15Jun12

I’ve been following the Cerebus Kickstarter with interest. Dave Sim, the comic’s creator, has already raised $40,000 from nerds to turn his 300-issue magnum opus into digital form.

I was one of the nerds…

Cerebus and its associated columns, letters, etc, is very interesting reading if you’re interested in the technical and business aspects of making comics. The formal stuff Dave Sim does in this comic, especially when it comes to lettering, is so ingenious. Gerhard’s beautiful backgrounds never falter either. Don’t start reading at the beginning, some say to start with Church and State or High Society… I found a copy of Melmoth by chance at the Mercer County Public Library when I was a kid.

The story starts off as the story of a magic ardvark in a sword-and-sorcery setting, but after 40 or so self-published issues the storyline took on many political dimensions. Cerebus, the barbarian aardvark main character, becomes prime minster, pope, houseguest, bartender, and lover. Cameos of famous historical figures like Groucho Marx and Margaret Thatcher are everywhere.

From Jaka’s Story

But questionable later storylines that had comics fans up at arms at Sim. I was one of these too… I’d waited a long time to get to the epic end of this absorbing saga, and I get 100+ issues of strangely hypnotizing anti-feminist stuff that is also some of the best technical work in comics.

Later in the comic’s 300 issue self-owned self-published run, Sim underwent a religious conversion to a credo based on his own deductions about women in Canada, the Beatles, Modernist writers, etc. Then he started reading the Torah. As a result, the comic’s themes don’t hang together — but that’s perhaps to be expected from a comic book that took 25 years of the guy’s life to make.

Cerebus disappointed me as a reader, but as a technician, I was always delighted… that’s the frustrating thing about Dave Sim and Gerhard’s comic.

From Going Home

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