That's culturally specific. In Japan, the country which has long had the highest per-capita consumption of comics, there is no such divide. One could make the argument that it's because there is widespread representation of both genders that comics are so successful there---or, conversely, that a lack of diversity has kept English-language comics in the ghetto.
I would say it's a perfect storm (and I hope someone more familiar with the history of Manga in Japan can correct me if I'm wrong): the Comics Code (along with the fervor caused by Seduction of the Innocent) with the lack of diversity and the 90s implosion of comic shops have put comics where they are.
The reason I throw the 90s implosion there is because after the black and white explosion, and Image, and the creator owned books and great runs that would come at the end of the 90s, if not for the loss of a huge number of places to buy those comics that could easily get them*, we might have a better spread right now.
*And yes, I almost exclusively blame Marvel trying to distribute their own comics for the implosion.
Dave Sim here at BLEEDING COOL to answer the very last HARDtalk question of the Virtual Tour, which goes to Carola Quick:
Dear Dave. First of all, thank you for all the good laughs and stories you've brought over the years.
Oh, you're quite welcome. Thank you for all of the money you've given me.
Now for my question. Do you really belive that the content of issues 289/290 constitutes a scientific theory (which as I recall one of your letters, and one of your introductions seems to suggest)? If so, how?
Well, as I've said about trying to encapsulate CEREBUS -- if I knew of a way to say the same thing in four paragraphs that I said in 6,000 pages I wouldn't have wasted 26 years of my life saying it in long form. Same deal with the 40-page CEREBUS 289-290 which is the prologue to CEREBUS volume 16, THE LAST DAY. Anyone wants to download it and read it at Torrents, you're more than welcome. It took a LOT of time and a lot of work to get it down to 40 pages. I can't explain it any more simply than I did there.
Maybe tackling it from another angle:
I came to the conclusion that the first chapter of the first book of Moshe (also known as Genesis) constituted a description of the Origin of Everything. Basically doing what you're asking me to do: to distill what is obviously a very, very complicated process and put it down on paper in twenty or thirty short sentences. I assume this was a conscious decision on the part of God in giving us Genesis 1. We're His creations and He knows what we're curious about...
(He also knows that we tend to be curious about the wrong things: how everything started, how we got here, what our purpose is. All of these are, it seems to me, far less important than how we choose to behave. And that obsessive curiosity about things we could never understand at any meaningful level -- what we're looking for is "How do WE get to create all these things the same as You, God, do?" -- is going to be a distraction for most of us. We don't intend to behave properly until God gives us answers to our questions. Granted. Bad choice. But a very, very popular one, I assume, everywhere in the universe)
...so His first communication with us basically explains things in the only way that we would be able to understand it -- very roughly and imperfectly and directed towards our purpose here: to subdue the earth.
But, we are very resourceful creatures, particularly in this Epoch, which I see as having begun with the creation of A Dam (Hebrew for "The Man") and Chauah and the eating of the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil which I take as a literal historical event. However far we got in the previous epoch (perhaps those which have come down to us as fragmental oral history residues in Greek and Roman and Egyptian mythology?), we graduated to here, this epoch, and Dualistic Knowledge: Knowledge that is Good and Evil.
Which I assume is science.
Abortion, it seems to me, is Knowledge of Good and Evil. It houses both. It can be...and is...both. Atomic power is Knowledge of Good and Evil. It houses both. It can be...and is...both. Once we got rolling on Knowledge of Good and Evil -- a couple of centuries ago -- we discovered a LOT of stuff in a hurry. Which God knew we would do. We had graduated to the point -- had earned our epoch -- where we were structurally able to develop our Good and Evil Knowledge at a great rate. A meeting place of capitalism, industry, political liberty, communication etc. Steve Jobs and Apple is a good example of that. It's Good in that it speeds up everything that can be done on computer. It's Evil in that it wipes out whole industries and destroys millions of lives without so much as a single qualm.
There is little if anything that to me suggests any form of hard scientific evidence. At best I see it as theology. What is your view on science and evidence (in this or other cases)?
Well, that's what I'm coming to. It's very complicated. Particularly when you're stuck in the Good and Evil Rut, which virtually all of us are. See, it IS theology but it's ALSO science. See, we let go of Genesis because we were getting so deeply immersed in science -- Knowledge of Good and Evil -- that we came to see ourselves as superior to God's Word. What I call "We don't need God! We have pop-up toasters!" We aren't superior to God's word. We're pretty good but we do bumble around a lot. For every Newton's Laws of Motions -- irrefutable knowledge -- we have 10 crackpot theories (that will not, ultimately, survive successive waves of proof-evidence) that we treat now as Hard Science. Remember that the aptly named "God Particle" was considered a crackpot theory for most of its history and ended up (so far as we know) as Hard Science only recently when technology advanced to the point where it could be tested. Or, at least, it is now considered closer to Hard Science than what was considered Hard Science up until a "God Particle" was actually produced. Much of Einstein's Theory of Relativity has been reduced to shards. I assume we have a long way to go.
See, it seems to me that we're actually, in spite of ourselves in many ways, fulfilling our destiny of "subduing the earth". The earth knows what we know because we were created from the dust of the earth. Awareness is a universal constant. The earth is aware of us and aware of the knowledge that we're accumulating after we were taken from the dust of the earth and created. "Created to make", in the original Hebrew, which conveys the idea of how God does things. Men and women were "created to make" men and women. Nebulae were "created to make" nebulae. Big, big canvas, to make sure all possibilities are covered. The DNA double helix is a good illustration of it, the interweaving of Good and Evil. I assume nebulae are comparable and "created to make" on the double-helix pattern. The idea behind creation doesn't seem to be complexity for its own sake, just a "whatever works" that gets everything the space to enact itself, to present as many sides of the discussion as possible and to arrive at small and large scale conclusions over the course of billions of years. VERY long discussions.
This epoch starts as all epochs start, with the creation of the first man of that epoch and the creation of his wife from that man. That having been accomplished, now we are at the point where we are able to figure things out and, essentially, explain them to the earth. And so help the earth to "get a grip." Because the earth -- the interior of the earth -- is basically flipping out the way the sun and Jupiter are flipping out. We're here to explain why it's okay for the earth to relax. And the sun and Venus and Jupiter, etc. Hopefully. It won't be easy, the earth is WAY more egomaniacal and stupid than we are and that's really saying something given how egomaniacal and stupid we are.
See, the earth thinks the earth is God, which I think is SOP in the universe. Venus thinks Venus is God, the sun thinks it's God, black holes think they're God. The Milky Way thinks it's God. We are all descended from God and God's first creation. The most common misapprehension in the universe is God's creations thinking that they're God.
The sun, it seems to me, is actually an extended, multi-billion-year discussion between hydrogen and helium (and, more importantly, Hydrogen and Helium: one core aspect of which is Hydrogen Which Is Masculine and Helium Which is Feminine). As we can see, it's a pretty frantic discussion, very violent, incohate. Jupiter is having the same discussion with itself but on a much smaller scale and in slower motion. I assume the sun thinks it's that much more Significant than Jupiter for that reason. "Your discussion is small and slow and my discussion is huge and incredibly fast, therefore I must be God and you must be one of my creations." It's, I'm sure, a common misapprehension in the universe. Wherever you are, as a planet, you tend to see everything else as circling around you and being less important than you are. Just consider how long WE thought that. It's a phase, I'm sure, all of God's creations have to go through and let go of very reluctantly.
But, we -- men and women -- are in the unique position of being right at the midpoint of the discussion between hydrogen and helium (and, therefore Hydrogen and Helium). All that was needed was oxygen as a buffer. Two parts oxygen for each part hydrogen and men and women become possible, ultimately, as intermediaries. Water-based beings. Water itself is EXTREMELY unlikely in a cosmological sense, let alone beings who are mostly oxygen. Oxygen is the most corrosive element in the universe by a wide margin. Reduces metal to orange dust in an eye-blink, cosmologically speaking. Who besides God would look at oxygen as a buffer, a way to incarnate hydrogen and helium so they can have a discussion with each other? Just talking. Not billowing up trillions of miles and arcing across their own surface and then plummeting back down trillions of miles. Mmm. No, a DISCUSSION. That's just chest-thumping and sabre-rattling.
A billion years, it seems to me, is a conservative estimate of how long it takes to earn that epoch. And then another billion years to go from dinosaurs to people. Which I assume is just another step. The earth is here for another fifteen billion years. I don't think we're the top of the pyramid by any stretch of the imagination. We, men and women of this epoch, will look like the dinosaurs to whatever epoch comes next. We're here to get the earth through part of the earth's therapy, to bring the earth to a more sensible level of awareness. Point JJ2 to point JJ3, let's say. And we're only 6,000 to 10,000 years into the epoch.
See, I do think we serve a valuable purpose in telling the earth (and the sun and Jupiter and Venus) things that they don't know. What I picture as God's Reality Check: part of the idea behind "creating to make" a solar system like ours. Basically, saying to the sun and the planets and the asteroids: You think you're God and you've thought that for billions of years, each of you, and here's these little insect-like beings on this little tiny chunk of rock that you can barely conceive of as being anything more than a kind of germ or pestilence and look at this. In an eye-blink of time, cosmologically speaking, they've told you more about yourselves than you had figured out over the billions of years you've been around. Keep listening. You might learn something if you're willing to stop being so egomaniacal and stupid. It's the reason, I think, that on the fly-by of Saturn -- whenever that was and whatever unmanned vehicle that was -- one of the rings was braided, like DNA. It was a salute. "Yes, I'm Saturn and yes I admit that I can be big and egomaniacal and stupid, but I'm also willing to admit that I know more about what's going on because of who and what you little insects are. Here's to that weird braided double helix that you are and the fact that you never know where you're going to find a good idea."
We ARE metaphors but we also have our own existence. When God "divides the waters above the heaven from the waters below the heaven" -- well, that it seems to me, is structural. This is the nature of all forms of "created to make" creation. It happens here with the earth as it happened with Saturn and with the sun and the stars. The waters divide and reveal the dry earth. Well, okay, structurally that's no different from the lips of a woman's vagina dividing and the head of the baby emerging. A baby and a planet come into being roughly the same way.
To science, they're two different things. Planets are one thing and babies are another. Completely different disciplines, completely different answers, completely unrelated. Well, it seems to me that that's in the nature of Reality, as well: that's the egomania and stupidity which exemplifies God's creations in so many ways. It's the same billowing, arching gaseous pointlessness of the sun. It seems obvious to me that Genesis 1 is describing how planets AND babies come into existence. It's not a "How To" book. You can't read Genesis 1 and go "Oh, THAT'S how you make a planet" and then make one in your backyard. We aren't built -- "created to make" -- for that, I don't think. We aren't God and we never will be God. We would never understand HOW it's done even if God gave us an infinite amount of time and exponentially greater (quantum levels higher) intellect to explain it to us, I don't think.
What we're missing is "Why?" Which is really the foundational question of all science and the question that science can never successfully answer because science always gets diverted from it. As Stephen Hawking said, "I know what the universe is doing, I just don't know WHY it's doing it." Well, yes, because you presuppose that a mass of facts is the same as knowledge.
When I look at the universe and when I see it doing what it's doing (with the help of Stephen Hawking who knows far more about that than I do and is able to explain it in a way I can understand), the question to me is -- given that the creation of Chauah out of A Dam's rib is a rough and imperfect enactment of the original creation, as I assume is Moshe drawing snow whiteness out of his chest after plunging his hand in -- WHY did God see the need to create the analogous primordial Chauah/YHWH out of Himself? The implications are self-evident and huge. The entire span of the universe is a nearly infinite number of re-enactments of that seminal event. The Big Bang essentially took that original concept and then spread it across an unimaginably large canvas where we all get our chance to do our own re-enactment. Why did God As Hydrogen see the need for Helium?
[Carola -- Send in your mailing address to 'momentofcerebus [at] gmail [dot] com' so Dave can send you a personalised / signed / head-sketched Cerebus back-issue -- Thanks!]