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GRAPHIC NOVELS: Stories To Change Your Life

A Review By: Dave Sim, creator of Cerebus

Dave Sim is the creator of Cerebus, the longest running independent black and white self-published comic, which ended at #300 in March 2004. The following correspondence took place on 5th December 2005, when Dave Sim wrote to Stephen Holland, the co-founder of the Nottingham comic shop Page 45, copying-in Paul Gravett.

Thank you for the copy of Paul Gravett’s book Graphic Novels: Stories To Change Your Life. It was, indeed, a gratifying surprise to see Cerebus as one of the prime graphic novels to which other graphic novels are footnoted. From past experience I expected it to be the other way around. It is unfortunate that Gerhard isn’t mentioned (as you can see I’ve developed a checklist-of-recurring-irritants-to-whinge-about over the years). Paul Gravett has certainly done yeoman’s work over the last two decades in promoting the comic-book field in general and this latest effort is not exception. It makes my eyeballs ache just considering the parameters of the winnowing process he must’ve had to engage in just to bring it in under 200 pages and, of course, there’s the two-fold staggering implications of that: a) that the book is incomplete and b) this is the last time in history it will be conceivable to try to make something like this exhaustive.

I had the same sensation walking around the newly renovated Midtown Comics in New York City last month - still mentally picturing myself as part of a stream and seeing up close that it’s far more like a raging river at this point with nothing for it but to head for the rapid and hope for the best. Heading for the rapids isn’t one of those things I thought of myself doing on the cusp of fifty but I don’t seem to have much choice in the matter. All we can do is hope that there’s an advantage to having a 6,000-page boat to navigate in and learn how to hold our breath for extended periods.

Thanks again for the book. It’s certainly the largest item in the Cerebus Archive at this point.

PS Paul: a very handsome volume - I hope it does well for you. We could
certainly use a dozen more champions of the form like yourself, so KEEP WORKING!

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