Whatever Happened To…

It’s funny when you recall something that used to be an integral part of your cultural life that you haven’t thought about in years. Of course, I’m speaking of Dave Sim and his comic aardvark creation, Cerebus. What started out in 1978 as a sly parody of adolescent sword and sorcery tales soon developed into a mammoth satirical series on politics and culture that reached its novelistic finale in 2004. Cerebus had a big impact on my comic book reading (and drawing) in the 1980’s; not only was Dave Sim a master of light and shade, also at panel layout (the equal of Frank Miller) but the philosophical bent of the series soared over most of the above/underground comix of the period. Plus, it was often simply hilarious, particularly the Moon Roach character, modeled after the Dark Knight taken to the most ridiculous extreme (slinking around the city whispering “Revenge!”).

Sim was a tireless fighter for creator’s rights, yet also a major-league contrarian who spawned a career-altering controversy with his strange attacks on feminism and women in general. I had stopped reading Cerebus around issue 24, so my disconnect from the ornery aardvark came simply from the long period between issues and the flowering of late puberty. For some reason, I thought of Cerebus again after I don’t know how many years, wondering how a revisit to the series and character would stand, especially since I have about 20 years and 300 issues worth of material to catch up with in what became the longest running comic book series ever. Now perhaps it’s time to find out what did happen to that unique, witty, deadly Earth-Pig who helped inform my early aesthetics…

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7 Responses to “Whatever Happened To…”

  1. Wow, I haven’t read CEREBUS in ages. I remember reading some pretty fascinating interviews with Sim in the pages of THE COMIC JOURNAL back in the day. He certainly wasn’t afraid to speak his mind.

    Speaking of great comic books, I just picked up a trade paperback collecting all of Howard Chaykin’s AMERICAN FLAGG issues. Man, that was a great comic… even when he left and it lost its focus. Some of things he did with layout were pretty revolutionary back in the day.

    • christian Says:

      I liked Sim’s outspoken nature until his weird feminist rants.

      Chaykin I was half-hearted about in terms of content. But true, the first issues of AF were AWESOME in art and execution.

  2. i ll reread the whole kirby’s fourth world again rather than torture myself with cerebus. i did like it back in the days, it was pretty amazing to see what shit sim would come up with – i mean, this pope stuff is truly mindblowing – but in the end, it came out as a frustrated and pompous attempt to make, err, litterature in a medium that has already its LEGITIMATE claim on literrature, born from within.

    try Moonshadow instead. shorter, deeper, smarter.

  3. or the complete howard the duck. gerber is genius.

  4. christian Says:

    Yeah, Sim is ambitious bordering on pretentious, but I like ambition. Clearly CEREBUS is a riff off Howard the Duck. I guess I prefer Sim’s more fine line drawing style. I still think it was the wittiest comic of the 80’s. But I haven’t read HTD in years.

    Moonshadow?

  5. christian Says:

    Okay, i will check it out.

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