Saturday, January 24, 2009

"Not Inherently Notable"

Believe it or not, but the title of this blog entry is the official reason given as to why Dave Simons does not have an entry on the Wikipedia web-site. Allow me to explain.

This morning I decided to give in and prepare an entry for Dave on the Wikipedia site. I took an existing article that I wrote, began to edit it and got the formatting in place. I did everything that the Wikipedia people ask for, gave reference and a rich history. Here's what I wrote (as far as I got), with the Wikipedia formatting removed for this blog:

Dave Simons is an American comic book writer and artist. Simons has worked in comics since the 1970s and is well known for his work on Conan, Ghost Rider, Howard the Duck, Dracula, Forgotten Realms and more recently Courage the Cowardly Dog. He has worked with some of the giants in the field such as John Buscema, Bob Budiansky and Gene Colan.

==Early Years==

Dave Simons grew up in New York and always wanted to be a comic book artist. "I always wanted to do comics since I was about eight years old," Simons said, "so I started making a point of drawing something every day. I figured if I just kept doing that, then eventually I'd get better at it." After a stint in the Coast Guard, and a chance series of meetings with Frank Robbins, Simons elected to undertake formal training to be an artist. As part of his education Simons attended the now legendary art workshops run by Marvel Comics artist John Buscema. It was wile attending these classes that he became friends future comic book artists Ken Landgraf and Armando Gil. It was through Landgraf that Simons produced his first published work, which consisted of mainly commercial illustrations and the occasional soft-core pornographic comic book. Breaking away from Landgraf, Simons and Gil formed an alliance and friendship that continues to this day.

==Marvel Career==

Approaching then-Marvel editor Rick Marschall at a convention in the early 1980s, Simons was able to get his samples seen and assessed. At the time Marschall was overseeing the black and white magazine line for Marvel and Simons was duly assigned the duty of inking the first issue of the Howard the Duck magazine. After submitting the story Simons was assigned a fill-in Falcon story, which he inked with the assistance of Gil over Sal Buscemas pencils. This marked his first professional work for Marvel and in mainstream comic books.

Simons was then assigned both pencilling and inking jobs for Marvel. One of the artists who's pencils he inked was Gene Colan. "Gene Colan was always my favorite penciler to work on," says Simons today. "That was like a match made in heaven because a lot of people didn't understand Gene's shading. I thought 'this is great, this is a great jumping on point if you're gonna do black and white stuff'." Simons attention to detail came into high demand in the 1980s and his inking credits include artists such as Keith Pollard, Ron Wilson, Frank Miller, John Buscema, Marc Silvestri, Greg LaRoque, John Romita Jr, Ed Hannigan, Walt Simsonson and more. Titles that featured his inking include Thor, The Thing, Marvel Premiere, Night Thrasher, Iron Man, King Conan, Dr Strange, Star Wars, Star Trek, Thundercats and others.

Simons's tenure at Marvel wasn't limited to inking. He proved himself to be a very capable penciler and his pencils and ink combination were featured in titles such as the Spectacular Spider-Man, Team America, What If, Marvel Comics Presents, Bizarre Adventures, Red Sonja, Web Of Spider-Man, King Conan. He also provided cover art to titles such as Power Man & Iron Fist, Ghost Rider, Darkhold, Machine Man, Kull The Conqueror, Marvel Team-Up, Marvel Two In One, Crystar, Moon Knight and many others. "Pencilling, if you're doing it right," said Simons, "is a much tougher gig than inking. Even though I usually liked to know what was going on, with inking you don't necessarily have to be involved with the story. With pencilling you have to be intimately involved with the story because you're the one who's bringing the writers work and intentions across to the readers, as to what he's trying to communicate there. You have to think of the drama, the camera angles, and the composition, make sure you leave room for the word balloons, all those sorts of things."

==Ghost Rider==

Simons's best known Marvel work was his run on the first series of Ghost Rider. His run on the title saw him first inking veteran artist Don Perlin before joining with Bob Budiansky to create one of the best remembered runs of the characters history. Budiansky and Simons worked with writers Roger Stern and J.M. DeMatteis. "The only speed bump we hit in this whole thing was when Simons, who of that team is the unsung hero, left," Budiansky recalls. "He used to come to the office dressed in leather. I mean, this was not an act, he'd come dressed in one of these black leather, zipper jackets. I don't know if he also wore leather pants. He might have worn them. But anyway, the point is, he knew how to ink leather, which was really important for Ghost Rider. So when he left the book we never really were able to replace that look that he gave the book. The rest of the team was all somewhat saddened by his departure." Marvel attempted to duplicate the highly detailed and rendered look that Budiansky and Simons were able to give the character when the character was relaunched in the early 1990s but never quite succeeded.

==DC Career==

In the 1990s Simons left Marvel and crossed companies to DC. At DC he worked on titles such as Deathstroke The Terminator, Spelljammers, Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms, the latter he inked over Rags Morales's pencils. "I liked the combination of me and Rags Morales," says Simons, "He has that Frazetta thing going on and I was hip to that and tried to bring that out a lot." Simons also worked on a number of cartoon based books during his time at DC and his work is featured in titles such as Cartoon Network Block Party. During this time he also illustrated Roger Rabbit at Disney.

==Animation Career==

In the late 1990s Simons left the comic book industry and moved into animation. As an artist he provided storyboards to such shows as Captain Planet, Exo-Squad Masters Of The Universe, Zula Patrol, Psi-Kix and Maya and Miguel. Recalls Simons, "The list of shows I've worked on is certainly longer than the list of comic books that I've worked on at this point. Simons also directed the show Spy Dogs and worked again with Gil on this show, hiring him as a storyboard artist. Simons has the distinction of working on both an animated TV program and the comic book spin-off at the same time, this was when he worked on the animated show Courage The Cowardly Dog, which he subsequently drew the DC comic book of the same name.

==Post Animation==

Simons is known as a creator of characters. He has developed his own co-creation, Beastball Saga, with Sebastian Mondrone. He is also developing a new character, Donna Thyme, with writer Daniel Best.

Simons's most recent work has been on the book Army Of Darkness, along with contributing art to various trading card sets issued by Rittenhouse. He has also contributed art to variant covers for series such as Red Sonja and the '100 Hulks' project. Simons is also active with commissions.


An hour later I was told the page was about to be deleted unless I could give reason as to why it should remain. I explained that I was still working on the entry and the reasons as to why it should remain were in the entry itself - in summary, Dave is an important artist, a creator, had worked in the animation field as both an artist and director, had created his own work and was an inker held in the highest regard with his peers.

Not good enough. An hour after that, without no warning, the entire entry was deleted, forever, by someone calling themselves 'Gwen Gale'. 'Gwen''s reasons included the following:
"The only source (which might be reliable) cited for the whole article was http://www.adelaidecomicsandbooks.com/simons.html. "Importance" has no meaning here. Biographies must meet Wikipedia's notability standards. Someone who has worked as a staff artist for comic book publishers is not inherently notable. I'll be happy to put the deleted text in your user space while you look for more sources which might show the notability of this topic"

So, there you go. Because I'd only just begun the entry and had sourced my own interview, the thing was removed. The 'official' reasoning behind this is that, "If you interviewed him yourself that would be your own original research, which isn't allowed, unless it has been published by a reliable source which is independent of you." Thus if I'd said that my cat Klerqy, had done the page then all would have been fine. Clewrly Wiki doesn't have a problem with my work as it can be found splashed all over other entries, such as Ross Andru, Norm Breyfogle, Jim Starlin, Alan Kupperberg and a host of others - but if I use my own interviews and research then suddenly the work is called into question and refused acceptance. As any biographer will tell you, original research is the cornerstone, but not according to the Wkipedia people, most of whom I suspect haven't a clue as to what is involved in writing biographies and the amount of original work that does into them. If they were a physical publisher then they'd never accept any biographer's work at all, unless the work had been copied from other sources (much like the now clearly Plagiarists Paradise known as Wikipedia). The irony was that I'd also sourced information from my own interviews with Bob Budiansky, Gene Colan, Joe Rubenstein, Armando Gil and a few others, and had provided sources. I did ask as to why my own work is considered to be 'might not be reliable' when I source it, but is fine when others do (check out any entry that I've done an interview for and you'll that interview cited). So if you want to know why there's no entry for Dave Simons on Wikipedia, but there are numerous mentions of his work, don't ask me - ask the moron who decided, without reading the entry, to delete it. Mind you read the entire exchange between myself and 'Gwen', and you'll chuckle, like I have, with the veiled warnings about my 'conduct'. I have to be nice to them if they're to take any notice and actually do the right thing and allow Dave his entry.

This line makes me wonder though; "Someone who has worked as a staff artist for comic book publishers is not inherently notable." Now that means someone like John Romita, who worked at DC and Marvel as a staff artist, as opposed to Dave who was a freelancer, should also be considered to be "not inherently notable", along with quite a few other artists. Dave believes this is simply bigotry, I can' help but agree.

And people on the Wikipedia site wonder why it isn't taken seriously and why people like John Byrne routinely attack it. Well when you have word Nazi's like that running around - using excuses like, "Honestly, it's not an admin's fault for deleting something," (my answer - well who's fault is it, if not the person doing the deleting? - whoops, no answer), well that's why as a resource the Wikipedia ranks right up there with an old drunk on his second day and fourteenth bottle of wine.

So go and ask the people over there as to why Dave is not allowed to have a Wikipedia entry. Then get onto Facebook and join the Dave Simons Appreciation Society and show the Wiki people who bloody stupid they really are.

10 comments:

Satima Flavell said...

Shaking head in disbelief'`'`'`'`'`

Nicolai Svoboda said...

Daniel, there's two problems with your entry. Notability, per se, believe it or not, is not directly one of them. First, in order for an article to exist on Wikipedia, its subject must be covered in sources considered reliable by that website's criteria, and that disallows blogs, writings on the subject's own site, and things like interviews carried out by the author of the article. Second, and related to the first, you have a conflict of interest -- you are the one doing the interviews, you know and work with the person in real life: while Wikipedia technically allows COI editing, it's a big, big strike against you. If the person is as notable as you say, why hasn't someone else -- someone *without* a conflict of interest -- written the article already?

I have to point out one other thing -- your behaviour on Wikipedia is not helping. After shooting yourself in one foot with your nastiness towards Gwen, you have reloaded and are taking aim at your other foot. Calm down, read the site's policies, and try to write an article citing truly independent sources. Draft it in your userspace first, and then politely ask for help. One thing a lot of veteran writers at Wikipedia have learned, is that the amount of invective unleashed by the authors of deleted articles is inversely proportional to the probability of the article ever appearing on the site. You want the article? Cool it.

Danny said...

In other words go there and adopt a 'Yes Massa, No Massa' attitude to beg forgiveness to a person who arbitrarily removes entries without reading them?

There is no conflict of interest here - clearly you don't understand the meaning of the phrase. I am not Dave Simons. I am not trying to sell Dave, nor his products. I am not trying to profit from my work about Dave. I am attempting to share my work and research about Dave's career. I wrote a book about Ross Andru based upon my work and rsearch - was that also a conflict of interest?

In this case I created the entry and drew from my own research and work - why is it that only the Wiki site disallows original research? As for the 'Gwen' person, well perhaps if she actually assisted, instead of merely pointing me towards her own page then things might be different. I think that you guys just don't like being caught out. I've noticed that, from reading 'Gwen's previous entries, that when she is caught out she ignores the requests and instantly claims harassment. I wonder why.

If anyone needs to cool it and apologise it's the person who removed the entry without allowing it to be finished, without reading the entry, without consultation and without just reason. 'Gwen' is the one who needs to 'cool it' and actually explain her reasoning instead of hiding behind a series of ambiguous links and an obtuse attitude. And trust me, I'm perfectly calm - you don't want to see me when I'm upset. I am passionate about my work and to have someone sitting there saying I cannot use my own work in an article is pure insanity and goes against everything that is acceptable in the publishing world. You guys needs to grow up and realise that you are not the be all and end all of the internet and that a lot of your entries are flawed because of the very reasons why you disallowed Dave's entry.

So, instead of attacking me, as you and your colleagues have been doing, so something pro-active and allow Dave Simons to have his entry, written by a person of his choice.

Anonymous said...

Talk about sour grapes...you do seem to have some issues.

cheers
BS

Danny said...

Is that so, oh Anon one? Does the person who is not afraid to sign their name to their work have issues, or the one who takes pot shots and is far too cowardly to sign their name. I'd say, dear chum, that you have issues that you need to embrace and deal with.

Hooroo little coward...hooroo!

Jimmy T said...

I do not use Wikipedia or the IMDB as factual sources for anything for the same reason as John Byrne. The use websirtes as sources and are full of misinformation.

I would not fret, they seem to be from people that have no idea what fact is from fiction. So hyping a site such as the comic database would be better. I do not know anyone that sites Wikipedia on anything that is relevant in information unless they can back up the entry with something credible.

we know your information always comes from the horses mouth so you actually have more credibility on your blog.

Jimmy T

Dale Sherman said...

Forget it, Jake. It's Wikipedia.

Anonymous said...

Why not add your article to Knol? If Wikipedians don't want it, there's no point forcing it upon them.

Danny said...

I'll ask because I don't know - where and what is Knol? Is it a grassy place from which to fire guns?

stevie said...

from *cough*cough* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Independent_evidence_for_Apollo_Moon_landings

Remeber What Lunokhod said, do we need a independent evidence for everything that ever happened? Like Independent evidence for 9/11 or Independent evidence for the American Revolution. Branson03 20:12, 5 April 2007 (UTC)