This is the thread where I try and summarise Cerebus

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Erm... not much. I'm slightly hampered as someone has my copy at the moment. Dave parodies Conan quite a bit. Red Sofia and Lord Julius appear, as do Elrod, the Roach and Jaka. The Palnu trilogy is Dave's first multi-part story. Mind Games I takes place. We learn a little about the Pigts and their worship of an earth-pig. Dave announces (in the individual issues) that Cerebus will be 300 issues long and that he will die in the final issue.

High Society

Cerebus is engineered to be Prime Minster of Iest by Adam Weisshaupt, Astoria and Bran Mak Muffin, in competition with a donkey which Lord Julius favours. The Regency Elf appears numerous times to Cerebus and reveals hidden things to him about who he is. Cerebus is briefly married to Red Sofia, and rejects Jaka for the second time.

Church & State

In short, Cerebus becomes Pope and ascends to the moon.

In long... there are yet more power struggles and Cerebus competes with the Cirinists to complete a perfect golden globe which will allow him to ascend to the heavens and meet Tarim/Terim. The Cirints are occupying a tower (constructed from some kind of stone heads) which is gradually getting bigger and taller, now dominating Iest. Cerebus sneezes fire for the first time. Thrunk returns, and is possessed by Weisshaupt before being destroyed by Cerebus. Cerebus marries and divorces Astoria (the famous 'rape' sequence that upset Deni so much). Astoria explains the ongoing conflict between Cirinists (Mothers - the feminists who want to 'protect' women from society) and Kevilists (Daughters - the feminists who want liberation for women). Cerebus makes it to the moon (via an encounter with the Flaming Carrot on the way, and later defeating Dave's first He/She/It analogy) where he meets George, who reveals he will die alone, unloved. Gerhard turns up during this. In the comicbook, Dave reveals that he has changed his mind and Cerebus will now end with #200. This has something to do with the death of John Lennon, apparently.

Jaka's Story

Cerebus is finally reunited with Jaka, to find she is now dancing in a tavern owned by Pud, and is married to Rick. Pud secretly believes Jaka will leave Rick for him, but daydreams about raping her anyway. Oscar Wilde lives next door to the tavern. Cerebus tries to persuade Jaka to leave Rick. Cerebus and Rick attempt to bond. Interspersed through this is a 'Reads' story (comics in Cerebus) written by Oscar which gives lots of information about Jaka's youth, including her abuse at the hands of Lord Julius and humiliation when Astoria is chosen by him in favour of her. Jaka reveals her love and patronage of the arts. The Cirinists storm the tavern, killing Pud, and take away Jaka and Rick. Jaka meets her nursemaid in the next cell, and is forced to reveal to Rick she has had an abortion without his knowledge. They are divorced.


Oscar Wilde dies.
In Cerebus news, distraught at the loss of Jaka he clutches her doll, Missy, in front of a bar. Various people he knows pass by but he does not respond.

Mothers and Daughters

This comprises Flight, Women, Reads & Minds , but I'll deal with is as a whole.

Cerebus snaps out of his stupor, and goes on a violent rampage against the Cirinists (aided by PunisherRoach). He encounters the real Cirin, who informs him the person he thinks is Cirin is actually Serna, an aardvark like Cerebus, who has kept her locked away to hide the secret. Astoria, Cerebus and Seneteus Po (the third aardvark) confront the fake Cirin. It is revealed Cerebus is a hermaphrodite, but had an accident with a knife as a child and is infertile. In a climactic fight, the throneroom where Cerebus breaks away and Cerebus and Cirin are cast into space. They go their separate ways and Cerebus ends up on an icy planet where he is told the true nature of things by Dave. He elects to return home.

In Reads , Dave adopts the persona of Viktor Davis and explains his failed flirtation with the mainstream via Dark Horse and Vertigo, while expanding on his theories about male and female behaviour. A lot of readers dropped out at this point, and it's when Dave started attracting the misogynist tag.

Somewhere immediately before #200, Dave points out he was only joking, and Cerebus is going to be 300 issues after all. He says it's to make you see how you would feel if something you loved was taken away before you were ready.


My favourite book, this one. The returned Cerebus lives in a bar run by The Beatles, and drinks with Mick, Keef, Marty Feldman and Bear. Norman Mailer and Eddie Campbell drop by. Cerebus shows his talents at Five Bar Gate (a hockey-like game), and also displays characteristics described as "acting like a chick". The Beatles leave the bar, and Cerebus sobers up and takes it over. Cerebus has an affair with Joanne, during which we are shown an unreal flashback where his affair with Joanne has taken place behind Jaka's back in a different life. Everybody leaves, but Cerebus believes Bear will come back for him. Cerebus feels that he should go to return to his home town. At the very end, Rick arrives leading to...

Rick's Story

Cerebus and Rick bond. Rick has an affair with Joanne, but receives a head wound at the bonfire. We first see Cerebus as 'the birdwatcher', who watches couples at it and pleasures himself. Rick's headwound starts to lead to visions with Cerebus as Thee One Trve Cerebus, and Rick starts writing Thee Booke Of Ricke to explain it. Rick leaves on completing it, having trapped Cerebus in the bar with a spell of binding. Dave appears to Cerebus and explains why it always happens to him. Dave returns Jaka to Cerebus as a final gift, and she breaks the spell.

Going Home

Cerebus and Jaka plan to return to Sand Hills Creek to see Cerebus' parents, but travel part of the way on a boat with F Scott Fitzgerald. Jaka is tempted to leave Cerebus to go to an island of artists. The Cirinists crewing the boat are convinced Cerebus is beating Jaka and plan to murder him on reaching land - Jaka spots this and rescues him. They leave for Sand Hills Creek.

Dave's commentary makes me want to read Scott.

Form & Void

Jaka has to conduct some formal ceremonies as 'Princess Of Palnu' and we discover the Cirinists are routinely executing and dissenters. Heading across country, Cerebus and Jaka meet Ernest and Mary Hemmingway. We discover too much about Ernest and Mary's actual sexual behaviour. Ernest shoots himself. Cerebus and Jaka head out alone across country, hampered by Jaka's insistence on new clothes every day and her spoilt behaviour. Their relationship comes to breaking point in a tent in a blizzard, when all looks lost. Rick appears to Cerebus and tells him how to save himself - they get to a Cirinist lodge. They realise they must get away before their tent can be discovered (for fear of Cirinists finding the gun and framing Cerebus for the murder of Ernest) and take a secret Pigt tunnel to Sand Hills Creek. While passing through it, Jaka learns more of how she will be expected to behave in Sand Hills Creek and doesn't like it one bit. When they arrive, we learn Cerebus' parents have died, around the time in Guys he wanted to go home. He is ostracised by the village for failing to return, and in his grief tells Jaka "Go on. Get Out. Scram!" as Rick(e) foretold he would.

Dave's commentary does not make me want to read Hemmingway, and to shoot Mary.

Latter Days

Distraught, Cerebus starts walking. It later transpires he walks the entire continent. He becomes a shepherd but is chased away by the owner of the sheep for 'birdwatching'. While a shepherd he reads the entirety of the Reads piece, Rabbi. He lives above a tavern in the north, and becomes a permanent 'second' champion at Five Bar Gate (by which I mean he is the runner-up every year). This does, however, make him money. He decides he has had enough, and spends his money on a strip bar, which he hopes the Cirinists will find and destroy, him along with it. He is discovered instead by the Three Wise Fellowes (Three Stooges) who are adherents to the Booke Of Ricke and are searching for Thee One Trve Cerebus. They kidnap him and attach him to a strange machine while awaiting him to say the Trve Word Foretold By Ricke while reciting the Booke Of Ricke at him. Cerebus imagines he can escape as Rabbi. Cerebus breaks his leg. Eventually he says the word, and discovers that Cirinst opposition has risen since he was wandering and he is in the Sanctvary as foretold and described by Ricke. There is a loose collusion of men (hunting lodges) and he attempts to unite them as Spore, reliving many of the events of C&S (including the baby-tossing). He does this, and the Cirinists appear defeated. His adherents die of old age. It is shown to Cerebus that Rabbi was actually a Cirinist plot to drive him mad. Cerebus goes mad. Some time later, he is shocked back to reality with the arrival of Koningsberg, the Not-So-Good Samaritan (Woody Allen). Koningsberg's life story is told, then he leaves. Cerebus tells his story to a young woman, who is obsessed with the idea that Cerebus is only after her because she looks like Joanne. She looks like Jaka. (In the collected edition, the positioning of this is nowhere near as affecting as it was in the issues.) They are married.

The Last Day

Cerebus is old, and virtually bedridden. He wishes to see his son before he dies. We are shown the history, that he is the son of Cerebus and 'The New Joanne' (the Jaka lookalike in the previous issue) and Cerebus is actaully being kept away from him because of an alleged abuse incident. Eventually, She(p)-Shep (the son) arrives and there is a long discussion. Cerebus attempts to tell him that his mother was not like Joanne, but Jaka - but realises he is too late and the Booke Of Ricke contradicts this. She(p)-Shep reveals Cirin is still alive and working with Joanne - they have together created a hybrid lion using She(p)-Shep's DNA with which he intends to rule as a God, which he shows to Cerebus. An enraged Cerebus draws a sword to kill them both, but instead falls out of bed and dies. He ascends into the light, which may or may not be Hell.

Once the final phonebook comes out, I'm going to embark on a re-read. This may be updated at that point.

aldo_cowpat (aldo_cowpat), Thursday, 1 July 2004 12:01 (sixteen years ago) link

It's been pointed out to me by an ILC lurker that I may have Jaka's reliance on fresh clothes in the wrong book, and it may be shown in Going Home. Also in Going Home, while on the boat Cerebus has a vision of Ricke baptising people in the river.

My most glaring omission though is from Latter Days. Koningsberg's comes to Cerebus because he has brought Cerebus a book(e) passed down since the days of Rick(e). It is the Torah, the Pentateuch and Cerebus proceeds to interpret it as an argument between God (male) and YHWH (female). Over many pages. Many, many pages. In very small type.

Thanks Dave.

aldo_cowpat (aldo_cowpat), Thursday, 1 July 2004 12:56 (sixteen years ago) link

Bless you, Aldo.

I would love to read the actual essay / description behind this: "Somewhere immediately before #200, Dave points out he was only joking, and Cerebus is going to be 300 issues after all. He says it's to make you see how you would feel if something you loved was taken away before you were ready." I tried getting into Cerebus back around #151, but can't remember any talk about the series ending at #200.

David R. (popshots75`), Thursday, 1 July 2004 13:38 (sixteen years ago) link

Actually, thinking about it maybe I've misremembered the history here as well. Now I think about it, he doesn't say beforehand that he's going to finish Cerebus at #200.

He says round the time of #200 that he had made the decision I attribute to him to finish early and just hadn't told anybody, but that he had changed his mind.

Bollocks. Will look tonight and try and find the detail.

Flash of inspiration - he may cover this during the Viktor Davis sections in Reads now I think about it. Sorry, I'm trying to do all this from memory, and it's a complicated storyline... will confirm later.

aldo_cowpat (aldo_cowpat), Thursday, 1 July 2004 14:03 (sixteen years ago) link

Yes, that's exactly what I remember.

Andrew Farrell (afarrell), Thursday, 1 July 2004 14:24 (sixteen years ago) link

..what's this for? i think the religious struggle side of things in the first half needs to be covered more to make any kind of sense of the thing, but eh..

tom west (thomp), Thursday, 1 July 2004 14:49 (sixteen years ago) link

..what's this for?

It came up here You'll also note this is a post-C&S question, hence I've been light on all but the main points in pre-#111 accordingly.

Anyway, the full story on the #200 story is indeed in the Viktor Davis bit in Reads.

December 8, 1980, at approximately 11:20pm, Viktor Davis had been sitting at his drawing board, hard at work on the twenty-fourth issue of Cerebus. Less than a year before, he had announced for the first time that the story line would run three hundred issues. He was in the middle of lettering 'Blinky Boar and the Strawberry Patch' and humming 'Strawberry Fields Forever' to himself when the local radio station interrupted its programming for a news bulletin.

'Possibilities for a Beatles reunion were dashed at eleven o'clock tonight when John Lennon was shot to death outside his Manhattan apartment building...'

That night, Viktor Davis decided that Cerebus would not run for three hundred issues. He decided that Cerebus would run for two hundred issues. Viktor Davis decided to keep this a secret, telling no one for fourteen years.

He would not announce it until issue one hundred and eighty-three, a year and five months before the end: November 1995.

Dave then continues for a bit about how the reader takes this news.

'I was just kidding,' he said. 'Cerebus goes to issue three hundred. Just like I've always said. March 2004.'

The reader and Viktor Davis regarded one another for several minutes, without speaking, across the strange, lighted rectangle. Calmly, Viktor Davis withdrew his pack of cigarettes from his hip pocket and selected one. Rasing the lighter in his right hand, he lit the cigarette in a quick, easy motion.

'What's the matter?' he asked, still smiling through a dissipating cloud of smoke.

'Don't you trust me?'

In many ways this is the best and worst of Dave. He has admitted in private conversation to me that it's entirely possible - that the way the final third sits is consistent with Dave having no real plan and having to come up with it as he went along, to a degree.

btw Andrew, Dave turned the Cerebus copyright over to the readers in #300 so this is free for reproduction.

aldo_cowpat (aldo_cowpat), Thursday, 1 July 2004 19:07 (sixteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...
Summary of Cerebus: Dave Sim, technical genius and complete raving loon, tells lots of very funny jokes, produces one of the best graphic novels ever (Jaka's Story), then disappears up own arse.

Wooden, Sunday, 25 July 2004 11:14 (sixteen years ago) link

Although I really liked 'Minds' as well.

Wooden, Monday, 26 July 2004 02:18 (sixteen years ago) link

one year passes...
How much of a plan did Dave have at various times, Aldo? (or rather - how much of a plan did you think he had?)

Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 17 January 2006 12:17 (fourteen years ago) link

He claimed to me in *cough* a fax interview last year that he'd *always* planned it to run like this -- even the dopey meta stuff at the end of Mothers and Daughters (I asked him if he minded that Grant Morrison beat him to the punch, and he was like, "yeah, Morrison stole it from Chuck Jones anyway, so boo."). Incidentally, I think introducing himself as a character was the biggest mistake of the series, and probably heralds the start of the "I'll just make this shit up as I go along, plot resolutions are for voids" era of Cerebus -- altho' as Aldo sez, Guys is still quite fun.

Chuck_Tatum (Chuck_Tatum), Tuesday, 17 January 2006 12:58 (fourteen years ago) link

The meeting himself thing is one of the bits that I honestly think he DID plan all along, because it's exactly the kind of thing that a 1979 semi-underground comix guy on acid would come up with.

Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 17 January 2006 13:03 (fourteen years ago) link

Yeah -- to clarify, he told me he'd always (since High Society or abouts) planned to introduce himself as a characer. But after that is, I think, obviously much more extemporised.

Chuck_Tatum (Chuck_Tatum), Tuesday, 17 January 2006 13:11 (fourteen years ago) link

I think the version as it appears in Reads is very, very close to the truth. I think Dave did decide it would be 200 issues, and plotted for that. But, at some point not long before #200 (probably just before he started writing all the ice planet stuff in Minds), he changed his mind back.

"Heheh. Watta maroon." Dave is talking about Cerebus. Or is he? Dave is talking about us. It's our desire to know what happens next that brings Cerebus back to the bar. It's us that choose for him not to die.

This accounts for the jarring jump in story (mainly because there are no outstanding plotlines - everything that needs tying up, has been), and almost retreading of previous work. Old characters are reintroduced, sometimes (as in Mick 'n' Keef) for no real overall plot advancement,and the level of injokery (Seth, Eddie Campbell, Marc Hempel) is possibly even higher. Having said that, by the time Guys is over, the final books are at least roughly plotted - there are pieces very early in Rick's Story that don't pay off till Latter Days, for example.

Despite all this, the Jaka from the later books is entirely consistent with the earlier Jaka, and re-reading Jaka's Story in light of what came later if Dave planned it all from the beginning it's hard to see how it ever became hailed as a feminist epic (it actually reads in exactly the same way as some of the later post-breakdown light/void books).

There are some good essays out there on which chunks you can break the 300 issue plot into (personally, I favour the interpretation which says it's the same 100 issue story told 3 times but with variances in the main themes. 1-100 - Cerebus is manipulated in a male-dominated society, the reader is externalised and voyeuristic, an observer. 101-200 - the transition: Cerebus is manipulated as much as he manipulates others in a society fighting a gender war, the reader is a companion and participatory. 201-300 - Cerebus is stuck trying to manipulate other people to win minor victories in a female-dominated society, the reader is empathic and is Cerebus.), I recommend a good one I read which says the split is in fact at 150, and there's a 'light' half and a 'void' half. Also, Dave's answers to questions on individual books on the Cerebus newsgroup show that there were some constructs he introduced very early on that have very real and far-reaching consequences for much, much later (it can be argued, of course, that this is not necessarily inconsistent with plans for finishing at 200).

aldo_cowpat (aldo_cowpat), Tuesday, 17 January 2006 13:12 (fourteen years ago) link

I wonder how he would have "killed him off" at 200.

some constructs he introduced very early on that have very real and far-reaching consequences for much, much later

what are these, btw, for the benefit of someone who skimmed the later stuff?

also: acc. to dave, it's definitely hell (I think).

Chuck_Tatum (Chuck_Tatum), Tuesday, 17 January 2006 13:29 (fourteen years ago) link

My initial interperatation was that it was heaven, and Cerebus' resistance was a last example of his self-destructive 'not knowing what's good for him' nature - just like the little grey bastard to be dragged kicking and screaming to his own salvation. Dave Sim knows better than me, however.

chap who would dare to work for the man (chap), Tuesday, 17 January 2006 13:38 (fourteen years ago) link

At the time, Dave said he thought he'd "failed" if readers thought the ending was open to interpretation -- his point being that if Julius and Astoria, etc, were there, then it probably wasn't heaven.

Personally, I think it works better if it's left open to interpretation, but obv it's hard to stop Dave overexplaining about things.

Chuck_Tatum (Chuck_Tatum), Tuesday, 17 January 2006 13:47 (fourteen years ago) link

Dave has said that Cerebus realises it's not Heaven as soon he realises Rick isn't there, because Rick is the one person he knows would be in Heaven. We do see him in the bastardisation of a Holy Trinity (but with Woman (Jaka), Man [who turns out to be girly-boy] (Ham) and Girly-boy [who turns out to be man] (Rick), but Cerebus may be hallucinating by this point.

To cover some earlier points:

I suspect at 200 Cerebus would just have died on the ice planet. alone, unloved and unmourned.

As to some of the stuff which is introduced very early - I think the most obvious one is in issue #2, where Cerebus goes after the "Eye of Terim" which is protected by a succubus. And what do succubi do? They are the 'void' into which the souls of the male warriors are sucked.

Q1 continued: Also, the female succubus Khem is hiding out in "The Eye of Terim." Terim, of course, is later depicted as the female deity. Was the later use of the name Terim deliberately linked to the earlier use?

DAVE: I can't say with 100% certainty that that was the case. As I recall, the two different spellings of Terim and Tarim were accidental at first, in the same was that I had trouble bearing in mind that Cerebus was supposed to refer to himself in the third person and would later cover for it by saying that he referred to himself as "I" when he had been around the civilized areas too long. I was covering for not remembering how to spell Tarim by making it the masculine version of the deity's name.

Q1 continued: Similarly, is the demon Female (Void) sucking the souls out of the Male warriors, who at the end when released are depicted as Lights flying off into the night an intentional direct parallel to the similar description of the Void and Light that you presented in i186?

DAVE: I went back and reread the section and it seems clear to me in retrospect that this was me unconsciously documenting what would have been, at the time, my overwhelming and all-encompassing connection to the female half of reality which resulted from my first non-familial exposure to it as a result of being in my first boyfriend/girlfriend relationship for about a year by this time.

Certainly all of the central YHWHist female realities are there: the living thing in the middle of the earth that's a bright light, the rarest jewel, blah, blah, blah. And it certainly anticipates the ultimate conclusions I came to about the devouring, ensnaring nature of the light as presented in i's289/290 (is that the plural form?) about which, in my view, men would do well to remain always and centrally vigilant if they intend to shilly-shally on the romantic borderlands or (God forbid) plunge joyously headlong,as I did,into the Alice in Wonderland environs of the members opposite.

[Relative to 186, I think it's safe to say that my best amended perception of Reality is that males and females are both light and void. That is, that masculinity is represented in the light by the Spirit of God which "went in unto the light" and the "true light which lighteth every man that commeth into the world" (John's Gospel). Femininity is represented in the light by the empty facade of radiance (un-true light, if you will). Masculinity is represented in the void by the fact that it is the medium in which God exists.

I mean, that's my best guess,that the void is universally conscious and aware for the most part across untold trillions of light years interrupted here and there by pinpricks of empty facade radiance and that the void also constitutes the space between atoms and molecules. It's all one awareness which allows for the literal definition of God as an omnipresent Being. He is literally everywhere around you and inside of you. Boo!

Femininity is represented in the void as a vaginal nature, desirous of things to ensnare and transform. That is, apart from the facade of radiance, with the seminal light there was, literally (to quote Dorothy Parker) "no 'there' there." One of the descriptions of goddess nature is "everything she touches she changes." Well, true enough. All the Spirit of God wanted was to have a co-equal existence with the light and we see what that's led to. YHWH the transformative tar baby. Enter at your own risk.]

It seems to me that I was telling myself that very basic story as well, even way back at issue 2. Notice that all Cerebus has to do is pick up the Eye of Tarim and walk in a straight line to the exit. The thing is there are no straight lines in the female half of reality. They are,physically, mentally and spiritually,all curves which lead nowhere. Fun house mirrors and roller coasters. I was surprised that no one picked up on the analogous usage of "The path suddenly drops and the aardvark stumbles�" segment and the same trick that Viktor Davis played on the reader in i183, where the path suddenly drops away and then comes back when he announces that Cerebus is going to end at issue 200 instead of 300.

In both case, the one unconscious and the other conscious,I was attempting to demonstrate (first to myself and then to the reader) what reality is like once you enter the opposing camp where everything is made up of curves that lead nowhere. On the way in, it all looks perfectly straightforward. That's the trick.

Of course, this is Dave's retconning in full effect, but there are some interesting examples. You can find the Q&A sessions here.

aldo_cowpat (aldo_cowpat), Tuesday, 17 January 2006 14:09 (fourteen years ago) link

God for Dave exists in empty space itself? I guess the "right" interpretation of the ending would be obvious then. Doesn't Cerebus get devoured by the light (lights, voids-- as long as it's acting "female", it's bad)? (Although this makes me think of parallels to Sim getting devoured by his own brane.)

Chris F. (servoret), Tuesday, 17 January 2006 17:53 (fourteen years ago) link

I would forgive Dave almost everything if he'd answered one of those questions "Dude, do you know how much drugs I was doing back then?"

Andrew Farrell (afarrell), Tuesday, 17 January 2006 18:18 (fourteen years ago) link

i reread up to end of melmoth lately - isn't the end of church and state the notably 'feminist' bit, with the creation myth and "just remember your second wedding"?

i really need to read the stuff i haven't, which is mostly mothers and daughters, but also, hum, lots of the rest. well.

tom west (thomp), Wednesday, 18 January 2006 04:43 (fourteen years ago) link

I've only read the first volume or two and the occasional issue I'd buy when it was still coming out. My impression was that it seemed innovative and alive in its formalistic details (particularly the lettering), but the story reminded me of those young adult fantasy Myth books (with corny dad joke titles like "Myth-education", etc.)--sort of precious and cheeky. But I've always felt like I should read the whole thing out of some misguided notion of responsibility. What do you think?

kenchen, Wednesday, 18 January 2006 15:36 (fourteen years ago) link

After the first few volumes, anything but "precious and cheeky." Favorite book is Church & State II for its incredible energy and formal innovation, but in some respects it keeps getting better as it goes along. Despite the totally unreadable parts of the last two volumes and ongoing curdling of tone. I wrote a very long article in The Believer last year about wrestling with Cerebus in its entirety, and dealing with the hateful-wingnut aspects of it as well as its glories...

Douglas (Douglas), Wednesday, 18 January 2006 17:13 (fourteen years ago) link

Despite the totally unreadable parts of the last two volumes

Urgh, yeah. I finally tried to start following the monthly around the time he was doing the "Chasing YHWH" bit and it was an impossible task. Three months worth of text pieces detailing Dave's highly idiosyncratic, not to say schizoid, reinterpretation of the Bible? Yuck.

Did you flag a bit in carrying out your Cerebus project, tom?

Chris F. (servoret), Thursday, 19 January 2006 00:48 (fourteen years ago) link

Is there a link anywheres outside The Believer to yr article, Douglas?

Chuck_Tatum (Chuck_Tatum), Thursday, 19 January 2006 01:05 (fourteen years ago) link

Three months worth of text pieces detailing Dave's highly idiosyncratic, not to say schizoid, reinterpretation of the Bible?

Which he believes is the only correct interperatation that has ever been made. And the only reason its not front page news around the world is because of those nasty women and gays keeping it supressed. You really have to laugh. (It's the Torah, BTW)

I would be interested to read that article too.

chap who would dare to work for the man (chap), Thursday, 19 January 2006 01:16 (fourteen years ago) link

He's quite sane-seeming in person. I mean, he's a big, weird nerd, but I've seen worse in the Michael Turner "Drawing Babes" class at the comiccon.

Chuck_Tatum (Chuck_Tatum), Thursday, 19 January 2006 01:22 (fourteen years ago) link

Laura really needs to read Cerebus. At least some of it.

Special Agent Gene Krupa (orion), Thursday, 19 January 2006 01:29 (fourteen years ago) link

Having said that the first two thirds of Latter Days are pretty good. There's some really funny stuff in there, and some plot actually happens.

chap who would dare to work for the man (chap), Thursday, 19 January 2006 01:33 (fourteen years ago) link

I've never been sure if Cerebus farts after he falls off his bed and dies. There are worlds in a single Dave Sim sound effect.

Chuck_Tatum (Chuck_Tatum), Thursday, 19 January 2006 01:55 (fourteen years ago) link

Chris (F) - i got to the point where i'd have to buy more of'em and i didn't have any money to buy'em with, is what happened

tom west (thomp), Thursday, 19 January 2006 02:22 (fourteen years ago) link

Unfortunately I don't have a plaintext version of the article in its final form--I kept tinkering with it after I started getting proofs in PDF. But I emailed a PDF to both Joe and Chuck; anyone who wants one can email me.

(And yes, Cerebus farts right before he hits the ground. About 60 pages earlier he'd prayed to God for one good fart. Which is why he thinks "Oh! Thank you God" as he expires...)

Douglas (Douglas), Thursday, 19 January 2006 04:24 (fourteen years ago) link

does anyone know what dave sim's relationship with psychedelic drugs is/was?

Special Agent Gene Krupa (orion), Thursday, 19 January 2006 05:16 (fourteen years ago) link

also, douglas, if you can send me a pdf of your article i'd be grateful. i've been corresponding with my grandfather about comics as art (as he is someone who remembers them as kids today regard cartoons.) i'd like to forward it to him; i remember reading it at the barnes & noble where I worked when that issue came out and I was like "oh, cerebus, how tempted I am to go buy the next volume of you..." but then whenever I would hold the trades in my hand at forbidden planet it was just like "$25??? are youfukin kidding???!" i dunno..that's really not that much money, i guess. but it's almost always in conjunction with like another $10-$15 worth of comics. fuckinay.

Special Agent Gene Krupa (orion), Thursday, 19 January 2006 05:43 (fourteen years ago) link

Sim liked acid when he was in his early 20s, stopped using after a bad trip that led to his wife and mother having him sectioned (he now thinks that this was because he was speaking THE TRUTH and they couldn't handle it, but happily agrees with the hospital psychiatrist's diagnosis of him as schizophrenic ["borderline schizophrenic" at the time, but he assumes that the condition didn't lessen afterwards, as he never did anything about it]). Had a coke/party lifestyle in the '80s, because it was the '80s. Smoked weed from sun-up to sundown from his teens to the '90s, when he started periodically attempting to give up, resulting in him cutting down drastically. Doesn't even drink alcohol in the 21st century.

It's definitely worth checking out Douglas' article in the original, because you get a Charles Burns Cerebus on the cover and a Tony Millionaire spot illo with the article! That said, I wouldn't mind the PDF too, 'cos I didn't want to pay $24 for an 80-page magazine and read it in a bookshop...

kit brash (kit brash), Thursday, 19 January 2006 07:24 (fourteen years ago) link

(and so I read it in...)

kit brash (kit brash), Thursday, 19 January 2006 09:50 (fourteen years ago) link

Douglas, that's a truly excellent article - it's helped me sort out my own rather muddled feelings about the series.

I'd love someone to write a book-length analysis of Cerebus one day, but I wouldn't envy the fucker.

chap who would dare to no longer work for the man (chap), Thursday, 19 January 2006 16:03 (fourteen years ago) link

i hope they bill it as the only correct interperatation that has ever been made

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 19 January 2006 16:21 (fourteen years ago) link

Arrghh, my appalling spelling comes back to haunt me.

chap who would dare to no longer work for the man (chap), Thursday, 19 January 2006 16:42 (fourteen years ago) link

Oh pooh, that's not a real email. My normal one is, er, paulisaacs at gmail, if anyone would like to e-mail me! (Much appreciated. I usually buy the Beleiever but they don't sell it in the UK!)

Chuck_Tatum (Chuck_Tatum), Thursday, 19 January 2006 21:16 (fourteen years ago) link

seven months pass...
Has anyone else read this 60,000 word monster yet?

It's rather solipsistic and repetetive, but I don't know how one could write about Cerebus in any depth without this being the case. Anyway, I found it interesting.

chap who would dare to start Raaatpackin (chap), Saturday, 26 August 2006 01:28 (fourteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Can someone do me a favour and point me to a good - ideally fairly small (like 200-250 pixels max either way) pic of Prince Mick and Prince Keef from Cerebus - my copies of Church and State are in France so I can't scan it. I need it to illustrate a blog post tomorrow (attentive FT readers will be able to work out which).

Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 19 September 2006 19:02 (fourteen years ago) link

my copies of Church and State are in France

How chi-chi!

David R. (popshots75`), Tuesday, 19 September 2006 19:13 (fourteen years ago) link

Richard Jones (scarne), Wednesday, 20 September 2006 08:00 (fourteen years ago) link

EXCELLENT. Thankyou.

Tom (Groke), Wednesday, 20 September 2006 08:13 (fourteen years ago) link

three years pass...

I have read huge chunks of this but have some gaps (haven't read anything after Rick's Story, for ex.) I have two random questions:

1) does Astoria ever appear again post-Minds? At the end of the four-way dialogue between Suenteus Po, Cerebus, Cirin, and herself, does she just leave and exit the narrative altogether?
2) when Cerebus returns to Estarcion after Minds, how come the Cirinists don't just kill him. Given how much trouble Cerebus caused her, I don't get why Cirin would just let him live out his days.

maybe I should just read Minds...

hoth as fuck (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 12 November 2009 18:30 (ten years ago) link

i think the answer to 2) is that she's terrified of him.

because she looks awesome, like in the face (forksclovetofu), Thursday, 12 November 2009 18:36 (ten years ago) link

1) Astoria's last appearance is in Reads, except for in hallucinations and possibly flashbacks.

You should check out Latter Days, the first two thirds are surprisingly good fun for late period Cerebus, and you don't really have to have read the generally interminable stuff between it and guys to understand it. The last third of the book is fucking batshit and really boring, natch.

I am flesh and blood. You are software and circuitry. (chap), Thursday, 12 November 2009 22:46 (ten years ago) link

good to know... so far I've avoided Reads and I'm conflicted about powering through the entire series, even though I seem to return to the ones I like the most (High Society/Church & State/Guys/Rick's Story) on a regular basis (like, once every couple years). this series is really kinda a tragedy, could've been so much bigger/better...

btw, I watched about 45 minutes of Cerebus TV yesterday (I don't know how much content he has runs in a continuous loop), and my only reaction is o_O

WmC, Friday, 13 November 2009 20:40 (ten years ago) link

You're probably right. My recollection was that they thought they could take a break - something about Ger discovering yachting as well? - and pretty soon realised they had to work like crazy the whole time they were away That Hawaii shot looks like a hotel and I'm sure I remember photos of a cabana. But my memory isn't what it was and I can digging out floppies.

Mud... jam... failure (aldo), Saturday, 1 August 2020 23:04 (two months ago) link

After spending five years on Church & State, Sim and Gerhard took a few weeks off. Sim decided they would do a double issue between Church & State and Jaka's Story, as they would only have to do one front and back cover, and one letters page.[18]

visiting, Saturday, 1 August 2020 23:09 (two months ago) link

That was for a breather, yeah - but they were shipping late for months at one stage.

(The Big Bang double-issue at 289/290 was also so Sim could catch up when Gerhard had quit both drawing and his part of the business paperwork - it's the only solo issue after #64.)

Steppin' RZA (sic), Saturday, 1 August 2020 23:19 (two months ago) link

Absolutely nothing anyone has said in this thread has made this book sound remotely appealing.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Sunday, 2 August 2020 00:41 (two months ago) link

i dont really think thats what theyre going for

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Sunday, 2 August 2020 00:49 (two months ago) link

why its good: sim and gerhard had, between them, an ability to present action, conversation, and world on the page unmatched in comics

why its bad: see above

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Sunday, 2 August 2020 00:56 (two months ago) link

it's a conan pastiche where the lead character is an aardvark and then, for a decade or two, it's about how women eat your brains
simple as that

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Sunday, 2 August 2020 01:36 (two months ago) link

Am nearly certain the Honlulu pic was from issue 98, first issue of Cerebus I ever bought.

ringworm, Sunday, 2 August 2020 06:49 (two months ago) link

And the editorial was about quitting smoking weed.

ringworm, Sunday, 2 August 2020 06:51 (two months ago) link

Absolutely nothing anyone has said in this thread has made this book sound remotely appealing.

― Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison)

I'm very attached to it, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone without a mountain of caveats.

chap, Sunday, 2 August 2020 12:18 (two months ago) link

Wait: I thought Cerebus did end in one sense in #200, insofar as it spelled the end of the "grand narrative" and all the conspiracies and mysteries and subplots. I could've sworn Sim said something to this effect in response to a letter writer's question: don't expect any answers to lingering questions like why did Elrod just pop out of existence etc., that part of the story is over.

While I don't have the fortitude to re-read the thing, I remember loving Minds: replaying the tragedy of Walking on the Moon as farce, the Duck Amuck homage, the audacity of ending the entire thing with a coming attraction for the *next* installment. Plus the whole Cerebus talking to Sim thing felt like a callback to that oh-so-80s trend of having characters talk back to/meet their creators; seriously it was really a thing back then.

gjoon1, Friday, 7 August 2020 18:26 (two months ago) link

Following his recent tantrum about how not enough people are supporting him online or financially so he's not going to bother finishing his graphic novel, or bother paying the guy that's been drawing it on spec for years, Dave is now vlogging about how he's spending hundreds of dollars on CGC-slabbed comics "for the Cerebus Archive" (his house, which his will states is to become a research museum after his death).

He takes a seven-minute video to communicate the information that he recently bought Thor #337, because he reads out Beta Ray Bill's wikipedia over a video of the slabbed comic sitting immobile on a table, while commenting "I did not know that either" after each fact.

Steppin' RZA (sic), Sunday, 9 August 2020 00:05 (two months ago) link

Someone should burn that house down.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Monday, 10 August 2020 00:42 (two months ago) link

what does "slabbed" mean

J Edgar Noothgrush (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Monday, 10 August 2020 01:19 (two months ago) link

Slabbed comic books are books that have been “professionally graded” by one of the three grading companies. After being graded, they are encapsulated in an airtight plastic holder.

visiting, Monday, 10 August 2020 01:53 (two months ago) link

NB to JCLC: they are sealed in a hard plastic case that cannot be opened. This ostensibly makes them more valuable than comics which can be read.

Steppin' RZA (sic), Monday, 10 August 2020 02:19 (two months ago) link

it's genuinely astounding that Diamond are still accepting his solicitations

erratic wolf angular guitarist (sic), Sunday, 23 August 2020 10:16 (two months ago) link

Seems ugly and unhinged even by late Sim standards.

they are sealed in a hard plastic case that cannot be opened.

I didn't realise the cases cannot be opened (presumably you could smash the case but that might well reduce yr grade a bit...). That's sick, sic

Ward Fowler, Sunday, 23 August 2020 10:33 (two months ago) link

thanks for the explication sic!

all this stuff is sort of the most destroys-your-innocence stuff for me because when I was super-into comics (not by modern standards, but the standards of '78-ish), none of this was anywhere near my radar. I was a kid, we read Marvel books and they were great stories, we bought back issues and of course preferred comics in good condition but me & the friend with whom I obsessed over titles would have laughed for days at the idea of preserving a comic in a hard case you can't open & if you'd told us "this will be something people take super seriously in the future",...well we just would have laughed some more

J Edgar Noothgrush (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Sunday, 23 August 2020 11:07 (two months ago) link

I accept the need for some kind of preservation/protection for cheaply manufactured paper products that are 50+ years old, increasingly expensive and hard to find in high grade condition, and that if you really do fancy reading the first Superman story you're not going to be cracking open your original copy of Action Comics #1 to do so. But sealing them up forever turns them into expensive fetish objects only, which is always a shame.

Ward Fowler, Sunday, 23 August 2020 11:38 (two months ago) link

I always wanted to keep my comics in good enough condition that my (theoretical, eventual) kid could read them, but I didn't want to be obsessive about it, so I just chucked them all in a longboxes, unprotected, and left them in a cupboard in my parents' house for several decades.

Now I actually do have a kid, I'm like, do I **actually** want my daughter to read Give Me Liberty, or Cerebus, Justice League Antartica, or my complete set of yellowed Dan Jurgens Triangle-era Superman issues, when she could just read Bone or Nimona instead?

(Am keeping my Doom Patrols and Sandmans though.)

Chuck_Tatum, Sunday, 23 August 2020 13:44 (two months ago) link

slabbing reduces comics to the objet d'art that's necessary for them to be taken seriously as economically viable collectible art; otherwise they're mass produced publications and only generate meaningful worth in bulk.
^ i know COVID didn't help but has this just been hanging out for the past five months without a serious offer?

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Sunday, 23 August 2020 15:25 (two months ago) link

COVID could be a big part of it - there aren't likely to be many buyers wealthy and interested in London, and nobody else can go get the collection

Then again, the catalogue has been removed so maybe it did sell

erratic wolf angular guitarist (sic), Sunday, 23 August 2020 20:06 (two months ago) link

hm, you may be right!

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Sunday, 23 August 2020 20:31 (two months ago) link

Even without covid, who would want to touch something Ian Levine had touched?

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Monday, 24 August 2020 00:37 (two months ago) link

i know this guy by general reputation as a collector and a producer; what has he done that makes his touch poisonous?

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Monday, 24 August 2020 14:31 (two months ago) link

You might have heard of a television show called Doctor Who.

Mud... jam... failure (aldo), Monday, 24 August 2020 15:30 (two months ago) link

i mean, if we're gonna pillory everyone who has done bad work on Doctor Who...

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Monday, 24 August 2020 15:51 (two months ago) link

Levine used to introduce teenage boys whom he met in his capacity as a DJ at Heaven to the floor manager of Dr Who, so that the latter and his partner (the producer of Dr Who) could go "two up you" on them, in exchange for Levine getting tapes of the first assembly edits of Dr Who episodes.

He tells this story in the producer's biography as an example of the terrible moral character of the producer.

erratic wolf angular guitarist (sic), Monday, 24 August 2020 17:10 (two months ago) link

i am having a hard time parsing that but i also really don't want to think about what it means either

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Monday, 24 August 2020 17:38 (two months ago) link

That sort of story is also how the badge for mathematical excellence got its wearer.

Love & Monsters from the modern Who era is a very, very thinly veiled attack on gatekeeping of fandom and the 'right' way to like something featuring a very, very thinly veiled unofficial continuity adviser.

Mud... jam... failure (aldo), Monday, 24 August 2020 18:13 (two months ago) link

I believe the young man in question has denied that he was cast via a couch, and as he already worked at the BBC as a tea-boy, Levine probably didn't make the introduction, but we've veered quite a distance from summarising Cerebus.

erratic wolf angular guitarist (sic), Monday, 24 August 2020 18:38 (two months ago) link

Well he's not going to admit it is he. Much like the stories about a certain someone pegging out while pegging a fan and dressed in their costume, it's been too many times round the world for far too long to go away.

But yes, we should get back to Cerebus.

Mud... jam... failure (aldo), Monday, 24 August 2020 19:29 (two months ago) link

One comes from known events, direct reportage, had witnesses in the immediate aftermath, and has never been denied by the surviving participant. The other is the sort of thing that both jealous and homophobic straight fans and jealous or catty gay fans would come up by themselves to explain the casting of a notably ungifted cutiepie, whether there were any degree of validity.

(For the passersby, a male star of Dr Who died underneath a female fan in a convention hotel room; as far as I know, no female star has ever expired from a heart attack while banging a male fan with a strap-on.)

erratic wolf angular guitarist (sic), Monday, 24 August 2020 19:53 (two months ago) link

jeeeez, i'm sorry i asked

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Monday, 24 August 2020 19:55 (two months ago) link

(I know, I was too fond of the pegging usage for my own readability.)

Mud... jam... failure (aldo), Monday, 24 August 2020 20:23 (two months ago) link

Who was the one who died? I don't know this story.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 02:37 (two months ago) link

god forbid sic ever communicate anything without implying special knowledge that only sic knows

sound of scampo talk to me (El Tomboto), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 02:40 (two months ago) link

Much like the stories about a certain someone pegging out while pegging a fan and dressed in their costume, it's been too many times round the world for far too long to go away.

But yes, we should get back to Cerebus.

― Mud... jam... failure (sic, not aldo), Tuesday, August 25, 2020 5:29 AM (yesterday)

Checks out.

erratic wolf angular guitarist (sic), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 03:17 (two months ago) link


Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 07:26 (two months ago) link

The one who looks like Duke Leonardi

erratic wolf angular guitarist (sic), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 08:10 (two months ago) link

Great (and accurate) recovery to topic.

Mud... jam... failure (aldo), Wednesday, 26 August 2020 12:23 (two months ago) link

one month passes...

So I read Guys and Rick's Story probably about the last time I posted to the thread and am just about to start Going Home (having finally finished the 'to read' piles of other stuff) so figured I'd best write them up.

Inexplicably, and freed from the constraints of a narrative direction (if we stick to 'only really 200 issues' theory), layout and lettering kick into a whole new gear and this is where Dave is elevated to GOAT. We get parodies of real people from comics and literature, the fan-service return of some minor characters, but most importantly for maybe the first time we find out some stuff about Cerebus himself.

How the hermaphroditism manifests in the present is demonstrated, with Cerebus' desire to surround himself with manly men shown as part of his unresolved hormonal churn. His self-sabotaging comes to the fore, and it's questionable whether he is only involved with women because he feels society demands he be.

As we will see later, Rick's Story is actually him giving Cerebus a heartfelt belief system and succeeding where Cirin failed.

I'm almost sure you could read these - Guys at least - in isolation and, assuming you knew nothing of Dave Sim The Evil Misogynist, have a good time.

Now onto the two big literary character parodies.

pedantly admonishment (aldo), Thursday, 22 October 2020 13:18 (six days ago) link

Due to the as-inexplicable-as-any-other-Sim-strategy policy of preparing the monthly Cerebus issues a year in advance, his daily strips of a few months ago have now found their way into the print publishing schedule. Make sure to reserve the following five timely issues at your local store now, while the satire is still warm!






Un-fooled and placid (sic), Saturday, 24 October 2020 00:42 (four days ago) link

In other Cerebus news, there's a Kickstarter currently running for a new edition of Spawn #10, with Sim redrawing all the Cerebus figures throughout, and redrawing the entire pages for the scenes where Spawn and Cerebus wander around Sim's haunts in downtown Kitchener.

Elsewhere, there's a limit of 25 per customer on these commemorative Cerebus Trump vs Biden facemasks:

Un-fooled and placid (sic), Saturday, 24 October 2020 00:58 (four days ago) link

The Kickstarter offers the opportunity to add copies of the original Spawn #10 for only $15. That's the same Spawn #10 there are multiple copies of on eBay for $5.

pedantly admonishment (aldo), Saturday, 24 October 2020 09:45 (four days ago) link

Going Home is not necessarily the right book for reading in lockdown. I overheard a pub conversation a couple of months ago and one of the pair was asking the other how their relationship was going since their girlfriend had only moved in to bubble because of COVID. It then led to a quite interesting observation about how COVID was making or breaking relationships as couples were having to spend more time with each other than they ever might have expected to before retirement.

And that's what the first part of this is about. Cerebus and Jaka have to spend every waking second together , and it's not really what they thought it would be. Aided by booze and company the evenings are tolerable but the rest is about fighting your thoughts and second guessing feelings having nothing but time to think about them. What's not completely clear is whether this Jaka - before FStop and Ham - ever actually intended going to Sands Creek. It's a slow painful journey, but a well-observed one for all Sim's other faults.

The extended Fitzgerald section seems like an indulgence of sorts, but reading it in conjunction with Dave's notes (which he claims Alan Moore made him do, by obscure means) is accidentally illuminating. While explaining how women are too stupid to understand literary techniques and unable to think of things outside their own experience, it's not out of the question that Sim sees himself as the successor to Fitzgerald and reuses his 'Word, word or word ' motif to celebrate - in fact he draws direct parallels by attributing innovations in literature and comics to themselves.

(Actually Dave's notes are a car crash start to finish, with diatribes about homosexualists and how men are only attracted to 17/18 year old girls even if they don't like them, and how this hormonal/emotional reaction is better than women's reactions which are only based on hormones and emotions.)

More next time on my sudden revelation about the three lengthy author appropriation sections.

pedantly admonishment (aldo), Monday, 26 October 2020 15:30 (two days ago) link

reading the alex raymond book now; it's doused in batshit but he's also making great points about brush styles

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Monday, 26 October 2020 16:02 (two days ago) link

a well-observed one for all Sim's other faults.

Sim is (was?) often an extremely keen observer of the minutiae of human behaviour, for all his other faults.

chap, Monday, 26 October 2020 16:32 (two days ago) link

Definitely was.

Un-fooled and placid (sic), Monday, 26 October 2020 16:52 (two days ago) link

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