Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Dave Simons: The Appeal

Anyone who read Marvel comics back in the late ‘70s through the mid ‘80s should know the name Dave Simons. He was one of the best inkers that the company had and his work over Bob Budiansky on the title Ghost Rider is still regarded as being a benchmark for the character, even now, over twenty years since it first appeared. While at Marvel Dave inked many of the industry’s top names, including John Buscema, Walter Simonson, Michael Golden, Frank Miller, Rick Leonardi and many more. His work over Gene Colan was recently described, by Colan no less, as being ‘exquisite’. Without being asked Gene also went on to say, “Do you know how few artists have ever been able to ink my very complex and often inscrutable pencils? I've yet to see anything Dave has done that I haven't loved! Artists and inkers have come and gone but Dave remains today still at the top of his form!” That’s high praise indeed and richly deserved as Dave’s fine line and attention to detail was often imitated but rarely equalled. Dave was an un-sung hero at Marvel, never wanting to draw attention to himself but allowing the work to speak for him. He kept this attitude up when he left Marvel and worked at DC and plunged into the animation field, where he again excelled both as an artist and also as a creator and director.

Not many people know this but a fair while back artist Dave was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. Throughout the entire ordeal Dave kept working as best he could and was his usual bright and cheerful self. Such is the measure of the man that he didn’t tell all that many people but he didn’t shy away from it either. Most people around him knew about his medical condition and knew that he had good days and bad days. If you spoke to Dave, or interacted with him at a convention, then you’d probably not been aware of his condition from the way he presented himself. Dave isn’t one for wanting people to treat him differently because of what he was going through, nor did he want sympathy – all he wanted was good friends, good conversations and to keep working as long and as hard as he could. He underwent a series of treatments, including chemotherapy, and came through the other side apparently cured. The treatments took their toll though, both physically and financially. One of the reasons why I set up a web-site for Dave was to give him an on-line presence where he could sell his art and put himself out there for commissions. As with all my sites, I’ve never asked Dave to pay, nor will I. It’s the least I can do for the guy. Slowly but surely Dave pulled himself back up off the ropes and managed to secure commissions – and you’ll not find anyone who’d complain about Dave’s work there – and also comic book work, his greatest love, as he was assigned a semi-regular stint with the title Army Of Darkness, along with sketching various Red Sonja covers for Dynamic Forces to use as one-off variants and drawing over 1,500 trading cards for various Rittenhouse trading card sets. With the latter, Dave’s true nature came to the fore when he began to recommend artists that he knew to Rittenhouse so that they could also find some steady, paying work.

Recently Dave and I have been talking, via the internet, on an almost daily basis. Over the past few weeks he’d been complaining, quietly, about an occurrence of bursitis which was restricting his ability to draw for long periods of time. During one of his check ups he mentioned it and got it looked at. The news wasn’t good. In fact the worst kind – what Dave thought was bursitis is actually a tumour. The cancer has also spread to other parts of his body and the diagnosis is grim. “The doctors tell me that now I'm officially "incurable",” says Dave, “The silver lining is that they can keep me alive for some time to come. I'll have to go thru a much heavier regimen of radiation and chemotherapy than was originally thought and will have to have a port installed.”

Thankfully the bulk of Dave’s medical costs are covered due to Dave having being part of the Coast Guard in his youth and he receives excellent medical care from the Veteran's Administration Hospital. However the day to day costs, his bills such as utilities, phone, internet and rent, are a struggle and won’t become any easier as Dave’s condition worsens. Dave won’t ask for help, he’s not that kind of a guy. So I’ll ask, not on behalf of him, but for him. Dave’s bills will be increasing – he hasn’t got a regular comic book gig and, unlike the artists of today, he didn’t work on a title that made him millions of dollars. The immediate concern is taking care of Dave’s day to day needs, and that means paying his bills so he can concentrate on improving the quality of his life. How can this be done?

Three ways – you can donate cash to Dave directly via PayPal. No amount is too small, no amount is too big. If you want to remain anonymous, you can PayPal Dave's art rep, Bob Shaw, and we’ll get the cash to Dave, every cent of it.

The second way is to donate items for a series of on-going auctions designed to benefit Dave. This can be pages of original art, sketches, comic books, signed items such as prints or books, anything that people might have lying around that could be of value then feel free to send it to Dave’s art rep, Bob Shaw. We’ve established an eBay account solely to assist Dave; auctions will be going up as items come in and all the money will be going directly to Dave. Items can be sent directly to Bob at the following address:
The Dave Simons Appeal
PO Box 650
Derry, NH

The third way is to contact Dave and commission him to draw you something and pay him. This way Dave remains active and you get a damn fine piece of art in return.

If you have any questions then feel free to email me or Bob and we’ll answer them as best we can. If you want to send Dave a message then again, email and I’ll make sure Dave gets it, otherwise, if you’re on Facebook, join the Dave Simons Appreciation Society and send your thoughts to Dave directly. Let’s all chip in and help Dave, as a way of saying thanks for all the joy he’s brought over the decades via his art. Dave is a guy who gives so much and asks for very little, now let’s all dig deep and give Dave his due. Spread the word.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Count me in Danny. I just put together a package of Graphic Novels I'll be shipping tomorrow. I'll also start spreading the word.
Give me about another week so I can raise some cash and I'll contact Dave about a commission. I'm thinking either Conan (my personal favorite work of his) or Swamp Thing (my favorite character to collect). Thanks for letting us all know about this. You're a good man Danny!

George "The Stooges"