Posts tagged Dave Sim
Posts tagged Dave Sim
This blog was never about deconstructing Cerebus, psycho-analyzing Dave Sim, or any of that. It was simple a year long read-a-long. I’d only ever read the first phonebook (and a couple crossovers in other comics), and had always had this as part of my geek Bucket List - read all 300 issues.
So I have. And I have mixed feelings. I may even come back in 3-6 months and cogitate further… but that’s not a promise.
As far as the comic goes, I cannot truly recommend reading all 300 issues. Read through Mothers and Daughters, and stop with issue #200. Stop there and make up your own ending for Cerebus’ story. Maybe he learned some hard lessons and was a better aardvark. Maybe he was the same jackass. Maybe he died young, maybe he died old.
Even the first 200 issues aren’t perfect - there’s so much wasted potential for just great adventure/drama storytelling. But the first 200 are DEFINITELY worth reading. When he’s on, it’s some of the best comic book storytelling of all time, no exaggeration.
Thank you for riding along with me last year. If you’re inclined to follow my other scribblings/bloggings/etc, you can find me on Twitter - @cr8dv8, my personal Tumblr (lots of reblogs, photos from my life, links and occasional posts by me) is http://cr8dv8.tumblr.com/ , my hodge-podge of a blog can be found at http://betterblogthanyours.wordpress.com/ and my creative writing twitter account is @TerryWrites
Also, if you’re a Doctor Who fan, or know of any, let them know about my year long project for 2012 - a viewing/reviewing of ALL original 26 seasons of the original run from 1963-1989, the first Seven Doctors’ serials. It can be found at http://classicdoctorwho2012.wordpress.com/ (there will be an introductory post later today, 1.1.12)
Again, many thanks. If you have any comments, please submit them via http://2011yota.tumblr.com/ask
Cerebus strips naked and exits the tavern, but goes back for his medallions and jacket. Then he starts double-guessing, fearing that Rick cast an expeller spell instead of a binding spell (god, Cerebus is a wishy-washy jack ass. I’d beat the fuck out of him if I knew anyone like that in real life. This has got to be the most annoying character I’ve read in a long, long, LONG time.)
Going back in, he finds Dave (though it takes forever to realise whom it is.) They talk, banter (and it’s nowhere near as good as when Dave was in Cerebus’ head at the end of Mothers and Daughters) and when he realises who Dave is, Dave is gone, leaving a package behind. Cerebus is afraid to open it, afraid that he’ll get in trouble, then afraid it will kill him, but he finally decides to open it, when the issue ends.
Much like my over-all view of the series thus far, I am of mixed feelings on Mothers and Daughters.
On one level, he starts out with a great political/intrigue/action story - Cerebus’ return to the populace’s awareness, the battle between Cirin and Astoria (and their followers, of course), and the influence/effects of The Bug. There’s a great dynamic here, one that would make a great story had it been stuck to. (And, of course, I suppose ramifications from it could well be seen in the last 100 issues.)
On the other hand - and there’s a mixed feeling in this part, he got weird and a bit sillier than usual with this who going into space and meeting Sim (in his head, at least) and all that. Part of me thought it was unnecessary, but there are moments of brilliance there, too. (Perhaps it could have been achieved in another way altogether?)
One part that I don’t have any positive feelings about is the copious prose pages in Reads - and I understand that the largest support for Sim’s alleged misogyny happens in there during issue 186… I’m still of the opinion that Sim hates men just as much, or at least himself as much as he hates women (or, again, everyone), so I’m really not sure he’s a misogynist any more than he’s just a shallow, spiteful, hateful person. (Again, I don’t know the guy, don’t claim to, but if people are going to draw conclusions about his hate of x, y, z groups - this is what I see more than anything.)
I’m really hoping we’ll continue to see the story of the Cirinists and all that, but rather suspect that’s not the case - it seems like Sim pretty much had Cirin wash her hands of Cerebus with the revelation that Cerebus’ lady parts do not work and he cannot conceive.
At this stage, I still feel Jaka’s Story has been the strongest of the ‘novels’ within Cerebus, though this had parts that were on par (but, of course, the failings of this novel were enough that I would consider Church and State and High Society both to be superior products.)
And onward, to Guys we go. (Oh boy.)
[Dammit, another scheduling error. Apologies out the ass. I’m a moron for not double-czeching.]
The note from Jaka is an apology – she has been happy, so very happy, but she has discovered that Cerebus wants the neighbor, and she cannot imagine a life without Cerebus. Cerebus runs upstairs to the bedroom, expecting to find Jaka in bed with another man, but only to discover that she hung herself – and that the creaking that he thought was bodies in bed, was her body swinging from the rafters.
At this point, Cerebus (in reality, not in the vision) finds himself at Pluto. “Dave” compares Cerebus to Pluto, and tries to get him to realise that he doesn’t love Jaka, he just wants her to share in his desolation – to be Charon (moon) to Cerebus’ Pluto. Cerebus, of course, denies this without thinking about it, which causes “Dave” to snap and he begins scolding Cerebus, freezing him in place and all but ranting at his own creation.
It’s a fascinating sequence – as a writer I’ve had characters go well beyond what I thought they should do, would do. Stephen King once compared writing to being an archaeologist, and that the writer merely uncovers the story, it’s already there in its entirety. I completely agree and I see what Sim is saying here as well – it’s not the same thing, but it’s another sentiment I agree with and have experienced.
Amazing stuff – funny, a couple issues ago I was bored and critical, this issue, I find myself amazed with what’s going on.
#199: “Dave” operates on Cerebus’ eye, and then suggests Cerebus go for a walk. Cerebus sits down after a while, announcing that he is a terrible person, which “Dave” remarks was said in the same tone as announcing how tall he was.
Cerebus ends up giving up and asking “Dave” to go away. So “Dave” does.
#200: Epilogue to Mothers and Daughters (strangely, the story ended up being nothing about Mothers and Daughters, though it certainly started that way.)
Cerebus is alone on Juno; in his mind, he calls Aardvark-Vanaheim and asks to speak to “Dave”’s boss, but since he doesn’t have one, he doesn’t get very far with that. Cerebus also learns that there is not a “plantit” called Juno.
Cerebus seems to learn his lesson, and eventually “Dave” “calls” back and they arrange for Cerebus to come back to Estarcion.
A rather strange ending. The next three days will be no-posts, and then I’ll have the month in review on the 31st! And then, the next day, we start GUYS with issue #201.
Thanks for sticking it out with me – I hear things are going to get extra wacky towards the end (and/or really slow and boring), but I’m 2/3rds of the way done, not gonna give up now.
More fucking exposition. Borrrrrrrring.
We do learn something interesting – had Cerebus had his helmet (which he’d traded for the black vest) as well as his sword and medallions, he’d have been able to animate the statue of him at the Pigt’s lair and been able to conquer the world. But he didn’t, and his destiny was shattered and much of the comic has been a result of that.
Pretty cool, the whole shattered/broken destiny stuff. I always wanted to write a story where the destiny was failed and the story dealt with the ramifications of that.
“Dave” then begins showing Cerebus a vision of he and Jaka married…
The expositions in Cerebus’ head, provided by “Dave”, continues. We discover that the reason why the Cirinists wear veils and hoods was originally so that Serna (now called Cirin) could be amongst her fellows and feel “normal” – it was Cirin (now called Serna) who came up with this idea.
It unfortunately also fueled Serna’s anger and resulted in the depth of her betrayal and public embarrassment of Cirin. (I’m worried about getting confusing on the name change here… think from now on, I’ll refer to the Aardvark as Cirin, since that’s the identity and power she has taken and currently holds, and refer to the original Cirin as Serna.)
Apparently, Cirin has used her own abilities on herself, to remove/alter her memories, so that she truly believes she has always been Cirin and Serna has always been Serna.
Eventually, Cerebus gets bored with the exposition (no comment). “Dave” tries to set Cerebus straight on the facts that Jaka doesn’t love Cerebus “that way” and that Cerebus will never be able to defeat Cirin’s movement.
Fearing that Cirin will try to hunt down Cerebus and kill him, “Dave” shows Cirin a vision of Cerebus as a boy, after the “kitchen knife incident”, which rendered him sterile (as a woman, at least) and inable to carry a child – according to “Dave” that was the only way in which he was a threat to her, and thus, no longer exists to Cirin, now that she knows the truth.
Cerebus then asks about the medallions he wears, and “Dave” begins to explain.
Lots of exposition (a bit too much and too blatantly done, in my opinion… exposition is fine and good, but it should be doled out in smaller parcels.)
Dave explains that he was trying to tell Cirin her story, but she was not listening… so he tells the story to Cerebus instead.
We discover that the woman whose house Cerebus fell into when he returned to Iest was the real Cirin; the Aardvark known as Cirin was her assistant, Serna, who usurped control of the movement from Cirin and turned her into a traitor.
Cerebus meets his creator, or rather hears his voice in his head. His creator is called Dave. Yep, Sim is talking to Cerebus. They talk, well argue mostly, and very little is achieved, though Dave finally gets Cerebus to realise that he doesn’t know anything about Jaka.
Cerebus is still on his little stone, drifting off into space.
See you Monday!