Friday, 24 June 2016

Celebrating Cerebus

"Cerebus In Hell?" Retailer Exclusives

Okay, Sandeep here, we're almost done "Cerebus In Hell?" day! In addition to posting a preview of the strips here, and sharing them on Facebook and Twitter, I've been emailing a number of retailers  and comic news sites all day. The following all received their own personalized strips to promote "Cerebus In Hell?". If any retailers or comics news sites are reading this, leave a comment and let us know if you'd like a "Cerebus In Hell?" strip for your store. Special thanks to Steve Bissette for visiting A Moment of Cerebus. Come back anytime!

Remember, new strips will be posted every day at starting tomorrow. Feel free to share!

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"Cerebus In Hell?" - Comic Strip #12

"Cerebus In Hell?" - Comic Strip #11

CEREBUS IN HELL? strip #11 -
Actually, this is a good example of what used to be described as The Golden Mean: that it is the obligation of each Christian to find the exact Godly balance between profligacy and miserliness and to hew to the 50-yard line as closely as possible…in no small part because the fate of your immortal soul is at stake if you guess wrong.

It's my guess that the Infernal Realms are probably chock-a-block full of Golden Mean dichotomies being unhappily misconstrued -- and unhappily enacted -- and unhappily reenacted -- as alternating polar opposite extremes. And then dismissed as examples of "S--t happens." 

Whoever it was who explained the concept of "Existential Quandaries" to Cerebus didn't do him any favours, I don't think. 

"Cerebus In Hell?" - Comic Strip #10

CEREBUS IN HELL? strip #10 - 

One of the foundational rules of CEREBUS IN HELL? was "NO continued strips": each "daily" needed to be self-contained. We found out that that lasted about as long as it took to get a Really Good Premise where as soon as you get the first one done, the second one is just begging to be written and put together -- and sometimes a third and a fourth (our current record is six). In the case of this one, it was picturing the bat-wing'd demons waving the three-dimensional flying Cerebus in Virgil's face.

"Cerebus In Hell?" - Comic Strip #9

CEREBUS IN HELL? strip #9 -
One of us pointed out to the other that it was much funnier if the two-dimensional cardboard cut-out of Cerebus was suspended upside down rather than right-side up. Which turned out to be true.  

Comedy may not be rocket science but it's still pretty mysterious and exacting.

"Cerebus In Hell?" - Comic Strip #8

CEREBUS IN HELL? strip #8 - 
This one was prompted by our -- quite late -- discovery of the fact that there is an amputated arm climbing up the front of Dante's cassock in Gustave Dore's print of the scene. 

An oversight attributable, we think, to the wise old adage "The infernal shades of 'decapitees' waving their severed heads attract disproportionate attention to themselves". 

Had we -- as a society -- not allowed that wise old aphorism to fall into popular disuse in recent years, arguably, we might have been spared all/most of/a good deal of Donald Trump's largely-inexplicable-but-altogether-riveting campaign for President. 

Oh, well. Too late now. 

"Cerebus In Hell?" - Comic Strip #7

CEREBUS IN HELL? strip #7 -
It's our working theory (one of them, anyway) that there are no actual comic books in Hell or Purgatory or Limbo (or wherever Cerebus now is) but that there are a lot of really pointless and overly elaborate discussions ABOUT comic books and, in fact, about all forms of pop culture.

Pointless and overly elaborate discussions about cultural ephemera being as much a part of Hell's blacktop as good intentions.

Either that or pointless and overly elaborate discussions ABOUT comic books are the key to The Final Reward In The Great Bye-and-Bye, in which case we're in a lot of trouble. 

"Cerebus In Hell?" - Comic Strip #6

CEREBUS IN HELL? strip #6 -

Cerebus being far too self-conscious to actually admit that he’s slowly going insane, he’s just going to keep this to himself. If he’s talking to a Minotaur one minute and King Minos the next, that’s just fine. No problem. Besides, it’s not like a permanent condition, it sort of comes and goes. At exactly the wrong time. Hey, if you were wandering around with Virgil and Dante, surrounded by a legion of demons torturing the damned for all eternity, it might mess with your sense of reality as well. Oh hey, Asmodeus, where did you come from?

"Cerebus In Hell?" - Comic Strip #5

CEREBUS IN HELL? strip #5 -

While definitely a Gustave DorĂ© number, this isn’t technically one of the plates from Dante’s Inferno. But it could be. Yes it could! So what if it isn’t? No, it’s not a big deal! We didn’t make any promises, did we? Oh, so you want to make a big deal out of it, do you? Breach of contract?! The nerve! Fine, if that’s how you want it, then that’s how you’re going to get it! This is now a matter for the courts! Cerebus, take a letter to my lawyer!

"Cerebus In Hell?" - Comic Strip #4

CEREBUS IN HELL? strip #4 -
I got the idea for this one when my neighbour was in the middle of selling his rental property triplex next door. This is a good example of what I think Hell is actually like: a continuing series of brief, unlikely dream-like premises that a) seem real and b) need to be dealt with on their own terms just before c) turning themselves into completely different premises that also need to be dealt with on THEIR own terms.

Which is a) incredibly difficult to manage and b) gets you absolutely nowhere. 

That is to say, remarkably similar to daily life in any G7 country in the 21st century. 

Hell, like Rome, wasn't built in a day. 

"Cerebus In Hell?" - Comic Strip #3

CEREBUS IN HELL? strip #3 -

The Hunter S. Thompson of philosophy makes a special guest appearance! Sadly, all of Gustave DorĂ©’s fine linework is lost on the man who thinks that it’s easy to eat all of Tasmania in a single sitting and that the rings of Saturn are autobiographical. While it’s still up for debate as to whether or not Nietzsche’s writings actually comprise a formal philosophical system per se, there can be no doubt that he’s a very funny writer and that goes a long way in our books.

"Cerebus In Hell?" - Comic Strip #2

CEREBUS IN HELL? strip #2 -
Why have only ONE A Moment of Cerebus insider reference when you can have two?:

Jeff Seiler's Carmen Miranda costume that he wears/used to wear to Jimmy Buffet concerts (and once wore onstage, by invitation WITH Jimmy Buffet) (that is, they were on stage together, not both wearing the Carmen Miranda costume) is a guaranteed cheap laugh-getter here on AMOC as well as a Jimmy Buffet inside joke. Combining that with the fact that "Margaritaville" is the name of the official Jimmy Buffet website means only three people in North America (oddly enough, all living in the Midwest) will "get" this one. 

Okay, that will do it for the INSIDE jokes.  

"Cerebus In Hell?" - Comic Strip #1

CEREBUS IN HELL? strip #1:

It's gratifying to know that the COMICS JOURNAL -- now celebrating THEIR 40th anniversary -- unbeknownst to them is a part of this historic moment (the moment, I mean. I think they're aware that it's their 40th anniversary): CEREBUS IN HELL? strip #1. 

Although we wander in a different wilderness from Gary Groth and Co., forty years is forty years. May we all find our Comic-Book Promised Land and not have it turn out to be the shock-surprise EC twist ending of the century!

"Damian T. Lloyd" is an "A Moment of Cerebus" insider reference. We figured we needed one of those if we were going to launch CEREBUS IN HELL? here in Tim W.'s virtual living room without telling him ahead of time. Tim! We're going to need more ice!

Cerebus In Hell? #1-4 Covers

Aardvark-Vanaheim "Cerebus In Hell?" Press Release

Cerebus In Hell? #0

Is Cerebus In Hell?

IS CEREBUS IN HELL? the video. (2016) Randy Bowen's one-of-a-kind MELMOTH CEREBUS sculpted figure (a commissioned gift from Diana Schutz in 1993) starring "in" a 1911 Italian silent film adaptation of DANTE'S INFERNO. The wiggling legs of Cassius Longinus in the mouth of Lucifer and their subsequent transition to Lucifer Chew Toy are worth the price of admission. Written and directed by Dave Sim. (2016, 8 mins.)

"An instant classic!" 


Thursday, 23 June 2016

Fred Hammer Wins the Jakirbee Cup

A few years ago I scanned all of Dave Sim's notebooks. He had filled 36 notebooks during the years he created the monthly Cerebus series, covering issues #20 to 300, plus the other side items -- like the Epic stories, posters and prints, convention speeches etc. A total of 3,281 notebook pages detailing his creative process. I never really got the time to study the notebooks when I had them. Just did a quick look, scanned them in and sent them back to Dave as soon as possible. So this regular column is a chance for me to look through those scans and highlight some of the more interesting pages.

We've looked at Dave Sim's notebook #33, the final Cerebus notebook, twice with the last time being in November of 2015 in Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk. The first time we look at it was The Final Notebook. It covers issues Cerebus #265 though 300.

Cerebus #267, If Five-Bar Gate Be My Destiny, is Cerebus' time as a Five-Bar gate player who, much like the Toronto Maple Leafs, had a long losing streak, but unlike the Leafs, Cerebus broke his streak.

Fred Hammer

There are a couple pages in notebook #33 that have notes for issue #267. None have any sketches, just text. It was the text on page 6 that made me pause.

Notebook #33, page 6
The bit that caught my eye starts near the bottom - after "Paul and 'Coffee' Anan fell over dead". In the comic Cerebus' opponent, Paul "Coffee" Annan collapse and the guy with the Laura Concord Sweets & Swine apron came out (Mr Van Hellemond, the Chief Medical Officer). Moosehat Gardens was very silent until Paul "Coffee" Annan was pronounced dead from old age. Cerebus left Moosehat Gardens (whose real life counterpart, Maple Leaf Gardens, is now a Loblaws grocery store, with a red dot on the store floor where center ice once was) to a chorus of boos.

But on page six shown above, you see that Paul "Coffee" Annan's wife stands up and started screaming at Cerebus "How old are you" "Who are you". "What are you". Then as he started to blank out again "it occurred to Cerebus that Jaka was probably eighty years old by now."

Instead of that gut punch, we get a left hook with Cerebus heading south to get the Cirinists to kill him.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Breaking News: Cerebus In Hell!

by Dave Sim & Others
Aardvark Vanaheim
Price: $4.00
In Shops: 28 September 2016
The first new Cerebus comic since 2004! Where has Cerebus been since he died twelve years ago? Is he in hell? Purgatory? Limbo? Some strange 1980 disco with links to Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Henry Kissinger? Some ancient Greek disco with links to Plato, Socrates, Aristotle? Some 1990s disco with links to The Stone Roses, the Happy Mondays, and Oasis? Is he stuck inside his own Cerebus Online Disco Twitter-feed? Well, wherever he is, he deserves it, so feel free to laugh at his misfortune! This one shot leads into the Cerebus In Hell? 4-issue mini-series in 2017 celebrating Cerebus‘ 40th-anniversary!
Diamond Order Code: JUL161105

Previews: The Dave Sim Interview

(from Bleeding Cool, 22 June 2016)
Bloody hell. News I wasn’t expecting to be writing.

Cerebus, the 6000 page satirical epic that represents a high point of the use of the comic book medium to tell stories, that ran for three hundred issues from the seventies into the noughties, the peak of self-publishing success in the comic book form, and that was never going to return – is going to return.

When we last saw Cerebus, old, unmourned and unloved, it was being dragged kicking and screaming into hell.

Now we get to see what happened next. And not in some jokey Cerebus #301 metacommentary.

This is Cerebus In Hell #0. By Dave Sim and friends, out in September from Aardvark-Vanaheim. And to be followed by a new four issue Cerebus In Hell series next year for the character’s 30th anniversary.

Oh, and because this is Dave Sim, he’s ripping off a painting of hell by Hieronymus Bosch for the cover -and crediting him as well.

(from The Beat, 22 June 2016)
Cerebus, the controversial comics masterpiece by Dave Sim, is returning in a one shot that, perhaps inspired by Mike Mignola’s latest Hellboy saga, shows us how the earth pig will be doing in Hell. The issue goes on sale in September and if successful will be followed by a four issue mini-series.

Cerebus died in issue #300 of his long running series, which was published in 2004.

Unfortunately, ongoing wrist problem have rendered Sim unabel to draw, so the comic will be something of a Wondermark-inspired collage, made with the help of longtime Cerebus webmaster Sandeep Atwal, according to an interview in Diamond’s Previews, where the one-shot was announced. IN the meantime, Sim and Atwal will present an online Cerebus comic strip, as you can see from this sample.

The cover of the one-shot is a similar collage with Hieronymous Bosch.

According to the interview, The strip will be a four-panel “poor man’s Garfield”: “Sandeep and I have the same reaction: Cerebus is so hilariously pathetic that the strips pretty much write themselves. Cerebus and the Manticore. Cerebus and the Minotaur. Cerebus and the Unconsecrated Dead. Cerebus and the Suicides. Cerebus and the Ttians. Cerebus and Lucifer. If you can’t write four funny panels on that, you’re in the wrong line of work.”