Saturday, 17 August 2013

The iPetition: Ray Cornwall

(iPetition signatory no. 480, 22 July 2013):
I read all 300 issues and all 6000 pages. There's a lot of things I could say about Dave, some good, some bad. But I don't think I'd brand him a misogynist. He's complicated, anti-feminist, heterosexist, and a little paranoid. He's too quick to brand things as belonging to the "Marxist-feminist-homosexual axis". (Obviously, I don't agree with most, if not all, of his opinions in this area.) He's also a staggering comic book genius, a man who self-taught himself to become one of the best artists on the planet, a hard-working man who willed himself to produce a 6000 page cohesive, readable, funny, though-provoking narrative over four decades. And he didn't stop - Judenhass, his short follow-up work, is must reading for anyone who is interested in the history of anti-Semitism, and glamourpuss, his sadly aborted comics series, was a fascinating review of fashion, photorealism, and Alex Raymond. He's now working on the followup to that with IDW. Dave's also one of the most charitable men I've ever seen, donating large chunks of money to causes he believes in. Whether it was a six-figure check to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund or a continuing donation to anti-hunger efforts in Canada, he gives his money selflessly. He's given advice to would-be comics artists, and helped a number of artists get their start in comics. There are times when being a fan of Dave Sim is incredibly frustrating, when I've shaken my head at an emotional rant (his Tangents essay was hard to stomach). And there are other times when I've wept openly at the brilliance of his work. I've read all of his Cerebus work, and I urge anyone willing to read challenging material to do so. Cerebus might shock you; Cerebus might repulse you. But the work (and his post-Cerebus work, too) is utterly fascinating and worth your time. 

Support Dave Sim's right to free speech by signing the ipetition.


Dell said...

I agree that Dave is charitable, a genius cartoonist, and generous with advice to young cartoonists.

None of that has any logical bearing on the question of if Dave's views are misogynistic.

Nor does the petition have anything to do with "Dave Sim's right to free speech." A right to free speech is not a right to not be criticized.

A Moment Of Cerebus said...

Hi Dell,
That's an interesting point you make about 'free speech'. Of course everyone one has the right to respectfully disagree to what anyone says, but the reaction to Dave Sim hasn't progressed much beyond name-calling by the wider comics community, which in turn has had a significant impact on his career.

Stephen Holland of Page 45 summed it up nicely:

"I do not believe that Dave Sim is a misogynist and I have nothing but contempt for those ignorant and illiterate few who have caused such a disproportionate stirr/tsunami amounting to character assassination over the last fifteen years."

Dell said...

"Of course everyone one has the right to respectfully disagree to what anyone says..."

That's too limited. Anyone has a right to disagree with what anyone says - period. It doesn't have to be "respectful" - indeed, the Stephen Holland quote you like has "nothing but contempt" for those it criticizes.

No one has threatened Dave Sim's free speech. Sim is free to publish and to speak, and has done both.

As for "the impact on his career," this seems like avoiding admitting that Dave bears responsibility for his own career choices.

The reason Dave's sales went down isn't just that people criticized his politics. (Although insofar as Dave's popularity went down after he said unpopular things, that's not unfair. We have a right to free speech, but there is no right to freedom from the social consequences of what we say.)

Dave was also hurt by changes in the market, and the collapse of the self-publishing movement. That's a shame, but it's not censorship.

But the main reason Dave's sales went down is that his creative vision moved him to an area that few readers found entertaining.

Very few people want to read a comic book with lengthy anti-feminist polemics in small print, because most readers simply don't care about feminism that much, one way or the other. Even fewer people want to read tiny-print Old Testament exegesis. Ditto (I'm sad to say) for essays about classical inking techniques - I'M interested in that, but you can't seriously be surprised that it didn't find a wide audience.

That's fine; Dave has no obligation to produce popular work. But he doesn't have a free right to good sales, either.

Can you identify any concrete way in which Sim's free speech rights have been taken from him?

A Moment Of Cerebus said...

Hi Dell,
Okay. Scratch 'respectful'. Not one of Stephen's strong suits.

Did anything Dave has said merit the 'Nazi concentration camp Commandant' cartoon that was featured in The Comics Journal?

As Dave said himself over at last year:
"It’s like the Hollywood Blacklist of the 1950s but on the other side of the political fence (and in a much smaller and — generally perceived to be — less consequential environment). Any conservative or liberal COULD have spoken up in favour of Blacklisted individuals in the 1950s, but everyone knew it would be political and socio-economic suicide to do so, so no one did. I’m (at least) 385 people AHEAD of that situation with the “I Don’t Believe Dave Sim is a Misogynist” petition at ipetitions. That represents a lot of progress, to me. I can get by with 385 friends for the rest of my life and then leave the ultimate verdict to posterity as posterity has had the last word on the Hollywood Blacklist."

Anonymous said...

It seems like Dell is not responding at all to Mr. Cornwall or Tim's real point here.

While neither exactly spells out a thesis, I think Mr. Cornwall and Tim are saying that Dave’s views, while they may be very provocative, don’t rise to the level of misogyny and that there has been an unfair and vitriolic overreaction that is antithetical to the spirit of open debate.

Dell, if you really must respond, you should respond to their main point. You should be arguing along the lines that Dave’s views are not merely provocative or misunderstood but in fact rise to the level of misogyny, that the response to this misogyny has been reasonable or entirely appropriate (ie that misogyny and the misogynist deserve stigma and ridicule), and that the response doesn’t truly undermine open debate. Something along those lines.

If you must.

-Reginald P

Dell said...


I barely remember that cartoon - what was that, 20 years ago? But yes, as I recall it was unjustifiably over the top. It was also hardly the entirety of the criticism Sim received.

If your point is that you can find examples of criticism going overboard, then I agree, you can. So? Some criticism of Obama has been over the top, too, but that doesn't prove that all criticism of Obama is unfair.

The point that was made in the original post was, as i read it, that any criticism of Sim for misogyny is unfair, and (in a postscript) that signing a petition saying that Sim is not a misogynist somehow supports free speech. I don't think either of those points is logically supportable.

As for Sim's comparison to the Blacklist era, give me a break. There is no government committee hauling Dave Sim up to give testimony or threatening to throw Sim in jail; there are no threats to jail the owners of companies like IDW that employ Sim. Being criticized - even if some of the criticism is over-the-top - is not in any way the equivalent of being targeted by McCarthyism, and to suggest that they are the same thing suggests an extreme lack of perspective.

Dell said...

Reginald, hi.

I'm not going to claim that every single response ever made to Sim has been level-headed and phrased in a way that invites civil disagreement. First, I don't think that's true. Second, I think that's an unreasonably high threshold. Surely in any passionate debate that involves more than a couple of dozen people, you'll find some examples of over-the-top or rude responses; there's nothing unique about responses to Sim in this regard.

Regarding of if Sim's views "rise to the level of misogyny," Random House Dictionary defines misogyny as "hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women." I'd add "entrenched prejudices against women," as Wikipedia and some non-US dictionaries do.

Here's an example of Sim's views:

To me, taking it as a given that reason cannot prevail in any argument with emotion, there must come a point – with women and children – where verbal discipline has to be asserted, and if verbal discipline proves insufficient, that physical discipline be introduced. Women and children have soft, cushy buttocks which are, nonetheless, shot through with reasonably sensitive nerve endings.

I believe that those buttocks are there for a very specific purpose intended by their Creator.

There is no good reason that a man should not listen to misguided, fairy-tale vocalizations and unsound, emotion-based twaddle-and-nonsense for however long it amuses or interests him to do so or for however long seems to him politic and/or chivalrous (standards will vary).


When the point does arrive when the amusement value has exhausted itself or good manners and chivalry have been stretched to their limit, “That's enough,” spoken firmly, distinctly and above a conversational tone – with women and children – should be sufficient. If it proves insufficient, measured blows to the buttocks – “measured,” to me, meaning blows which, cumulatively, leave no mark which endures longer than, say, an hour or two but which will make sitting down an uncomfortable proposition for a comparable length of time, blows which are an inescapable consequence of failing to heed the verbal “that's enough” seem the only sensible way to evenly balance the unfair advantage emotion has over reason. This, to me, falls well short of actual physical abuse but exists well within the upper registers of “attention-getting devices” for those women and children who have proven themselves to be of inadequate and/or unfocussed attentions.

That's just one example of dozens that could be discussed. I think that passage fairly screams dislike, distrust, and prejudice against women, and therefore thinks that Sim's views easily qualify as misogynist.

I'm not, to clarify, calling Sim an inhuman monster, or saying he has no place in civilization, or should not be able to publish his comics. I'm merely saying that his views are misogynistic.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dell,

A significant improvement. I think your comments are now much more to the point that Tim/Mr. Cornwall was raising.

I do think you went a bit astray with your responses to the “free speech” comment and the McCarthyism analogy. I think it’s clear that Tim isn’t arguing that there is some sort of state-sponsored initiative to silence Dave or that Dave faces a threat as severe as a McCarthyist witch hunt. I think the analogy is intended to focus on an atmosphere of fear and silence. I think Tim is arguing that Dave works in a community in which people are afraid to speak their true views for fear of being professionally ostracized.

I think that the proper focus of a response to such an argument – if you must respond (and I suspect you must) – is that in fact no one is afraid to express their views, either in terms of support for Dave or to criticize him, or to criticize feminism, and that there is no evidence that people’s views one way or the other have impacted their professional lives. Something like that.

Also, I don’t think Tim is saying that all criticism of Dave is unfair, but that a substantial amount of it is. That is a claim that I think Tim would have to prove with a number of substantial examples from prominent sources within the comics community at least.

By the way, for one who criticizes others’ analogies…analogizing the criticism of Obama to the criticism of Dave? Could you have picked a worse person as a point of comparison?

Obama hasn’t received “some” unfair criticism. He has faced a deluge of irrational criticism from prominent public figures all reported on ad nauseum in mainstream news media, namely that he supports and holds views akin to William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright, that he wasn’t born in the US, that he was a weak and undeserving student that only succeeded through affirmative action, that he wanted to create death panels, that he is a Muslim and not a Christian, and that he wants to impose socialism on the US.

Recall that Obama had to actually hold a press conference and produce his long form birth certificate to stop these rumours. All of that suggests that there is simply a widespread and irrational hatred of the man.

The point? Picking Obama as a point of comparison suggests that you are not capable of recognizing when someone has received disproportionate and unfair criticism.

- Reginald P.

Jim Sheridan said...

I suspect much of the silence about Dave comes because people are torn between their love for most of his work and their distaste for his comments. This leaves them speechless.

Dave and his supporters can be as vitriolic and emotional as his critics.

I really find the notion that The Comics Journal has that much power to be an exaggeration. The TCJ regularly skewers plenty of creators, such as Frank Miller.

Dave is a great artist but not a sacred cow.

A Moment Of Cerebus said...

Hi Dell,
Feminism vs Misogyny?

I'll refer you to Dave again:
"I see the "misogynist/feminist" dichotomy as a false one. "If you aren't a feminist you're a misogynist". It's "heads I win, tails you lose". Anything that anyone says or does that a feminist doesn't find personally validating means that that person hates women? No, you don't want to give ANY group in your society that kind of "carte blanche" veto over any viewpoint besides their own. My pariah status does give me a freedom to speak openly about things other people can't speak openly about."

Anonymous said...

Dave's defenders always bring up the "concentration camp" cartoon, and his critics often admit that that was a bit over the top. But didn't Dave actually create a concentration camp for women in "Fruitcake Park"? I always took that as a joking riposte to the TCJ cartoon.

-- Damian T. Lloyd

Dell said...

Dear Reginald,

I admit I'm being nit-picky, but the sentence "Support Dave Sim's right to free speech by signing the ipetition" strongly implies that Sim's "right to free speech" is somehow endangered, and that signing the petition in some way supports his right to free speech. Neither implication is true.

I agree that Obama has received disproportionate and unfair criticism (in addition to some fair criticism). I think you're reading too much into my choice of example, honestly.

There may be people who are afraid to express their views. But even if they are, that doesn't establish that they are correct in their fear.

It's obvious that merely having a rep for being right-wing or misogynist doesn't get you put on a comics industry blacklist - it's not as if Bill Willingham or Tony Harris aren't able to get work, for example. I doubt there's a single creator in the industry who would say "I'm not going to do any appearances at Page 45, because Stephen Holland supports Sim."

Can anyone give a concrete, reported-on example of anyone in the comics industry suffering in any way because they supported Sim?

That said, it may be some people do fear to speak out, even if fear of reprisal isn't realistic. Or maybe they just fear being disliked, or being disagreed with, or criticized. There's a reasonable question of how far others should be expected to softpedal or withhold their views in order to avoid frightening these shrinking violets. For myself, I try to be polite and respectful, even when disagreeing.

Dell said...


I really don't see that quote as relevant to anything I've said.

It's pretty obvious that Dave is attacking a strawman, not an actual argument made by an actual feminist of any note. If you disagree, quote a feminist who has actually said something that can be fairly interpreted as "Anything that anyone says or does that a feminist doesn't find personally validating means that that person hates women."

A Moment Of Cerebus said...

Going back to your core point, I consider this to be a 'free speech' issue as you can only have free speech without the fear of years of lynch-mob character assassination, as I believe Dave Sim has suffered.

Rather than engage in a sensible discussion/argument, the comics community has collectively decided to shun him and Cerebus, and any debate has not risen above the level of name calling.

Personally, I would rather my worldview and assumptions were challenged by artists like Dave Sim, even though I may not agree with them. Isn't that what all artists should be doing?

Given the treatment dished out to Dave Sim, why would any other comics artists in the future break ranks and question the accepted social values of the day.

For me this whole episode is holding a mirror to the comics community and I for one am very happy to stand up and be counted.

Jim Sheridan said...

AMOC, your claim that any debate has not risen above the level of name-calling is simply untrue. I have read plenty of writing from thinkers just like Dell who clearly cite problematic examples from Dave's output without name-calling. Plenty of people have indeed gotten heated and have used language that has not furthered intelligent discussion - on both sides.
As Dell noted, there ARE plenty of divergent views in comics, from Miller to Baron to Crumb to Ditko to Willingham to Brown.
Who has been shunned for defending Dave Sim?

Ray Cornwall said...

"While neither exactly spells out a thesis, I think Mr. Cornwall and Tim are saying that Dave’s views, while they may be very provocative, don’t rise to the level of misogyny and that there has been an unfair and vitriolic overreaction that is antithetical to the spirit of open debate."

Yep, that's pretty much it. Nice job, Reginald P.

I don't share Dave's beliefs on marriage/shared permanence or feminism. But I've heard others expressive very similar opinions without any of the vitrol Dave gets. Go listen to Lewis Black's "Valentine's Day" routine, or Chris Rock on marriage, and tell me that they're not very close to Dave's opinions on marriage. They make millions of dollars when they do it; Dave gets three or four Comics Journal rants when he does it.

As for Fruitcake Park, I always thought that was:

1. An early attempt at drawing cute girls in the photorealistic style of Al Williamson;

2. The first real indicator that the post-Cirinist society couldn't last. "Well, we can't kill the cute ones!"

As for Dell's initial argument, the petition asks you to agree to the statement, "I don't believe Dave Sim is a misogynist." I don't believe it, so I signed it. I added my opinion- quoted above- and that's it.

I don't believe Dave's right to free speech has in any way been threatened. I think his commercial viability has been; just look at the events of the last few years (and seriously, glamourpuss should have gained an audience just for its sheer brilliance- I'm halfway through, and it's easily some of the most mind-blowing comics I've ever read).

I still enjoy Dave's work, even if there's head-shaking at times. Hopefully, there will continue to be opportunities like the Kickstarter and the IDW work to support Dave.

Eddie said...

Remember, Dave lives in Canada, which doesn't have the same standards on Free Speech as the US. Also, to me, I think you can threaten someone's free speech by threatening their commercial viability. Please note though, I'm not saying that anyone doesn't have the right to refuse to buy something for any reason, including if it offends their sensibilities.

Here is an example of people suffering because they supported or (more to the point) worked with Dave. Okay, it's was a project that Dave was involved with at one point, but I believe it to be a valid example.

From Max Southall's response to Dave's interview at at the comics beat

"Despite all our hard work to build the http://Cerebus.TV brand and as a result going from a couple thousand hits a month to a near million earlier this year – and 13,000 plus downloads of the MP4 Season 4 Premiere version alone in October – advertisers who were initially VERY interested on monetizing those kinds of numbers blanched when they found out what Dave Sim’s reputation was. They were afraid to have their firms or products associated with Dave.

I’m sure I speak to the disappointment of the others who’ve invested so much time, money, energy and creativity into http://Cerebus.TV – Dave Fisher, John Scrudder, Dave himself, Oliver Simonsen and certainly Meegwun and myself – when we found this out.

http://Cerebus.TV has been supported, therefore, solely by the donors who’ve generously clicked the PayPal button, bought art or prints – not from funding via Aardvark-Vanaheim’s other projects – but there just haven’t been enough of you who’ve done so to allow us to continue on a regular schedule."

Also, I think some of the points being raised here were discussed by Dave in his response to Gary Groth on his Blog n Mail.

Tony Dunlop said...

Here's an article in a very mainstream source (NY Times) that reinforces Dave's main point in "Reads."

It's an example of what Dave called the "poor us" genre of feminist writing. One finds these everywhere these days. It laments the rather obvious fact that if you leave your job (which mostly goes to pay for day care anyway) for a few years, you won't make as much when you come back as the people who didn't leave for a few years. Why, that's...oppressive! Concluding sentence:

"The most radical solution of all is the most obvious: we need high-quality, universal, subsidized day care. And we should not be ashamed to ask for it."

(Emphases mine.) "Subsidized" by whom? Why, mostly by men, of course, as they still pay most of the taxes, just as they did when Cerebus 186 came out. Note the "we" (which certainly implies the existence of a "they," doesn't it?) language, attempting to universalize the sentiment being expressed. "We" are all on the same side, aren't "we?" Of course "we" is all right-thinking, educated people, eh?

Dell said...


What Jim Sheridan said.

And while I'm addressing you, let me add: Thank you so much for doing this blog! Believe it or not, I'm a huge Cerebus fan, and this blog is a great pleasure for me to read.

Ray Cornwall,

Actually, Chris Rock has been widely (and rightly) criticized for misogyny.

Which - contrary to the Dave Sim theory that Marxist/Feminists control everything - hasn't prevented him from being a hugely successful stand-up comic and actor.

The reason that Chris Rock is rich and successful and Dave Sim is not is that Sim doesn't do the kind of work that has mass appeal, and hasn't since the 1980s.

Also, Chris Rock always avails himself of mainstream distribution for his work - i.e., he does specials for HBO and movies with major studios. Sim, in contrast, has until recently self-published, and even now only works with one fairly small publisher. That's fine - it shows that Sim has real integrity - but it's almost impossible to achieve Chris Rock like levels of success if you refuse to work within the mainstream distribution system.

There's something whiny and childish about blaming Sim's critics for the commercial failure of Glaumorpuss. Don't you think Sim himself bears any responsibility for his own career?

Glamourpuss may be brilliant and mind-blowing, but it's not commercially viable material. It consists of women traced from fashion magazines combined with essays about drawing in a style that hasn't been popular since before most current comic book fans were born.

Dave Sim doesn't have a free-speech right to have his work sell well, or (Eddie) to be supported by advertisers. Many brilliant artists have produced work that isn't commercial. The reason it doesn't sell well isn't a feminist conspiracy to keep Dave Sim down; it's that there's nothing there that most current comic fans want to read. (Plus, the distribution system sucks for self-published comics.)

Dell said...

Eddie, you seem to be of the "free speech means freedom from any and all consequences" school of thought. Dave Sim is a brilliant cartoonist who wrote a lot of misogynistic and anti-gay material, at length.

Of course advertisers are going to steer clear of that. Do you think they should be forced to associate their products with someone who has said inflammatory things, and who might well say more inflammatory things in the future? What about the advertisers who are themselves female or gay - should they be forced to advertise on Dave Sim's show to protect his freedom of speech?

No one has a free speech right to advertiser dollars, or to not be criticized for what they say.

Michael Allred did a guest cover on Glamourpuss. Has he lost any work over it? IDW publishes Sim covers and is planning at least two Sim books. Has anyone quit working with IDW as a result? Any stores say that they won't carry IDW books anymore because of Sim? Has Diamond said they won't distribute IDW anymore?

If Dave faced anything at all like McCarthyism, folks like Allred and IDW would be afraid to work with them because they'd lose the ability to earn a living - they'd be, in a word, blacklisted. But we all know that hasn't happened.

There is no blacklist here.

What happened to Dave Sim is that he stopped producing material that readers wanted to pay to read. That's too bad, but it has nothing to do with free speech, unless we're going to go completely anti-capitalist and demand that government funds support unpopular but innovative comics.

(Although I still think Glamourpuss could have done better if he had done it through IDW or another publisher, instead of being self-published.)

Eddie said...

Hi Dell

I don't see anywhere in my response where what I wrote seems to mean that "free speech means freedom from any and all consequences." In fact just the opposite, if you read more closely. That was why I included the sentence "Please note though, I'm not saying that anyone doesn't have the right to refuse to buy something for any reason, including if it offends their sensibilities."

With regards to advertisers not supporting CEREBUSTV, again, I don't see anywhere I made a comment on whether or not they should be "forced to associate their products,"(!) or if their actions were justifiable. You wrote: "Can anyone give a concrete, reported-on example of anyone in the comics industry suffering in any way because they supported Sim." And I think I gave one. No comment on my part of the advertisers' decision and their democratic right to do so. I just gave what I thought was a relevant example.

I'm not sure that I've actually read anyone say that free speech gives anyone blanket immunity from criticism, or automatically grants anyone guaranteed sales. I mean isn't that the whole point of democracy and freedom? Freedom to choose what you will or won't buy, freedom to choose what you will support and what you won't support. Like Ray's response above; clearly he considered the whole issue, he's put a lot of thought into it, and he's made a decision after personally weighing the issues, thinking about it, and coming to his own conclusions. That, to me, makes sense and is a sign of a functioning democratic society. It doesn't makes sense (to me) to have a bunch of mob guys go around to the local comicshops saying "Dat's a reaaal nice set a' TMNT's youse got here. Be a real shame if, ah, anything were to, like, happen to 'em if youse didn't order like, 500 issues of Zoo-tanna-pouse" (I have to admit, though, the thought did cross my mind near the end of the series). I would, however, draw a distinction between criticism, debate, and name-calling.

As for the flat assertion that "Chris Rock has been widely (and rightly) criticized for misogyny"; I don't recall seeing anything of his that I would consider misogyny. But it might just be different value systems; I also don't think Roberta Gregory's work is misandry or Lisa Lampanelli racist.

Dell said...


Fair point! I was over the top, you're right.

The producers of "CerebusTV" were not exactly what I was thinking of when I asked about people in the comics industry. That is widely perceived as a "Cerebus" project, so of course its fortunes will rise or fall with Sim's. I don't see how that's an injustice (and maybe you're not claiming it's any sort of injustice).

I've never read anyone explicitly say that free speech means freedom from criticism, or that people have a right to sales.

But if people DON'T believe that, then in what way is it an injustice to Sim that his sales have plummeted, or that people have criticized his inflammatory statements (sometimes in inflammatory ways)?

(And maybe you don't think that it's an injustice to Sim. But clearly, some people do.)

(Don't get me wrong - I think it's a SHAME that Sim isn't more successful, because he's one of the most important cartoonists of the century. But something can be a shame without being an injustice, let alone - as Sim has suggested - comparable to McCarthyism.)

Anyway, I'm sorry for misreading you. Thanks for your response.

Eddie said...

I do think Dave has been shunned and made toxic from the comics industry, and the examples you cite above of IDW and Allard are DESPITE that condition. I also haven't seen any real serious discussion or debate of his arguments; usually only name calling without anyone addressing his propositions. Except maybe on the yahoo cerebus newsgroup. Speaking of which...
Can I make a suggestion that perhaps in the future such discussions perhaps be moved there? This is like the 23rd post on a daily blog, and I don't think it's really a good structure for extended discusions, especially since it's not a forum. I haven't asked amoc about this, but it might make things easier for him. Just an idea.

Dell said...

If AMOC says that he doesn't want extended discussions on his blog, of course I'll comply with that.

Eddie, there has been plenty of criticism of Sim's positions that amount to more than name calling. Would you really describe my participation on this thread as "only name calling," for instance?

That said, it does feel a little pointless doing a point-for-point refutation of something like "Tangents," for a few reasons.

1) Even Sim's supporters tend to say stuff like "I don't agree with his positions, but I don't think he's a misogynist." If almost no one agrees with Sim's positions, that makes it less tempting to refute them.

2) Sim himself, while he presumably agrees with his own positions, is unlikely to read any response I write.

3) Nor would I want Sim reading what I write. From my perspective, as an anti-feminist writer, Sim adds relatively little value - there are many others who write similar material. But as a cartoonist, Sim has nearly infinite value, and there is no substitute. So I'd much rather Sim spend his time writing and drawing "Strange Death" than arguing about politics.

* * *

Finally, could you describe what "toxic" and "shunned" means to you?

I'm pretty sure Sim would be welcome at a guest at any major comic con. (A specifically feminist convention like Wiscon might turn him down, but there are relatively few of those.) Sim found a major publisher VERY quickly once he decided to leave self-publishing, and another major publisher (Fantagraphics) was clearly interested in publishing his work, and there seems to have been no attempt to blacklist either IDW or Fantagraphics. Those creators who have associated themselves with Sim in some way don't seem to have been blacklisted.

In short, all available evidence seems to be that he has not been shunned in any way that prevents him from earning a living as a cartoonist, or other comics professionals from working with Sim.

Now, there IS a sense in which he's been shunned - he's not personally popular the way he used to be. But if people decide they don't like Sim as much based on his own opinions and actions, is that unfair, or is that just life? It's certainly not comparable to McCarthyism (I know you haven't made the McCarthyism comparison, but Sim has).

Thanks again for your comments.