The Cerebus Re-Read Challenge
Cerebus can be purchased in its entirety from
even better, Volumes 1 and 2 are free!
The Last Day: Bye-Bye
Because I already outlined my philosophical disagreements with Sim's view of Existence when talking about volume 15 I don't feel the need to comment on the ideas presented in the #289-290 double-issue. A lot of the science contained within it is out-of-date, even for 2004. It would be interesting to see how Sim responds to the most current theories.
The volume is a much faster read, thank goodness. Why Canada Slept wraps up a run of essays started at the end of Latter Days. It is another informative piece for anyone looking to gain greater context for the world political situation in the years post-9/11.
There are a couple letter columns that sneak in, and then a long interview with Chester Brown that is entertaining in spots and dreadfully boring in others. The interview feels a bit like Sim trying to pass off the baton to the one comics creator he seems to still find some common ground with. Similar to how Cerebus hopes to pass off his last book of revelation to his son; but that is a large interpretive stretch on my part.
Sim does seem to hope that one day he will have an intellectual heir. Writing in issue #293
A couple of other things stood out.
#293 also has a hint at Sim's interest in Alex Raymond and Stan Drake, which will materialize in his next ongoing book, Glamourpuss.
issue #296 presents Sim as being almost as shut in as Cerebus is in the story.
I had just talked to Dave on the phone for the first time. about working on SDOAR, the night before I read issue #297, which includes this.
I spent a good deal of time thinking back trying to remember if I had done that to him during our conversation, especially since while talking to him I had noted a lack of the typical, "yeah," "uh-huh," "sure," responses most people give to indicate they are still on the line. I realize, in retrospect, that this is Dave really listening and giving me my turn to speak. If I did interrupt him frequently he dealt with if very patiently and graciously. It is a keen observation about how people converse and I am trying to really wait my turn in conversations now.
And, just because it seems right, here are the last words from Sim in issue # 300's Note From The President. The note explains his custom-written prayer, which he shares on the inside back cover of the book.
By this point I have pretty much exhausted my relationship with Cerebus, for at least another ten years. I am not the kind of person who returns to things I have already consumed, especially not things as immense as Cerebus. I know what put Cerebus back into my mind, but I do not know why I felt the need to actually re-read it. That will probably reveal itself in time. I am glad I did. It has been an enriching and enlightening experience. I probably learned, and revealed more about myself in these commentaries than I did about Cerebus or Dave Sim, as is appropriate for any commentary on another's work. You can only ever really find out about what you bring to the table. I am very grateful that re-engaging with Cerebus led me the A Moment of Cerebus community and the opportunity to work with one of my heroes/influences.
Thank you to Tim for providing the venue and to everyone who took the time to read any or all of these. I hope they were worth it.
Most importantly, thank you, Dave Sim for pouring yourself into Cerebus with such relentless fervor for so many years. It is shameful that comics community has marginalized Cerebus to the extent that it has. I honestly believe Cerebus to be the greatest work of comic-art to date, and the most personal, intimate, vulnerable piece of literature or art I have ever encountered. Show me one other instance in which an artist/thinker's dramatic evolution was documented so carefully and openly within a single work. It does not exist.
I don't know if it is just the scans I have of the books, but the quality of the printing makes the art in the last ten look very different, softer somehow. I am curious if this was actually the case. Guess I should spring for a collected edition, eh?