First-Timers

When my friends started drinking in high school (I never really joined them until I was almost of drinking age – I just never saw the point), they had two theories on alcohol:

1) “Don’t break the seal.”  Meaning, the second you start going to the bathroom, you will continue to go to the bathroom for the rest of the night.  Apparently, urinating was a big inconvenience in the 90s.  Personally, I like going to the potty.

Beer doesn't get any funnier than when Monty Python does it.

2) “Whatever you first get drunk on you’ll love, whatever you first throw up on you’ll hate.  Forever.”   I think this one has some validation.  One of the people I still keep in contact with can’t smell tequila without turning green.  Most of my friends started drinking by taking a beer or two from their parents’ fridge; today they’re big beer drinkers (one has a collection of exotic / funny-named beer).  I’ve noticed this “first-timers” rule in more than one place.

When I first got my beloved iPod (which I sold, thanks for asking: $61.00.  Not bad considering I paid $150 for it four years ago), I got a very simple case.  It was clear with a rubber-grip around the outside; it had a detachable belt clip.  After a while I got bored with it, thinking there was something better.  I got a brushed metal one, a reflective one, a clear one, a rubber one… but none felt as complete as my original clear/grip belt clip.

I’m starting to look around for a new car – nothing serious; I’m sure my car will last forever – but just in case it doesn’t, I’ve been perusing what’s out there.  I’ve found the thing I like the best is an odd color (my first car was the color of a wet noodle), four-door (like my Skylark), high gas-mileage, American-built, four-cylinder.  I even think that a cassette-tape player would be the best radio for me.

Think about all the things you love: your music, your friends, your spouse.  Don’t they remind you of something you once had?  At a very base level, doesn’t everything you currently love very closely resemble your first time with that thing?

Someday Tiny Life will be this good. If Sim writes it and Gerhard draws it.

I only say that because Tiny Life is often compared to things like Cerebus.  I’ve made a very conscious decision to make it as different as I can from all of my influences.  So far it’s worked: my first graphic novel, l(a, sold about 400 copies; the first Cerebus graphic novel, High Society, sold about 30,000.

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10 Responses

  1. Including a parody of Viktor Davis in l(a probably does not qualify as being as different as you can from your influences.

  2. who’s that?

    • It’s one of Sim’s alter-egos.

      Touche, Mr. Watkins.
      I guess having a long-running black-and-white series about a funny-looking central character probably wouldn’t qualify either.
      What can I say, Cerebus is an influence.

  3. That’s certainly not a bad thing. I think that no one will ever complain about the comic being Cerebus-inspired; that’s like saying, “The author has obviously wasted too much time reading Will Eisner.”

    Actually, what makes l(a most like Cerebus is not that it parodies Cerebus in particular, but that it includes a (spot-on) parody that only reasonably “well-read” comics fans are expected to get; Dave Sim was always doing that kind of thing, and if anyone other than him had done Cerebus, I’m sure Dave Sim would have attempted a parody similar to that featured in l(a. (If you get what I mean; if Dave Sim were someone other than Dave Sim, he’d be sure to do a parody of Dave Sim.)

    I’d be interested to see Dave’s reaction to it. It’s too bad he’s not doing the Gene Day award anymore.

  4. that was awesome in l.a.! Sim is a nut job!

  5. Sim isn’t crazy. Although he can be a jerk (you can read one of his responses to my letters in his first Dave Sim’s Collected Letters).
    I think it all stems from being isolated. I know when I have months off at a time, I end up being a know-it-all after about 90 days. For instance, I think I know what’s wrong with Dave…
    I showed him some early (admittedly BAD) versions of Tiny Life and he called me on it. I’m actually kind of afraid to show him the newer ones. Both Colacitti and I have worked a lot harder on the published versions and I would hate to have someone who’s seen both say that they’re both at the same level.

  6. He seems to be a much bigger jerk in writing than in person, though I’ll admit it may simply be my limited experience that makes it appear so.

    I’m almost interested enough to go buy volume 1 of Dave’s Collected letters, but not quite. If you tell us what page the response is on, we can all read it for free the next time we go to a comics shop.

    I for one would be VERY INTERESTED to hear more about this interaction with Dave Sim.

    ***

    Dave Sim gets a lot of shit for being crazy, but 1) his ideas really aren’t any crazier than any other religious person’s; they’re just idiosyncratic and offensive; and 2) the sort of reticence associated with unwavering religious fervor seems to correlate positively with artistic ambition.

    That is, 1) Alan Moore believes crazier shit than Sim does, and no one gives him any shit, and 2) if Sim weren’t willing to follow a ridiculous thought to its logical conclusion, he probably wouldn’t have bothered to finish Cerebus.

    Or rather, 1) Orthodox Judaism is as crazy as anything Dave Sim believes, and the comics industry was practically built by Jews, and 2) the sort of self-assurance and blind confidence that allows the artist to make bold aesthetic advances likewise enables the artist to embrace tenets and arguments with restrained scrutiny.

    Or, perhaps, 1) Dave Sim is picked on for being weird, not crazy, and 2) if he weren’t so weird then Cerebus would have sucked ass.

    • I can’t quite remember what letter was printed (we had a correspondence on and off for a few years – a dozen letters at most, probably less), but the one that stuck in my mind was the one where I showed him the first 60 pages of the unpublished version and he said something along the lines of “no one will pay you for a look at it.”
      It was around this time that a lot of other stuff happened to me and I decided to stop where I was (I ended up getting about 120 pages done) and start over in a different place.
      The whole thing is detailed in Tiny Life Demos.
      If you’re very interested in my history with Sim, maybe I’ll make a post about it.

  7. I am VERY INTERESTED.

    (emphasis, not volume)

  8. […] History with Dave Sim Posted on January 21, 2010 by Nick This is a response to a fan’s interest some weeks back: I believe this is my first Cerebus […]

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