Book Shelves #6, 2.05.2012

Book shelves series #6, sixth Sunday of 2012: In which we dig into the comix inside the book shelf we looked at last week.


When I was 13, I sold a fairly large collection of superhero comic books and earned enough money to buy an electric guitar—a weird mutant by Fender called the Bullet—and a small practice amp. It was the early nineties, and Marvel was about to burst the comic book bubble big time by flooding the market with gimmicky covers, hologram cards, and other nonsense.

I continued to buy comics (or comix, if you prefer) over the years, although eventually economic concerns led me to just wait for graphic novel editions. Anyway, the book shelf above now contains most of the “underground” comix that I own. A few samples:




Most of the comix in this unit though are issues of Dave Sim’s epic (and insane) series Cerebus. I bought issues of Cerebus intermittently for years at a time, usually getting frustrated and then waiting for the “phone book” graphic novel editions of the series. Sim, along with background artist Gerhard, produced 300 issues of Cerebus over 25 years. The issues from the early ’80s to the early ’90s are brilliant; eventually Sim cracked though and went on an insane, reactionary (and arguably deeply misogynistic) bent. He created his own religion, a mix of hardline Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, and the later books in the series suffered greatly, as the book detoured to chronicle projects that seemed far outside its original scope (including strange, long satires of Hemingway and Fitzgerald). Anyway, some issues:


Cerebus Jam, a one-off collaboration with a cover by one of my favorite artists Bill Sienkiewicz (I still have his entire run on Marvel’s The New Mutants in a box somewhere):


A panel from the issue’s collaboration with comic book legend Will Eisner, featuring his seminal character The Spirit:


9 thoughts on “Book Shelves #6, 2.05.2012”

  1. Have you seen “Palomar”, Gilbert Hernandez’s hard-cover collection of the Heartbreak Soup stories? It’s an amazing book.


    1. Hi, King of France,
      I checked it out from the library a few years ago (maybe five or six), but I never got around to reading it for some reason. I’ll check it out again though.


    1. Oh cool! I know another guy who’s read Cerebus too, a friend of a friend. Years ago, we discovered this at a party (somehow) and nerded out the rest of the night.

      My faves: High Society, Church & State, Mothers & Daughters. I suppose Jaka’s Story might be his finest work too.


  2. I think what you meant to say was that “Reads” and “Latter Days” were the best. Right?

    Yeah I mean I really liked so much of it. I really like Dave Sim, despite how nuts he is. I guess its just disappointing what happened to him. It’s really difficult to assess the quality of Cerebus as a complete creative work, divorced from his biography… I’m not sure what someone unfamiliar with the whole thing would think of the ending if they didn’t know that he is basically a schizophrenic person who created his own reality interwoven with his artistic work.


    1. I think Sim is, post-Jaka’s Story, indivisible from his work (to the point that he writes himself into the book). I was not enraged by Reads like so many readers — in fact, I didn’t take his statements on the “Feminine Void” as allegorical to our own world at all—until he made them so very clear in the letters column. And then in public appearances. And essays. Etc.

      I only read Latter Days twice—once when the GN came out, and then again right before The Last Day. I recall thinking that, from a craftsmanship standpoint, it was impeccable—but as an attack on the liberal society that Sim so hated it was just very, very paranoid.

      But really, I’m just one of those readers who never got over him dropping the Big Plot. I mean, he tied up loose ends with the matriarchy taking over, I suppose (perhaps just another paranoid indictment of The Real World), but I guess I missed characters like Astoria and Lord Julius. Also, I wanted some more resolution with stuff like “It fell” and the big glowing thing &c.

      I need to reread it though, because I’m still not sure what happens there at the end. Seems Cerebus was wrong about Tarim?


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