Note From The President, Cerebus 108, March 1988Copyright 1988 Dave Sim
I've been dreading this.
Since around June of last year, I've been thinking "Someone's going to write to me and ask me to jot down some thoughts on Superman for his fiftieth anniversary."
But then I would think, "No. No one would really be that stupid."
In the case of Amazing Heroes, it would appear my judgement was a tad hasty.
I swear I didn't notice this my first time through. What a wonderful salutation. Let's circle "artist" and move on, shall we?
"On February 29, 1988, one of the greatest symbols of American imagination celebrates his 50th birthday. Superman - hero and ideal"
Man. Right on, I'm thinking. I have a number of early Action Comics. The non-stop movement. Punchy one and two-word word balloons. Nine panels to the page. Superman gives the corrupt union boss one up'long side his head. Superman clears the little guy of trumped-up charges. Superman traps a corrupt capitalist in one of his shoddy buildings and scares shit out of him, saving him only at the last possible second.
"Who, from the humblest beginnings has become one of the world's best known characters."
And I'm going, like, what is this shit? Humble? Superman didn't have any humble beginnings. Superman ate fire and shit ice from the git-go. Superman was bigger than anything before or since. Comic strips are just newspaper ghetto features, like the horoscope or weather report. Superman kicked his way onto newstands and made the whole world notice. "Humble beginnings." Asshole Californian probably means Cleveland or some shit.
I swear I am not making this up. You know those science fiction movies where the robot suddenly gets a hitch in his git-along and for a second the tape loops inside and a word comes out funny and that's when you cop to the fact that you're dealing with a robot and not a human being? I rest my case.
"Amazing Heroes - The award-winning national magazine of the comics medium"
In case this has somehow slipped any of our artist/fan minds.
"will devote an entire issue to the Man of Steel"
This is a tribute on par with being included in the Reader's Digest Sweepstakes mailing. I mean, come on. They publish a hundred and five of these stupid things a year (and I know I promised myself I'd never get into this because Amazing Heroes does help finance a lot of worthwhile Fantagraphics stuff), and every one of them the content is zero, zip, nada, empty, click, nil. I flip through the things when they come in, I put them down, I see them a while later and I say "Mm. I haven't looked through that yet, have I?" And I pick it up and look through it and I think "Oh, Lord. I did look through it". And I drift off and I'm through it and I don't remember what I saw the second time.
"We'd be honoured if you would join us.. ."
You are too kind to all us artist/fans.
"If you would take a moment to put down your feelings on Superman, what he means to you, to children, to the world"
Superman, as originally conceived, as a force for the common man, as an answer to the mindless tyranny with which his name (as a term) had come to be identified, as a foe of corruption and injustice, as the embodiment of FDR-style liberalism and the epitome of the notion that one individual can, should and must, of necessity, make a difference; in all this Superman ... Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's Superman... the only true Superman... stands as a beacon of freedom shining as brightly for an adult who holds the ideals of the character sacred as he does for a child seeing him and learning them for the first time. As a symbol of the nearly limitless power of imagination, he has inspired creators for five decades to take up pen and brush in pursuit of excellence, to weave our tapestry once more. To aspire; that one day we might know a tenth... a hundredth of the greatness implied in knowing you are Jerry Siegel. You are Joe Shuster. You are the creators of Superman. And that no monumental and tragic injustice can strip you of that mantle. As comic book creators, this is our greatest heritage...and our greatest debt.
"If you would grace us with a drawing of any kind, we would be over-whelmed."
How about if I just take your word for it and save myself the drawing time.
"We can pay but a minimum amount (and gladly any postage), but"
A moment frozen in time. hard to believe it possible in a letter a mere half-page in length. But true, for all of that.
"think of all the delights the character has given you and others"
There is really altogether too much of this going on, but I had come to the point where I hoped everyone was having the common decency not to infect my mail-box with it.
Sure. I'll do a picture of Superman and get Gerhard to put the Fortress of Solitude behind him. We'll make money. And we can send it to Kevin Dooley. And he can print it and he can make money. Then we'll send copies to the distributors right, Kev? And they can make money. Then we'll get the distributors to send them to the shops and they can make money. And the Beast 666 Fifth Avenue gets free advertising for whatever the latest crop of Jerry Siegel ghost-writers and Joe Shuster ghost-artists are churning out.
Kevin, if I thought seriously of all the delight I've gotten from the original Superman, the real Superman, I would probably go mad from the injustice that has done to Siegel and Shuster all of their lives. The millions that would be theirs today had they been dealing with honourable people instead of scum who aren't fit to breathe the same air as them. That any creative person would be a party to praising an injustice compounded year upon year, decade upon decade is an example of vile hypocrisy and insidious and destructive self-loathing on the part of comic book creators.
"I thank you. Superman thanks you. Clark thanks you".
Render unto me a fucking break, Dooley.
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