When Dave Sim Proposed Neil Gaiman And He Set Up In Business, Ten Years Ago

Posted by September 14, 2017 Comment

Ten years ago, cartoonist Gerhard decided to leave Aardvark-Vanaheim, the publisher of Cerebus. Cerebus had concluded, but Dave Sim had made the man who drew the backgrounds of the series part of the business.

So he had to be bought out. At the time this message was issued.

Effective as of December 31st, 2006 Gerhard has parted ways with Aardvark-Vanaheim and long time partner Dave Sim.Dave is still in the process of gathering the funds necessary to buy out Gerhard’s 40% share of the company, but this will not affect the publication of future Cerebus volumes or, presumably, Following Cerebus (which is experiencing its own in-house delays at Win-Mill Productions). In fact, the proofs are in for the fourth printing of Form & Void and soon we will see the first Cerebus book not printed by Preney Press

This weekend, Moment Of Cerebus published “The Back Up Plan”, a letter from Dave Sim to Neil Gaiman dated 23rd February 2007, about help that Gaiman had offered Sim in buying Gerhard out, and had a counter offer.

Neil:

Just wanted to extend my thanks again for your offer of help with the “buyout” of Gerhard’s 40% share of Aardvark-Vanaheim. We had our first meeting with the accountant and I now have a number to work with and I’m pretty sure I can manage it on my own but, as I told you on the phone, it is a great relief to know that I have “back-up” if needed. It is certainly more than I could have asked or hoped for.

Having said that, I’m going to float a “trial balloon”. That’s really all it is: I haven’t cleared any of the details with my accountant or lawyer to even know if it’s do-able from a tax standpoint or from a legal standpoint which is why I thought I would pitch it to you first and if you were interested then I could determine how viable an idea it actually is.

The idea is this: that you would acquire a 10% stake in Aardvark-Vanaheim from Gerhard in lieu of giving me an interest-free loan. Give or take, this would be roughly $50,000. You would do this on the understanding that I would acquire the stake from you on the same basis: paying you back as I was able to with no interest accruing only instead of writing the cheque to me, you would write the cheque to Ger.

The benefit to me would be the public vote of confidence from Neil Gaiman that you have every faith that I can continue to run Aardvark-Vanaheim profitably as I have for the last 30 years. I have no idea if this is necessary, but I suspect there might be a loss of confidence in the comicbook field resulting from the A-V split that may or may not result in diminished sales. Nothing so far, but this would give me a way of countering any malaise if I see it setting in. The benefit to Ger is that he would get a larger lump sum as soon as we sign an agreement and larger instalment payments with both you and me kicking in.

The benefit to you? Well, that would really depend on your experience with Terry P. on Good Omens. I notice you haven’t “co-written” too much since then. If your reaction was “Never under any circumstances will I ever do anything like that again ever” then please ignore the following. What I was going to suggest was that we co-write something (I’m assuming that you still think I’m at least as good a writer as you are) and that I would serialize and publish it through Aardvark-Vanaheim – using the comic-book format in much the way Dickens’ work was serialized in a comparable format text with illustrations by me — with all of the profits going to you until the $50,000 is paid off. We both have very full plates, so what I was going to suggest is that we keep it as simple as possible – two or three pages at a time, ping-pong style. Basically, as a minority owner of Aardvark-Vanaheim, you would become a self-publisher temporarily until the $50,000 was paid off, at which time you would cease to be a self-publisher. Since you would be bringing a lot more to the table than I would, I’d also be happy to give you jurisdiction over whatever we came up with. Your call as to whether it would just be serialized, or serialized and collected, serialized and collected and shopped around, etc.

I’ll show you what self-publishing is like and then you have the option of showing me what the real world is like if that interests you.

As I say, it’s just a trial balloon. The first paragraph on this fax is the important one.

Okay back to work and Thanks again, Dave

I checked in and it seemed in the end help wasn’t needed. But it is a glimpse of what may have been…

(Last Updated September 14, 2017 7:18 am )