Reading Cerebus: A metadiscussion.

I was talking to my friend Paul yesterday and he commented a bit on my ongoing efforts with reading through all of Cerebus. A few things came out of the discussion that, I suppose, warrant further comment.


Reading Cerebus - Volume 2 (High Society)

Cerebus Volume 2 - 'High Society'I just finished the second Cerebus “phone book” and, in short, it was great. I can absolutely understand why so many people recommend starting with this book instead of the first volume. It’s more directed, more refined, more polished, better-looking, better-written. Everything in it is, well, better. I still think the first volume is worth reading, but if you only have the time/money to buy one, for now, start with High Society.

In terms of form, High Society represents the point at which Dave Sim decided to abandon the one-off humorous stories he’d presented during the first 25 issues. Instead, he developed an ambitious graphic novel and presented it over the course of the second 25 issues of Cerebus. It works magnificently well. High Society is a story of political, social and economic intrigue, but don’t let that confuse you - it’s a funny story. And a moving story. And a savage satire. And a gripping drama.

I read the first 2/3 of the book at a relatively leisurely pace. The story was interesting and funny and was obviously heading towards a definite conclusion, but it had enough comfortable stopping points that I was able to consume it in two or three issue chunks. That was, of course, until I got to the back third of the book. At that point, it grabbed me by the eyeballs and just dragged me straight through to the end.

Spoilers begin after the jump, so be forewarned.


Reading Cerebus - Volume 1 (Cerebus)

Cerebus Volume 1 - 'Cerebus'I finished reading the first of the Cerebus “phone books” a week or so ago.

Based on what I know of the rest of the series, this book is nearly a stand-alone volume, comprised largely of independent 1-3 issue arcs, rather than a large-scale story built upon previous content. Near the end of this volume, the series takes a fairly clear turn towards a longer, more purposeful narrative, which is what will drive the remaining 250 or so issues of the series.

What follows will not be censored for spoilers and such, so please only move past the cut if you’ve already read these issues and/or don’t mind having plot points discussed.


Reading Cerebus.

My project for this summer is going to be reading the entire 300 issue, 6000 page run of Dave Sim’s Cerebus.