This is the thread where I try and summarise Cerebus

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The reason I wanted to separate out The Last Day is that it's actually if not good, then at least worth your while.

Over 50 years from when we last checked in, Cerebus is now at the end of times. The Sanctuary is a prison as those who oppose him have taken over again, by taking his (and Rick's and Moshe's) own words and reinterpreting them to their own ends. Everything is painful, and he can't do anything that gives him any pleasure without suffering afterwards. His memory is shot and death is the only release.

Cerebus' son arrives and is a betrayal of all Cerebus holds true. He has aligned with his mother and formed an incestuous union alongside a revived Cirin to perform genetic experiments - they've created a human/lion hybrid which they intend to make giant - and conquer the world.

Cerebus farts and dies, and seeing all his friends is dragged off into the light. Alone, unmourned and unloved.

Dave's final physical model of Cerebus is a little too cartoony rather than authentically aged, and the staging and backgrounds are very static, but through a combination of visual effects, lettering and text the pain, repetition and excruciatingly slow passage of time at that age are convincingly and realistically portrayed. He also gets to redraw a number of old characters and ages of Cerebus which you'd think brought him pleasure (but doesn't seem to have).

Dave also manages one last great insight/truism - Sheshep, drunk on power, pictures himself taking over only for Cerebus to point out the folly of his argument: "you're not inside it, are you? Can you feel your hands holding you up?" (Yes, this is him referring to his own Torah commentaries here but it's a really good sequence nonetheless.)

Cerebus As Dave is in full effect. Isolated from the real world, which is as disgusted with him as he is in it, and with only a go-between to pass on second hand conversations. His closest allies have betrayed him and he is left alone with just God to talk to. His temple of his past achievements is meaningless to any but him and, having shown his enemies exactly how he does it he has been rendered completely impotent. All that remains is to surrender to God and await the sweet release of death that he might become closer to Him.

In lots of ways this might even be the best book of the final third in that it has a purpose and plot, and some actual (not that funny but take what you can get) jokes.

The(e) End(e)

pedantly admonishment (aldo), Sunday, 22 November 2020 13:28 (six months ago) link

oh man iirc the human / lion hybrid stuff came with sleevenotes by Dave explaining that this was literally what scientists were up to now IRL and this is why we can't trust doctors, or something

huge rant (sic), Sunday, 22 November 2020 13:36 (six months ago) link

Except it's not because of Dave's annotations which, again, I wanted to keep separate from the main book.

They're mainly just Dave explaining why he thought numerous jokes were much funnier than anyone else did, and why, but it's genuinely fascinating to hear how much of the final artwork is down to choices made because of the disintegration of his relationship with Ger and the deal he made to get him to finish. And of course there are some final Dave Doozies.

  • The story of the old woman with gangrene is the real life version of events that happened to his mother as he told in the annotations to 289/290 but it wasn't humiliating enough there so he put it in the main body instead.
  • His mother tried to curse him with a magic birthday card which was disrupted/destroyed by Dave's personal altar
  • The United Nations was doomed to failure because it let people who weren't America join
  • Dave admits statuary rape and says that was why he became celibate. He did it because all the Marxist-feminists are paedophiles.
  • Believing abortion is ok inevitably leads to believing incest is admirable.
  • France is a woman and the UK is a man. The EU is a Marxist-feminist scam to ensnare the UK which it must get out of. SIM INVENTS BREXIT
The most disappointing is the need to explain the light sequence at the end and it's because of a bad art choice. First Dave explains that Cerebus sees all his friends which makes it clear it's Hell and not Heaven because (as he says at length in 289/290 only 2% of souls can ever make it to Heaven so it doesn't seem very likely that all Cerebus' friends could have made it into that 2%. Secondly, and more key, is that the figure everyone thinks is Rick is actually Ham and Rick isn't there. He made this more explicit somewhere else (AMOC?) by saying Rick is the one person he knows that definitely would have made it to Heaven (ineffability obviously being lost on Dave since he now has a direct line to God) and since he isn't there it can't be Heaven. The fact you might have thought it was Rick shows feminist tendencies and you should resign yourself to Hell.

Dave shuts up, finally. Goodbye goodwill.

pedantly admonishment (aldo), Sunday, 22 November 2020 13:51 (six months ago) link

the human / lion hybrid stuff came with sleevenotes by Dave explaining that this was literally what scientists were up to now IRL

Yeah this is one of the other things which is an obvious consequence of agreeing with abortion and this is what Marxist-feminists and scientists are conspiring to do irl.

Also all the hybrids we see in Egyptian art were actually real because they were a degenerate society and something something Alan Moore.

pedantly admonishment (aldo), Sunday, 22 November 2020 13:56 (six months ago) link

I don't know if it's worse that I remembered part of it at all, or forgot that Ancient Egypt fell because their DNA scientists got too good at making giant living sphinxes and Anubisesses.

huge rant (sic), Sunday, 22 November 2020 14:08 (six months ago) link

We do see him in the bastardisation of a Holy Trinity

Haha the Marxist-feminists got to me fourteen years ago near the top of this thread.

pedantly admonishment (aldo), Sunday, 22 November 2020 14:27 (six months ago) link

I want to end on a positive note.

Cerebus 1-300 is a masterpiece of single-minded exploration of a character's life. It is at times hilarious, moving and frightening and contains some excellent cartooning and arguably the greatest lettering in the history of comics. I genuinely commend it to everyone to borrow and read.

Just don't touch any of the bits that are text.

pedantly admonishment (aldo), Sunday, 22 November 2020 14:33 (six months ago) link

I remember some of the text parts in Jaka's Story being good?

Anyway, thanks for doing that Aldo, I enjoyed your analysis. Overall it's probably made me less keen for a re-read of Cerebus - but enforced my feeling that there's a great book waiting to be written one day with Sim/Cerebus as its subject.

chap, Sunday, 22 November 2020 14:42 (six months ago) link

Sounds like this is a whole hell of a something or other

is right unfortunately (silby), Sunday, 22 November 2020 17:10 (six months ago) link

i think a comics-only re-read of Cerebus would be reasonably painless but there is zero (0) chance i will ever read Sim's long-form copy ever again.

the serious avant-garde universalist right now (forksclovetofu), Monday, 23 November 2020 15:28 (six months ago) link

I will never read this terrible comic, if only to deprive Sim of money.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Tuesday, 24 November 2020 00:01 (six months ago) link

Seeing the recent Dave Sim "humorous" covers make me think he needs to be beaten with a metal bar.

you can't argue with this level of comedy

huge rant (sic), Friday, 27 November 2020 08:20 (six months ago) link

I can't really begin to parse that.

chap, Friday, 27 November 2020 09:41 (six months ago) link

I think it got discussed further up but once you relate it back to the source image it just gets (unbelievably) worse.

pedantly admonishment (aldo), Friday, 27 November 2020 10:08 (six months ago) link

try parsing this one: per Dave's weekly Bible commentary, the droughts and fires in California are the God's punishment for the malignant and rebellious free will choices made by the citizens there (Dave does not explain why God is madder at the conservative inhabitants of Northern California than the fornicators and homosexualists of West Hollywood), but God's wrath cannot impact upon his female rival YHWH because dirt and stone and rocks and sand are the embodiment of the vagina. In conclusion, this is why John The Baptist had a thin neck.

huge rant (sic), Friday, 27 November 2020 10:24 (six months ago) link

He explains (or "explains" or Explains) the lack of vegetation associated with YHWH somewhere in the Torah commentary. Something to do with YHWH not actually being able to create (because of her inferior female brane) but just make limited copies of God's ideas and since her useless female brane is filled with making cows (which are fruit, remember) she can't remember to make plants in many places except the Garden.

You can cure this by shouting at the ground, telling it to listen to you and grow plants, alongside the occasional beating with a belt to let it know who's boss.

pedantly admonishment (aldo), Friday, 27 November 2020 10:32 (six months ago) link

I can't remember if that last is an actual thing or just a joke about dirt and sand being female, but I do remember that his rule about beating women was that it = wrong if you used a rod thicker than your thumb. So a belt would be right out, probably.

huge rant (sic), Friday, 27 November 2020 10:46 (six months ago) link

also I assume Sim has never been to a desert nor to a working farm nor to a local economy impacted by drought, and his cartoonist instinct is sketching the most basic Ernie Bushmiller version of dry weather for him: three rocks of different sizes, and... dirt? that's something that's outside, right?

huge rant (sic), Friday, 27 November 2020 10:50 (six months ago) link

It's all about scale and the earth is much bigger than a woman so a belt is fine.

If you read the pages it seems like it's just a joke but Dave says in the annotations the only joke is shouting "O YOOWHOO BELIEVE!" is a pun on "oh, you who believe" which is a frequent salutation in the Koran. What a ribtickler. Apparently it says in the Torah men are supposed to "subdue the Earth".

Since I went and got Latter Days out for that I should really check why YHWH just has dirt.

pedantly admonishment (aldo), Friday, 27 November 2020 11:19 (six months ago) link

Had an initial look, couldn't find it but realised there was no way I was doing any in-depth searching in that mess.

pedantly admonishment (aldo), Friday, 27 November 2020 11:46 (six months ago) link

I like dunking on Dave but think it’s worth distinguishing between Dave Sim (a very unfamous comic book artist with mental health issues, who struggles to even influence even his minuscule devout fan base) and, say, Scott Adams (a genuine asshole with hundreds and thousands of followers who’s been to the White House)

Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 27 November 2020 15:48 (six months ago) link

Not to whattabout

Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 27 November 2020 15:48 (six months ago) link

Dave's greatest achievements may have been hiding his Kaczynski-level issues* from the general public for so long, and maintaining his focus and getting the book to the finish line ~on schedule after his issues* became apparent.

*really would like to use the word "madness" here but not sure it's appropriate

Motoroller Scampotron (WmC), Friday, 27 November 2020 16:21 (six months ago) link

I would happily consign both sim and adams to the flames

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Sunday, 29 November 2020 11:17 (six months ago) link

This was on the outbreak! thread but it's actually a clearer summary than I can give on Dave's theory regarding God, YHWH and The Earth. (Or men, women and every idea ever, if you like)

pedantly admonishment (aldo), Thursday, 3 December 2020 23:14 (six months ago) link

three weeks pass...

Dave elaborates on the thinking behind his COVID skepticism:

Everyone else has now been forced to live the ascetic, hermitic life that Dave has lived since 2003. Dave has spent twenty years trying to live in a way that shows he does not deserve to die, or at least to die in excruciating, extended pain. However, every single person who dies in excruciating extended pain from it is suffering by God's choice, therefore it would be defying God for Dave to wear a mask or wash his hands to avoid transmitting the virus. Nowhere in the entire world has had professional sports, concerts, cinemas, restaurants, vacations or airline travel since March - meanwhile Dave has eschewed all of these things for seventeen years because "they're all feminists," not even providing his usual account that when he does fly on airlines or go on vacations, he talks to people about God. In the 12 months of studying the virus and multiple vaccines being developed, nobody has been able to identify the type of virus or observe how it behaves. When a vaccine is found (nb: no explanation of how this will happen when we are yet to even identify it as a novel coronavirus, or why the three vaccines that already exist are imaginary but only Dave can tell), society will tear itself apart because weed will be made legal and people will fornicate.

Also, anyone who stopped reading Cerebus at any point after its sales peak did so because they could tell Dave knew the immutable secrets of the universe, but wouldn't allow themselves to acknowledge it.

huge rant (sic), Sunday, 27 December 2020 06:28 (five months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Since it's about to come off pre-sale and go on to actual sale, the new slipcase edition of High Society appears not to have sold that well. An edition of 200, and only the most expensive tier (edition of 20) has sold out.

Colour me sceptical, but I'm not that sure there's going to be a sudden influx of customers when it starts getting advertised to... the people who have been getting adverts up to now. And people like, say, me would need convincing that a $60-70 book is worth $200.

It's entirely possible we're down to double digits for people willing to give Dave money.

Well *I* know who he is (aldo), Friday, 15 January 2021 20:34 (four months ago) link

I guess it’s too late for him to get on Parler

Canon in Deez (silby), Friday, 15 January 2021 20:47 (four months ago) link

can you post to Parler via fax

shivers me timber (sic), Friday, 15 January 2021 21:15 (four months ago) link

I bet you could rig that up.

Canon in Deez (silby), Friday, 15 January 2021 21:17 (four months ago) link

start up the fash machine I have thoughts to share

new variant (onimo), Friday, 15 January 2021 21:59 (four months ago) link

I can’t see reading 300 issues of cerebus being a very enticing project for a new reader, not just because of the ending but because so much of it depends on 70s/80s superhero comic parodies, which were often oblique even for me, a child who grew up in the eighties reading superhero comics. I dunno, maybe chan board types could dig it

Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 15 January 2021 23:14 (four months ago) link

I flipped through some recently and really enjoyed the dumb stories in the first volume, and found high society realllly hard work

Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 15 January 2021 23:15 (four months ago) link

reminder that Sim currently posts to his blogspot by faxing a page or two of bible commentary to a dude who then uploads it as a 600x900px jpg per page

and that he replies to comments on his 31-posts-a-month blog by having the dude fax him some of the comments once a month, then phoning dude on a landline, and reading out the comments and replying to them, as duder puts him on speaker and films the desk with his mobile phone while holding up comics and postcards Dave has sent him, then uploads (eg) a 41 minute 34 second youtube video of Dave plugging upcoming publications, followed by a 12:42 video, a 20:15 video, a 35:48 video, a 41:52 video, a 22:10 video and a 15:28 video of Dave's individual replies to comments

while I'm all for the fa slowing their own communications down to this pace, I dunno that Dave will make much impact on Parl2r even if the blog guy figures out how to cross-post Dave's thought

shivers me timber (sic), Saturday, 16 January 2021 05:41 (four months ago) link

I listened to a few minutes of the 41:52 answer while typing, which was about an anonymous female donor who sent Dave $10,000 for his work on Strange Death Of Alex Raymond

- (the book Dave abandoned five years ago when he fucked his wrist and refused to get medical advice because he lives in Canada and therefore medicine is communist) (instead he went to the US months later to pay full price for an x-ray, then posted it to the blogspot to ask his fans to diagnose him) (then had a fan draw it in Sim's style for 4.5 years before deciding a few months ago that he wasn't going to finish it or pay the guy) -

to which Dave asked what she wanted him to do to earn the $. She said "no, this is in appreciation of the work you already did." Dave's lawyer

- (who recently retired, and has signed and is selling his complete collection of Aardvark-Vanaheim comics, 1982-2014, at $10 ((+$5 shipping)) each to fund his retirement) -

advised him that this would leave him liable for something or other, so Dave has decided that he has to do 2 or 3 half-days a week or reading through his own extensive typed commentaries on old Rip Kirby strips and rating them out of three, in case his wrist ever heals and he starts cartooning again, so he'll know which ones to re-read again, to point him to Alex Raymond drawings that he should carefully copy with his God-healed hand. Perhaps he explains in the remaining 35 minutes why the taxman will care about this.

shivers me timber (sic), Saturday, 16 January 2021 05:56 (four months ago) link

At least he’s his own boss

Canon in Deez (silby), Saturday, 16 January 2021 05:58 (four months ago) link

Meanwhile, the dude who he stiffed on drawing the book is going to self-publish the completed work as a 350-page paperback, including 46 pages of his own comics about how the project fell apart after years of trying to massage Sim's ego and delusions. He believes that the best / most ironic way of marketing it is to buy a cover ad on Diamond's monthly distribution catalogue, for $6000. To raise this, he is auctioning a page of his artwork in the comments section of one day's blog post from a week or three ago. There is currently one bid, of $100, by the founder of IDW Books, who made his first ever internet post in order to place said bid.

shivers me timber (sic), Saturday, 16 January 2021 06:00 (four months ago) link

Before the pandemic, Dave (from Kitchener, Ontario) was planning on marketing this book by catching Greyhound buses on a road trip to every single comic shop in the California phonebook and giving them a mockup of the first volume. This road trip would end in the offices of IDW, where he would wait until the founder showed up, and give him the last copy of the mockup. Then, per Sim's plan, which he had not told to said founder, the two of them would strategise on how to leverage the enormous internet buzz that Dave would have generated via this comic shop tour into a rush-release.

shivers me timber (sic), Saturday, 16 January 2021 06:08 (four months ago) link

going to self-publish the un-completed work as a 350-page paperback

shivers me timber (sic), Saturday, 16 January 2021 06:11 (four months ago) link

Finding myself very compelled by these summaries of recent posts on a strange man’s blog tbqh.

Canon in Deez (silby), Saturday, 16 January 2021 06:16 (four months ago) link

Trying to think of all of this waves hands makes more or less sense than the Wikipedia summaries of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series I was skimming earlier.

Canon in Deez (silby), Saturday, 16 January 2021 06:19 (four months ago) link

At least he’s his own boss

In 1986, DC spent a year negotiating to buy the publishing rights to Cerebus. Eventually, Dave bent over the contract in P4ul L3vitz' New York office with pen in hand, and asked the publisher to give him a reason not to sign it. L3vitz asked "can you think of an easier way to make $100,000?"

Sim sat back, thought briefly, put the cap back on the pen and flew home to Canada, where he then invented the entire trade paperback comic collection / perennial reprint market from scratch. Single-handedly.

He then spent a decade proselytising and campaigning and marketing (and sometimes financially assisting) for every single comics author to be their own boss via self-publishing. All while writing and co-drawing and publishing and marketing a monthly book, publishing the odd bit of other work, having a major marketplace war with the largest distributor, and smoking weed daily, drinking weekly, "partying" on the road every month or three, pursuing fornication regularly, or being a diligent, communicative, supportive monogamous partner to his long-distance womanfriends. In 1994-95 he even built a network of international author-owned small press arts festivals from scratch, and toured once a month to help found or expand them, all while only making the monthly comic larger, rather than slowing down.

Then he stopped doing drugs or chasing women and started reading the Torah and the bible and the Koran, and consistently reduced his personal worldview, influence and audience for 25 years and counting. makes u think.

shivers me timber (sic), Saturday, 16 January 2021 06:38 (four months ago) link

the completed work as a 350-page paperback

Not going to lie, I will buy this if it's a reasonable price and not his $300 'limited edition' bullshit.

Well *I* know who he is (aldo), Saturday, 16 January 2021 12:45 (four months ago) link

(The California promo wasn't printed by Grubagh, and was only limited to 100 copies because the guy that had printed 400 copies for Sim gave Grubagh the last 100 copies (plus was a mere $105 for 132pp).)

Finding myself very compelled by these summaries of recent posts on a strange man’s blog tbqh.

A dude who was transcribing Dave's videos a few years back pops up in the comments to say that he's back at it. But instead of, say, condensing salient points in the comments of the latest post, he's still diligently getting every um and uhh and repetition from years-ago videos. Another dude posts to say he'd rather have a printed version of the videos to read, like the old Aardvark Comment, than click and sit through dozens of hours of audio at a computer. The blog dude leaps in to object that if this happened, he would want the comics he draws to accompany each monthly call with Sim to be included, so they would have to either pay for colour printing, or pay him to redraw them in black and white.

Here is an example of one of these.

shivers me timber (sic), Saturday, 16 January 2021 19:13 (four months ago) link


Chuck_Tatum, Saturday, 16 January 2021 19:49 (four months ago) link

Sweet suffering fuck

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Tuesday, 19 January 2021 12:38 (four months ago) link

That covers all of this, not just the inept zombie penis thing

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Tuesday, 19 January 2021 12:39 (four months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Dave has just read New Mutants for the first time, on the urging of a fifty-something fan so obsessive (he posts multiple times a week in the blog comments about how often he has spoken to Dave on the phone, or how he just sits next to Gerhard at Gerhard's convention table for hours and talks to him instead of walking around discovering new work) that Sim has iiirc logged on himself to caution people not to believe half of what the guy says.

He has thus learnt for the first time what an extensive impact the demon character S'ym actually had on the Marvel Universe, and that as an agent of YHWH, Chris Claremont therefore created the association that would lead to Sim being demonised within the comic-book field a decade later. "All of it predestined." This is underscored by Claremont having written 185 issues of X-Men: therefore Sim's revelations of the true evils of feminism came in Cerebus #186.

Also, it was the "newly minted online mob" of the Comics Journal Message Board that "eradicated" Sim from the field in 1994, even though he continued to publish Cerebus until 2004, and the message board did not exist until 1999.

shivers me timber (sic), Wednesday, 3 February 2021 05:37 (four months ago) link

You don't have to read this stuff, sic.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Saturday, 6 February 2021 09:35 (four months ago) link

Sometimes I go for six or eight months without looking in. But then it'll occur to me to wonder if Dave Sim has managed to develop a completely counterfactual opinion about something, or to devise a confoundingly elaborate method to keep himself from publishing simply or from creating work that connects with the genuine artist inside him, or uncovered new evidence that he is the central figure of the metaphysical universe. And by gum, he'll always be deep in at least one of the three.

shivers me timber (sic), Saturday, 6 February 2021 10:32 (four months ago) link

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