|Savoy Hotel, 1986: Sim & Gaiman First Meeting |
Backcover, Cerebus 146 (May 1991)
(from a letter to Toc Fetch, 29 January 2004)
...back in the 1980s, Neil Gaiman (then just a freelance journalist in London) did an interview with me as part of the UK Tour that Ger and I did. Of course, since then he has gone onto worldwide fame in multiple media at each of which he is just plain astonishingly successful. As it pertains to me, I think this was God's way of showing me what it was like for all of the major cartoonists that I interviewed for various fanzines when I suddenly started achieving this strange, multileveled success with Cerebus. It was disproportionate, I think, intentionally so: Neil is exponentially more successful than I could ever hope to be. And that was the lesson. So, how does it feel to have someone who played a bit role in your own small fame take off like a skyrocket? It was very uncomfortable at the beginning. Alan Moore was always Alan Moore. He was already Alan Moore and quantum levels of stature above me in the hierarchy before I read his work and certainly before I met him. But Neil Gaiman was this snot-nosed kid in a skinny necktie and running shoes writing journalism pieces for alternative magazines. I was this big-shot alternative cartoonist with a suite at the Savoy and champagne and caviar from room service. Neil's success took me down a number of pegs in my own estimation. Which was good. It sure didn't seem good at the time, but almost twenty years later on, it was a valuable lesson to me in "how I seem to others". And, of course, Neil is a loyal friend and a truly humble and nice person. Which only made it worse in a lot of ways. If he had been a full-time asshole, it would have been salve to my wounded vanity. But he was pretty much faultless...