...is pretty hard to like. His series Glamourpuss is brilliant and this totally rarified weird thing. Godard-ian in how it approaches popular media, Glamourpuss uses fashion design and culture as a jumping-off point for an extended rant about the history of comics illustration, complete with impressive replicas of the art, and a half-funny, half-pathetically out-of-date parody of mid-high-end fashion magazines.
But...he's also a dumbass. Not because of the endless debates about misogyny and women and blah, blah blah,--we shouldn't allow only left-leaning artists to have silly views--but because his arrogance on the topic offend the reader more than the views themselves.
Undoubtedly, Glamourpuss is in part, a response and or further dealing with his past discussions of men's superiority--although what most of them read like, is someone who is annoyed by postmodern Feminism and thinks it has more weight in our culture than it does--because it's at least in theory, a very sympathetic satire on how women are exploited and messed-around with due to and because of fashion, fashion magazines, and the super-capitalism that the magazines support. It's very unsophisticated, it's the kind of "concern" for women that "sensitive" guys in high school who haven't gotten laid yet have for women as a gender, but dude is trying!
And so, I open issue #3 and start reading and very quickly get to this: "And if glamourpuss walks, her alimony cheques are going with her and this funnybook is toast. Word--as glamourpuss' Obama supporter friends put it." It's not that it's an Obama joke there, but that a) It's hopelessly out of date with contemporary slang and b) it's getting kinda racist. Somehow, it's weirder and sadder to read it because of the out-of-date thing, which makes his satire seem pathetic. Sure, somewhere out there, some liberals feel real hip and cool for voting for a black guy and maybe, maybe they affect some pathetically out-of-date (if ever existent) sense of negritude when talking about Obama, but most people don't.
The racism of the joke, like Sim's misogyny, comes out of some weirdly out-of-date sense of protecting those unlike him. The joke there is that white people who say "word" are silly and are racist for co-opting "black" slang (and therefore, his joke is on the side of black people), which would be right if Sim's sense of whiteness and blackness wasn't so dumb and unmoving. It's sad the same way the reference to "Access Hollywood" on the cover or David and Victoria Beckham on a page inside are...as some old, creepy dude referencing them because it's the extent of his interaction with current pop culture. The same thing is said for "word" because like most dudes in their fifties, especially a fucking Canadian, his interaction with black culture probably like, begins and ends at In Living Colour or something.
I won't not read the book and I'm not even angry or offended--as I said, liberals whose art I like get to say dumb stuff all the time--but it's a little pathetic and that just makes me sort of uncomfortable. Opening Glamourpuss or old issues of Cerebus, one just has to remember they're re-entering the world of Dave Sim and that's why we read comics, especially creator-driven comics, to be immersed in a comic book creators' idiosyncracies.