Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cerebus - finally halfway

I met Dave Sim back in the early 90s at a comic book trade show in St Louis. Arlene Sorkin was there as the voice of Harley Quinn (debuted 1992) and The Crow movie wasn’t out yet (1994).

Two people at a time could go in his booth and ask questions and get a sketch by him. At the time I was always carrying my sketchbook so he did a nice sketch of Cerebus in it for me. At the time I had only read the first phone book and part of High Society. Luckily the other person I was with was a solid reader of the series and was able to talk about the newest issues.

I have the first four ‘phone books’ – Cerebus, High Society, Church & State volumes 1 and 2. These are called phone books because they collect about 25 issues each. I’ve had Jaka’s Story on my wish list for several years but finally just bought it and Melmoth and read both of those.

This brings me up to issue 150, or about halfway through the 300 issue series. That’s quite the accomplishment for a single writer or artist to have that kind of a run on a book, but to have one person write, draw, and publish a 300 issue series is a feat we will not soon see duplicated. A small note on this run was that the fantastic backgrounds were being drawn by Gerhard since 1984.

Now I have a bit of a decision to make. Do I stop here or do I press on to the end?

Some people have listed Jaka’s Story as the high point of the series and others list the Church & State arc as the best, but I really prefer the original sword and sorcery of the original Cerebus going into High Society. The next arc – Flight-Women-Reed-Minds has a reputation as being more misogynistic than the rest. The series up to Melmoth has also been described as the first half of the series being written in a female voice, with the back half repeating the themes but being written a male voice, and then the final two books being the coda.

If I push on, I almost have to commit to reading the next arc. I’m pretty certain I will, as I would like to see how it ends up, and do want to support Dave Sim, both as a Canadian comic book artist, and as an independent publisher. Unfortunately, he is not in the best of health, and as an independent publisher, if he goes, I’m not if sure if anyone else would print them. You can keep up with his progress on this blog about him.