|Swords Of Cerebus Vol 1|
(Reprinting Cerebus #1-4, January 1981)
Art by Dave Sim
(from a letter to Mike Fullerton dated 11 June 2004, Dave Sim's Collected Letters Vol 2, 2007)
Yes, that might very well be the case that the first five volumes of Swords are superior to the first phone book in the presentation of the material. Except perhaps as regards paper stock. We use a white newsprint now which tends to hold the ink better. But I do understand your preference for the introductions interleaving the material itself. I call it the Harlan Ellison syndrome - something I noticed in reading his short story collections, that I would get impatient with the stories themselves because I was so interested in his reminiscence. Which, given the quality of the fiction, was doing the material a grave disservice. I realised kind of late that I was doing the same thing myself and chose to dump the introductions when it came time to do the Cerebus phone book [Vol 1 collecting Cerebus #1-25]. It's still our best-selling book, but I don't know if that's just because people hear about Cerebus, try to start from the beginning, read this sophomoric, badly-drawn humour and go, "Well, I don't get it" and that's the last book they buy. Or if they're in the category of really thinking this stuff is the bee's knees and they give up on the rest of it.