Thursday, 4 April 2013

Digital High Society: Reviews

All 25 issues of High Society (Cerebus #26-50) are available to download right now at Here's what people are saying about it:

Looking at the trailer they released for the Digital High Society, it looks like it’s going to be quite a package. Like the "Artists Edition" version of a digital comic. And say whatever you want about Sim and Cerebus after a certain point, but High Society is a great work of art. It's one that’s very unique to both comics and its era, and I wonder how some of the parodies will come across to any new readers or younger readers.

...The issues Dave is making available digitally, to my mind, constitute a masterwork of comics. They are so good, there are only a handful of North American comics that can compete with them. When I was a kid, for a long time, I could only afford one comic a month, and that comic was Cerebus. The story being reprinted, High Society, is possibly my favorite single comics story ever... if someone were to ask me what comics to study to learn meaningful sequential storytelling, Cerebus would likely be in the top two or three choices I would recommend.

No comic collection is complete without these classic stories and soon they will be available at the tap of a finger! Today marks the return of all things Cerebus to the pantheon of the comic book elite.

The extras are exhaustive and amazing. It is clear that the DVD extras concept is what they are going for here and there is most everything you could have ever hoped to see, turning a 20 page comic into a 60+ page digital DL for .99 cents. Every page, letter, note, sketchbook or notebook page even business correspondence is included. Some of it is just an odd curiosity, but most of it is really interesting, and out of print since the original issues or never seen at all. Having completely forgotten the experience of reading the individual issues years ago (I now have all the phone books and sold my originals ages ago) this was all an unexpected treat.

It’s quite staggering, really, going from a phonebook that has been worn down by the years to a digital version, because you forget that at one point these pages were supposed to be black and white (see: below), not blackish hues and mustard yellow... It’s akin to seeing an older film get an HD Blu-ray re-release through something like the Criterion Collection, and while not all older films inherently need to be given shiny new coats so you can see the actor’s wrinkles (there is a certain charm there), having these versions of “Cerebus” that are accessible and crisp in terms of quality is – if nothing else – a rather great talking point for the pro-digital. And while some remastered comics enhance various aspects throughout the process, it’s nice to see such a clear version of this comic exist that is ostensibly unaltered, giving us all of Sim’s work as it was originally produced – just, you know, on a screen.
May of 2013 marks thirty years since “High Society” came to a close. The Cerebus “phonebooks” remain in print and Comixology has begun releasing each issue of “High Society” as a ninety-nine cent download. Cerebus possesses such a handmade, analog quality that the fact it is available as binary code feels (almost) like an anathema. Time and technology wait for no man or aardvark, I suppose.

Rereading High Society again for this podcast - the last time I read it would have been like 10 years ago - it blew me away all over again. Absolutely. You're definitely coming into an artists work that is already very strong. Not as good as its going to get, but pretty darned good.

PROGRESSIVE RUIN: pay about a buck, and you get a download (in a variety of formats) of a full issue of Cerebus from what is arguably the best and most reader-friendly segment of the series, “High Society.” Includes big ol’ scans of the art, all the ads and letters pages/text pieces, plus sketches and production work and much more. Also, you get a bit of video business, where Cerebus creator Dave Sim reads through the entire issue for you, doing voices for all the characters, and there’s music and sound effects, too. Oddly compelling, certainly fun, and I think I’m totally down with having Uncle Dave read me a Cerebus story once a week.

...the series still represents an unprecedented triumph in self-publishing and is one of the earliest examples of independent publishing success, planting the seeds for the current wave of creator-owned independent and self-published comics... Asked about his hopes for Cerebus' revival and its new publishing ventures, Sim was hopeful and blunt: "the same as everyone else’s in the Internet age: that somehow it goes viral." If Digital High Society in its various forms is successful, other Cerebus books are likely to follow, bringing Sim closer to his goal of digitizing the entire series. For that the author still has a long and uncertain way to go, but as he says, "Anything’s possible."

1 comment:

Michael Grabowski said...

I didn't expect much from the Audio edition but having viewed the first part of 26 and the "bonus features" I am very impressed with what Dave, John, Sandeep, and George managed to accomplish. It's probably the closest this work should ever get to being animated, or a movie, but it's well done and intriguing viewing.