LINES ON PAPER Artist Bio - Dave Sim

Sim was born in Hamilton and moved to Kitchener with his family when he was two. His father was a factory supervisor and his mother a secretary. He has an older sister named Sheila. He was interested in comics from an early age and dropped out of high school to pursue a career in the field. His only ever 'real' job has been working as an employee at Now and Then Books. He published a fanzine called The Now and Then Times (financed by Harry Kremer, the owner of the comic book store after which the newsletter was named) and did work for such other fanzines as John Balge's Comic Art News and Reviews and Gene Day's Dark Fantasy and National Advisor. Sim often interviewed professional comics artists such as Barry Windsor-Smith, Harvey Kurtzman and Neal Adams. Sim also created various other comics, including a newspaper comic strip called The Beavers which was published in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, and wrote or drew stories published in anthologies such as Phantacea and Star*Reach. He has been caricatured as the DragonSlayer, or "earth-swine" character in Matt Wagner's Mage: The Hero Defined comic book series. Cerebus In December 1977, Sim began publishing Cerebus, an initially bi-monthly, black-and-white comic book series. It began as a cross between Conan the Barbarian and Howard the Duck. Progressively, Sim shifted his narrative style from story arcs of a few issues' length to longer, far more complex "novels," beginning with the storyline known as High Society. The prominent sword and sorcery elements in the series up to that point were minimized as Sim concentrated more on politics and religion. Cerebus was published through his company, Aardvark-Vanaheim which was run by his wife, Deni Loubert. The two met in 1976, married in 1979 and divorced after nearly five years. In 1979, Sim was admitted to Kitchener General Hospital by his wife and mother after several days of taking LSD [1]. He has stated in his Getting Riel [2] dialogue with Chester Brown that he was "diagnosed as a borderline schizophrenic." During his convalescence, Sim hit upon the idea of making Cerebus into a 300-issue series, something that had never been done in Western comics with the same artist and writer. It would continue the story of the life of Cerebus the Aardvark, culminating in his death in the final issue (which appeared in March 2004). Sim continued to chronicle the life of Cerebus with the story arc Church & State. In the 1980s, when Cerebus was a large independent-comics success, Sim did much travelling to promote the series, which was selling at least 30,000 copies an issue at its height. In 1984 Gerhard became his collaborator and handled the background drawings in the series. Aardvark-Vanaheim, managed by Loubert, began publishing other comics besides Cerebus, such as William Messner-Loebs' Journey and Bob Burden's Flaming Carrot. After Sim and Loubert's separation, Loubert started Renegade Press, which assumed publishing duties for all non-Cerebus Aardvark-Vanaheim titles. During the 1980s and early 1990s, Sim used his sales leverage to serve as a major proponent of creator's rights and self-publishing within the comics industry. In addition to speaking on these topics at comic book conventions (as in his 1993 PRO/con speech[3]), Sim published The Cerebus Guide to Self-Publishing in 1997 and often promoted other creators' work in the back pages of Cerebus. Feminism and religious conversion Sim completed the series on schedule. In the course of it, he expressed views contrary to feminism, modern materialism, and leftist politics. Sim chose to make his views on gender public in issue No. 186 of Cerebus in a text piece as part of the story arc Reads (one of four books in the larger Mothers & Daughters arc), using the pseudonym Viktor Davis. [4] These views caused major controversy in the comic book industry and among his readership, resulting in a substantial decline in sales. In 1995, issue No. 174 of The Comics Journal featured a Bill Willingham caricature of Sim on one of the covers while bearing the title Dave Sim: Misogynist Guru of Self-Publishers, while inside was a lengthy article about responses to Sim's essay in Cerebus No. 186, which categorized humanity into metaphorical lights, which tended to reside in biological men, and voids, which tended to be in biological women. The article solicited responses from comics creators such as Seth, Rick Veitch, Steve Bissette and Sim's friend Chester Brown as well as including a short interview with Sim's ex-wife wherein she described her perception of the essay as evidence of Sim being very scared. The article was accompanied by an illustration depicting Sim as a Nazi German concentration camp warden, standing in front of a gate with the name of his publishing company on the top with piles of emaciated bodies within. Sim refers to this as the "Dave Sim is a Nazi" issue of The Comics Journal.[citation needed] The responses in the article ranged from anger to a belief that Sim was joking. In 2001, Sim published another essay called "Tangent" [5] in Cerebus No. 265, (April 2001). In it, Sim describes the veering-off course or tangent he contends western society has taken due to the widespread acceptance and proliferation of feminism which he places at beginning in 1970. The Comics Journal posted the full essay on its website under the title Dave Sim: Masculinity's Last Hope, or Creepily Paranoid Misogynist?, [6] though it initially referred to it by the popular misnomer 'Tangents.' A short introduction by the Comics Journal staff distanced itself from the ideas therein, calling them among other things "nutty and loathsome." [7] As a result of the essay, the site's message board filled with many opposing responses to Sim's arguments. Post-Cerebus Sim still lives in Kitchener, provides occasional guest work, goes to conventions and attends city council meetings. Following a religious conversion from atheist secular humanism to an unusual and non-mainstream monotheism of the Abrahamic religions which occurred upon his reading of the Bible and the Qur'an beginning in December 1996, he lives a lifestyle of fasting, celibacy, prayer and alms-giving and considers the Jewish, Christian and Muslim scriptures to be equally valid as the Word of God. As of 2006, Sim is working on the Cerebus Archive Project, an online searchable database of Cerebus materials. He is also working with Win-Mill Productions on the comic-sized magazine Following Cerebus [8], writing for local publications and doing work for creators, including Howard M. Shum's Gun Fu and Shannon Wheeler's Too Much Coffee Man. Sim has made arrangements for the copyright of Cerebus to fall into the public domain following the deaths of Gerhard and himself.
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