Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Barbarian Messiah: Reviews

Cerebus: The Barbarian Messiah: Essays On The Epic Graphic Satire Of Dave Sim & Gerhard, is a collection of critical essays focused on Cerebus, edited by Eric Hoffman. You can order your paperback copy from and, or the Kindle edition from and Here's what people are saying about it:

Midtown Comics (21 June 2012)
Five Stars!
It's about time someone took a serious look at Cerebus, one of the most fascinating and infuriating comics ever. Included here are roughly a dozen fascinating and insightful essays on the Cerebus phenomenon, from its days as a Conan satire to its later explorations of politics, religion, feminism, love and death. Now that the whole of Cerebus is behind us, it's arguable to say that Dave Sim is perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this six thousand page opus, as his interests have always driven the narrative of the comic. That he managed to make a coherent tale out of 300 issue comic book series is a testament to his resolve and/or his insanity. I for one found the essays included here a confirmation of Dave (and Gerhard, who gets appropriate attention here) skills as a comics artist and its a worthwhile compendium to the entire Cerebus opus. A useful tool for scholars and comics enthusiasts, this book is well worth the admission price. (18 April 2012)
Great Essays on a Grand Work - But Too Short! - Four Stars!
A varied collection of critical essays on various aspects of Sim's masterwork, the 6,000-page epic graphic novel Cerebus. My only complaint is that there's so much to explore in that enormous work that this slim volume only scratches the barest of surfaces. Hopefully we'll see more of the same in coming years. Also, this book has helped convince me that no matter how much I disagree with his politics, Sim is not the lunatic or misogynist he's been painted as in the limited niche of the comics press. (27 March 2012):
Excellent Overview of Dave Sim's Massive Masterpiece - Five Stars!
This book serves a dual purpose: first, for the unitiated it is an excellent introduction to Dave Sim's twenty-six year, six thousand page magnum opus. For those already seasoned Cerebus readers, it is probably the most in-depth study of the work to date. I've read (most) of Cerebus several times and this book pointed out several things that passed my notice in addition to providing considerable insight into the work. This book is not a general overview, but contains about a dozen very interesting and in-depth essays on various aspects of Cerebus. The lengthy introduction provides a much-needed historical context for the work, and does a good job arguing that Cerebus is a truly original piece of work that could only have happened during a certain time and place. I found the essays on Sim's quite original lettering and the essays on gender politics to be the most fascinating, probably because those were aspects of the work that most impressed and infuriated me. Highly recommended!

Barnes & Noble (21 March 2012):
Five Stars!
A fascinating and in-depth study of a major work in comics history. The essayists here do a fine job tackling a pretty hefty subject - a six thousand page graphic novel written over twenty six years. Included is a lengthy introduction providing a biography of Dave Sim and a historical context to the work. Essays focus primarily on the structure of the work, various visual components like Sim's lettering and Gerhard's backgrounds, considerations of Sim's use of caricatures, one essay concentrating entirely on his use of Oscar Wilde, and discussions of Sim's views on women and religion. Highly recommended.

Cerebus TV Season 3 Episode 30 features an interview with Eric Hoffman discussing Cerebus: The Barbarian Messiah and his future plans for Dave Sim: Conversations, a book compilation of interviews with the Cerebus creator from across the years.

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