EXCLUSIVE: Dave Sim's Letter to Ethan Van Sciver About Darwyn Cooke

Dave Sim has sent an open letter to Ethan Van Sciver via Bleeding Cool. Or rather, via a fax machine, to someone with e-mail to me as a PDF, then turned into jpegs, then run through an OCR to extract the words that were originally typed. It seems a very Dave Sim way of doing things.

A quick recap.

Dave Sim is the creator of the epic comic book series Cerebus, one of the greatest, weirdest, most challenging (in all forms of the word) comic books of all time. Self-published, aside from a brief foray with Marvel's Epic Comics, Cerebus led the vanguard of the self-publishing movement in the '80s and '90s and he has an open offer of a seat on the board at Image Comics.

A number of his comments and storylines over the years were incredibly derogatory towards women, towards gay people towards trans people, and led to outrage in the days even before social media. As a result, he refused to deal with anyone who didn't sign a document declaring that he was not a misogynist. Though over the years there seemed to be a little wiggle room. Me, for example. Medical issues have prevented him from drawing of late, though he still writes Cerebus in Hell and The Strange Death of Alex Raymond.

Ethan Van Sciver is the comic creator of Cyberfrog, and a big-time artist for both Marvel on New X-Men and DC on the Green Lantern comic books. He has also gained controversy of late over a variety of statements made, positions taken and videos filmed, with people claiming that he's an arsehole, a dick, even a Nazi — but as a result of backlash, he has found major success crowdfunding new Cyberfrog comic books. He is currently engaged in a long and byzantine interview with Bleeding Cool that needs some serious editing to make a lick of sense.

When some folk on the comicsgate side of things declared that the late Darwyn Cooke would have been a Comcisgater, his widow, Marsha Cooke, decided to let them have both barrels. And from what Dave Sim writes below, she was absolutely right to do so. Either way, Ethan Van Sciver also got involved.

And here we are today.

Anyway, on with the enabling. The letter reads as follows.


Hello Ethan!

Had to do some — for me — very rare Google research for STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND yesterday, so I had a chance to do a cosmetic COMICSGATE investigation, discovering that That Darwyn Cooke Thing was just starting to blow up on you in the last couple of days.

The metaphysical timing of that is interesting. Darwyn and Marsha never signed the online I Don't Believe Dave Sim Is A Misogynist petition, but Darwyn and I were always on good terms (so far as I know). Far better terms than I have been on and am on with the rest of the field.

Marsha did a VERY nice and VERY supportive I Don't Believe Dave Sim Is A Misogynist segment for CEREBUS TV at The Last Signing after-party in Halifax in 2010 — which I could get Fisher to rustle up for you (given enough time), calling glamourpuss "Best book of the year".

I didn't go to Darwyn's memorial event in Toronto because I'm not a feminist and we're still in this weird "space" where most of the world looks at it as a "0" or "1" gig. You're either a feminist or you're a misogynist. Well, I'm not a feminist and I don't think a misogynist should go out in public so if not being a feminist makes me a misogynist then, I infer, I'm not welcome in any public place. But — given that there were maybe a half-dozen Canadian comics industry people who signed the petition — the compelled inference was that virtually everyone at Darwyn's memorial would have thought I was a misogynist. Ergo, for me, it was a "no-go" zone.

I did tell Darwyn and Marsha when he was alive — based on Marsha's testimonial: i.e. letting her vouching for me on CEREBUS TV establish "marital creel" for Darwyn — that they were more than welcome to visit me in Kitchener anytime they were going to be in Toronto for a convention or other event and I'd be glad to buy them dinner. I'm just an hour down the highway.

And when Marsha contacted me through an intermediary about Darwyn's memorial I relayed through an intermediary why I couldn't be there. And I let her know that if she was ever in Kitchener or nearby to contact me so we could have coffee or lunch or dinner or something.

Anyway, speaking of invitations:

I'd be glad to join as many of your YouTube chats as you're interested in having me participate in. Can we plug "cerebusdownloads.com, the 1990s-level website with the $99 Canadian — roughly $76 U.S. — for all 6,000 CEREBUS pages deal"? Maybe "Help Support the Guinness Book of World Records Consecutive Issue Champion the SJWs haven't managed to completely destroy…. yet, anyway"?

If it HAS to involve streaming video, Roily who works part-time for me, would have to get detailed instructions of how you do that and, if it involves Internet access, it would probably have to be done by City Hall WIFI here in town and I'd probably have to arrange something — i.e. rent one of the smaller meeting rooms for an hour or so — through Dave Fisher's girlfriend, Carrie (a woman who signed the petition!!! The only one in town!!!), who works there. I can't picture being on a podcast in the middle of a coffee shop here in town. Too intrusive in everyone else's Safe Space and an impediment to art independent businessman's commerce.

A fall-back position would be my participating by phone if you can test a system where I can hear everyone else and they can hear me. My phone here at the Off. White House only works on speaker and only phones out so you'd have to let me know when you were testing it and what your number is and I could call you.

When I saw the last line in your Wikipedia entry — "He is a Republican." — I had to laugh. Are there any Wikipedia listings for cartoonists that say "He is a Democrat"? Let me know where we go from here, Cyberfrog 4ever!!! Best, Dave


We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming. I think Jude has got a re-lettered preview of a comic, which are usually okay…

EXCLUSIVE: Dave Sim's Letter to Ethan Van Sciver About Darwyn Cooke

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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