The Cerebus Re-Read Challenge
Cerebus can be purchased in its entirety from
even better, Volumes 1 and 2 are free!
After taking a look at my Volume One commentaries on a tablet I decided to keep the images at the size I had them last time, tablet sized. I know this doesn't read as well on a desktop screen but I prefer the tablet reading experience so am going to stick with that.
High Society: Getting Fancy and Getting Ahead
As I said in my assessment of the first volume of Cerebus each volume comes with a different representation of Dave Sim in the back-matter that appears to correlate to the overarching theme of the work . It often looks like Sim is trying on different selves and ways of engaging with the world that he feels will help him better express whatever topic he is writing about.
High Society is a difficult volume to peg in this regard. Sim’s then wife, Deni, is still functioning as the publisher of the book and I assume had a fair amount of input into things like advertising, backup stories, etc. It is hard to tell what is due to Dave and what is coming from Deni. Some might read this partnership as being expressed in Cerebus’ relationship with Astoria. That narrative implies Dave Sim was not in control of his own ship, which I find very hard to believe.
What I do see is an artist who has decided to take himself very seriously, in terms of content, and in terms of establishing his place within his field. By moving away from the adventuring barbarian towards a tale of political intrigue, social climbing and electioneering Sim takes the story in a much more mature direction.
On the art front Sim pushes his efforts as a designer. This adds a sophisticated look to the art that mirrors the maturity of the story.
In the back-matter we get pictures of Sim out and about, on tour, looking dapper, doing signings, starting to hobnob with other greats in the field. Deni is constantly referring to new friends and alliances made with other artists, notably Richard and Wendy Pini. There is a F.O.O.G. (Friends of ‘ol Gerber) charity in which Sim joins a number of other well-regarded artists in producing prints to sell as a charity for Steve Gerber. The letter column has even developed it’s own court of jesters by this point, with all of the silliness that stems from Mike Bannon and his like (Did this group of early fans make it to the end? I am very curious about that.).
These behaviors echo the themes of the story. Campaigning, growing your connections, solidifying your status in your field as a serious contributor to the discussion.