Sunday, 13 May 2012

Mind Game I

Cerebus #20 (September 1980)
Art by Dave Sim
(from the No More Games essay in Following Cerebus #8, May 2006)
The first Mind Games... appeared in Cerebus #20. This issue's importance grew as the Cerebus epic neared the end of Church & State, and even more so by Mothers & Daughters. Cerin, Suenteus Po, The New Matriarchy, and Illusionism all find their introductions in this issue, and in retrospect it's astounding to see all of this appear in a single twenty-page sequence. However, the issue came out in September 1980, by which time, according to Sim, he'd already had the basic Cerebus storyline worked out (at least the first two hundred issues). Cirin's political ambitions are already clear, as is her animosity towards Po and Illusionism.

The long-ranging implications of the issue were not immediately apparent to readers, of course. The story seemed little more than an obvious homage to Neal Adams' Deadman (Adam's influence on Sim was already evident by Cerebus #20) and a way for Sim to speed up the time spent at the drawing board by not having to do backgrounds: Cerebus floating in a sea of black - that's the ticket.

The New Matriarchy excerpt itself that begins the chapter is a bit of a confusing jumble compared to the writings that appeared years later in Women... The essence of Cirinism is suggested, but the passage here is vague enough that it was unlikely going to conflict with the details that would eventually come.

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