Note From The President, Cerebus 92, November 1986Copyright 1986 Dave Sim
Ordinarily, I don't discuss the current issue in this space, (partly because I'm sick of thinking about it after spending two or three weeks putting it together and partly because I like for the work to stand on it's own). This issue, however, (instinct tells me) is so wide open to misinterpretation (yes, even more than usual) that I feel I should head a few of you off at the interpretive pass.
The springboard for this story-line was a dinner that I enjoyed, courtesy of Harry, at the Now & Then Books 15th Anniversary party. Also in attendance and seated directly opposite were Seth and Bill Marks of Toronto's Vortex Comics artist and publisher of Mister X respectively. There was this Leo Gorcey voice (Bugs Bunny to the age-impaired among you) that Ger and Bill and I fell into when discussing Bill's attitude towards creative people (like Los Bros. Hernandez whom he still owes considerable sums of money to for their work on Mr. X).
"Say I know! I'll git an ottist. Dat's it. Yeah. An ottist. I'll let him have all de fame an'I'll take all de money. Dat should woik. Ottist's is so stupid."
Having rattled your cages repeatedly on the subject of criminal exploitation of creative people by business people you might find it odd that I think there is anything funny about this. But the difference is what I find funny. Bill Marks makes no pretense of being a den mother (a la Diana Schutz, Cat Yronwode) or father-figure (a la Richard Pini). He is a hustler. But he is honest about it. Shameless, but very very funny.
For Seth's part, the problem is just a scaled-down version of working for Marvel or DC. There is the same rationale one has to use working for "the Big Two"; "I've been offered a known character with a built-in following and a guaranteed page rate. Do I take that or go out and do something that I will own when it's printed? I think I'll draw Mucasman for six months until I've got a following and then do an independent book". This is the safe way to go. But it certainly keeps bread on the tables of dictatorial and/or repressive business executives.
One can hardly fault Seth, however. If your page rates cover your expenses with a little left over and all you really want to do is draw anyway and it takes just about every waking hour to produce the pencils for an issue of Mucasman what else could you possibly want? Or more to the point, what's wrong with it?
Grudgingly, I admit that so long as Seth is happy (or Walt Simonson or Steve Englehart or whoever), Bill Marks isn't doing anything wrong, and I'm just a lunatic outside agitator.
I don't recall hearing Seth say more than five words so I had to improvise his voice.
I decided to use Diana Schutz's.
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