Dave Sim Pulls Plug on The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond

Over a decade ago, Dave Sim followed up his Cerebus comic book with an anthology series called Glamourpuss, which featured one strip which was possibly the most interesting project Sim has worked in in some time. The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond. Alex Raymond was the creator of Flash Gordon and the comic book investigates both the history of photorealism in comics, specifically the work of Raymond and the circumstances of his death on the 6th of September 1956 at the wheel of fellow artist Stan Drake's Corvette at the age of 46 – which Dave Sim seemed to indicate was not an accident. That, as a result of his research, was going to suggest that Raymond was murdered.

Dave Sim Pulls Plug on The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond.
Dave Sim Pulls Plug on The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond.

It was announced that IDW Entertainment was to publish the collected comic book, annually from June 2016, to be drawn by a new artist Carson Grubaugh, after Sim suffered the loss of control of his hands. A series of Kickstarters, IndieGoGos and Patreons were set up, but Dave Sim was showing extreme doubts as to whether anyone would want to read it. But now A Moment Of Cerebus has run the news that the project is being abandoned – with those who donated to the crowdfunded asked if they would mind not asking for a refund as the money is all spent. Eddie Khanna working with Dave Sim announced the news. Sim wrote the following;

10 June 20

Hi Folks!

I'm afraid I've had enough. THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND can't be made to happen with 123 people. All the money you paid in is gone, as is the $9K I made selling SDOAR artwork through HA.com, the $16K that came in on CAN8 (I'm still paying off the $4.7K shipping bill) and what was left of the JAKA'S STORY REMASTERED money. I'm back to borrowing against my life insurance to pay bills. And, personally, making about $350 US a month.

It's also taking all my time to keep up with CEREBUS IN HELL? — Watch for SWORDS OF CEREBUS IN HELL? coming later this year through Diamond — and my new (and presumably "from now on" lifelong) role as a 1980s Nostalgia Act in association with Waverly Press and, of course, the CEREBUS ARCHIVE Portfolios. Those I will continue to deliver on.

I'm sorry you all wasted your money on SDOAR. I can't remember the last time I effed everyone over as I'm doing here. I don't think I ever have.

If you can afford to just write off what you donated, I would appreciate it. If you need a refund, let me know through Eddie Khanna and, on a first-come, first-served basis, I'll arrange to have someone in the U.S. send you a USD check for $50. Or an International Money Order. Or something. YOU tell ME. I can, of course, just send you a Canadian cheque if you're a Canadian. Just let Eddie know which category you're in and what you need and — a few months from now when (God willing) I actually get paid for HIGH SOCIETY and whenever (God willing) I get whatever I'm going to get on the CEREBUS No.1s (I'm guessing about $5K US of the $49K US will be left after all the expenses are paid and Dagon and I split the rest 50-50) — I'Il pay you back. And I'll let you know where you are on the first-come, first-served list and when you can expect to get paid back "going forward" in as close to Real Time as possible.

All the research materials for SDOAR exist and Eddie is my successor. They will be made available in a massive document dump to anyone who's interested at some point. There just won't ever be a Volume One, Two or Three per se. It WAS GOING TO BE a really interesting book and I enjoyed working on it. But, I have to face the fact that, at age 64, the only MARKETABLE comics cred I have are the first 5 issues of CEREBUS, TURTLES No.8 and SPAWN 10.

Which is what Dagon and I are working on. HOW do you keep selling CEREBUS No.1 since that's all anyone in the comic-book field's interested in? I guess we'II find out.

13 June 20


My plan had been to finish SDOAR VOL 1 and 2 and than take a break to promote them with the CALIFORNIA TEST MARKET EDITION and DEATH OF A COMICS SALESMAN sales trip, resuming work on VOL 3 (for which l've mocked up 20 or so pages) on my return to Canada.

It became apparent that this wasn't going to work even before COVID 19 made international travel impossible.

Whatever the world is going to turn into or has turned into wasn't going to include "meet and greet/press the flesh" promotions. And definitely not of non-CEREBUS work.

I'm the CEREBUS creator and that's only thing at which l can make a living. Almost exclusively from my very earliest work (as evidenced by the $45,000 raised by the Waverly press CEREBUS #1 Kickstarter last month: further evidenced by the fact that only a third of that amount was raised by CAN8, my 1990's work; further evidenced by the fact that a third of the CAN8 amount was raised by SDOAR FE, my 21st century work).

I hope to work in SDOAR VOLS. 3, 4 and 5 as a hobby but that seems really unlikely.

l'm 64 years old and will "die in harness" trying to eke out a living from

1) the nostalgic affection enjoyed by the 1970s and very early 1980s CEREBUS through Waverly Press

2) the patronage of DIAMOND COMIC DlSTRIBlUTORS who, very generously, continue to purchase profit-making quantities of CEREBUS VOLUME ONE and HIGH SOCIETY and break-even quantities of the other 14 volumes

3) SWORDS OF CEREBUS IN HELL? 4-issue reprint volumes beginning early next year.

l'll also be doing a lot more posting to Matt Dow's A MOMENT OF CEREBUS trying to hang onto the CEREBUS audience that still exists.

Thank you for your support over the years. l'm sorry to have disappointed you.
Dave Sim

PS: A major reason for selecting Eddie Khanna as my successor is that I knew that, after my death, he wouldn't allow all of the work we've done on SDOAR to just disappear or fade away, As he indicates in his communications following this, the whole project has been like trying to swim the English Channel with anvils chained to our ankles. That isn't going to change, l don't think. But, I have every confidence that Eddie will keep alive the spirit or The Comic-Art Metaphysics Graphic Novel That Might Have Been by sharing that part of The Cerebus Archive with everyone interested until it's time for his own successor as president of Aardvark-Vaneheim to take over.

Followed by a word from Eddie Khanna.

13 Jun 2020

Hi everyone, Eddie here.

I will be attempting to fulfill the orders for SDOAR (FE) on my own without any further expenses being incurred by Dave or AV. His only contribution will still be the personalized hand-written message if requested and his signature. The name you specified will still appear printed on the page, along with the number I sent when verifying your mailing address.

If anyone (understandably) doesn't want to commit to a limited edition graphic novel that will never be completed, from a publishing novice trying to get it printed, signed, and delivered (which, given how cursed this project seems, is more than likely to go sideways at some point thereby necessitating the need for a refund anyway), please let me know at eddiesdoar@gmail.com, and I'll put you on the refund list.

I will be keeping you updated on the progress, so if at anytime before the book is shipped you want a refund, please let me know and I'll add you to the refund list.

Anyone who asked for their CAN8s to be shipped with their copy of SDOAR (FE) will be sent their CAN8s from AV as soon as possible, after Diamond has paid for HIGH SOCIETY in August sometime.

Thank you to those of you who supported this project, especially for so long, and tried to help keep it going. I wish there were better news. But it seems these aren't really the days of "better news."

Hi everyone, Eddie here

I wish there were better news, but Dave is now done with SDOAR, except for only autographing and where requested, personalizing the SDOAR (FE) copies of Volume 1.

Dave has requested that everyone stop donating to the Patreon by the end of June, since he's officially suspended work on SDOAR. I'll be unpublishing the creator page after that, so I can look at archiving and saving all the posts. He has said I'm free to post my research material and our correspondence about it to a Patreon of my own, but that the money should be going to me, not him. But if/when that happens most likely won't be for a while, since my main priority is fulfilling the orders on SDOAR (FE) for everyone who purchased one and still wants one, and processing where to go from here with what I have. But I will be posting some more SDOAR material here until the end of the month.

SDOAR has been very challenging, intricate, intense, and rewarding, and one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life, just from the research and assistance side, so I can only imagine how much more so it's been for Dave. Comic-Art Metaphysics works in strange ways, and this was definitely High-Level Comic-Art Metaphysics from the get-go. Unfortunately, one of the things you learn very quickly is that you don't get to direct where it goes; IT directs YOU where to go (similar to becoming thoroughly engaged in a REALLY good comic book, where you've submitted yourself on multiple levels of immersion to what you're reading, and let go of the steering wheel).

Again, I can't help but say Thank You to all of you, who have been very loyal and supportive of this and Dave's work (and Dave himself). Hopefully I will be able to fulfill the SDOAR Fundraiser Editions on my own, and send a copy to everyone who ordered one. It's the least you deserve for all your support.

Eddie Khanna

Dave Sim Pulls Plug on The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond.
Dave Sim Pulls Plug on The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond.

The comments are… well one of my overarching guidelines for being doing crowdfunding is the danger of turning your most ardent fans into your fiercest critics if you don't deliver what you promise. But the same thing goes for your co-creators. Carson Grubaugh writes to those who suggested that what had been created so far be released digitally, stated "Given the complete disregard or regret Dave is showing in this statement for the 2 1/2 years of my life I poured into this, for free, under the promise of it being published, I intend to take advantage of Dave's long-standing belief that all artists involved share ownership and can publish. I also consider Eddie and Sean as co-owners. I hope that the three of us can find a publisher for the two volumes that are completed. Or, that we can kickstart the project."


Dave Sim Pulls Plug on The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond.
Dave Sim Pulls Plug on The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond.

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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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