There's do-it-yourself, and then there's longtime indie self-publisher Dave Sim-the Kitchener, Ontario, cartoonist who's been writing, drawing (along with single-named collaborator and background artist Gerhard) and publishing a new issue of his ongoing Cerebus series under his own Aardvark-Vanaheim imprint every month for the last 21 years or so.
Self-publisher Sim pioneered the now-common practice of keeping an entire series of comics in print in the form of "phone books" (Cerebus's fat 300- to 600-page trade paper collections); each reprints a hefty chunk of the periodical issues. That's pretty much necessary for the prolific Sim. The sprawling Cerebus series is a brilliant, mindbendingly intricate, alternately hysterically funny and infuriating saga about religion, politics, creativity, gender relations, literary history and the nature of perception, all set in a medieval city-state and starring an smart-talking aardvark (don't ask).
Sim's publishing house Aardvark-Vanaheim is tiny but energetic, and deals directly with stores, selling through Diamond Comics, and offers mail-order sales of individual books. Sales of the monthly periodical comic have fallen, as have sales of every other monthly comic, over the last few years. But it appears that Sim's sizable cult of readers now simply waits for the trade paper collections. A-V reports that the 13th and most recent Cerebus trade paperback, Going Home, is the fastest-selling book in the company's history. The plot involves a long boat ride and an extended monologue by a character who is almost, but not quite, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Once again, don't ask; get a copy and see for yourself.