday of next month and if anyone turns up, then we'll see about going for three in a row. Thanks for expressing an interest. (I picture going back to the "anchor desk" with Steve Bolhafner, recapping the highlights. "Well, that was Dave Sim, telling us a little bit more about RICK'S STORY but not quite enough about the Infinitierpent. Lenny?" "Well, that's right Steve, a lot of us were looking for..." etc. etc.

Chris W: Thanks for everything Dave, great job and God bless. Hope you won't be too scarce.. :D *really has to go :(*

DAVE: Oh well, thank you...and God bless you as well. We're coming into the last fifteen minutes, so I'm going to scroll down and just pick a couple of folks at random who came in a little late to getanswered in sequence. So, if we run out of time, thanks to everyone for showing up (in a manner of speaking) and I'll be back the second Thursday in April (God willing).

The sun will blow up tomorrow
Someonepushesabuttonandblowsitup Tomorrow
And we all die
Alone and unloved, and unmourned
Noone gives a rat's ass what befalls us
So why should I?

And later on a patch of green scum on Saturn Comes to life for a week And then dies And that's it...

ENTIRE CAST: It's hopeless/It's useless/Existence/it pointless/Why not just give up right now???/It's hopeless/It's useless/Existence/it pointles/WHY NOT JUST GIVE UP RIGHT NOWWWWW???

Boffo boxoffice! Can't miss!

DAVE: Well, I've got to tell you. I read the lyrics and I thought, it's a can't miss proposition. This joebuzzkill makes Peter David look like Mel Brooks! Wait a minute. Peter David does look like Mel Brooks. Except he's taller. And heavier. But they're equally Jewish from what I can see. And Peter and I once hid behind the First Amendment together, so I know what I'm talking about. Actually, I don't know what I'm talking about because it's 8:30 and I'm not getting paid for overtime. So, I'm just putting the phone on auto-dial and speaker until I get SOMEOBODY AT THE F**KING BOX OFFICE! I WANT A TICKET! I CREATED THIS CHARACTER! THIS IS LIKE WHEN STEVE GERBER CAME TO OUR AARDVARKS OVER SAN DIEGO PARTY THE NIGHT OF THE HOWARD THE DUCK PREMIERE AND HE WAS WEARING A T-SHIRT OF THE MOVIE POSTER AND I SAID "STEVE!" (I know him personally, so I can do that) 'STEVE! CAN YOU GET ME ONE THOSE T-SHIRTS? AND HE SAID (stop me if you've heard this one) HE SAID, ARE YOU KIDDING? I HAD TO BUY MINE! Thank you all very much and good night.

Dave the really, really stiff-necked at this point (pressure, baby!)

Leigh C (AKA JoeBuzzKill): Gerhard: Next time you see Dave, tell him how tickled I was that he picked my question to answer last. I've had that little bit of doggerel bouncing around in my head for years now, and have been itching to communicate it to him somehow. It seemed really queer to sing it to him over the phone while I was renewing my subscription, and I'm too lazy to write im a letter. Anyway, I hope I didn't tick off too many earnest Cerebites who didn't get answers to some their arcana because of me. But hell, I've probably been reading Cerebus longer than half of them have been alive. And it's a FUNNYBOOK! And Dave's a FUNNY GUY! (In all senses of the word.)I hope he's happier and less alienated from the world than he makes out in his screeds. I suspect he is.

JAKA: Don't cry for me, Lower Feldaaaaahhhhh!

I've got a million of them, I tell ya... See you in the funny papers. --

DAVE: I had no idea it was you, Leigh. With all these Internet names I imagine it's like being at a KKK meeting ("Izzat chew, Billy Bob?"). Very funny parody. I'd suggest actually writing Cerebus the Musical, but I don't know what you could do with it. Have Yahoo newsgroup singalongs?

Q: So Dave, what do you make of the similarities between Arnold Schwarzenegger(sp) & Cerebus? one played Conan, one based somewhat on Conan one rises to be elected governor of California, one becomes prime minister & pope one marries a politically connected matriarch, one (marries) a politically connected princess one marries into the Kennedy family, one meets F.Stop Kennedy and gets written into his works both seem to be politically conservative, self-promoting drunkards.

DAVE: Yes, the analogies between Governor Arnold S. and Cerebus are interesting. I hadn't noticed myself that Conan had moved on to his High Society phase until I was doing The Onion interview with Tash Robinson. So, let's see. He did the Conan movie in '81 was it? And in '04 he's moved on to High Society. That means we can expect the Church & State phase around '27.

DiG: Many years ago, you and Gerhard did a series of color illustrations in Epic Illustrated depicting Cerebus' past. The final one featured Cerebus as a samurai with a dragon in the background. Was this intended to be a storyline or just a fun drawing? If it was intended as a storyline, can you share any details?

DAVE: Ger and I did a couple of Cerebus-as-Samurai illustrations. If I had a lick of business sense, it would have been part of the storyline because we probably would've sold carloads of them. But, no. It was just a way of visiting the unthinkably lucrative.

/hal: Any panel discussions (themed or simply audience Q&A) planned for SPACE this year? What about any other promotional appearances while in Columbus (radio interview with Steve Cannon?) Is there any chance of bringing the pages to 300 with you - just so we can see them before the auction in Toronto? Thanks for showing up here tonight

DAVE: No, no plans for any panels at SPACE this year. I'm always torn on those because you end up leaving a line-up of people just standing there while you go off and talk for an hour and I already have to be gone for a half hour or so for the Day Prize. And in between the table and the panel you get two or three people who have to talk to you about something. It gets pretty bouncy when it's only a one-day show. Steve Peters and I had a good reaction to the one last year. SPACE isn't really set up for displaying artwork. Just cartoonists and their tables. Don't worry, the pages aren't going to be auctioned in Toronto. You're welcome.

Benjamin: I hadn't planned to ask a question, but you're little aside about the Wisest Man elections prompted a thought. Is there any possibility of a kind of Untold Tales Of Cerebus section in Following Cerebus? In other words, how do you feel about the prospect of other creators filling in these gaps in, specifically, say, me. I want to tell the Wisest Man election story. So, I figured I'd ask.

DAVE: In terms of filling in "gaps" in the Cerebus storyline, no. I consider Cerebus a finite work. No sequels, no requels, no Ultimate Cerebus drawn by other people. If you want to do a story with a Wisest Man Election concept to it, please, by all means. I'd hate to see it go to waste. But not a Cerebus story. There are all kinds of things that I remember when someone asks me a question or I just remember it for no reason that I can see and I'll think, "I should write that down. I bet Cerebus readers would be interested in that." I'm going to try to get into the habit and then send them to Craig for Following Cerebus. After the Archive is done.

Bill: : Dave Many, many thanks for every issue of Cerebus! Re: Cerebus entering the public domain (hopefully many years from now), I hope to then submit an electronic copy to Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.net), the Internet's oldest free archive of public domain literature (11,000 books and counting), where it will be free to the whole world to view forever, next to the other classics of world literary culture. Unless you wouldn't want me to? (Don't need an immediate answer if you want to look into it some, first)

Mike C: If you're still around 70 years after Dave and Gerhard die, I suppose you could do whatever the hell you want to with the Cerebus material. That is if Disney doesn't successfully lobby lobby Congress to extend copyright again

Steve Bolhafner: Won't be 70 years. Will be upon the death of whichever goes last. That's the deal Dave spells out in the back of #300. Upon their deaths, it IMMEDIATELY becomes public domain.

Of course, either or both of them can rescind that between now and then, I imagine. I don't know the intricacies of wills and stuff. But that's what Bill is referring to.

DAVE: Bill and Steve are right. Mike, that's what I'm trying to avoid is that Disney syndrome of keeping something tied up in private ownership that should have gone into the public domain. I think the original copyright laws were framed in exactly that way to keep things like Disney from happening. I think most creators would prefer that their work be readily available in the way Shakespeare is readily available, rather than paying enormous sums of money to some bloated Shakespeare Inc. five hundred years later with proxy fights between his great nephew and whatever the Shakespearean equivalent of Michael Eisner would be (think really, really gruesome).

Q: what happened with the Alan Moore Cerebus #301?

DAVE: Actually, that was intended to be the Alan Moore/Steve Bissette/John Totelben Cerebus No.301—the entire Swamp Thing team. John, regrettably, has been suffering from a degenerative eye ailment for a number of years and Alan and Steve had a "never darken my crypt again" falling out over Steve's Comics Journal interview which was, perhaps, indirectly my fault. Steve and I had been talking pretty extensively about business ethics in the comic-book field up through the Northampton Summit and beyond. He was particularly troubled by Alan's laissez-faire attitudes towards collaborations. There are hard decisions to be made when you enter into a creative/business partnership. In this case, Alan and Eddie's collaboration on From Hell which Steve was serializing in Taboo. Steve was trying to maintain a strict arm's length relationship with both Alan and Eddie in line with my conclusions about business ethics. In this case Steve was the "company". It was up to Alan and Eddie to make the business decisions on From Hell. But whenever Steve would present Alan with the decisions that needed to be made, Alan would say, "Do whatever you think is best, Steve." Which seems very nice and friendly and all, until you look at it from a business ethics standpoint: Steve has no place deciding what's best for Alan and Eddie's work. If Steve's calling the shots, Steve is being backed into a situation of being DC. If things go south, Steve is the one who is going to get the blame for "what happened to From Hell," for turning Alan and Eddie into this generation's Siegel and Shuster. So, as per usual with the comic-book field, when Steve attempted to address the over-arching concerns that he and I had been discussing and to try to generate some dialogue in the field, it never made it above the emotional/personal level; Alan's feelings were hurt that Steve had criticized his business ethics and he brought their friendship to an end. Ultimately, the From Hell situation worked out for the best when I talked Eddie Campbell into self publishing. Eddie would make the business decisions for he and Alan. It's very irritating, though, that Alan took such a myopic view of what Steve was attempting to accomplish in his Comics Journal interview. I couldn't do 301 with Alan without slighting Steve and I couldn't do 301 with Steve without slighting Alan.

Sandeep Atwal: Will Eisner is 86, and you're only 46, which means you've got about 40 years to go. Since it only took you 26 years to o Cerebus, when will the "real work" begin on, say, a 500-issue epic? What will it be called? Will we get to see Jaka naked? Also, can I get a free copy of number one? ...but seriously. What do you think of Lennox Lewis, that "other Kitchener Heavyweight," retiring at the same time as you? Is he an echo of you on another chessboard? What about Martha Stewart and Sheila Copps both "going down" (as it were) the week issue 300 came out? More chessboards? Or, do you now consider the concept of various chessboards as more of a Yoohoo-ist interpretation of God's works? Thanks for ALL your and Gerhard's work. Congratulations again.

DAVE: It would certainly be nice to think of Lennox Lewis as an echo of me on another chessboard. I met him once at Stages when he was living here in Kitchener and bought him a beer. This was after his Olympic gold but early in his pro boxing career. Mike Tyson had just been busted in Indianapolis on the rape charge and I was watching all of these drop-dead gorgeous women circling Lewis like hungry sharks. I said something to him about the Tyson situation, indicated the women and said something along the lines of You must be terrified to even say hello to one of them. He allowed as how that was pretty close to the truth. No, I still consider chessboards, interlocking and multi- leveled, to be the best analogy of the adversarial relationship between God and YHWH. I'm just far more aware now of how intricate the game is and how little of it I even vaguely recognize, let alone being able to participate in. In the Martha Stewart situation, someone wrote in the National Post a while ago (either a columni st or it was a syndicated piece, was more the last act in the Battle to the Death between the Would- Be Queens of the Daytime Circus; Oprah, Martha and Rosie. Looks like Oprah won. Big time. Sheila Copps is an interesting case. I don't think the Marxist- feminist Liberal party has heard the last of her, but she's awfully clumsy politically. Taking her campaign right to the convention instead of throwing in her cards at an opportune moment when she might have traded her support for something of value. It was just so amateurish a mistake to make. And this woman was a Cabinet minister. This woman was Deputy Prime Minister. It was like watching Kim Campbell stumbling around when she inherited Mulroney's Conservative Party. What is this? Romper Room? Having lost the nomination for Hamilton-Stoney Creek, Sheila Copps must really be wishing she had taken the Ambassador to France gig when it was offered instead of just taking a header off of her chessboard into Marxist-feminist oblivion.

Patrick Findlay: Dave simm, your nice and famous and British, will you be a guest at the UK Web & Mini Comix Thing 2004? www.ukwebcomixthing.co.uk I'm organising it and would be chuffed if you'd attend!!!!

DAVE: I appreciate the invitation, but the Internet is really not my "thing". This is just the second phase in the fine- tuning I'm doing on what (if any) relationship I intend to have with the Yahoo.com Cerebus newsgroup. I think I'm safe in saying that it will be a good deal more limited than what I'm doing here.

Steven Otte: I'm sure that visiting cons organized by people who don't know how to spell his last name, much less the fact that he's Canadian, not British, is right at the top of Dave's list.

DAVE: It's okay. A lot of people don't spell my last name right and I do consider myself a citizen of the British Empire. Of course, I also consider myself an American in the sense that the British and Europeans mean it.

Patrick Findlay: Oh, well what the hell is he a Canadian for? I thought he was British. All I know is that he's famous and has a lot of time on his hands. Anyway, how the hell do you know he's Canadian? Do you have proof?

John L: I hope you're trying to be funny here - and if not, what the hell is wrong with you?

DAVE: Actually, I appreciated the fact that someone who can't spell my last name thinks of me as famous. You actually have to be pretty famous to have those two occur simultaneously.

Lenny: Obviously, "Patrick Findlay" is a pseudonym for Gary Groth!!

DAVE: Speaking of Gary Groth, he phoned to congratulate me on finishing the series—which I appreciated—and to suggest another two- part interview, this time `Dave Sim the artist' and `Dave Sim the polemicist'. As I told him, after two months of answering the mail, I'm so sick of what I have to say, I just want to take a break from me. Negotiations will continue next month.

Ray: Your home town Kitchener celebrates its 150th Anniversary this year. And you end your magnum opus. 150 is half of 300. Any connection?

DAVE: Thanks for noticing. Yes, this is, indeed, Kitchener's 150th Anniversary, which I hadn't realized until I saw Rych Mills set up with a big display of photos in the City Hall Rotunda in January. Rych is the resident expert on local history and, coincidentally, was Deni's last romantic interest before she and I got together.

Robbie: Well, I'm not one to ask a whole lot of questions, and besides, if I can think of anything to ask Dave or Gerhard, I can do so at SPACE. Dave, I am curious, however, if the dinner invitation from Will Eisner is still on. :) And, thanks once again for stopping by here tonight; I do hope it will be a regular event. I've been reading Cerebus for, what, 19 years (#72), and I've been reading continuously each month for the last 12 or so years. It's been a pleasure to follow along.

DAVE: Actually Will Eisner is coming up to Toronto for Toronto Comicon June 18-20 at the Queen Elizabeth Building at Exhibition Place and mentioned in his e-mail that he was looking forward to seeing Dave Sim again, so I'm definitely going to be arranging to squeeze the dinner in there somewhere.

Q. Hi Dave, thanks for dropping by. Is there any chance of a phonebook collecting all of the short stories and miscelaneous debris? (such as the stuff in Cerebus 0 and the World Tour Book)

DAVE: We do have tentative plans for a Cerebus Miscellany volume 17. When we do it depends on when our supply of three or four of the trade paperbacks runs out. As it stands, we will probably have to put them all back into print next year, which could push volume 17 into 2006. I definitely want Collected Letters 2004 to come out late this year or early next year.

Q: What are the chances of one last collection bringing together all the "bits and pieces" (issues, shorts, Epic illustrated stories, etc.) that haven't been reprinted in the previous phonebooks?

DAVE: We did have plans to do a colour volume through Bob Chapman's Graphitti Designs. He got the negs from Marvel for most of the Young Cerebus stories that were in Epic. Unfortunately the film for the Animated Cerebus portfolio was destroyed accidentally so that would have to be shot from a printed copy. We also have the negatives for a number of covers from the Jaka's Story run without the type on them. Those need to be unearthed in the Archive phase. At that point we will look at how much material there is and how practical it is to publish. Obviously, I'd like to get everything worth reprinting under one cover if possible so that means all of the Cerebus Archive would have to be complete, before I could be sure that there aren't any stray colour pieces that should have been included.

Q: Dave, do you miss cerebus?

DAVE: No, I don't miss Cerebus. I'd like to miss Cerebus, but that, I think, requires staying away from Cerebus for longer than a month. But, between December 17 and January 23, when I was finally away from Cerebus, no, I can't say I missed either the character or the book.

Q: Pardons in advance if this has been answered previously, but have the publishers of Following Cerebus given you a definitive date for the first issue?

DAVE: The first issue of Following Cerebus has been solicited for a July release as a joint Aardvark-Vanaheim/Win-mill Production.

Liz Bardawill: Dave, Just a quick thanks you for your answer to my question Letter Feb 14, 2004) on the nature of cerebus' soul. If the Marxist Feminists ever kick in your door don't hesitate to call me. :)

DAVE: Thanks. Actually, I assume you'll know if the Marxist-feminists kick my door in. At that point certainly any female participation would be welcome (though I don't expect there to be any—it's one thing to volunteer when you think of it as a joke, it's another when the Marxist-feminist mob is actually circling its prey). Peter Straub readily agreed to testify on behalf of Cerebus at any Canadian hate crime trial. That meant a great deal to me. He has a lot to lose and very little to gain in doing so.

Ray: Thanks for moderating the discussion Steve. You think it should go this way next time or should we just let Dave wander among us?

Jeff: IMO, Tonight's format worked out nicely & I say let's do it again. Have a half dozen or so "group questions" that we vote on and then turn the floor over. It's a little too chaotic in there to let Dave wander the whole time given his internet-phobia, but he also seemed to open up a little more with the less dense "questions from the floor".

"We could try for second Thursday of next monthand if anyone turns up" - that Dave's a real card! I hate to break the bad news to him, but if he keeps coming online every month as long as anyone shows up, it's gonna be a while. Does he SEE that we're putting up 100 posts a day? With monthly chats and Following Cerebus, who thought we'd have so much "Methi-Cerebus" to replace the real thing? It's not Cerebus, but it's not bad at all...

DAVE: Whoa. I've only committed to doing one more of these. "Monthly" is jumping the gun more than a bit. The lesson I took away from this first experience is that I can probably answer 6 questions in an hour-and-a-half, so I would suggest that we limit it to six questions for the April 8 session, voted on by Yahoo Assembled. I got the impression from Gerhard that "100 posts a day" is pretty good. I'm not sure how much of that interest is going to sustain itself, now that Cerebus is done. I anticipated a flare of interest after issue 300 came out, but there is possibly a `here's your hat, what's your hurry?' underlying quality that won't become obvious for a while yet. From what I've been able to see, there's a core of about a dozen or two dozen participating Yahoos (and thank you, by the way—this is now the primary Cerebus environment, so much of Cerebus' "presence" post-March, 2004 is riding on you guys)(and Margaret) and a membership of around 500. That, potentially, is a lot of "undecideds".

Lenny: Overall - I must say it was pretty much perfect. I can't imagine it going better. Dave seemed to really enjoy it too - and the balance between form and voi..er...free for all worked just fine I think. He seemed a bit tired at the end - but you know? It reminded me a lot of "old Dave" - less serious -more having fun. I think it was good all around. And that's why he's coming back next month! (whoohoo! :^)

Ray: I agree on the old, fun Dave making a welcome re-appearance. Didn't someone once say that there was a reason for only one day of the week being the Sabbath? A pity it became very much a barrage of questions that he had to wade through rather than a more informal chat and opportunity to kick back and relax with people who still, by and large, retain a fond regard for him. I'm all for more silly jokes. Anyway, I hope he went home tonight with a bit of a buzz from the response he got here. Reaching the conclusion of the series seems to have exacted a bit of a toll, physically and psychically on both Dave and Ger. A bit of adoration from the fans might have restorative powers.

DAVE: Actually, I went home from the library kicking myself over the references to Peter David and Mel Brooks both being very Jewish. I don't participate in society, so I never know what references are allowed and what aren't allowed and I never think of things in those terms until it's too late. I think being Obviously Jewish (I suffer from acute CPE: Chosen People Envy) is great but there does seem to be a strange squeamishness abroad in the land. The National Post recently reported that the CBC's website was scrutinizing any posting that contained the words "Jew" or "Jewish". If you used either word, your posting wouldn't go up immediately, so people were having to use modifications like "J@wish" to bypass the censorship. Needless to say, this treatment was only for "Jew" or "Jewish," Christian, Hindu, Muslim and even Nazi were fine. Of course the CBC is just the mouthpiece for our anti-Semitic Marxist- feminist government so it could be a special case. But, I went home thinking that the whole en nironment could go ballistic over my having insulted Peter David. My extremely-limited-to-non-existent social life is like an extended version of the Blues Brothers' "What did I say to piss you off THIS TIME, BAAAYYYBEEEE?" By now, I take it as a given, which is why I avoid people as much as I can. But that's always my reaction to any social occasion. I walk away wondering what it was that I said wrong this time.

Larry Hart: The answer about F. Stop on the boat was priceless. That alone was worth the price of admission. Heh. And haven't we pretty well put to bed the notion that Dave doesn't believe in YHWH. Ok, technically he might not really believe her name is pronounced "YooHWHoo", but that's fairly trivial, isn't it? He does believe that such a being, different from God, exists in the center of the earth and affects us in real life. I'm not sure what to make of his "Larry is the only one I went ballistic on" comment. On the one hand, it's comforting that he recognized he did that and says we're still ok. OTOH, it's disturbing that of all people, I seem to bring out that side of Dave. Maybe I should just go off and die somewhere... Nahhhh!

Lenny: Batman needs his Joker, Dave needs you! (at least you're not his Mirror Master! ;^P

DAVE the novelty of typing your name is wearing off quickly, L nny. As I wrote to Larry, it was just an inexplicable event. I think I might revisit his letters and give it another try somewhere up ahead. The fact that we both had fairly ballistic letters that crossed in the mail would suggest more Mirror Master than Joker, I think.

Talon T M: THANKS DAVE ...for this great series, the best in comics history

DAVE: Thank you. Nice of you to say so.

It's been an interesting read and I'm glad to learn more about the story through through discussion and this group. I look forward to April (and hope I'm not at a con that day).

DAVE: Ditto

Steve Bolhafner: Here's to Dave For coming here tonight, for promising to come again next month, for writing 150 letters in the last few weeks, and most of all for writing and with Gerhard's help drawing the best 300- issue limited series comic book in the history of the medium -- and yeah, I know the history of the medium isn't finished yet, and in many ways it may even be just beginning, but my guess is that that's going to remain true forever. Thanks, Dave! Thanks, Ger! It's been fun!

DAVE: Ditto

Lenny: what he said Dave! Thanks again - it's been a pleasure - over the years, the other day when we spoke, and tonight. Looking forward to meeting you in person in a few weeks!

DAVE: Ditto

~a: I've been with Cerebus since I was 13. Just wanted to say thank you for one of the best stories ever!

DAVE: Ditto

Griff: "Thank you" and two decades worth of paid admission doesn't seem like much for what you have given me with Cerebus and your other writings; I got the deal of the century. Rest assured many of us will be sharing that point of view with Wilfred Laurier University (they are lucky bastards, and they'd best figure that out for themselves).

DAVE: Thank you. I have three "Cerebus Archive testimonial" letters already, so I'm reel chuffed about that. I'll look forward to reading your own.

I just wanted to thank Dave for doing this, on behalf of however many people have been quietly enjoying the discussion. And on another note, Dave, i think your use of visual metaphor is nothing short of revolutionary. Thanks again!

DAVE: Thanks. I hope my use of the visual metaphor does prove revolutionary. It's an interesting tool that I hope others give a try.

Ray: Thanks Ger for sacrificing your personal time to help Dave navigate the treacherous waters of the Internet. Much, much appreciated by myself and I'm sure everyone else on the list.

DAVE: Thanks.

Q: God be with you, Dave

DAVE: God be with you, as well.

Piz in Philly This was very cool. Many thanks Dave and Ger

DAVE: Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for `tuning in'.

~a: Hey everybody ~ Any chance we could stick with the original 24 questions instead of everyone blurting out stuff? We'll never get any answers this way!

Steve Bolhafner: Dave wanted the loose "live" format, though he promised to answer the top 6 questions. If you want a particular questions answered, write him a letter. Besides, he may be coming back . . .

~a: Oh, okay, nevermind.. didn't know how strict this was.

DAVE: Thanks for your consideration. On a one-time basis, I'm going to try to answer every question everyone blurted out.

Jeff: Careful Dave-- it looks like you're having fun! Thanks for everything, Dave & Ger. In all my years of comic reading, Cerebus is the only book that I never lapsed on. I'm sorry if it seems we didn't defend you enough, but be assured we did in our own private ways. Also-- there's an old expression "Arguing on the internet is like competing in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still retarded." At least you seem to be having some fun tonight, though. Please, don't be a stranger.

DAVE: Well, I'm glad it looks/looked like I was having fun! I don't think I've ever had such a stiff neck from the tension of trying to type accurately and fast. I was glad that I had had two months of warm-up answering the reader mail. "Arguing on the Internet is like competing in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still retarded.' Well, Jeff. There goes your chance at a Cabinet post in the Kerry administration.

Q: Don't want to be a burden but I just wanted to say thank you Dave for visiting this message board and a HUGE thanks for all the work you've done in making Cerebus.

DAVE: Oh, you're welcome. Don't get too attached to me: each message board experiment could be the last.