Dave Sim Is a Girl

Posted by on January 29th, 2010 at 5:03 PM

Rich Kreiner’s post reminded me, and probably many other people who’d forgotten, of the existence of Dave Sim’s comic/magazine hybrid Glamourpuss.  It’s an odd little exercise, isn’t it?  I read the first few issues, as much as anyone can read the thing.  It’s sort of nominally a parody of women’s fashion magazines, except that the parody is flimsy at best (as the cover image alongside Kreiner’s post indicates, Sim’s idea of subtle satire these days is to name a lady sex columnist “Skanko”) and the illustrations–fashion photos traced and inked in imitation of Alex Raymond–are presented more or less straight-up.  Since the thing sells in comic book shops, not your grocery store checkout line, it’s not clear at whom the parody, if that’s what it is, is aimed: almost nobody who reads a Dave Sim comic is likely to be very familiar with Cosmo or Glamour, so Sim’s pokes at the vapid, pseudo-progressive content of fashion mags resonate with no imaginable reader.  On the other hand, as long as Sim keeps his publication away from people who know women’s magazines, maybe no one will notice how toothless his parody is.  Feministing does more bloody eviscerations of this material in its sleep.

The weird thing is that Sim has spent the past ten years or so, ever since the drugs ate his brain for good, going on and on about how much he abhors all things feminine.  Yet his first project, post-misogynistic-heel-turn, is an effortful, not especially vicious pastiche of the most stereotypically feminine pop-cult extrusion he can find.  More than anything, Sim’s work on Glamourpuss reminds me of those evangelical Christian guys who go “undercover” at gay pride events across the country so they can take photos and report breathlessly on all the terrible, terrible sodomy on display.  There’s one dude who comes out here to San Francisco for every single Folsom Street Fair.  They’re not protesting or anything.  They’re just, um, gathering information.  Lots of information.  Just so the folks back home are aware of the level of sin out there.  They have great photos.

Everybody knows these guys are gay.  Even their congregations know.  What I’m saying, I guess, is that Glamourpuss would be more fun if Sim would just admit that he’s honestly fascinated by the stuff he claims to be satirizing or exposing or whatever.  If he’d come clean about loving shoes, makeup and blowjob tips as much as he loves Alex Raymond illustrations, we could have an awesome comic, or whatever it is, here.

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3 Responses to “Dave Sim Is a Girl”

  1. Scyzoryk says:

    Ha, I completely agree, especially after rereading the last two issues. It’s like a guy who has heard of but never read feminist theory trying to translate his idea of what it must be to comics. I love it — I can understand why others don’t. And you’re right, I would love to see an issue where Sim slavishly copies the photos and typesetting from “Cosmo Confessions” in between his history lessons.

  2. Mike Hunter says:

    As with the drag queens who idolize and imitate “out there” models of femininity such as Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe and Barbra Streisand, it’s rather telling what facet of the media aimed at women Sim focuses on: that which is most vacuous and surface-oriented.

    In other words, that which reinforces his stereotypical views of women. In the same way Fundies condemning gayness would show guys in drag and nipple-ringed leatherboys in their material, rather than the ordinary-looking specimens.

  3. Pete Bangs says:

    “almost nobody who reads a Dave Sim comic is likely to be very familiar with Cosmo or Glamour” Nice to see you’re playing to stereotypes. Many of us men comics readers are married or have girlfriends and have seen women’s mags of all types and that enabled those of us who’ve read Glamorpuss to recognise it for very weak parody. Personally I wish he’d drop all that crap and leave it to people with a sense of humour and focus on the illustrators.